The great accuracy test: Part 2
by B.B. Pelletier
No other single blog report has had the reception this one has! We have had readers awaken to discuss their favorite things and other readers say they are leaving the blog because they don’t want to read the lengthy comments made by enthusiastic readers who have been stimulated about this subject.
We also had a number of readers who failed to understand what this series will attempt to do, so perhaps I had best state it again clearly, so we all know. The purpose of this series is to discover those things a shooter can do to improve accuracy with an airgun. This is a quest to find out what works, as far as improving accuracy is concerned.
Today, I’m conducting an experiment for you to learn if the trick I mentioned yesterday about using reading glasses works for rifles. I selected an Air Venturi Bronco as a test rifle for several good reasons. The first is that it’s accurate. Next, it’s easy to cock. There will be a lot of shots fired in this test, and I need something that’s easy to cock. Yes, it’s a spring-piston rifle and a PCP would be easier to shoot accurately, but that’s not the point. More of you own springers, so using one is easier for a lot more people. You see, I want you to do this test right along with me. That way, we get a lot more results.
I’m shooting off a rest at 25 yards, so the artillery hold comes into play. Even I make mistakes holding a spring rifle from time to time, so I’m shooting 10-shot groups that will give me some leeway for the occasional bad shot.
This is just the start of a lot of testing with this one rifle, and even so, it’s only the beginning of the great accuracy test. Some of you got that from the title, but for the rest of you I imagine this series could run for a long time and many individual reports. There might even be a book in all of it, if enough worthwhile data is uncovered. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just see how today goes for starters.
Today’s test is simple and goes like this. I want to discover whether wearing reading glasses is beneficial to my accuracy, so I’m going to shoot groups both with and without the glasses. I will shoot several pellets, but because I’m shooting 10-shot groups, there isn’t enough time for me to shoot all the groups I need to. That’s where some of you come in. Read my test and then conduct one of your own. You can use a different rifle, different pellets and even shoot at different distances if you like, though I would recommend that you shoot out to at least 25 yards to get the group separation needed to show significant differences. Try to model your test after mine, so we can all talk about the same thing.
I’m shooting a Bronco with a Beeman peep sight that was used in the report on the Bronco. The first pellet I tried was the 8.4-grain JSB Exact domed pellet.
Remember that my eyes have recently started to change their prescription during the day. I no longer can see the sights like I could a month ago, and the whole purpose of this test is to find a way to correct that.
JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes
I first shot the Bronco without glasses, trying to see the front sight as best I could. The sight was thin and fuzzy, so it was difficult to see the demarcation between the top of the post and the bottom of the bull. The bull was very clear to me. I shot quickly, but I wasn’t rushing.
Next, I put on the reading glasses and shot another 10 shots with the same pellet. The front sight was razor-sharp, but the bull was dim, as though in a dream. However, I found that if I shifted focus to the bull and back to the front sight, the bull became much more distinct. I could walk the sight post in to it fairly well that way. It’s another technique that I’ll have to learn and get better at, but it’s possible.
Ten shots with the same 8.4-grain JSB Exact pellet, only this time I was wearing the reading glasses. This group measures 2.085 inches between centers. That’s not a big difference from the first group, however, look at the six pellets in one hole. The first group only had two pellets touching and the central cluster was much larger.
From this first set of targets, I would have to say that it looks like the glasses are helping a little. But one set of data is meaningless, so I continued with other pellets.
The BSA Wolverine is an 8.3-grain domed pellets that is very accurate in certain precharged rifles, so I thought it might do well in the Bronco, too. The first group was shot without the glasses.
The BSA Wolverine pellet grouped like this when I shot without glasses. Yes, there are 10 pellets in this group. Four of them are in the larger hole at the edge of the bull. The group measures 2.048 inches between centers.
I shot 10 more Wolverines with the aid of reading glasses. This time, I knew the technique better, but that didn’t make it any easier.
When using reading glasses I got a group of 10 that measured the same size as without glasses, as near as I can measure it. It measures 2.048 inches between centers. There’s a cluster of three pellets in the lower hole. This target caused me to wonder if this technique is worthwhile.
After seeing this target, I started to wonder if the shooting glasses thing was working as I’d hoped. With two sets of targets in hand, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. However, I pressed on.
RWS R-10 pellets
Next, I tried the RWS R-10 heavy target pellets. These are the heavier rifle pellets that are suitable for the Bronco’s power.
Ten RWS R-10 pellets shot without the aid of reading glasses. Well, you can certainly see that the point of impact changed dramatically and the group got smaller. Obviously, this is a good pellet for this rifle. This group measures 1.158 inches between centers.
Then, I tried the same pellet with the glasses.
With reading glasses, the RWS R-10 heavy match pellets made almost the same size group. This group measures 1.327 inches between centers. It’s larger than the no-glasses group, but only by a small amount.
What can be said about this test, thus far? Well, I was surprised that the results came out as they did. I thought there would have been a big difference between the two sighting methods, but from these three sets of target it doesn’t seem that way. However, now you can do the same test, those who need the reading glasses, anyway, and see what you come up with.
For you people with good eyes, I haven’t left you out. Tomorrow, I’m going to show you the rest of the test, which is something you can all do, as well. I won’t tell you what that is, nor the results I got, but I will say that it’s quite compelling. In fact, it opens up a whole new test for us to do in the future.