Practical Accuracy: How Does Your Rifle Really Shoot? ~ VIDEO

By Graham Baates
YouTube personality, Graham Baates, discusses real-world accuracy.

Ranger Proof Enhanced ELC Accuracy Testing
Accuracy Testing, this time the Ranger Proof Enhanced ELC
G B Guns
G B Guns

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- How many times have you heard claims that rifle X or ammunition Y is guaranteed to shoot sub minute-of-angle groups?

How many times have you or a friend owned such a rifle and ammunition and not seen those promised results?

Chances are neither the ammunition manufacturer nor rifle builder were lying, but rather those items weren’t given the “ideal” conditions.

Those who have spent some time behind a rifle understand there are several variables effecting accuracy.  Barrel harmonics, barrel temperature, humidity, wind, reticle-to-target contrast, favorite baseball team, shirt color, and many more.  Some of these are easily within our control and others not.

The point is that unless you are going to mount your barreled action in a laboratory rest you shouldn’t worry about the perfect group unless that’s the type of shooting you’re aiming for.

Knowing that this grouping is a total of ten shots split between two shooters, is this a good group? (grid squares are one inch)

For Modern Sporting Rifles that are intended to be fired in a more spirited cadence than Olympic rifles, I argue that accuracy should be evaluated differently.  This came about during a recent long-term evaluation of a rifle yet to be released to market.  The Enhanced ELC rifle from Ranger Proof. To learn the specification of this incredible rifle watch the video linked here.

The Enhanced ELC is built to be a fighting rifle and a precise one at that.  How can a rifle like this be fairly tested for accuracy?  It’s not a bench gun, but more than just a bullet thrower.

The intent was to recreate the consumer experience.  You’ve picked up the rifle from your local FFL and headed to the range with it.  Realistic conditions, a variety of ammunition that may or may not be ideal for that particular rifle, and certainly not waiting between shots for the barrel to cool and calm.  Below are the conditions that we’ve created and a video of this test in action:

  • The rifle is mounted in the affordable, but quality Caldwell Stinger Rest:  This helps reduce shooter error.  We’re testing the rifle, not the shooter.
  • Factory ammunition is used:  In this test ammo used came from Nosler, Hornady, Gorilla, and Fiocchi.
  • A variety of loads are used:  Beyond rifling twist rate, it’s been our experience that each individual rifle has a preferred load.  Sometimes it can be surprising.  For this test 35gr, 62gr, 69gr, and 77gr was used including both .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm chamberings.  The Ranger Proof rifle is chambered in .223 Wylde.
  • Hot barrel: We do not pause to let the barrel cool or harmonics calm.  Though this may hurt accuracy, but unless the rifle is built for bench shooting it’s unfair to expect a consumer to treat it like one, especially if it’s built to be a fighting rifle.
  • Two Shooters: In order to further mitigate shooter skill, mood, and daily luck two shooters each fire five rounds.
  • 10-Shot Groups: That’s right, TEN.  Running half a box of each load gives a bigger grouping, but also a more in-depth look at how a particular rifle performs with that load.
  • Included Optic: The 1-8x Shephard scope that came with the rifle was used.

What are your thoughts?

Is this a fair and practical test and demonstration of accuracy?  Understanding the test methods how should one measure the groups?  One thought is to look at the mode average of the shots.  That is to consider the greatest concentration of shots to represent how that particular rifle is most likely to perform with that particular load.  Tell us below how you judge the accuracy of your rifle?

 

About Graham Baates“Graham Baates” is a pen name used by a 15-year active Army veteran who spent most of his time in the tactical side of the Intelligence community including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Post-Army Graham spent some time in the 3-Gun circuit before becoming a full-time NRA Certified defensive handgun instructor and now works as an industry writer while curating a YouTube channel and blog onthe side. Visit Graham on Youtube .

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Albert Sand

Terrific Article on Group Shooting

Thos. B. Fowler

Ten shots seems to me to be a real test of the rifle and ammo…of course, the shooter makes a real difference too.

Good article. Thank you.
Thos. B. Fowler

Graham Baates

Thank you!

Produceguy

This pic would be considered a 3 moa rifle shot that group if one person sent all ten rounds correct?
3 moa is not good.

Graham Baates

The mode of the grouping is .5MoA

jim

100% American made? Does Shepard hold to those standards as well?

WFA

The problem, as I see it, is that your test conditions are actually shooting two five shot groups, not really a 10 shot group. Since the “group” is the result of two shooters, it would be helpful to indicate which holes are from which shooter. All eyes are different, so if the “high” shots are from shooter “A”, and the “low” shots are from shooter “B”, then yes it’s grouping nicely.

notalima

Agreed. The shots should have been identified, or put the two shooters on side-by-side targets.

Vanns40

Nicely pointed out, both of you! Maybe that’ll be taken into consideration the next time.

Graham Baates

The high shots only appeared in one grouping and the mode of the group remained with the lower.

Mika

“The high shots only appeared in one grouping and the mode of the group remained with the lower.”

What does your statement even mean?
The group is either tight (.5 moa) or large (3 moa). It looks 3 moa. Even if the high shoots were a group, it looks 2 moa. Some of your statements about the weapons accuracy are VERY confusing. I understand you want to support the vendor, but, the pictures of grouping really don’t support your .5 moa statement.
Please tell me what I am missing.