Long range shooters care about accuracy, and precision. Both are required to hit small targets at long range, and both are impacted by the ballistic performance (BC) of your selected bullet. The following articles will go into some depth on how Ballistic Coefficient affects accuracy and precision but first, we should clarify some definitions.
It’s a common misnomer for shooters to refer to small groups as more accurate. In fact, small groups have nothing to do with accuracy. A small group is demonstrating great precision.
Great accuracy is realized when your shot, or group of shots can be centered on your intended aim point. In this way, Benchrest competition which is mostly focused on groups, is a contest of precision and accuracy has very little to do with it. Any kind of shooting match where a score is kept on targets with concentric scoring rings is a contest of accuracy. The closer your shots are to the center of the target (the X and Ten ring) the more points you score and group size isn’t even measured.
Examples of accuracy and precision
Most aspects of precision have to do with the quality and repeatability of your rifle and ammunition. Accuracy is accomplished primarily by your sighting system, and knowing what corrections to apply for windage and elevation to compensate for wind and drop.
Real success at long range shooting is achieved when you master both accuracy and precision. The following articles in the “BC, Accuracy, and Precision” series will discuss the role of BC (Ballistic Coefficient) in understanding the trade-offs, and achieving the best results in your application.
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