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Production Hunting Rifle Performance

Written by Scott Stonex on October 9th, 2014.      0 comments


Production Hunting Rifle Performance

Often in the firearms trade a client will ask how accurately the rifle they are looking at buying should shoot, and then there are the others who must tell you how accurate their rifles is (SHOOTS.135?) Bla Bla Bla.
The average rifleman who make the statement their rifle shoots .135 MOA is at best very optimistic. Most top benchrest rigs would struggle to shoot groups of this size MORE OFTEN THAN NOT.
By this I mean groups of sub .150 MOA.
Example of good group below

MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, the last four words are the main point of this article.
Because your rifle shoots one stunning group, one can not say it shoots .135 MOA. If you want to prove that this is the case take it to a benchrest competition. The awakening will be quick and decisive!
Any shooter interested in accuracy should be trying to find out the average level of accuracy their rifle is capable of. This means the level of accuracy it can achieve more often than not e.g. most of the time when conditions are fair.
Rifles need a certain platform to achieve excellent accuracy witch will in most cases will be made up of the following.

1)A Stable stock

Made from, Laminated Ply, Aluminum, Seasoned Walnut or similar hardwood. Ideally with a steep pistol grip and a full aluminum bedding block or pillar bedded and of course a fully floated barrel.
(Steep Pistol Grips & full aluminum bedding blocks are not often found in production hunting rifles)


Ideally a strong ridged bolt action. Benchrest rifles are made from very strong & ridged single shot actions for this reason.
(Most if not all hunting rifles are magazine feed, this leads to a little action flex)


Good quality goes with out saying. Stainless steel tends to foul a little in the early part of its life due to the interior surface finish. There are some shooters favor Chrome Moly barrels. Nearly all productions barrels are hammer forged.

4)Scopes & Mounts

Quality is the key with optics  & mounts there are many good makes.
Vortex, Nighforce, Leupold, Bushnell, Weaver, Sightron to name but a few
Keep in mind these manufactures make a range of scopes to suit all budgets. If you are looking to shoot tight groups or shoot at long range, choose the right scope for the job.
Last but not least, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is so true when buying Optics Scopes/Binos/Spotting Scopes & Range finders. Generally the more you spend the better result you will get.

5)The Shooter

Must be capable. Good technique is must and shooting well is skill and like most learned skills
It takes a bit of practice in the beginning. Nathan Foster at
has written some great reference’s for anyone wanting to sharpen their shooting skills & knowledge.
But back to production rifles. Your average scoped name brand rifle e.g. Winchester, Tikka, Sako, Remington, Ruger & Browning.
Most hunters should expect about ¾ 1” if they are prepared to try a few different brands of ammunition or hand load. Their rifle will show a liking for one type over the others. Of course they must be up to shooting these groups.
I am not saying that most people cannot shoot well because most can shoot very well. But if you are not shooting groups or targets on a regular basis it can take a little practice to get back in the grove. The point of this article is be realistic. ¾”-1” groups are all that’s needed from any production rifle to perform very well in the field.
Example below
You will have no problem taking deer sized game out to 300 meters. If you have a deer stalking rifle that shoots 3/4 M.O.A.
Scott Stonex

12 Newsome Street, Onehunga 1061, Auckland, New Zealand

Ph: 64 9 636 5407 Fax: 64 9 634 0267



Ph. 09 6365407

PO Box 13010
Onehunga 1061

12 Newsome Street