The main reasons for reloading is to find the load that meets your shooting needs at a cost that allows the affordability to shoot more. This can be a load suitable for plinking cans in the back yard or placing every shot into one hole at 200 yards With reloading materials increasing in price the goal is to find the most economical load that can serve your purpose. All powders cost about the same per pound. The faster a powder burns the less required and lower your powder cost. Bullets cost can range from $70.00/m to $500.00/m depending on the purpose of the bullet. Your local garage can supply you with wheel weights that you can cast into bullets at no cost but your time. After deciding your reload accuracy requirements and the purpose of the bullet the next step is to meet those requirements in the most economical way.

The only way to determine reload accuracy is to test the reload. Testing is no more than comparing the components of one bullet with the components of another. For example, which is more accurate a regular primer or a magnum. A simple test would consist of placing a piece of paper at a set distance say 25 yards firing a number of shots with the regular primer replace the paper and fire a number of shots with the magnum primer. The primer that came the closest to making one hole in the paper would be the most accurate. How nice it would be if things were this simple.

The long accepted method of determining reload accuracy is to measure the largest distance between any two bullet holes in a group. This is considered the group size. It is generally recommended that five groups of five shots each be used. The five group sizes are then averaged and this then becomes the accuracy of this particular setup.

Theoretically there is nothing wrong with this method. But it requires that the same variations be consistent in every group. If this is not the case then at least 25 to 30 groups would be needed to establish correct accuracy. Variation such as a flinch or sudden gust of wind or unusual bullet occurring randomly between groups can distort the results. The larger number of groups would probably include these random variations but this large number of shots would present its own problems. This method of five groups of five shots may be fine for rough estimates but is not the best for accurately determining small variations or precluding the possibility that another test next day will give different results.

Many shooters are wasting money on reloading components because of inadequate testing or false results. Many good ideas to improve accuracy have been discarded for the same reason.

Statistics of Handgun Accuracy explains what is involved in determining accuracy and presents better and surer ways to test and measure the results. Understanding accuracy is the first step to being more accurate.

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