5 more tips to improve your accuracy

By B.B. Pelletier

1. “Aim small, miss small”
That’s a quote from the movie Patriot. It means that if you aim at a small enough target, even a near miss might land your pellet (or bullet) where you want it.

Here’s how it applies. If you are shooting at targets, don’t shoot out your aim point. Adjust the scope so your shots land somewhere other than at the intersection of the crosshairs. That way, you’ll always have the fresh spot on the target to aim at.

Many shooters don’t know this and they think they can just guess where to aim when the aim point is gone. That increases the size of their groups by an enormous amount. Of course, after you’ve shot your super-tight groups, don’t forget to readjust your scope so the aim point and point of impact are the same.

With the center blown
away, where do you aim?

Adjust the scope to group
away from the aim point.

2. Shoot smaller numbers of shots
A 10-shot group will always be larger than a 5-shot group from the same gun when all other conditions remain the same. A 3-shot group will usually be smaller than a 5-shot group. To decrease the size of your groups, shoot fewer shots.

3. Use REAL paper targets
If you’ve never used real paper targets, you’re in for a treat. Real targets are printed on paper that doesn’t tear the way standard copier paper does. I’m always amazed at people who print their targets on a printer because they will have almost no idea how large or small their groups really are.

Paper targets are printed on special paper, which is why they cost a little more; but, if you care about accuracy, they’ll deliver the results you want. And, if you are going to use real targets, you should also use wadcutter pellets, because they cut perfectly round holes that are easier to score and measure. There are many brands and models of these pellets, but for my money RWS R10 (light) and H&N High Speed Finale Match pellets get the highest marks.

4. Use a good scope
I can’t believe how many shooters give away 50% of the potential accuracy of their air rifle by not using a scope. When it comes to accuracy, there simply is no comparison between open sights of any kind and a scope. A target scope usually out-performs a hunting scope, but you have to be careful because a lot of makers call their scopes target scopes. Look for higher magnification and finer reticles on good target scopes, such as this Leapers 6-24x50mm scope or this AirForce 4-16x50mm scope.

Of course, if you just want to shoot with open sights, that’s a different story. But acknowledge that any rifle will be 50% more accurate with a properly-installed scope.

5. Use good pellets
How do you know a good pellet when you see it? For starters, brand-name pellets are usually good. The best names in the world are H&N, RWS, Bohumin and Crosman (for Premiers in the cardboard box, only). Pellets purchased at discount stores tend to be the cheaper brands and are often disappointing. If you need to stock up on good pellets, this is a great time to do it. Pyramyd Air still has their pellet promotion going – buy 4 boxes of pellets and only pay for 3!

If you add these 5 accuracy tips to those I’ve written in previous blogs, you’ll be well on your way to shooting better – and enjoying it that much more! Let me know if these help you or if you have questions.

9 thoughts on “5 more tips to improve your accuracy”

  1. Breathing perfect-holding gun better than I ever have-wind blowing just right-sights are dead on-squeezing the trigger ever so slowley-know this is the shot that’s going dead center!! Squeeze a litte more–SAFETY IS ON!!! My best shots have always been with the safety on–anyone else?

  2. Let me get this straight… So, you believe that if Olympic 10m AR shooters were allowed to use a scope, their scores would double? Or, in other words, how small would the target exactly have to be made to determine the winner, since with diopter sights they can make a 5-shot group so tight you can’t drop a pellet through it. So, are these people wasting 50% of their/their rifles’ potential? Rules apply, of course, but… I would really like to see someone (assuming the skills are a match) scoring better with a scope than with a diopter in a 10m match…

    • ScorpioFIN,

      You are twisting my words. I said nothing about 10 meters, which is too close to determine the true accuracy of anything. And given that Olympians now score 98+ points out of 100, doubling that would be impossible.

      Now, get things out at 50 yards and then what I said begins to make sense. And forget 5-shot groups. They only an approximation of accuracy. let’s shoot 10 shots per target.

      But I don’t think you really wanted to discuss this, did you?


      • I’m sorry, I never meant to twist your words, nor question your proficiency in this field of expertise. Neither did I mean to sound offensive in any way. I just felt that I had to add that a scope is not always a definitive solution regarding accuracy and particularily the “wasting 50% of the rifle’s potential” part kind of made me overly defensive. I apologize for that.

        What I meant and should have said more clearly straight from the start is that a scope is, IMHO, not something that automatically improves shooting and brings about the rifle’s true potential. It’s situation-dependent which sight is best suited for the job, but since every decent rifle can and will outshoot the person holding it, there is only one general rule that can be said to unleash the full potential of an excellent air rifle: minimizing the human interference and letting the gun do its job. No matter the sights’ type, more than said 50% of the rifle’s potential is wasted the moment a human touches it.

        We use the sights best suited for the task at hand, but it really boils down into how can we disturb the rifle as little as possible while still managing to tell it where we want our shots to land. The potential is not wasted in sights. It’s wasted in _trying_ to make the rifle to shoot where we want to, instead of _letting_ it do that.

        Again, I apologize if I sounded offensive. I did not mean that.

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