Group size related to age ??

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by Stony Broke, Jul 25, 2019.

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  1. Jul 25, 2019 #1

    Stony Broke

    Stony Broke

    Stony Broke

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    [​IMG]
    Recently picked up a Pedersoli percussion LePage pistol, and am about to beat my head against something...trying to get the group I want. I'm 74 yrs. old, and still trying to compete in club matches. I have long wanted to one time shoot a "50-5x" in my lifetime with a pistol, but have never done it yet.
    This pistol is showing some promise, but might be a little more particular about loading stuff than some of the others I have used over the years. The best group I shot yesterday was the one on the right. I had shot 10 rounds and then swabbed the barrel ...which I normally don't do.
    I either need to start some other techniques or just hope to get lucky I guess.
     
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  2. Jul 25, 2019 #2

    russellshaffer

    russellshaffer

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    Well, Stony, your worst is far better than my best. I usually can't do that well with a rifle.
     
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  3. Jul 26, 2019 #3

    BrownBear

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    I'm less than 5 years behind you Stony. These days with these eyes and these shaky hands, I'm happy with patterns rather than groups from pistolas! :confused:
     
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  4. Jul 26, 2019 #4

    Louisk

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    I'm 15 years your junior and I would have been quite happy with any of those groups. There must be some kind of anti-corrosion treatment to keep sights from getting all fuzzy looking. All my older guns have developed that condition and my new guns came that way.
     
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  5. Jul 26, 2019 #5

    Stony Broke

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    I actually had some work done on my eyes almost two years ago, and it made a considerable difference. The lens replacements brought me back to 20/20 and I can drive at night without squinting at all the glaring lights around me. It made a big difference in looking at sights...now if I could only get rid of the shaky hands and old man stuff we get stuck with.
     
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  6. Jul 26, 2019 #6

    Grenadier1758

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    I would agree that group size can open up with age. We lose the ability to focus at different distances. This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that a pistol is held at arm's length. Muscle tone diminishes, so holding on target gets a bit shakier. We can overcome some of these problems by getting the proper prescription eyeglasses and by doing regular dry firing practice to restore muscle tone. Getting old shouldn't mean that we have to give up.

    My gun club has three classes of shooting groups at the match based on age. One class is scored for the annual aggregate and awarded prizes with the younger shooters on match day. The oldest shooters have short range targets and compete for match bragging rights and the annual aggregate trophy. We did this to keep us all shooting on a level basis.
     
  7. Jul 28, 2019 #7

    mushka

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    Well, lets see. There's eyes, there's muscles, there's reflexes. Older we get, generally these diminish. No reason to stop shooting if one still enjoys it. When it becomes exceedingly frustrating with no improvement in sight it's probably time to do something else.
     
  8. Jul 28, 2019 #8

    bang

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    I find myself getting tense when the age stuff starts hitting. I get better if I just sit back and relax and then concentrate on bringing the pistol up, target and squeeze then relax. This does improve accuracy allowing me to eliminate arm tension by greatly diminishing the amount of time spent supporting the weight. I also don't extend my arm to a stiff arm. Seems to cut some of the effects of weight moment. A simple 1, 2, 3. Raise, target, squeeze. I shoot 2 1858 rem and they hit inside 2 inces at 25 yards all day long. And some days are better than others.
     
  9. Jul 31, 2019 #9

    Stony Broke

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    Spent some time at the range again today. The Pedersoli LePage I have been playing with seems to like a little more powder than I was trying in it. I was shooting it with 18 gr. and I upped it to 25 today. I was shooting across a rest at 25 yds., and it shows some promise I think. I had one flyer, but that was my problem...not the pistols ! This was a 5 shot group.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Jul 31, 2019 #10

    BullRunBear

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    Not much younger than you. That is a nice group no matter the age. Oddly, my pistol shooting, BP and modern, has improved the last couple of years. Sure, I can't do what I could 40 years ago. But now I'm more willing to take my time and concentrate on hold and especially trigger discipline. The enjoyment for me is in successful shooting, not the number of rounds fired. This approach drives my younger shooting buddies crazy, which makes me laugh. :D

    Jeff
     
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  11. Aug 2, 2019 #11

    wiksmo

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    Stony Broke,

    I'd like to ask these particulars about your range day:
    ~~Target size? Looks like 1" rings.
    ~~Distance you shot from target?
    ~~Pistol shot from bench rest? <or>
    ~~Off hand shooting?

    I'm right there in your age decade. I'd also like to improve my accuracy. Sure wouldn't mind shooting a target like yours on the right. That is definitely a good show. TIA

     
  12. Aug 3, 2019 #12

    Stony Broke

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    The targets I was using for pistol, were some I sort of whacked out of some 8" stick on's. When I am shooting at the match I normally attend, we shoot at a 5" target and I just roughly cut that much out of the middle of of one of the bigger ones. I normally shoot them at 25 yards, as I did there...and since I was working up a load, I shot those groups from a bench using a sandbag to rest the pistol on.
    Off hand is a real challenge for me anymore as I'm not only old, but have a bad shoulder and it sure hurts to shoot that way. Us old guys just keep doing what we can do...huh??
     
  13. Aug 3, 2019 #13

    wiksmo

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    Yup, exactly what I was curious about....thanks for the specifics. My preferred shooting range set up (based on my Qs to you) is fairly close to what you did. A main difference is that I only shoot off hand. Really enjoy that challenge, it's fun, and I do fairly well at my elder age. :)

     
  14. Aug 4, 2019 #14

    Rat

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    Don't think it's about age. I think it's more like endless experimentation to get such a pistol to shoot up to your expectations. Sounds like you have shot it quite a bit before even trying a different powder charge. Forget about age, try many different powder charges, different types/granulations/brands of powder, caps, patch material, patch thickness, different lubes, and different size balls, and on and on. Maybe try a wad under the ball. Anything that can be thunk of.
     
  15. Aug 4, 2019 #15

    Zonie

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    I agree with you Rat but to folks like wiksmo I'll say, when your doing your testing to find the best loads for the best accuracy, do your testing using some sort of rest for your hands or the gun. The last thing you want to do is to experiment by shooting off hand.
    To really find out what each different load is doing you need to remove as many variables as possible and shooting off hand adds probably the most variable, variable that there is. That is, using a support adds steadiness to remove any waving of your hand and body so they don't add confusing results.

    I use a padded block to rest my wrist on while I'm aiming. This keeps a lot of the waving and movement out of my arms from influencing the shot.
    Doing something like this is the only way to find out exactly what the powder, ball, patch loads are doing.
     
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  16. Aug 4, 2019 #16

    Grenadier1758

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    We've talked a lot about the need for practice getting good proper support to rest our wrist as we shoot. There is also the need for glasses with the proper focus to get the sights best aligned.

    But there is a lot we can do as we age to improve our performance at the range. One practice, of course, is to settle into a calm meditative mood to concentrate on the sights and to be precise in our preparation to fire the round. One other thing to do is to keep exercising. You don't have to do very strenuous exercise to improve your fitness. As we age we need stretching and flexibility. One good exercise practice is yoga. You get a lot of stretching and flexibility in movement. By improving the condition of many muscle groups, there is an improvement on the interaction of the specific muscle groups that control your rest and offhand shooting muscles. You also get introduction to the calming mental state that can be associated with improved muscle flexibility and reduction of tension in the muscles. The tension will increase the shakiness. The meditative breathing will also help to improve steadiness on target. Several of us have mentioned this, but muzzleloading can be a meditative, Zen like calming experience.

    So, as we age, we can improve our body and our mind. We may not be as strong as we were, but we can better integrate the performance of our mind, our eyes and our muscles.
     
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  17. Aug 4, 2019 #17

    Stony Broke

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    I have shot a total of about 40 shots through that pistol thus far.....two range sessions. As it is, I think I'll shoot it at a match next Sunday and see how I can do with it. I think I have about 7 different pistols that have ended up residing here over the years and this is just one more to play with. Playing with muzzleloaders is just something that keeps a little more interest in my life. When I was younger I experimented with lots of different calibers, patches, lubes, caps, etc....but nowdays I have settled into a system of shooting that has served me well for a long time. This last fiscal year with the club I currently shoot with, I managed to win plaques for first place percussion rifle, pistol, highest aggregate for the year and most X's shot for the year....so I guess my old techniques sort of work for me.
     
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  18. Aug 5, 2019 #18

    Rat

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    I agree, and those groups you are getting are very fine....but, there's always room for improvement, which requires experimentation. On the other hand, if you are satisfied with your results so far, then that does work for you. Maybe I misunderstood what level of accuracy you were going for. What you are getting now would certainly work for me, I'd go out and shoot some grouse with it!
     
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  19. Aug 5, 2019 #19

    Stony Broke

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    I totally agree with you about there always being room for improvement. I'll keep playing with that pistol as I go along and enjoying the process. I just put together a powder funnel with a long brass tube attached to it as another experimentation. I don't know that it will make much difference, but I don't think it will hurt anything. I think dropping the powder down to the bottom of the barrel while avoiding the residue in the barrel from previous shots shouldn't hurt anything. I've seen cases where some guys actually do that and add a little Cream O Wheat on top of the powder as well....but I don't think I will be inclined to do that probably.
     
  20. Aug 5, 2019 #20

    Rat

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    Right on, when I do load development with my Jeager, (which I might do today) I use a drop tube. Mostly because I clean the barrel between shots, to make each shot replicate a shot from a clean barrel, (as when hunting) and I think, believe, suspect, that the powder is best not contacting any moisture or residues remaining on/in the bore on the way down. For sure I don't see how it could cause any negative effect.

    Along the lines of the Cream-0-Wheat thing, I've been experimenting lately with making pure bee's wax wads out of wonder wads, for my revolvers and my Plain's Pistol. (if I shoot today, I'm going to try them in the Jeager) They are easy to make, just get some bee's wax very hot and melted in the micro-wave, drop the wonder wads in, and fish them out, drop them on wax paper.

    They seem to improve accuracy, and keep the barrel a bit more clean, and lube the bore to a small extent, although I can't confirm that. My reason for trying that in the first place was to have a wad over powder that did not contaminate the powder, over long term, as wonder wads will. But I do see an improvement in accuracy. Of course, your results may vary! But, if you get real bored, they are easy to make, more easy to use than Cream of the Wheat. Could be worth a try. I'd like to see what results others get with them, but so far the fad has not caught on. :)
     

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