What’s your definition of accurate?

Is it 1 MOA?

1/2 MOA?

1/4 MOA?

Minute of a Squirrel’s Head?

I see and hear so many people talk about accuracy, as if it’s the same for everyone.

I’ve seen people brag about a group that they are proud of…only to have someone tell them that it’s not good at all.

I’ve also seen people who were frustrated because their rifle is “only” shooting 1/4 MOA…but someone said they have the same rifle and theirs shoots better.

I use these examples…because I’ve been the guy who was proud of his group…but got told it was no good…

I’ve been the guy who looked at someone’s group and told them that it should be better…

I’ve been the guy who was frustrated because my new rifle…that shoots great…doesn’t shoot as well as someone’s group I’ve seen on a website…

I’ve been proud of groups that were 1 MOA, 1/2 MOA and smaller…

I’ve come to realize over time though, that each shooter needs to decide what they consider accurate.

So many factors go into the accuracy equation…

The rifle…

The scope…

The ammo…

The bipod or rest…

And most importantly, the shooter…

It took me years to learn that some rifles won’t shoot 1/4 MOA groups…they’re just not capable of it…

It also took me years to learn that a simple change of ammunition can take an average rifle and make it an exceptional rifle…from 2 MOA to 1/2 MOA or better…

It didn’t take me as long to learn though, that some days…most days…I’m the deciding factor.

Even though I learned this lesson earlier than other lessons, it took me a long time to admit it…to deal with it…and learn how to manage it.

As I’ve learned these lessons, and continue to learn even more lessons, I’ve discovered that by setting my expectations correctly for what I’m shooting, I’m able to enjoy the matches or range sessions so much more.

I love shooting rifles that are more accurate than I am, regardless of who made them.

I love to use optics that are clear and precise. That track as they should and that I don’t have to worry about a round going high or low is due to an issue with the scope.

I love to shoot quality ammunition, because it reduces the chances of a miss due to a flyer. Do flyers still happen with match grade ammo? Of course, but at a much smaller percentage than what I’ve seen with lower cost or bulk ammo.

The reason I try to shoot the best rifle, scope and ammo combo I can, is to remove as many variables as I can from the shooting equation.

Does that mean I never miss what I shoot at? Obviously not, but when I miss, I try to diagnose why I missed.

Did I misread the wind?

Did I slap or jerk the trigger?

Did I have a breakdown in my fundamentals?

Any of those issues…or a dozen more, can cause a miss.

Knowing I don’t have to question my equipment puts it all on me.

But, what if I’m shooting a rifle that I know isn’t capable of 1/4 MOA? Maybe 1 MOA is all it’s capable of. Does that mean it’s worthless to me? In some cases, possibly, but in most cases, absolutely not.

A recent experience really brought this to my attention. Growing up, most of the rifles I shot or hunted with, belonged to my father.

One of his rifles that I loved and admired, is a Remington 552 BDL. It’s gorgeous and reliable. I can’t ever remember it jamming.

When my father allowed me to shoot that 552, it seemed like I couldn’t miss with it. At some point it became the rifle I carried when squirrel hunting. I killed over 60 squirrels in a row, without a miss.

I took that rifle out a couple weeks ago, I took it out to see how well it really shoots. I’d never shot paper targets with it and had never shot groups with it.

Regardless of the ammo I shot, at 50 yards, it shot 1” groups at best. Does that change my view of the rifle? I was surprised by it, but took it hunting and went 3 for 3 on headshots with squirrels.

Would I be ok with that accuracy if it came from one of my Vudoo’s, Anschutz, Coopers etc…of course not. My expectations for those rifles is that they will shoot tiny groups and thankfully, they do.

That 552 is one of my most treasured rifles and I can’t imagine not having it. It’s accuracy is all that it needs to be, for the hunting rifle it is.

Defining the expectations for each rifle allows me to enjoy each of them for what they are.

With all that being said, what’s your definition of accuracy?

What are your expectations when you buy a new rifle?