Realistic accuracy expectations

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jstamper

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I’ve been shooting my longrifle more lately, and have gotten to the point that I can expect 1.5”-2” groups at 50 yards from a rest.

I noticed some sharp improvement from some of the powder/charge/patch changes I experimented with, but I still don’t know how much of the improvement is coming from proper load or from becoming more accustomed to shooting a flintlock.

My question is, what group sizes (from a rest) do you guys expect routinely? I’m just trying to decide whether to keep chasing a magic load or to focus more on shooting technique.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Depends on whether we're talking hunting or match target shooting eh?
From a bench with sandbags, I want to get my rifles with the pattern "touching" at 50 yards. So with a .50 - .54 caliber that's around a 1½" group. Perhaps just a teeny bit tighter. At 100 yards I want a group inside a 4" x 4" square. That's for hunting.
Now with the .40 I want a much tighter group, since I'm going for squirrels and mostly head shots.
Avid target shooters probably want a group in the 10 ring at 100 yards.
LD
 

Sidney Smith

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Tennis ball sized group at 50 yards, cantaloupe at 100, is fine with me. I sight in for hunting and don't take shots past 75 yards anyway, and for my needs this works for me.
 

Grimord

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I strive for 1.5 to 2" groups at 50 yards with my rifles of 50 caliber or larger. For the smaller bores, that i generally limit to 50 yards or less I look for 1" or less at 25 yards and 1.5" at 50 yards. I limit myself to less than 75 yards for hunting, and my 1.5=2"groups at 50 yards are usually within 2.5-3" at 75 yards and 4" or less at 100 yards. My eyes cannot do much better, and i am sure my rifles could be shot to tighter groups with younger eyes. By the way, the groups I mentioned above are shot from the bench. I like to know that if i miss it is my fault and not the gun or load.
 

Carbon 6

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I don't think shooting from a bench guarantees eliminating the human element.

I shot a match once offhand at 25 yards and won by a single point. We then moved to 50 yards off the bench and I won by a large margin, no one was even close to my score.
 

Grenadier1758

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The groups are measured by where the center of the ball is located on the target. So 1 1/2" to 2" groups based on the center of the hole are pretty realistic. More practice and refinement of the load may improve the group slightly.

When you get to the point of weighing the balls to only shoot those within a grain of the average weight and you push the ball to the breech with the butt of the rifle on a scale to seat the ball at the same pressure, cut toilet paper rolls to set on the barrel to provide shaders for the sights and follow the same routine of wiping the bore so the fouling in the barrel is consistent from shot to shot, most of us will improve our group to 1 1/4" to 1 3/4".

Sadly, once you get the groups that tight, the eyes can only focus on the front sight some of the time and the groups open up again. Well, shooting the muzzle loaders is still enjoyable.

Keep a log and you will learn what is reasonable for you.
 

Larry (Omaha)

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My question is, what group sizes (from a rest) do you guys expect routinely? I’m just trying to decide whether to keep chasing a magic load or to focus more on shooting technique.
No one has asked what you are shooting? We know it is a longrifle, but how about some info, that is, barrel, lock, triggers, for starter? If you do have decent equip, then that of course will effect the shooting and or the expected results.
flintlocklar
 

hanshi

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For deer calibers, .45, .50 and .54, I looked for 50 yard groups of around 1-1/2" or a bit less and 4" at 100. With the .40 I got 100 yard groups of just under 4" and near a inch at 50. Now, with squirrel rifles, .32 and .36, I expect sub 1" groups at 50 yards and one hole at 25. But that was then and this is now. With my eyesight dimming in my dominant right eye I can no longer shoot as well and will probably have to switch to left hand shooting. Also, my .62 smoothbore can give 3" three shot groups at 50 yards, but I can't any longer.
 

biliff

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I'm in the 1 1/2" 50 yd and 3 1/2-4" 100 yd from a bench crowd unless I go all out for the smallest group possible (like when I'm adjusting sights). Then its more like 1/2" at 50 yds and 2 1/2 to 3" at 100.
 

jstamper

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B9D0FB66-1921-4EC8-800E-9FDF8899CDAD.jpeg 9A9119BB-87AB-465C-A930-83EDB26337A8.jpeg
No one has asked what you are shooting? We know it is a longrifle, but how about some info, that is, barrel, lock, triggers, for starter? If you do have decent equip, then that of course will effect the shooting and or the expected results.
flintlocklar
I’m shooting a rifle a built a few years ago; 38” Colerain with an L&R lock.
 

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tenngun

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I’ve had touching shots with my rifle gun at fifty yards, but this century I’ve migrated to smoothies, and chest of deer at fifty is good’nuff for me.
Most of the time I’ve had four inch groups or so with a smoothie, but will get a flyer but still any shot would turn Bambi French.
 

Sidney Smith

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I think target shooters require tighter accuracy than hunters. While tight groups do reduce errors when taking shots on game it's usually accepted that clover leaf patterns just aren't necessary
 

sawyer04

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I seem to apply Kentucky windage, My shooting is not too scientific, but I have satisfactory results. Just adjust charge and patch fit to my target satisfaction. At 100 yards I like a cantaloupe coverage with a 50 caliber. Target shooters are demanding of tighter groups and that is an art.
 

Grenadier1758

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As Sidney stated above, reasonable accuracy will depend on whether the rifle is being used for hunting, targets on paper or reactive targets for a woods walk.

Reasonable hunting accuracy is being able to regularly converge point of impact to point of aim within the lethal area of the hunted game at the distance the game is likely to be encountered. This requirement is different for squirrel than deer or elk. Your rifle is a 54 caliber. The accuracy would be loose at a 3" group at 50 yards to a 6" group at 100 yards.

Paper target for match shooting, you want a bench rest group of the 10 ring (about 1") at 50 yards. Chunk gun, table shooting at an X, you want groups at 60 yards to be under 1". For a fun shoot such as this month's X target, a group of 3" will be competitive and fun.

Woods walk with reactive targets will do well with a more open off hand group of 4" at 50 yards to 8" at 100 yards. Depending on the targets, The group could be larger since hitting the target on the edge counts the same as hitting the target in the center.

The question I should have asked earlier is "What target do you intend to be shooting?"
 
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