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Posted: 7/27/2003 5:35:56 PM EDT
What are the keys to to being able to consistently shoot fairly tight groups (1" and below)?? I have a DPMS Race AR which I'm pretty confident is very accurate. I have Bushnell Elite series scope mounted on it.

I can shoot 1" groups from time to time but I am just not very consistent. I not using super accurate match ammo but at 100 yards I would think about any ammo should group around 2" consistenly. I did not think it made much sense to buy expensive ammo right now if I am not a good enough of a shot to take advantage of it.

Does a good bench and seat make a huge difference? Right now I have just been sitting on the ground and resting the gun on a small stool.

Any help?
Link Posted: 7/27/2003 6:16:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/27/2003 6:22:42 PM EDT by mark5pt56]
There alot of things that will matter. Equipment isn't everything, but it sure does matter when you have honed your fundementals. You do need a steady rest, one that doesn't influence the barrel. The type of rest you use depends on how you want to use the rifle. If you are going to be benching most of the time, I would get a nice front rest. Sinclair International has some nice ones, there are many other suppliers. You could go with a small pack or bag filled with any material that will hold it's shape, but still conform to the forend. If you want something that is always with the rifle, a good bipod is great. Harris is my favorite. Depending on the type of rest used, they can affect accuracy. From my experience, the rifle needs to move in the rest. Meaning that during recoil, the rifle needs to "slide" otherwise, the recoil may cause the rifle to "torque" and this will matter some. Alot of benchrest shooters use teflon tape on the forend bottom and use baby powder on the front bags. Also, the newer bags have a seam sewn in, this limits the friction area, allowing free recoil. I'm typically not "benching" my rifles, I like bipods. In my opinion, they are more usefull to me. Your fundementals need to be consistent. Body alignment, natural point of aim. Get straight behind the rifle. You should be comfortable behind the rifle in, once in position and sighted in, close your eyes and gently shake side to side, open your eyes and see where you are on the target. If you are no longer on target, adjust your position until you stay on after the drill. After time, you will know by feel what is right. Firm grip and firm in the shoulder Consistent cheek weld-no shadows in the scope. Make sure that your set up will allow you to get the proper eye relief and not make you strain to stay in position. Stare at the cross hairs Breathing, shoot on your normal respiratory pause. This is most consistent, if you try the half breath, quarter breath, whatever, it's not consistent at all. During your normal respiratory pause, apply smooth, steady pressure to the rear on the trigger. Follow through!, meaning, keep doing everything you did before the shot slightly after th eshot. If you relax to soon, you influnce the shot by changing everything you did beforehand. You do need good ammunition though, other wise you are beating your head against the wall try to obtain the accuracy you want. Hopefully this helps, I'm sure there are other fine pointers inbound. edit-as a general rule in relation to fundementals, vertical string is your breathing, horizontal, body alignment and triangle shaped ones are not staring at the crosshairs. Mark
Link Posted: 7/27/2003 6:24:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/27/2003 6:27:13 PM EDT by Polyak]
A bench definately helps out, but isn't completely necessary. What kind of ammo have you been using? You say you have been using a stool, how has your rifle been resting on that stool? Do you have a bag or anything under the handguard, anything under the buttstock, or are you just resting the handguard on the stool and holding the buttstock up with your shoulder? On your rifle, is the handguard a free floating type, or is it the standard A2 type handguards? If it's the standard type handguards, any pressure on those handguards will effect the transfer to the barrel and effect your accuracy. If say, you are pulling the rifle down into that stool trying to stabalize it hard, your applying pressure on the barrel. It is best to just let the front end sit pretty much on it's own, .223 doesn't really kick anyway. that way, no pressure is being exerted on the barrel. Trigger control: shooting for groups, you should be pulling the trigger very slowly, and it should basically surprise you when it goes off. edited to add: I guess I was typing while mark5pt56 posted, what he said is good.
Link Posted: 7/27/2003 6:44:38 PM EDT
Thanks a lot guys!! Excellent advice. Right now I have a stool about 2 feet high or so. I use a 10 round mag and rest the mag on the top of the stool and then hold up the stock with my shoulder. I am sitting on the ground when I do this. Yes the barrel is free floating. I have used two different types of ammo. Black Hills Red Box and Remington Express Rifle. Both 55 gr.
Link Posted: 7/27/2003 7:21:03 PM EDT
If you prone out or use a bench and rest that forend on something,you might be suprised! I think Jeff Cooper said to shoot your rifle in field positions to see what you can do with it. Again, it all depends on it's intended use and tailor the equipment for that and practice with a purpose and for that purpose. I'm sure you could do better than 2", but in that position you were in, I wouldn't complain at all. When prone or on the bench, use your support hand to help make elevation adjustments. I like using the sling. I take my left hand, grasp the sling in my palm and rotate my hand counterclockwise under the stock for this. You would grab the sling with the right edge against the rear swivel.The sling should be adjusted so it's snug and allows you to do this, no extra slack. Mark
Link Posted: 7/27/2003 7:37:42 PM EDT
For me, a good rest is essential. I also started using targets with 1" x 1" squares on it. Then, I'll align the horizontal crosshair with the squares to make sure I'm not 'tipping' the scope, something I.m inclined to do if I'm just shooting at a bullseye.
Link Posted: 7/27/2003 8:19:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By star2323: Both 55 gr.
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star, is your barrel twist 1:12 ?? (If say 1:9 you need to move to 62grn ammunition and give that a try.)
Link Posted: 7/27/2003 8:28:20 PM EDT
As Mark5 has pointed out you DO need good ammunition. How else will you find out how good you are ?? Get your bullet weight matched to your barrel twist, get good ammunition, I don't know anything about a DPMS Race AR but let us say it's an accurate rifle, with these bases covered most of what's left is the operator. (Others more knowledgeable have spoken about the correct rests, etc.) I respectfully disagree with Mark5 about using a bipod. A window sill, a sandbag but not a pod.
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 1:46:54 AM EDT
Thomas, I know the bipod isn't perfect. These may be times if you have one that you may need to fold it and rest that on something. Mark
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 3:52:41 AM EDT
Star, It sounds like you and I are in the same boat. I've just started shooting a scoped AR. I've found that pretty much everything that was discussed above is true. Wish I would have asked. I've decided to shoot off of a solid bench using sandbags until I can get consistent. Not being into rifles in the past, I have found I really need to work on the fundamentals. Once I feel confident with sandbags I will start working with the bipod, both on a bench and prone. Then maybe I'll move to free hand. As for ammo, you may even want to try the cheap Winchester stuff you can get at Walmart. I've been able to get a few 1" groups with it at 100 yards. Best of luck, Scott
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 4:29:03 AM EDT
Great information Mark.
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 4:57:33 AM EDT
1. Quality Weapon (Colt or BM is plenty for me, but there are endless options). 2. Quality Ammo (I prefer Federal - but find what works and use IT - all the time. Then thatt variable is out of the picture) 3. Practice, practice, practice.
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 5:01:46 AM EDT
My barrel twist is 1-8 so I need to more up to a higher gr of bullet, but is 1-8 twist that fast that 55 gr bullet will not shoot well?? I am going get some Sierra 69gr MatchKing ammo sometime. I have read this is really accurate ammo. I was just working on the fundamentals and practicing with the cheaper stuff. But I guess this was a bad idea.
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 6:52:45 AM EDT
I may have more time later to add some stuff. When you shoot, stick to three or five round groups. Don't get the barrel to hot and pay attention to little things that are at times oddities with your set up. One thing that I noticed was whether I loaded from the bolt back or pulling the bolt and letting it go was that the first round out of the mag was high and right about 1/4 inch each way. Try different brands of ammo tosee what your rifle like. Shoot at least five groups and take the average. Then ask yourself what I'm going to do with the rifle and let be your guide as in what's acceptable(and realistic) concerning the accuracy. Although you will find that you can do better, you have good and bad days. If you can consistently stay under an inch, be happy. Th emain thing is to have fun and don't beat yourself up. Mark
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 7:34:15 AM EDT
Originally Posted By star2323: I was just working on the fundamentals and practicing with the cheaper stuff. But I guess this was a bad idea.
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Practicing with cheap ammo is fine, but every once in awhile you'll want to see how you're improving. Nothing wrong with shooting mil surp. ammo. Max.
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 8:53:47 AM EDT
Here is my two cents. Pull the scope and use your irons sights. Set a target up at 25 yards and get into a steady shooting position. Remember the fundamentals of marksmanship and don't forget to make every shot a duplicate. Keep the same points of contact with your body/ rifle, as well as body/ ground. If you aren't having 5 shots touching at 25 yards, then work on your basics until you get there. This will make the rest of your shooting that much better. I call 25 yard line shooting with a rifle "foundation shooting". It builds a solid foundation for the rest of what you do at longer distances. Shooting from the 25 also takes equipment out of the picture (a little), most AR15s are not going to have any problem with most ammo touching at 25 yards.
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 1:40:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By star2323: I use a 10 round mag and rest the mag on the top of the stool and then hold up the stock with my shoulder. I am sitting on the ground when I do this.
View Quote
I offer three suggestions: 1) try supporting the rifle somewhere besides the magazine. Whenever you shoot off a hard rest, put something soft between the rest and the rifle. 2) try getting a more stable rest. Either a more robust support, or get lower to the ground. I've done well prone with a .50 cal ammo can and a large beanbag. I've gotten 55gr surplus and promotional ammo to shoot into <2" at 100 yards with that setup. You might want to see if your rifle range has a DCM clinic. They can definately instruct you in the basics of classic marksmanship.
Link Posted: 7/30/2003 2:29:01 PM EDT
Thanks a lot to everybody. You have given me great advice!! I think I am going to try and make my own shooting bench. Does anybody have any plans, drawings, or pictures of a bench they made?
Link Posted: 7/30/2003 3:10:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/30/2003 3:10:37 PM EDT by FrankSquid]
Best advice I ever got was from my father. An expert marksman in the USMC. Use steady pressure on your trigger while holding your sight picture. Once I did that my groups tightened up about 25%! You also have to be void of any flinch.
Link Posted: 7/30/2003 8:22:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2003 2:22:48 AM EDT
When I talked to a benchrest shooter, He cringed when I mentioned bipod. He told me that if I wanted to use one, polisha steel plate and wax it and the bipod feet. He did mentioned the vibration affecting accuracy. You can really tell the difference shooting off a hard bench or ground and the grass. A piece of rubber is a good addition to the surface. I shoot my Contender with a bipod. I rest the grip on a pillow bag. At first I noticed that my shots were floating up to the right. Another contender shooter told me to put baby powder on the rear bag so the pistol was allowed to move during recoil. Sure enough, it stopped the twisting and kept me right where I wanted to be. This was just a .22 at 2yds and it was throwing me off 1/4" Pointed out numerous times here-trgger control is so important! If you slap the trigger, you influence the weapon and that will affect your shot. Mark
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