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Posted: 10/7/2010 2:16:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2015 3:02:12 PM EDT by Molon]

MEAN RADIUS

Mean radius is a method of measurement of the dispersion of shot-groups that takes into account every shot in the group. It provides a more useful analysis of the consistency of ammunition and firearms (accuracy/precision) than the commonly used method of extreme spread.

The typical method used to measure a group consists of measuring the distance between the centers of the two most outlying shots of a group. This would be the “extreme spread” of the group. We are essentially measuring the distance between the two worst shots of a group. Take a look at the two targets below.



Most people would intuitively conclude that the second target shown is the “better” group. Measuring the two groups using the extreme spread method, we find that both groups measure 2.1”. Once again with the typical method of measuring groups we are measuring the distance between the two worst shots of the group. This method tells us nothing about the other eight shots in the group. So how can we quantitatively show that the second group is better than the first? (Yes, we could score the groups using “X-ring” count, but this does not give us any differential information about all those shots in the X-ring.) This is were the mean radius method comes in. It will give us that extra information we need to better analyze our groups, rifles and ammuntion. If I just reported the measurements of the two groups above using the extreme spread meathod, without a picture, you would assume that the two groups were very much the same. Using the mean radius method shows that the second group is much more consistent. It has a mean radius of 0.43” compared to 0.78” for the first group.




Mean radius as defined in Hatcher's Notebook “is the average distance of all the shots from the center of the group. It is usually about one third the group diameter (extreme spread).”

To obtain the mean radius of a shot group, measure the heights of all shots above an arbitrarily chosen horizontal line. Average these measurements. The result is the height of the center of the group above the chosen line. Then in the same way get the horizontal distance of the center from some vertical line, such as for instance, the left edge of the target. These two measurements will locate the group center.

Now measure the distance of each shot from this center. The average of these measures is the mean radius.

Once you get the hang of measuring groups using the mean radius it becomes very simple to do. While being very simple to do, it is also very time consuming. Modern software programs such as RSI Shooting Lab make determining the mean radius a snap.

The picture below is a screen snapshot from RSI Shooting Lab. The red cross is the center of the group (a little high and right of the aiming point). The long red line shows the two shots forming the extreme spread or group size. The yellow line from the red cross to one of the shots is a radius. Measure all the radii and take the average to obtain the mean radius.





Mean Radius Demonstration

Let’s say you fired a 5-shot group from 100 yards and the resulting target looks like this. (The X-ring measures 1.5” and the 10-ring measures 3.5”.)



The extreme spread of the group measures 2.83”, but we want to find the mean radius (or average group radius.) In order to find the mean radius we must first find the center of the group. By “eye-balling” the target most people would see that the group is centered to the left of the “X-ring” and probably a little high, but we need to find the exact location of the center of the group.

Locating the Center of the Group

The first step in finding the center of the group is to find the lowest shot of the group and draw a horizontal line through the center of that shot.



Next, find the left-most shot of the group and draw a vertical line through the center of that shot.



Now measure the distance from the horizontal line to the other four shots of the group that are above that line. Add those numbers together and divide by the total number of shots in the group (5).



2.50” + 1.03” + 2.01” + 1.30” = 6.84”

Divide by 5 to get 1.37”. This number is the elevation component of the center of the group.

Next we need to find the windage component of the center of the group. From the vertical line, measure the distance to the other four shots of the group that are to the right of the line. Add those numbers together and again divide by the total number of shots in the group (5).



1.76” + 2.54” + 0.45” + 1.19” = 5.94”

Divide by 5 to get 1.19” This is the windage component of the center of the group.

Finding the windage and elevation components of the center of the group is the most difficult part of this process. Once that is done the rest of the process is a piece of cake.

Using the windage and elevation components, locate the position on the target that is 1.37” (elevation component) above the horizontal line and 1.19” (windage component) to the right of the vertical line. This location is the center of the group!




Determining the Mean Radius

Now that we have located the position of the center of the group, the first step in determining the mean radius is to measure the distance from the center of the group to the center of one of the shots. This line is a single “radius”.




Now measure the distance from the center of the group to the center of each of the rest of the shots in the group. Add the measurements of all the radii together and then divide by the total number of shots in the group (5).



0.85” + 1.35” + 1.38” + 0.84” + 1.61” = 6.03”

Divide by 5 to get 1.21”. This is the mean radius (or average group radius) of the group!

Using the mean radius measurement to scribe a circle around the center of the group gives you a graphic representation of the mean radius. This shows the average accuracy of all the shots in the group. This demonstrates why the mean radius is much more useful than the extreme spread in evaluating the accuracy of our rifles and ammunition.





The table below will give you an idea of the relationship between the mean radius and extreme spread.





....
Link Posted: 10/7/2010 7:53:07 PM EDT
Excellent post as always.
Link Posted: 10/7/2010 8:04:21 PM EDT
Very informative!

So, from a reloader's perspective, what is a good benchmark mean radius for match ammo? Providing a ten shot group at 100 yards. Is there a military specification?

Just curious...

I agree that extreme spread alone can be misleading.
Link Posted: 10/8/2010 10:06:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MK402:
Very informative!

So, from a reloader's perspective, what is a good benchmark mean radius for match ammo? Providing a ten shot group at 100 yards. Is there a military specification?

Just curious...

I agree that extreme spread alone can be misleading.

I would say at 100 yards, a good benchmark would be a mean radius of 1''.
Link Posted: 10/8/2010 1:31:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MK402:
Very informative!

So, from a reloader's perspective, what is a good benchmark mean radius for match ammo? Providing a ten shot group at 100 yards. Is there a military specification?

Just curious...

I agree that extreme spread alone can be misleading.


Depends on what you want that rifle to do...

Service/Battle accuracy?
Match Grade?
Hunting?

etc...
Link Posted: 10/9/2010 10:51:14 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 45-Seventy:
Originally Posted By MK402:
Very informative!

So, from a reloader's perspective, what is a good benchmark mean radius for match ammo? Providing a ten shot group at 100 yards. Is there a military specification?

Just curious...

I agree that extreme spread alone can be misleading.


Depends on what you want that rifle to do...

Service/Battle accuracy?
Match Grade?
Hunting?

etc...


How about match grade?
Link Posted: 10/9/2010 3:12:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MK402:

How about match grade?


Originally Posted By kingoftheroad:

I would say at 100 yards, a good benchmark would be a mean radius of 1''.



This I think.
Link Posted: 10/10/2010 12:10:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/10/2010 12:12:27 PM EDT by MK402]
Originally Posted By Freakinout:
Originally Posted By MK402:

How about match grade?


Originally Posted By kingoftheroad:

I would say at 100 yards, a good benchmark would be a mean radius of 1''.



This I think.


Is that a guess or something you have actually researched? 1 inch mean radius (average to center) would make about a two inch group give or take if I am reading this correctly. That's hardly match grade accuracy.
Link Posted: 10/10/2010 12:21:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/10/2010 12:22:46 PM EDT by Molon]
Originally Posted By MK402:
Originally Posted By Freakinout:
Originally Posted By MK402:

How about match grade?


Originally Posted By kingoftheroad:

I would say at 100 yards, a good benchmark would be a mean radius of 1''.



This I think.


Is that a guess or something you have actually researched? 1 inch mean radius (average to center) would make about a two inch group give or take if I am reading this correctly. That's hardly match grade accuracy.


Incorrect. The table below will give you an idea of the relationship between the mean radius and extreme spread.



Link Posted: 10/10/2010 1:11:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Molon:
Originally Posted By MK402:
Originally Posted By Freakinout:
Originally Posted By MK402:

How about match grade?


Originally Posted By kingoftheroad:

I would say at 100 yards, a good benchmark would be a mean radius of 1''.



This I think.



Ok. So its even worse, which was my point. So i guess something in the .5" or better is what I am looking for?????

Thanks for the help.

Any idea what the military spec for MK262 is?


Is that a guess or something you have actually researched? 1 inch mean radius (average to center) would make about a two inch group give or take if I am reading this correctly. That's hardly match grade accuracy.


Incorrect. The table below will give you an idea of the relationship between the mean radius and extreme spread.

http://www.box.net/shared/static/e4ckmi2y36.jpg



Link Posted: 10/10/2010 2:40:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/10/2010 2:47:27 PM EDT by Freakinout]
Molon's calculations come from 3x10rd groups for each load, iirc.


ETA:

Is the 'average to center' (ATC) calculated by on target the mean radius? I read the definition of mean radius in hatcher's notebook, and it would appear to be the same thing, just making sure I'm understanding it.
Link Posted: 10/14/2010 10:53:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Freakinout:
Molon's calculations come from 3x10rd groups for each load, iirc.


ETA:

Is the 'average to center' (ATC) calculated by on target the mean radius? I read the definition of mean radius in hatcher's notebook, and it would appear to be the same thing, just making sure I'm understanding it.


Correct.

Link Posted: 10/14/2010 11:04:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/14/2010 11:57:24 PM EDT by Molon]
Originally Posted By MK402:


So, from a reloader's perspective, what is a good benchmark mean radius for match ammo? Providing a ten shot group at 100 yards. Is there a military specification?




Excellent questions. A mean radius of 1.0” for 10-shot groups at 100 yards would be the mathematical equivalent of the accuracy acceptance standard for U.S. Military M193. As for match-grade ammunition, unlike caliber .30 and caliber 7.62mm ammunition, there has never been a National Match standard for caliber 5.56mm/.223 Remington ammunition.

In 1965, the caliber 7.62mm Match ammunition was standardized as M118 . The 1965 lot of 7.62mm M118 National Match ammunition had an acceptance testing mean radius of 1.9” for 10-shot groups fired at 600 yards. At that time, this was the smallest acceptance mean radius ever achieved for National Match ammunition since records were kept, starting in the year 1919. Naturally, the ammunition was tested from machine-rested, bolt-actioned test barrels. The composite target pictured below shows the twenty-seven, 10-shot acceptance groups (that’s 270 rounds!) of the 1965, M118 National Match ammunition fired from the test barrels at 600 yards. The small circle has a diameter of 6” and the large circle has a diameter of 12”.





From American Rifleman, September 1965





From American Rifleman, August 1962.



Everything else being equal, (which of course, it seldom is) a mean radius of 1.9” at 600 yards would have a mathematical equivalent of 0.32” at 100 yards. Now, 100 yards is not 600 yards, but then, a semi-automatic AR-15 is not a machine-rested, bolt-actioned test barrel either. For this reason, I like to use the mean radius of 0.32” for 10-shot groups fired at 100 yards as the benchmark for match-grade ammunition, when fired from a semi-automatic AR-15. I personally prefer that my match-grade hand-loads have a mean radius “in the twos,” i.e. a mean radius of 0.2x”. My best hand-loads fired from a semi-automatic AR-15 at 100 yards have had mean radii “in the ones,” i.e. 0.1x”. The 10-shot group pictured below has a mean radius of 0.13”.





Link Posted: 10/15/2010 4:03:06 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Molon:
Originally Posted By MK402:


So, from a reloader's perspective, what is a good benchmark mean radius for match ammo? Providing a ten shot group at 100 yards. Is there a military specification?




Excellent questions. A mean radius of 1.0” for 10-shot groups at 100 yards would be the mathematical equivalent of the accuracy acceptance standard for U.S. Military M193. As for match-grade ammunition, unlike caliber .30 and caliber 7.62mm ammunition, there has never been a National Match standard for caliber 5.56mm/.223 Remington ammunition.

In 1965, the caliber 7.62mm Match ammunition was standardized as M118 . The 1965 lot of 7.62mm M118 National Match ammunition had an acceptance testing mean radius of 1.9” for 10-shot groups fired at 600 yards. At that time, this was the smallest acceptance mean radius ever achieved for National Match ammunition since records were kept, starting in the year 1919. Naturally, the ammunition was tested from machine-rested, bolt-actioned test barrels. The composite target pictured below shows the twenty-seven, 10-shot acceptance groups (that’s 270 rounds!) of the 1965, M118 National Match ammunition fired from the test barrels at 600 yards. The small circle has a diameter of 6” and the large circle has a diameter of 12”.



http://www.box.net/shared/static/g3vdx4d8z5.jpg

From American Rifleman, September 1965



http://www.box.net/shared/static/edok5vzo2s.jpg

From American Rifleman, August 1962.



Everything else being equal, (which of course, it seldom is) a mean radius of 1.9” at 600 yards would have a mathematical equivalent of 0.32” at 100 yards. Now, 100 yards is not 600 yards, but then, a semi-automatic AR-15 is not a machine-rested, bolt-actioned test barrel either. For this reason, I like to use the mean radius of 0.32” for 10-shot groups fired at 100 yards as the benchmark for match-grade ammunition, when fired from a semi-automatic AR-15. I personally prefer that my match-grade hand-loads have a mean radius “in the twos,” i.e. a mean radius of 0.2x”. My best hand-loads fired from a semi-automatic AR-15 at 100 yards have had mean radii “in the ones,” i.e. 0.1x”. The 10-shot group pictured below has a mean radius of 0.13”.


http://www.box.net/shared/static/9vux4ug0du.jpg




Here is the specification for the SASS MIL-PRF-32316 (AR) :


3 REQUIREMENTS

3.4.1.1 Accuracy/dispersion. After the optic sight is zeroed, the accuracy and
dispersion of the SASS shall meet the following:

3.4.1.1.1 Accuracy. . The distance between the mean point of impact of each shot
group, both unsuppressed and suppressed, shall be not greater than 1.1 inches at 300 feet. The
distance between the mean point of impact of the combined unsuppressed shot groups and the
combined suppressed shot groups shall not be greater than 3.14 inches at 300 feet.

3.4.1.1.2 Dispersion. The average mean radius (AMR) (see 6.11), of each shot group
shall be not greater than to 0.68 inches at 300 feet. All targets shall be fired on using M118LR
ammunition or equivalent, using five (5) round groups.
Link Posted: 7/13/2015 6:04:21 PM EDT
Hi , I have discover this very interesting topic meanwhile I was searching for group size measuring methods.
I think that it's very important to have a statistical view of this matter because is different to have a 10 shot group of 5 inchs with 8 holes in 3 inches tha a 5 inches group with all 10 shot within 3 and 5 inches.
So i would share this knowledge with an Italian forum named " Armimilitari" that means " Militaryweapons" end in order to make this I obviously ask your permission in advance.
Thankyou
Link Posted: 7/13/2015 9:05:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/14/2015 1:07:50 PM EDT
Terrific post. Thanks.
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