BR SHOOTING, FLYERS, AND TESTING
I’ve been shooting, fairly seriously, since 1960. Since 2018 I’ve been unable to cast bullets, and moved to rimfire shooting.
In two years of rimfire benchrest shooting, I learned more than in 58 years of centerfire benchrest shooting.
During the Jacketed Bullet Test, the normal routine was to fire either two or three sets of 5, 5-shot groups, with a few sighters. Mostly two sets, once or twice a week.
My rimfire routine is 20, 5-shot groups; three times a week, weather permitting. Here’s what I’ve learned:
A substantial contribution to inaccuracy is the inability of the shooter.
To become a good benchrest shooter, one must shoot a lot of shots, with solid concentration, paying close attention to each shot. Thousands of shots. This suggests rimfire shooting.
The shooter must “call” every shot. A high-powered scope or spotting scope is required. (See “FLYERS” below.)
The shooter must measure all groups, keep comprehensive records, and monitor progress.
It seems that after enough shots, the shooter becomes capable, and the number of shots per week/month can be reduced. Riding a bicycle. Practice is still required, but the group size levels off.
Accuracy varies from shot to shot, group to group, day to day, weather to weather. Good records give clues as to why.
I believe that neither the gun nor the sights matter in becoming a skilled benchrest shooter. 22LR ammo is available for 4 cents a round, a case of 5000 for $200. I buy GECO Semi Auto for $230 a case, and yesterday shot 20 100 yard 5-shot groups averaging .800” even. An open-sighted old time Ted Williams 22 rifle will work as well as any target rifle in learning to shoot benchrest.
There are two flavors of flyers, “called” and “surprise”. As proficiency increases, the number of flyers decreases, the proportion of called flyers increases, and the proportion of surprise flyers decreases.
I enter a lot of numbers from print to the computer. Sometimes a signal goes off in my brain, telling me that SOMETHING happened. A “mistake signal”. The signal doesn’t tell me WHAT mistake I made, only THAT I made a mistake. When I check, I find the mistake-almost every time.
The same thing happens with flyers. There’s the yanked-into-the-bushes, called flyer; and after a lot of practice, the SOMETHING HAPPENED flyer. I get the signal, look, almost always see the flyer.
Most of my flyers, for 58 years, were my error.
Any testing of gun, ammo, equipment is pretty meaningless unless the sample size is large enough and the shooter is skilled enough. Skill is as important as sample size, or more.
We maker gun/load/sight decisions based on too-small-sample-size-groups, fired by not-very-competent shooters. Firing a case of 22 LR, carefully, with good record keeping, will reduce cast bullet group size more than a lifetime of weighing/orienting/examining/adjusting.