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What is accuracy? Part 1

People have very different opinions on this!

I want to take some time to talk about getting the most accuracy out of your airgun. Regardless of what airgun, pellet gun, airsoft gun, or BB gun you may have (or want to acquire), there are usually things that you can do to get “more.” But, before I start a new series on a topic as broad as “accuracy,” it’s important that I actually define it.

Here’s a short rule of thumb. Repeatability is critical in determining true accuracy. A single 1″ 50 yard group out of 100 does not make the product 1″ accurate at 50 yards. Nine out of ten 1″ 50 yard groups makes an airgun accurate at 50 yards. This is a critical distinction.

Target accuracy, Hunting accuracy, Plinking Accuracy, & Combat Accuracy?

As an airgun expert, consultant, and critic, it’s really important to know the difference between different types of accuracy. For this reason I’ve identified and outlined outlined four basic classes of accuracy. Some airgunners may prefer one class over another and it’s important to remember that no single class is “better” than another, they are simply different. If shooters in a particular accuracy class are happy with what they are getting out of their airguns, then that’s all that really matters.

Here’s a quick example. Let’s say I’ve been given something like the RWS LP8 .177 pistol to review. (I actually have that in the shop now) If I were to review that as a long range target or hunting airgun, I would be trying to make it fit in a class in which it was not intended to perform. That product fits very nicely in the “plinking” category, or possibly the close range target category, depending on how you’d like to use it. From what I’ve seen so far, it has great potential for either.

RWS LP8 Magnum Air Pistol - .177 Caliber - 700FPS!

RWS LP8 Magnum Air Pistol – .177 Caliber – 700FPS!

On the other side of the coin, you may have something like the Hammerli AR20 10 meter target rifle that’s wonderfully suited for 10 meter competition; but would certainly NOT work for hunting Javilina out in the desert. Does that make it a “bad” airgun? Not at all. It just needs to be used for its intended purpose.

Hammerli AR20 Air Rifle

Hammerli AR20 Air Rifle

Depending on how you prefer to shoot, you’ll have to decide which accuracy “class” is best for you and then find something that fits. It’s not about “right or wrong,” it’s about properly identifying what makes sense for each individual’s shooting preferences.

Short overview…

Here’s a short overview of each accuracy class. I’ll spend more time on each in the next article. Starting from the least accurate and moving forward:

Combat Accuracy – Combat accuracy is when you can keep all the shots on an 8.5×11 piece of copy paper. It’s commonly used when pistol training as you want to keep all your shots hitting the vital areas of the target. You’ll find a lot of BB guns and airsoft guns fit nicely in this category.

Plinking Accuracy – Plinking accuracy is a little bit better than Combat accuracy. The gauge that I use is simple; can you reliably hit a tin can 10, 15, or 20 yards away? If so, that’s a good plinking airgun for sure.

Hunting Accuracy – Hunting accuracy looks at 3 things; Kill zone grouping, Range, and necessary energy for the game in question. All three have to line up for an airgun to be considered to have good “Hunting Accuracy.”

Target Accuracy – Target accuracy, like hunting accuracy, deals with multiple variables. Target accuracy seeks to have the tightest possible grouping at given ranges. Energy is not important, just the overall group size at whichever range you’ve chosen to shoot to.

Ending part 1…

Now that I’ve laid out some of the basics, I’ll expand on each class in more detail in the next article. Stay tuned to the blog for more articles and reviews. And as always, share your comments with us. We love to hear from our readers!

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