Shooting Bullseye is a demanding sport. The object is to hit a spot called the bullseye that measures a little over three inches in diameter twenty times in a row. At fifty yards away the bullseye looks like the head of a pin. This is managed while holding the gun at arms length with one hand while the body swings in the breeze. The average pistol shooter can consider himself fortunate indeed to hit any part of the target five times out of twenty. Forget the bullseye

It takes a lot of training, practice and natural ability to become even a mediocre shooter competing at the Camp Perry matches. It takes a great deal more to be able to place in the top ten percent. Bullseye shooting tends to make the bullseye shooter fanatic about the accuracy of his gun. After all without an accurate gun what good is natural ability and hard work? Bullseye shooting requires guns that are either top of the line and or accurized which can be an expensive process. Reloading for bullseye shooting is detailed and precise as to brand and weight of powder, crimp, bullet maker and assembly. The guns and ammo are usually tested in a machine rest such as the Ransom Rest to be certain that they meet the standards of bullseye accuracy.

Shooting bullseye also tends to make the shooter a fanatic about training and understanding the mechanics of the perfect shot. The shooter spends hours dry firing and actual practice on the range.

So the question can be asked. Is all this necessary and is this the right approach to higher bullseye shooting scores? Most bullseye shooters would answer yes. However these shooters base this answer on two misconceptions. These two misconceptions stem from apparent logic and commonsense.

The first misconception is that a bullseye score consists of the accuracy of the gun added to the accuracy of the shooter. This is obviously true. Therefore a more accurate gun translates into a better score. The misconception is that with the exception of shooters in the top ten percent any gun purchased without defects and used as is out of the box firing any reasonable load using any brand of powder and a bullet that is not defective will produce a score that cannot be improved on with any noticeable difference using the most accurate gun available.

Almost any make gun will shoot 4-6 inch 50 yard groups using a Ransom Rest or 6-8 inch groups using sand bags. This level of accuracy is sufficient for most bullseye shooters. So why waste time and money on guns and ammo. Some shooters understand this using the phrase " The gun shoots better than me." But few shooters understand to what extent this true.

Nevertheless, even those shooters who understand this misconception will still justify an accurate gun on the basis that when practicing on the range an error in aiming and firing can be noted by the location of the bullet hole on the target. There are charts and diagrams that illustrate the cause of the errors by the location of the bullet hole. Unless the gun is accurate there is no way to determine whether the error was due to the gun or shooter. Without this feedback there can be no improvement. Certainly a good argument for an accurate gun. Which leads to the second misconception.

The second misconception is that every shot must be placed in or near the bullseye for a good score. Which is obviously true. But the truth is the placement of 10 or 20 shots is the only reality that must be considered. This reality reflects the skill of the shooter and any errors the shooter is prone to make. A single shot proves nothing. Knowing the gun accuracy there are ways the shooter can gage his level of improvement and what needs to be done to correct errors from groups of shots.

The shooter will always be less accurate than the gun but will approach the accuracy of the gun as skill improves. When shooter skill approaches gun accuracy to a point where scores can be improved with a more accurate gun or better load then another gun or load can be considered. This will rarely happen. So generally speaking a highly accurate gun is not required for practice either.

Statistics of Handgun Accuracy explains how and why this is all so. And what needs to be done to become a better shooter in a cost effective and efficient way.

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Bullseye Shooting
Reloading for Accuracy
Measuring Handgun and Rifle Accuracy
Statistical Methods