Rifle Accuracy

The Evolution of Rifle Accuracy: Understanding Your Weapon

Guns have always been an amazing tool. Focusing the power into useful projectiles has been a primary goal from the earliest days of gunpowder explosions.

The early cannon and rifle barrels focused the explosion down the barrel to fire a round ball. Early guns were reliable under good conditions and trickier to operate when the weather, moisture or other variables crept in.

Of course, accuracy and distance have always been the touchstone measurements of a rifles success. Early rifles were accurate in that they could consistently hit a target within 75 yards. The technology has been making small steps forward ever since.

Each step forward in accuracy has been due to improvements in design and quality of the rifle and bullet components. A brief list of improvements includes:

  • Cartridges
  • Powder Quality
  • Bullet Design
  • Rifling
  • Scopes
  • Actions
  • Trigger Design

To this day small changes to any of these will affect accuracy. This leads to the worldwide fascination with the “best” calibers, scopes, barrels and bullets. As a general rule, the more controlled each of these factors is, the more accuracy can be predicted.

All of these factors can be currently and carefully controlled in modern rifles. The question “how much accuracy do you need and how much do you want?” is very relevant for determining how much time and money you spend on a rifle.

For some, rifle accuracy becomes a lifelong obsession with the elusive goal of “better” becoming an endless, but fun and useful, pursuit. For others, factory rifles and factory ammunition are the benchmark. Modern rifles are certainly accurate enough to hunt most game at reasonable ranges. The rest of us fall somewhere in between based on what we want to accomplish as a rifleman. There are many options and some of them don’t overlap.

Types of accuracy:

  • Small Target
  • Distant Target
  • Small Game
  • Large Game
  • Competition

Determining your goals allows you to determine how much accuracy you want and what you want to do with it. Will you be a one rifle shooter or will it be two or three? Do you love to hand load and improve your accuracy and skill? Do you just love to hit what you shoot at? Do you want to ensure downrange results in hunting?

Once you can answer these basic questions you should have a good idea about what caliber and action you need. If you are after accuracy get the best of everything listed below and be willing to put in some time developing hand loads.

Get the best:

  • Hand Loads
  • Barrel
  • Rifling
  • Scope
  • Actions
  • Adjustable Trigger

To really achieve the rifle you want make sure your goals starting out are clear. A close relative once wanted the best lightweight hunting rifle. He then got sidetracked with the AR class rifles. Then it was a built AR in an exotic caliber. He ended up with a great rifle, but lightweight hunting rifle it was not. The rifle is more suited for accuracy and stationary plinking at distant small game.

So that’s the thing, once you get into it, the accuracy bug can get addictive. Sure wish I could get my hands on one of those AR rifles.