The short version is using testing to find where the gaps are in your equipment. For this example I am attempting to find the inherent accuracy of a rifle and ammunition combination.
Here is how it would be combined. For this test, four groups of 5 rounds from with 2 minutes between groups are recorded and averaged.
Group size: 0.85 MOA average.
Mantis Score: (Benched) 99.1
Group size: 1.24 MOA
Mantis Score: 99.5
From this example, we can see that Ammo B had some issues. Despite less movement in the rifle, the group size got larger, most likely due to the ammunition.
While this isn’t enough to make a conclusion on, we know that ammo B is a no go for what we need. We have not yet worked on rifle or optic choice.
Rifle with Ammunition A is now our control.
Adding a shooter to the mix now makes it look like this (Rifle with Ammo A)
Group Size: 1.5 MOA Average
Mantis Score: 97.5
We see an increase in group size and a lower Mantis X score. We know everything above .85 MOA is shooter induced. If the shooter has been using Mantis and his average is 97.5 dry and live, we can now look at things to improve the shooter’s interaction with the firearm.
The first thing people talk about is a trigger so let’s work those
Without firing a live round, we can now see that adding Trigger A into the rifle will perhaps bring us closer to the control rifle numbers.
Rifle with Ammo and Trigger A
Group Size: .97 MOA
Mantis Score: 99
We can also go back through all this data to see the abnormalities. If we took notes and tracked things like lighting conditions and wind, we may see that as the light changed our shooters groups got larger and with complaints of targets are harder to see. By looking for an optic with more light transmission, we may gain a bit in other conditions.
What we did make was two informed, performance-based decisions. We chose an ammunition and a trigger that got us closer to the goal. With more ammunition testing we may find a load with SD’s in the 3s that gets us .6 MOA groups with the same rifle. That may put our shooter into the .7 MOA area.
Notice I never mentioned a brand or a price. It was all actual performance of the rifle, ammo, and shooter. We are human after all and individuals. Something that works well for me may not for you.
What I challenge you to do is get smart, collect data, make informed decisions and be happy with choices.
This series has been on finding accuracy. From here we will go into precision.