Whats an average grouping?

What is considered average accuracy using an average rifle, with iron sights, at 100 Yards?

To be specific I have a Springfield M1A (no national match or anything fancy) and I used some surpluss military for plinking at my mother’s farm. What types of groups should I be expecting?

Two inches.

How old is the rifle. How are you shooting it?


I’d call 2" groups to be above average so don’t get discouraged if you don’t achieve that right away with an out of the box rifle and surplus ammo. If you don’t have a military style sling that wraps around your left arm get one. That made a big difference with my M1. Try to eliminate any glare on the sights especially the rear sight aperture. That’s why the national match model has a hooded rear sight, possibly a worthwhile upgrade. Use caution with surplus ammo too. If it’s ever been stored in high temperatures which can cause the power to acidify. Watch out for a strong acid smell in the smoke, it can actually make your eyes burn, it often goes along with erratic and sometimes dangerously high pressure. Good luck and safe shooting.

RM: Brand spanking new (I just got a job with the largest Police Dept. in our state, I start the academy in May so I decided to reward myself with a new toy)
I am shooting prone on bags.

Padeye, Thanks for the advice on the surplus. I just haven’t quite been able to make myself get out and pick up some quality stuff. The sling is on order also. I’m getting 2-3" groups I was just a little astounded I had always thought I was a reasonable shot (plenty of rabbits, birds and the ocasional deer would agree) But I just thought I’d do better from a resting position. Oh well with my father’s hunting rifle and scope I was always getting 1" groups.

Of finally Padeye, what do you type of M1 do you have a M1A from Springfield or a Garand? Do you know anything about the M1 Garands that have been redone to .308? I have an Garand that has seen better days and I was thinking of getting it fixed up.

Thanks for the responses everyone :slight_smile: Thats what I love about this board.

Joe, you’re doing pretty well with your M1A. My M1 is the real deal, a Garand from the civilian marksmanship program. It’s a '43 reciever from the real Springfield Armory and was arsenal rebuilt sometime in the early 50s. Funny you should ask about the .308 conversion because that’s on my agenda for this year. Serial numbers are all mismatched so I won’t hurt collector’s value. There are a few good smiths in the Phoenix area like Phil Arrington so I haven’t decided to have it done here or send it to Fulton Armory.

I’ve got one other .308 rifle and may buy another so I want to stick with one kind of ammo. I reaload which might be a good idea for you if you shoot a lot. Make no mistake, the equipment costs are high but the benefits are worth it. I have Dillon equipment which as you know is $$$ but worth every penny IMO.

Have you looked at your groups closely? Are they scattered, left-right, or up-down? What was the wind like when you were shooting?

Like Padeye says, your own loads would be the way to go, but the first step is away from the surplus.


Ok I think I found part of the problem this morning. I attempted to take the rifle apart (I still can’t get the op rod out lord its a pain). Anyways the front sight was a little loose. It really makes me angry that this $$$ rifle has a loose sight on it. So I’ll probably take it back out to the range and adjust the front sight back into position.

To answer the question above the groups were all elevated correctly, however they skipped all around the target. To put it in algebra terms the Y value was very consistant but the X skipped all over creation. I geuss this would make sense if the front sight was loose but the elevation was fine on the rear sight.

Finally let me make sure I understand this. When I go to tighten up the front sight I should tighten up as close as I can to the center (After setting the windage on the back to the zero). Then I should fire a group and then if the group is say to far to the right, and I want to move it to the left, I should adjust the front sight to the right. Is that correct?

Joe, I’m not as familiar with the M-14 style front sight but I imagine it’s similar to the Garand with a base that slides onto splines on the barrel. Is the base rotating on the barrel or is the sight itself moving on the dovetail? You may need to get a tool to properly tighten the nut that holds the sight base and flash hider in place. If you can lock that down and eliminate the horzontal stringing it sounds like you’re doing pretty darn good.

The by the book way is to center the rear sight for windage then adjust the front for zero in no wind condition. That way when you have to adjust windage for shooting conditions you don’t have to remember where your “special” zero is.

FWIW X-axis = windage Y-axis = elevation

For left/right, you can get pretty close just by setting up in a hallway inside your home. Avoids the wind, too.


The part that holds the front sight on the barrel is fine, it is the sight itself that is loose. It slides left and right along its base. It does not slide around and around on the barrel. A regular allen wrench looks like it will do the trick.

RM: At the risk of sounding stupid are you trying to make a joke stating that to avoid wind I should shoot down the hallway?

And finally know any tricks for getting the damned op rod off of the rifle?