Date: 27/5/2024 3:37

What is a flyer? (August 2009)

by Tom Gaylord
Copyright ©2009. All Rights Reserved

Ever heard someone call a flyer? A flyer is a shot that goes wild, but the reason may be known. If a pellet with a bent skirt is knowingly loaded, shot and goes's a flyer and the shooter knows why. If the defect wasn't seen and the shot goes's still a flyer.

Here's the scary part--with pellet "A," your rifle shoots three-inch groups at 30 yards. With pellet "B," the groups are about one inch. A three-inch group with pellet "B" probably has one or more flyers, unless the shooter caused the shots to go wild or there's some other explanation, like the wind. With pellet "A," you expect to get a three-inch group, so there are no flyers when you do. But how do you know the expected group size for any pellet before shooting it? You don't.

Is that a lone hole in this five-shot group...or a flyer? Or not? It probably is, but read the entire explanation before deciding.

You have to shoot a lot of groups with a given pellet in a rifle before you can say anything for certain. One group may suggest a certain level of accuracy, but 10 groups confirm it. A 10-shot group is representative of what the gun will do, a five-shot group is a good approximation and a three-shot group is just a guess. Ten three-shot groups is a better guess, but it isn't the same as three 10-shot groups. Flyers have a much better chance of turning up in groups with larger numbers of shots.

Here's a toughie. Shooter "A" can shoot a one-inch group with a certain rifle/pellet/distance combination. Shooter "B" can shoot a three-inch group with the same combo. Are the wide shots in shooter "B's" target flyers? Experienced shooters would say no, while inexperienced shooters might argue that they are. A lot of "flyers" probably aren't.

Final thought--if three pellets with damaged skirts land in the same hole when they should shoot wild, what is that called? It's called luck, and it does happen.

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