Why are groups in this pattern?

Discussion in 'Main Message Board' started by GGood, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. GGood


    Jun 19, 2017
    Hello all .... New to the forum and shooting in general.

    I'm trying to understand why my groups are showing up this way. They're pretty tight in pairs or maybe 3 shots at a time but are scattered over the black. I'm new so still practicing my fundamentals and would expect the holes to be hitting wider groups all over the target but the pattern seems to be 2 or 3 very tight groups all over the black - to me as a newbie it doesnt make sense.

    One the explanations I've heard is that barrel is heating up and while my aim is on the heat is effecting point of impact. I'd be curious what more experienced folks make of the target.

    I'm using a Ruger American .223, 100 yard, 55gr FMJ Federal.


    Attached Files:

  2. Jay Christopherson

    Jay Christopherson Administrator

    Aug 24, 2009
    Do you know the order of impact? Without that, you're just looking at a target with a bunch of holes in it and making some assumptions about grouping. :) It could just be random distribution of your load.

    I don't think I would worry about it based on that target alone. If it were me and I *really* thought there was something there that was patterning, I'd go out and shoot a lot of small, controlled tests with careful notation to see if there really was a pattern.
    Rsadams and seymour fish like this.
  3. SheepDog

    SheepDog Silver $$ Contributor

    Nov 27, 2016
    Shoot some five shot groups and use a smaller aim point. Aiming at a 6 or 8 inch black target doesn't keep the point of aim consistent. I use a one inch black dot on white paper so I know that I am aiming at a spot no bigger than one inch. I actually aim for the center of the black dot and my groups are kept in a nice tight area. Very early on in my shooting dad taught me that if you had a smaller target you shot better than with a big target.
    I think what is going on is that you are aiming at a big target. You are hitting the big target. Now try aiming at a small target - as small as you can see at 100 yards and fire just five shots and then put up another small target and fire another five shots. Repeat until you are tired or have fired at five or so targets. Use the same load, ammunition, for the whole test. Keep track of where each shot lands so you can show us the first hit, the second, third on out to the fifth shot on each target.
  4. Riesel

    Riesel Gold $$ Contributor

    Oct 3, 2010
    Double check your scope bases and rings. Is the scope reliable?
  5. joshb

    joshb Gold $$ Contributor

    Oct 5, 2014
    Here's what I do. Copy a target with a small aim point and only shoot 5 shots at each. Number them and start at 1. This will show you changes as the barrel heats up. Other than that, it could be how you hold the gun, trigger pull, scope, loads.........on and on. It takes a while to figure it out. Here's a pic of larger targets I use for load work up. When I'm done, I use a target with 6 to a page. So far, you're doing pretty good. All in the black!
  6. long40shot

    long40shot Gold $$ Contributor

    Feb 20, 2006
    I'd say go from a improved cylinder to a full choke. That should tighten up your group.
    300_whisper, Prose, 370bc and 8 others like this.
  7. Steve morgan

    Steve morgan

    Jan 28, 2017
    When I started shooting about 50 yrs ago I was taught the bigger the target the bigger the group
    370bc likes this.
  8. moajoe


    May 22, 2015
    Ha ha ha ha!
    370bc likes this.
  9. Richard Coody

    Richard Coody Silver $$ Contributor

    Feb 19, 2017

    Sorry i don't see one.

    Looks like most of the targets at the local public range.

    Not bad really. I wouldn't know where to start advising you on how to improve your shooting.
    Steve morgan likes this.
  10. ragsflh

    ragsflh Silver $$ Contributor

    Dec 18, 2011
    do a ladder test.shoot,mark shot shoot again.repeat till done
  11. Uthink Uknow

    Uthink Uknow

    Jul 7, 2012
    As others have said; that target hasn't proven anything except the rifle is shooting. You have to shoot three or five shot groups on a target and analyze what you see and adjust accordingly. That may mean to change the load, the powder, the bullet. It's not as simple as you are trying to make it.
  12. Lapua40X

    Lapua40X California Hunter Education Instructor Silver $$ Contributor

    Nov 28, 2012
    I'm sorry your early experience isn't what you had expected. It can be frustrating to shoot all day without being able to analyze the target data.
    First of all, your target is much too congested to offer any analysis. You need to shoot three or five shot groups on separate targets and analyze each independently.
    Most often, with new shooters, the first step is to look at basic shooting skills. How the rifle is supported, how it is held, and many other factors need to be considered before looking at ballistic issues.
    There are six models (that I know of) of the Ruger American. Tell use which model you are using and what accessories you have (scope, butt plate, scope mounts, etc.) on the rifle. My .223 likes 50gr Nozlers but you're not reloading so the 55gr Federal ammo may be a bit too heavy for your Ruger, the 50 grain Fiocchi or similar round might work better - but let's see what the 55gr groups look like on better example targets before making a switch.
    I hope you'll come back with more data and I hope you can maintain the discipline necessary to avoid making changes that might be recommended by some before there is enough data available to make a rational decision about what your problems really might be.
    tmwinds likes this.
  13. SheepDog

    SheepDog Silver $$ Contributor

    Nov 27, 2016
    Here is a PDF with a 1" bull and a 1/8" grid, It is a target I developed a while back and anyone can use it for free - well you have to prit it off on your paper so it isn't really free.

    Attached Files:

  14. Ggmac


    Aug 11, 2012
    Agree with others and would like to add , DO NOT CHASE YOUR LAST SHOT .
    Aim at one spot and don't adjust scope or use Kentucky windage .
    I would strongly suggest finding a mentor , just too much info to be had by relying on the inner web
    Lapua40X likes this.
  15. hpshooter


    Jul 29, 2008
    You have been gifted a lot of good advice from experienced shooters. In time you will find that there is a lot to learn and skills to develop to become a consistent shooter.

    Patience is one of the most important items in your skill set required to get where you want to be. If there are any ranges in your area that hold shooting competitions attend a few as an observer and watch how the competitors set there rifles up. Ask questions about what you see.

    Most of us will willingly share what we know to help a newcomer become a safe and successful marksman.

    Shoot safe, shoot small and shoot often!
    Lapua40X, JLT and Ggmac like this.
  16. ppaul

    ppaul Gold $$ Contributor

    Feb 14, 2015
    First off welcome! Second ditto what everyone else has said. There is a wealth of info here that is beyond compare. Ask when you need to and use the search feature and read, read, read!

  17. Wjesswheel


    May 14, 2014
    Now that funny
  18. timeout

    timeout Silver $$ Contributor

    Oct 6, 2011
    Welcome to the forum. It might help tremendously to fill out your info with a location. There are plenty of guys here that would mentor you if your geographical location is anywhere near them. Their suggestions here should give you a start, but so much more is needed. These guys are indeed "accurate shooters" and are always ready to share knowledge. Beware though, it is addictive and expensive!
    Ggmac likes this.
  19. Larryh128


    Nov 4, 2010
    One issue is that there is a very good chance that your action could be moving in the stock. Also if that stock is pressure pointed on the barrel isn't going to help a thing as the barrel heats up. Get rid of the pressure point and make sure that the barrel is free floating the entire length of the barrel. Next issue is that you are shooting ammo that isn't known to produce stellar accuracy, it may only group 2" at 100 yds but that would be an improvement over what you have now. There are a couple holes that were made by too much finger in the trigger but overall it really looks like to me that your action/barrel is moving in the stock. Bedding it will help but getting a better stock is better.
  20. LitLBoy

    LitLBoy Gold $$ Contributor

    Nov 5, 2011
    One other thing 55 FMJ has never been know to be "accurate ammo". Cheap yes, but that is about the group I would expect to see with that ammo. Good info on the barrel and action bedding as one source of the problem. Get a couple boxes of high grade ammo. If it still won't shoot, well it's one of three things, gun, scope, shooter.

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