When You Don't Want to Take the 5th Shot

UNRL Ghandi

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I'm sure you've been there before, you have an amazing four shot group and you don't want to ruin it with the fifth shot. Happened to me this morning.

I played musical scopes on my rifles last night after getting a Revic 4.5-28x that I wanted to put on my Surgeon Remedy .338. I don't like my rifles sitting around not zeroed so I went out to the local range this morning to get everything back in order. It's only a 100 yard range but that's fine for now. I haven't gotten into reloading for my .338 yet since the factory Federal Gold Medal Match 300 grain bullets do just fine, so I dropped one in, closed the bolt, and popped off the first shot. Hit about 8 MOA high and 4 MOA right - barely hit the big sighter target I use for first shots on paper for new rifles/scopes. Made my adjustments and like I always do I put two rounds downrange to confirm the first adjustments, then I fine tune from there. Those shots stacked low right, made adjustments and took two more shots (not pictured) higher but still right, then I made one more adjustment and planned to shoot a five shot group to wrap it up.

First shot hits nearly dead center. Alright, you go boy. 2nd shot touching. Third shot touching. Four shots in and they are stacked almost dead center bullseye. Amazing group. I know I can't stop at four shots because groups are either 3 shots or 5 shots otherwise you're a weirdo, but there is ALWAYS a flier and I did not want to mess up this group. I'm a 5 shot group guy myself so I had to take the last shot. Took a few deep breaths, focused extremely hard on my mechanics, then sent it. Recoil took me off target so I frantically searched around with the scope to get the target back in sight and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the below final group. That 5th shot could have ruined my day and I did not want to take it, but glad I did. :)

For reference the orange box is 1.05" x 1.05".

1660742576546.png


Loving this Surgeon Remedy and bravo to Federal for making some really good factory .338 LM ammo. Can't wait to stretch its legs.

1660746612971.png
 

Supersubes

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    I would have stopped at 3, then taken the 4th and 5th shots on the 900 yd target to check dope.
     

    Wiillk

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    Probably the best group ever shot with our RPR was shot by our son (who is much better than I am). He had four shots in one very tight hole, and pulled the last shot. Not a bad group, probably a half inch or so, but two separate holes in the paper which kinda bothered him. The ole RPR keeps shooting pretty good for something off the shelf
     
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    Baron23

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    I too generally shoot five shot groups. But this was three shots at 400 yards and, looking at it, I chickened out and decided to leave as is. I might frame it and hang it on the wall as the best shooting I have ever done! hahaha

    I can almost guarantee that if I took another shot, this group would have opened up a good bit....I'm just not that good at at almost 70, I don't think I'll be getting too much better! LOL

    1660757205611.jpeg
     

    Wiillk

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    even worse when you pull shot 19 of 20

    BfGOSeH.jpg
    Actually there is something that is worse. In IHMSA, a perfect score is 40x40. at least a dozen times I have pulled the last shot and wound up with a 39x40. It almost seems like a skill for me, or at least used to be, can't shoot that good anymore. Probably why I am here shooting rifles again.
     
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    pineoak

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    everyone has their own opinion, I have mine; my skillset is inferior to everyone else's but here's my 2 cents:

    If you are adjusting/fiddling/pausing between rounds it's not the same "group"... it's like two 2 shot groups, and a single shot taken after. A group is from one set position.

    In regards to your "struggle with the 5th", if you can do 4 in a row like that, you can do 5. Stay focused and checklist your fundamentals. Slow everything down or just plain stop until your anxiety passes and you can focus. No reason to "rush" any shots @100.

    Easiest way to shoot a tight group... is to shoot 1 shot at a time, each shot a few minutes apart. DO NOT touch the trigger unless your NPA, breathing, pressure, rear bag, bubble, etc. are all perfect and you FEEL RIGHT. If something is "off", just don't take the shot, stand up, breathe, and reset from the start. Slow and not a proper group by anyone's definition, but you did technically shoot 5 shots into 0.xx inches. It's like cheating, which I personally think it is, but it's still technically a "5 shot group".
     
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    acudaowner

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    take a break or just slow down take the finger off the trigger and regroup use the force Luke .
     

    Keeper22

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    Nice group, I work with a guy that only shoots 3 shot groups, he gets frustrated when we tell him that it's not a group unless it's 5 shots.
     

    TACC

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    Haha! If I pull the first shot... I move on to the next target.

    "That one didn't count."
    Just getting the dust out of the barrel.

    Now we can get serious!
     

    UNRL Ghandi

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    Nice group, I work with a guy that only shoots 3 shot groups, he gets frustrated when we tell him that it's not a group unless it's 5 shots.
    Yep, gotta be 5 shots or it doesn't count. If he claims 3 is enough, tell him it has to be 3 skilled shots and everyone knows:

    First Shot = Luck
    Second Shot = Coincidence
    Third Shot = Skill
    Fourth Shot = Skill
    Fifth Shot = Skill

    Gotta get the first two out of the way before you can count your 3 skill shot group.
     
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    Wiillk

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    Hunting...and checking your Hunting rifle for accuracy. I only shoot three shot groups. No need for more, if I need more than three shots at a game animal, the game must be brain dead, And I am as well.

    So here's how I do it. (to check accuracy in my hunting rifles) With a Cold but fouled barrel, take the first shot. As soon as I can, I pull another round from the magazine, aim and fire, again, as soon as I can I load another round from the magazine aim and fire.

    If the gun is good, all three rounds fall into a consistent group. If I am good, the rifle is good and the ammo is good (I roll my own) all three rounds fall into a tight group at the point of aim. The best hunting rifle I ever owned that could do this is a Weatherby Vanguard in .25-06. it is my goto hunting rifle. It will put three rounds under an inch at point of aim, at 100 yards, the first from a cold barrel and the next two as quickly as I can chamber and shoot. Can't ask for better. (actually did this good at 200 yards (under an inch) ONCE! (call that luck and move on).
     

    UNRL Ghandi

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    Hunting...and checking your Hunting rifle for accuracy. I only shoot three shot groups. No need for more, if I need more than three shots at a game animal, the game must be brain dead, And I am as well.

    So here's how I do it. (to check accuracy in my hunting rifles) With a Cold but fouled barrel, take the first shot. As soon as I can, I pull another round from the magazine, aim and fire, again, as soon as I can I load another round from the magazine aim and fire.

    If the gun is good, all three rounds fall into a consistent group. If I am good, the rifle is good and the ammo is good (I roll my own) all three rounds fall into a tight group at the point of aim. The best hunting rifle I ever owned that could do this is a Weatherby Vanguard in .25-06. it is my goto hunting rifle. It will put three rounds under an inch at point of aim, at 100 yards, the first from a cold barrel and the next two as quickly as I can chamber and shoot. Can't ask for better. (actually did this good at 200 yards (under an inch) ONCE! (call that luck and move on).
    Yeah I took my Cadex .338 out with me on this same range trip and only dropped a 3 shot group just to confirm it was still hitting where it was when I cleaned it and put it away after the last range trip. Wasn't really shooting it for practice or to hone anything in just to check it out. No need to do any more than that for a gun costing $5-$7 a round (or a hunting rifle like you mentioned).
     
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    diggler1833

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    I fell for the fallacy of three shot groups pretty hard many years ago. During load development for my old 5R, I managed to throw a .289" group. I got so excited that I went right the F back home and loaded 100 more with that recipe...

    Turned out to be a solid 1 MOA load for five shots. Not that a 1 MOA load is bad, but I never got close to that .289 that I had my heart set on. The fact that I can remember the group size after 15+ years probably shows how excited I was.

    I know how hard it is to want to load up additional rounds though when your first couple of shots just make a single hole.
     

    Wiillk

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    I fell for the fallacy of three shot groups pretty hard many years ago. During load development for my old 5R, I managed to throw a .289" group. I got so excited that I went right the F back home and loaded 100 more with that recipe...

    Turned out to be a solid 1 MOA load for five shots. Not that a 1 MOA load is bad, but I never got close to that .289 that I had my heart set on. The fact that I can remember the group size after 15+ years probably shows how excited I was.

    I know how hard it is to want to load up additional rounds though when your first couple of shots just make a single hole.
    Everything you say makes sense. However, with the shortage and prices of components I am sticking with three shot group. However I don't decide if it is good unless I can get repeatable results on different days/times. That said, I am something of a hypocrite because I hate wasting perfectly good bullets/powders/primers/barrels punching little bitty holes in paper when there is so much "fun to shoot" steel around. Rarely do I go past 850 yards so I am pretty much good to go with a half inch MOA gun. (and a MOA hunting rifle is a thrill to own if it can do what my .25-06 can do as listed in the above post. )

    Again, don't take any of this as a criticism or affront of your efforts. You're good man, I'm old and cheap. (and on a serious note, afraid of running out of time to have fun).
     
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    Wiillk

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    One more thought about hunting rifles. When checking those for accuracy, always load your rounds from the magazine. The last Remington 700 I purchased was good at shooting one hole groups until the second shot was fired but, among other things, I learned too late that it would not feed rounds from the magazine. Talk about a worthless single shot. (and we are not going to go on about the action that felt like course sandpaper.).

    Felt this is important enough to get a separate post. (Feeding from the magazine not the last bad days of Remington)
     

    cas6969

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    You really should be measuring outside to outside groups.
    Because really, when you shoot something do you want to hit it with the whole bullet or just .0001" of it?
     

    DJL2

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    Ah, the tyranny of math... it's about total sample size. Whether that's 10x3, 5x5, 3x10, etc. If you log ALL the rounds and you have the ability to aggregate or average your results, you can collect meaningful data a variety of ways. Hell, you could do something I once read that was attributed to White Feather himself... cold bore, every day, 200 yds. "But it's not a 'group' because you didn't shoot it all at once!" Perhaps not, but it IS a meaningful data set as regards the shooter and rifle as a system.

    The trick is to avoid the "well, I didn't call it, but that's a flyer and I'm not going to count it" syndrome... because, for some reason, we put a lot of our ego into how a mechanical tool we didn't build performs. Like it threatens our identity if the rifle just isn't that damn good. If you want optimal rifle and shooter performance, 3 shot groups might make sense. Might be recoil, might be barrel responding to heat. As long as you use a robust data set and don't arbitrarily exclude "flyers" that really aren't, it'll buff.
     
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    diggler1833

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    I can shoot one shot, one hole groups all day long.

    I'm certainly not trying to act like dudes who shoot more than a couple shots are somehow superior. However, the importance of a larger sample size (more shots) is that it increases the precision of estimates, and ability to draw conclusions.

    It's some of the rules of sample size in statistics.

    Does it matter on a fun gun that only sees range time? Absolutely not, so who gives a shit.

    Now if only I practiced what I preached and shot 10 shot groups...
     

    UNRL Ghandi

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    You really should be measuring outside to outside groups.
    Because really, when you shoot something do you want to hit it with the whole bullet or just .0001" of it?
    I get that point of view. I measure center-to-center because I'm measuring impact point to determine accuracy. If i measured edge-to-edge i could shoot a .22 long rifle group .25" and a .338 lapua mag .25" and they'd be the same accuracy by that measure, but they really aren't the same are they? I'm also not planning to shoot anything smaller than the diameter of my bullet. If my group size is 1 MOA and my target killzone is 4 MOA I'm always going to hit with the full bullet.

    I do think everyone should count their point of aim as part of their group. So what you stacked 5 shots .5 MOA left and 1.5 MOA low. Should add the distance you missed what you were aiming at to your group size as a penalty.

    Only time group size matters to me is load development and zeroing. Once zeroed, shot placement is more important than group size and a tiny group doesn't matter if I can't put it where I want it.
     

    UNRL Ghandi

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    Ah, the tyranny of math... it's about total sample size. Whether that's 10x3, 5x5, 3x10, etc. If you log ALL the rounds and you have the ability to aggregate or average your results, you can collect meaningful data a variety of ways. Hell, you could do something I once read that was attributed to White Feather himself... cold bore, every day, 200 yds. "But it's not a 'group' because you didn't shoot it all at once!" Perhaps not, but it IS a meaningful data set as regards the shooter and rifle as a system.

    The trick is to avoid the "well, I didn't call it, but that's a flyer and I'm not going to count it" syndrome... because, for some reason, we put a lot of our ego into how a mechanical tool we didn't build performs. Like it threatens our identity if the rifle just isn't that damn good. If you want optimal rifle and shooter performance, 3 shot groups might make sense. Might be recoil, might be barrel responding to heat. As long as you use a robust data set and don't arbitrarily exclude "flyers" that really aren't, it'll buff.
    I've been wanting to do this myself. Shoot one cold bore shot once a month throughout the year on the same target. Aim center and see the impact of the weather conditions. Once I have that data, shoot a second cold bore group where I aim to offset the weather conditions and see what my capabilities are at any given time in the year. Could do the initial cold bore group on the 1st of each month and do the adjusted cold bore group the 2nd of each month and have both groups done in a year.
     

    cas6969

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    I get that point of view….

    Tryna hit things, not almost not hit them and say I did. ;)

    When I first started trying to do the precision rifle thing a little, in my late teens, before the Internet, when smokeless powder was brand new…. okay not that long ago. I had no idea you measured center to center, so I measured outside to outside because that made sense. But measurement wise my groups were never as small as things I was hearing/reading about. So I gave up on numbers and switched to trying to just keep five completely on dot of a certain size. I can still remember the guy who told me I was measuring them wrong and I felt like such an idiot. “How else do you think you can shoot a .25” group with a .308” bullet?” Math was never a strength. It made me wish I’d had all the old targets to re measure.
     
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    brianf

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    Tryna hit things, not almost not hit them and say I did. ;)

    When I first started trying to do the precision rifle thing a little, in my late teens, before the Internet, when smokeless powder was brand new…. okay not that long ago. I had no idea you measured center to center, so I measured outside to outside because that made sense. But measurement wise my groups were never as small as things I was hearing/reading about. So I gave up on numbers and switched to trying to just keep five completely on dot of a certain size. I can still remember the guy who told me I was measuring them wrong and I felt like such an idiot. “How else do you think you can shoot a .25” group with a .308” bullet?” Math was never a strength. It made me wish I’d had all the old targets to re measure.
    thats pretty funny...you like 2+2 does not equal 3 lol

    the real reason to not measure outside dims is the target material stretches and the groups are measured "smaller"