Appropriate distance to test a firearm's accuracy?

This is a discussion on Appropriate distance to test a firearm's accuracy? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello all my fello OC's and CC's I was hoping to get some general information regarding accuracy testing for various types of firearms of different ...

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Thread: Appropriate distance to test a firearm's accuracy?

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    Member Array joeyrh9's Avatar
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    Appropriate distance to test a firearm's accuracy?

    Hello all my fello OC's and CC's
    I was hoping to get some general information regarding accuracy testing for various types of firearms of different calibers. What is the appropriate distance when testing a firearm for defensive carry. Is it all the same for different calibers of handguns or does it vary from caliber to caliber. I have heard 25ft is standard for testing a firearm. Can anyone help me with this. If there are differences in distance depending on the caliber, please provide a list of calibers with appropriate distance with your response.

    thank you for your help
    Remember as a rule of thumb in defensive carry...your intention is always to STOP....not to hurt, however; in a gun fight, its either me or them.....and Im sure as hell that it will NOT be me.
    -joey rh

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    A competent shooter should be able to shoot a good group at 25 feet with just about anything. I'm not sure about how much accuracy is needed for CCW, but I'd start at around 50 to 60 feet to test the accuracy of a handgun with any given load. The standard for rifles seems to be 100 yards as a starting point, and 30 for shotguns. I think the majority of "accuracy" problems are shooter related. Compare groups hand-held to those from a benchrest or Ransom rest and you'll see what I mean.

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    I say if you can hit a human silhouette target at 30 feet and keep all the rounds in center mass, and make consistent, deliberate head shots at the same distance, you are good to go.....Beyond that, putting all your rounds in one inch at 25 yards is unnecessary in my opinion; at 25 yards they aren't really a direct imminent threat unless they have a gun too.....
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    If there were any "standard", it would probably be 25 yds. for handguns and 100 yds. for centerfire rifles. 50 yds. for rimfire rifles. These are the usual distances you'll see listed in magazine reports giving group sizes. However, because of aging eyesight I usually do the following when I want to know the accuracy of the firearm, not the shooter.
    Handguns -- from a solid rest -- 10 yds.

    Iron sighted rifles -- from a solid rest -- 25 yds.
    For rimfire, extrapolate to 50 yds. (25 yd. group size X 2) and for centerfire, extrapolate to 100 yds. (25 yd. group size X 4).

    Scoped rifles -- from a solid rest -- 50 yds. for rimfire, 100 yds. for centerfire.
    Hoss
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    Member Array joeyrh9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvhoss View Post
    If there were any "standard", it would probably be 25 yds. for handguns and 100 yds. for centerfire rifles. 50 yds. for rimfire rifles. These are the usual distances you'll see listed in magazine reports giving group sizes. However, because of aging eyesight I usually do the following when I want to know the accuracy of the firearm, not the shooter.
    Handguns -- from a solid rest -- 10 yds.

    Iron sighted rifles -- from a solid rest -- 25 yds.
    For rimfire, extrapolate to 50 yds. (25 yd. group size X 2) and for centerfire, extrapolate to 100 yds. (25 yd. group size X 4).

    Scoped rifles -- from a solid rest -- 50 yds. for rimfire, 100 yds. for centerfire.
    Hoss
    cvhoss,
    I read your reply and I was compelled to ask you if 25 yards is a bit too far a distance for a handgun...especially the one which is compact and concealable. Essentially, you are saying that a guns accuracy should be tested with a range of 75 ft. I think I am a good shot at around 25-45 ft with any handgun, however, My shots go completely off with higher distances...especially with small, concealable handguns. With a full size handgun, i think 25 yards is a stretch, but I can still hit the target somewhat well, but; with a short barreled pistol, there is no way in hell I can hit anything at this distance. Let me know what your thoughts are or anyone elses if they interested in posting on this thread.

    thank you
    Remember as a rule of thumb in defensive carry...your intention is always to STOP....not to hurt, however; in a gun fight, its either me or them.....and Im sure as hell that it will NOT be me.
    -joey rh

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    Distinguished Member Array PastorPack's Avatar
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    7 yards for defensive handgun. Everything beyond that is just showing off.
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    Me personally, I like to know what it is capable of at 100 yards.

    While I dont expect tiny groups due to the coarse sights, I like to be able to put them all on a B27 silhouett at 100 yards.

    Some guns are better at this than others, but some will suprise you. My 220 Sig will put all of them in the zone with a good steady rest. My Dan Wesson .357 does well at this also.

    You wont know if you dont try it.
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    7 yards is the 21 ft rule (someone with a knife can get to you in under 3 seconds probably under 2 inside 21 ft, so from concealed to fire and hit needs to be in 2 seconds) that is what I have read and how I practice.

    I bench 3" and less barrels at 10 yards for break in and sight in and 4 & 5" barrel at 15 yards.

    With hand guns I usually start out at 7 yards benched, and should with nearly anything keep it inside 2" groups. Standing I expect under 4" groups and drawing to fire I expect 2 center mass on a silhouette (10 ring) and 2 in head zone. I practice one handed strong and weak.

    Then I go out to 10 yards and 15 yards, I bench them and then practice free standing and one handed. I don't move out beyond this until I am pretty competent at these ranges.

    I do shoot my 22 pistol at 50 yards, and can keep 85-90% on a 6 inch dirty bird target. I have also begun to shoot my 1911 full size at 50 yards and get about 70% hits on a silhouette and about half of those in a good zone free standing two hands. I limit my P32 to 15 yards and PF9 to 20 yards but plan to step them out just to see the range. Time and ammo is at a premium so may be over the next few months.

    If you are only half as good under stress then I am not good enough, I will continue to practice expecially with my 5 main pistols.

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    My handgun qualifications consisted of engaging targets from 3, 5, 10, 15, and 25 yards.

    Not sure about "testing a firearm's accuracy", it's more about testing yourself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyrh9 View Post
    cvhoss,
    I read your reply and I was compelled to ask you if 25 yards is a bit too far a distance for a handgun...especially the one which is compact and concealable. Essentially, you are saying that a guns accuracy should be tested with a range of 75 ft. I think I am a good shot at around 25-45 ft with any handgun, however, My shots go completely off with higher distances...especially with small, concealable handguns. With a full size handgun, i think 25 yards is a stretch, but I can still hit the target somewhat well, but; with a short barreled pistol, there is no way in hell I can hit anything at this distance. Let me know what your thoughts are or anyone elses if they interested in posting on this thread.

    thank you
    25 yds. really isn't that bad. I have to qualify from 25 yds. to carry as a LEO. But then again, I want to know I'm better than the guy shooting at me. I practice (and expect from myself) more than most.
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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyrh9 View Post
    cvhoss,
    I read your reply and I was compelled to ask you if 25 yards is a bit too far a distance for a handgun...especially the one which is compact and concealable. Essentially, you are saying that a guns accuracy should be tested with a range of 75 ft. I think I am a good shot at around 25-45 ft with any handgun, however, My shots go completely off with higher distances...especially with small, concealable handguns. With a full size handgun, i think 25 yards is a stretch, but I can still hit the target somewhat well, but; with a short barreled pistol, there is no way in hell I can hit anything at this distance. Let me know what your thoughts are or anyone elses if they interested in posting on this thread.

    thank you
    You asked what a standard was:
    I have heard 25ft is standard for testing a firearm. Can anyone help me with this.
    I'm just trying to give you what I perceive to be the standard based on what most published gun tests list as yardages when shooting for group size. I went on to say that because my eyesight isn't what it used to be, I now do my handgun accuracy testing at 10 yds.

    Accuracy testing involves two criteria. It has to be done at a distance and in a way (solid rest) that allows you to have the same sight picture for each and every shot but at the same time it has to be at a far enough distance to allow for measuring group size. If you shoot from too short a distance, it's almost impossible to determine the gun's accuracy as the distance isn't great enough to allow the group to open up for proper measurement. To test the accuracy of the gun, you should be firing from the farthest distance that you can consistently hold the same sight picture from a solid rest. If you want to test your accuracy, then shoot from whatever distance you're comfortable with or the distance you anticipate your shots will occur.

    In a perfect world where money were no object, all accuracy testing of the handgun itself would be done with a Ransom rest. This would take the human element out of the picture and give a true representation of the handgun's accuracy. However, since most of us can't afford a Ransom rest, we do with what we have.

    I do think it's important to determine the accuracy of the gun and load you are using before you start worrying about your own shooting ability. If your gun or gun/load combination isn't accurate, then no amount of practice is going to help. This is usually much more important with rifles than handguns due to the distances involved. For my varmint rifles, I consider the maximum allowable 100 yd., bench rest 3 shot group to be 5/8". For 5 shot groups, maximum is 3/4". All of my current varmint rifles will shoot 1/2" or less with the correct load.

    When my eyes were better, I did almost all of my handgun shooting at a minimum of 25 yds. There used to be this dry strip pit that we shot at and at one end of the pit, embedded in the bluff, was a sandstone that was about 4ft.X4ft. We used to practice handgun shooting at it. It was 425 yds.

    Hoss
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    Member Array joeyrh9's Avatar
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    sigmunluke,
    Did you mean 25 ft or 25 yards....If you meant 25 yards (75 ft) I would have to say WOW! I often go practice at an indoor shooting range and I have met up with people in the criminal justice sector (US Marshalls, FBI Agents) and they often practice in ranges 25-50ft at the most. I have asked some for advice on shooting long range with a pistol and they have often told me that handguns will often miss a target at high ranges. They do not say it is impossible to hit a target at 25 yards (75ft) but do say that one would have to really modify their aiming to even hit a target.
    Remember as a rule of thumb in defensive carry...your intention is always to STOP....not to hurt, however; in a gun fight, its either me or them.....and Im sure as hell that it will NOT be me.
    -joey rh

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    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    These are pictures of the 25 yard pistol range at the gun club I belong to. Anyone who would say:
    They do not say it is impossible to hit a target at 25 yards (75ft) but do say that one would have to really modify their aiming to even hit a target.
    should quit giving out advice. A standard 124 gr. 9mm round at 1100 fps zeroed at 10 yds. will only have a .57" change in point of impact at 25 yds. 25 yards is not long distance shooting by any stretch of the imagination.

    Hoss
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    Member Array joeyrh9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvhoss View Post
    These are pictures of the 25 yard pistol range at the gun club I belong to. Anyone who would say:

    should quit giving out advice. A standard 124 gr. 9mm round at 1100 fps zeroed at 10 yds. will only have a .57" change in point of impact at 25 yds. 25 yards is not long distance shooting by any stretch of the imagination.

    Hoss
    Thank You cvhoss. I guess I have a lot of practicing to do.
    Remember as a rule of thumb in defensive carry...your intention is always to STOP....not to hurt, however; in a gun fight, its either me or them.....and Im sure as hell that it will NOT be me.
    -joey rh

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    Member Array andr0id's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvhoss View Post
    These are pictures of the 25 yard pistol range at the gun club I belong to. Anyone who would say:

    should quit giving out advice. A standard 124 gr. 9mm round at 1100 fps zeroed at 10 yds. will only have a .57" change in point of impact at 25 yds. 25 yards is not long distance shooting by any stretch of the imagination.

    Hoss
    Totally agree, I can get most of 10 rounds from my P2000SK (3-1/4" barrel) into a 6" group at 25 yds. I still have random misses though. But you have to work your way out. Start at 7yds and then move out to 10yds when you can consistently put everything in the 10s.

    As you progress, you still need to practice some at close range, but you can start moving out. A year ago, I was shooting 8's, 9's & 10s with a few 7's at 7yds. Now though, I can keep 10 rounds easily in the 10's at that distance. Once you're pretty good at a particular distance move out and work on accuracy at the new distance and speed at the closer distances.

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