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June 24th, 2021

How to Evaluate Flyers During Load Development

Sierra Bullets Reloading Flier Flyer load development groups

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf
Occasionally someone will ask, “Why did I get a flyer that didn’t go in with the rest of my group?” If I had an answer that would stop flyers from happening, I would be rich.

There are many reasons why this can happen. Everything from gripping a forearm differently to variations in the brass casing, the list goes on and on. Most of the time the flyer is usually shooter induced and sometimes what you may think is a flyer, is just part of your group. There are a lot of shooters, that go out and test a load and they may shoot a 3/8” group at 100 yards and think that load is good. But I have seen far too many times that you can shoot another group, same load, same rifle and the next time you may get a 1 ¼” group.

Sierra bullets load development flyer group measurement target

The total opposite can also occur. You may shoot a 1 ¼” group and turn around and follow it with a 1/2″ group without changing anything. If you only shot the one group, you might decide that load wasn’t any good and move on to something else without really knowing what that load was capable of.

To really determine how a particular load is performing we need to shoot multiple groups and take an average of the group sizes to really see what that rifle/load combination is really capable of.

I suggest shooting a minimum of three 5-shot groups and averaging the group sizes before deciding if the load is acceptable or not. Obviously the more rounds you shoot for a group and the more groups that you shoot, you will get a much better representation of what that particular combination can do.

Now I’m not saying to go out and shoot 30 groups with 50 rounds in each group to determine how well your load is shooting. That would be a bit pointless, in some cases it would be time to re-barrel your rifle before your load development was finished.

In most cases, I feel that three to five, 5-shot groups will give you a pretty good representation of how a load will perform in that specific firearm.

Sierra Bullets reloading advice tips information

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August 1st, 2018

2018 IBS New York State Group Benchrest Championship

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Report By Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
Huge credit to Ken Frehm for all of the photos and most of the information.
On July 14th and 15th, at the Camillus Sportsmen’s Club, Camillus, NY, thirty-two shooters vied to win the Two Gun (and Class titles) at the NY State IBS Championship & 19th Annual Pro-Am Group Shoot. The Pro-Am is a cash match. Twenty-five of thirty-two shooters participated in the cash option — five dollars per gun per day. They were the Professionals. The remaining seven were the Amateurs.

GET N.Y. State Group Championship Results + Equipment Lists »

The weather was balmy and mild, the prize table and cash awards were generous, and the new range improvements were extensive, expensive, and well executed. Overall temperatures were seasonally moderate and the wind, while not difficult, was challenging enough that there were no Teen Aggregates shot in any class.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

IBS Competitors Talk about their Sport
Definitely check out this video — it is excellent, and well worth your time. It shows the Camillus Club Range and features informative interviews with many shooters:

The Two-Gun Overall match winner was Bob Brushingham, with Don Francis in second place, and Bob White in third. Don, who finished with a .2600 Grand Agg, edged Bob (.2601) by a mere .0001! That’s close! (SEE Full Two-Gun Results).

Camillus IBS Match NY two gun winners
Two Gun top finishers (L to R): Bob White (3rd), Bob Brushingham (1st), Don Francis (2nd)

Camillus IBS Match NY two gun winners
Click image for large version.

Below are the LV and HV Class winners, Class Top Ten results, and respective equipment lists.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Light Varmint top finishers were (above, L to R): Bob Brushingham (2nd LV 100), Henry Miller (1st LV 200), Don Francis (1st LV 100, 3rd LV Grand), Leonard Burdick (2nd LV 200, 2nd LV Grand), Don Jeffers (3rd LV 100, 1st LV Grand).

Click image for large version.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Heavy Varmint top finishers were (above, L to R): Bruce Lachapelle (1st HV 100), Robert Blanchard (3rd HV 100), Bob Brushingham (2nd HV 200, 1st HV Grand), Don Francis (2nd HV 200), Ron Burdick (2nd HV 100, 3rd HV Grand), and Bob White ( 1st HV 100, 2nd HV Grand).

Click image for large version.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match
Here is the winning Pro-Am Team: Jennaro (Jerry) Corigliano (1st Amateur), Bruce Lachapello (1st Pro).

IBS 100/200-Yard Benchrest Competition

As with all Registered IBS 100/200-yard Group Matches, the N.Y. Championships at Camillus employed moving backers. This system ensures that a completed group includes the requisite five shots. With extremely small groups in the “ones” and “zeros” it may be impossible to distinguish five holes.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Although pre-loading is not uncommon, most 100/200-yard group shooters typically load at the match, often between relays. This enables them to tune their loads for the current conditions. Nearly all competitors in this short-range discipline shoot the 6mm PPC cartridge, or a PPC variant.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

With group sizes so small, and group dimensions listed to the thousandth of an inch, precise measurement is an important part of the process.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

The Camillus Sportsmen’s Club Range

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC matchThis is not just a benchrest club, but a complete, multi-discipline shooting sports facility. To my California eyes, the Camillus range is a thing of beauty, with a vast expanse of well-trimmed grass between the firing line and the berms, and a substantial wooded hill beyond. The club has just completed a host of brand new improvements that required a significant investment and, I am sure, a lot of hard work. I believe that this was the first time that an event was held after they were finished. The improvements include a new shooting pavilion (firing line cover), with the latest safety features, new all masonry benches, new berms, new target boards, and may others that are too numerous to mention.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

To see more images of the range, visit the Camillus Sportsmen’s Club website, and do a Google image search for “Camillus Club NY”.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

Backing up the range berm is a 120-foot high wooded hill. Behind the firing line, running northwest along the club’s western boundary, is the old, abandoned Erie Canal. The Club’s land is relatively flat, which has allowed it to be well-utilized for multiple shooting sports. See Google Map.

Parting Shot…
I had to smile at this picture of the target crew. Evidently the club has excellent relations with the Syracuse Police Department.

IBS Camillus Sportsmens club Benchrest Group championship group PPC match

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October 15th, 2016

Measure Your Groups Precisely with OnTarget Software

OnTarget Target group size measure measuring software program

Jeffrey Block has created a great FREE software program, OnTarget, that measures shot groups quickly and precisely. All you need is a photo or scan of your target. The program allows you to set your target distance, and provides caliber-specific tools to precisely mark the center of each shot. Once you’ve marked each bullet hole, Jeff’s OnTarget program automatically calculates group center, maximum group spread (CTC), average distance to center, group width and height, and group offset from point of aim. The program will even measure multiple groups on the same target.

CLICK HERE to Download OnTarget Group-Measuring Software (v1.10 FREE; v2.10 $11.99)

Video Tutorial Shows How OnTarget Software Works
Jeff created an excellent Animated Tutorial demonstrating OnTarget’s functions. It shows how to import a target image or scan, how to set target distance and scale, how to set bullet size, how to circle each bullet hole, and how to save the marked and measured target. VIEW OnTarget TUTORIAL.

OnTarget software group scanning measureAfter just a few minutes spent learning the program’s tool buttons, we were able to plot shot groups on a variety of targets with ease. Once you select the target distance and bullet diameter, figuring group size is a simple matter of centering a circle tool over each bullet hole. Then the program “connects the dots” and provides all the info you could want automatically.

The program worked with bullet holes as small as 17 caliber and as large as 50 caliber. It is very precise, but remember that if your target photo was taken at an angle, distorted perspective can cause slight errors in measurement. Therefore, for the ultimate precision, you want to start with a flat scan of the target.

OnTarget Compared to Measuring Manually
We found OnTarget to be especially useful for groups with widely dispersed bullet holes, or very small bullet holes, such as 17 caliber holes. We’ve found that it’s difficult to measure 17-cal group sizes with a standard caliper, because the tool itself obscures the tiny holes. With OnTarget, the program can zoom up your target view, making it much easier to plot the center of each shot. And with a widely dispersed group of shots, the program automatically finds the two most distant shots. You can’t mistakenly pick the wrong pair of shots to measure.


Here are examples we created with OnTarget. The first photo shows a 17 Mach 2 target. These tiny 17-cal holes are notoriously hard to measure. With OnTarget, it’s a snap. You just load the target image into the program, zoom in with the controls, and then click on the center of the holes. The program automatically calculates group size, displaying measurements in both inches and minutes of angle (MOA)

Original Target (with ruler for scale)

Target Captured and Displayed in Program

Detail of Group, Enlarged by Program

10-shot Groups? — No Problem
Here’s another target, showing 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards. The first image shows the target image loaded into the program with the ten holes circled in red.

Target Displayed in Program

For this target we have used the Aiming Point option. The Aim Point was set at the center of the “X” and the program calculates average distance from the Aim Point. Very cool.

Detail of 10-Shot Group, Enlarged by Program

No Scanner Needed
The OnTarget program grabs target scans directly from a flatbed scanner using Microsoft’s Windows Image Acquisition system. But don’t worry if you don’t have a scanner. You can just take a digital photo of your target and OnTarget will import it quickly and easily. To set target scale, a simple tool allows you to mark a known length on the target (such as the diameter of the “X” Ring), and the program will then size the target accordingly. Is OnTarget precise and accurate? Here’s what Forum Member Steve W. says: “I used the extreme spread measurement of a group on one of my 600-yard match targets… as it was officially scored at the match. By clicking the +—+ icon, then clicked the cursor in the centers of the two extreme spread holes, I then entered that value in the reference window. After that it was simple because the bullet placement cursor’s circle was the same size as the black outline of the actual bullet holes on the picture of the target. OnTarget’s measurement came up within .006″ of the official 2.772 inch measurement of the group. That’s pretty darned close; well inside the human judgment of aligning the tips of a micrometer on the bullet holes.”

Bottom Line — Great Program — Download It Today
Jeffrey Block has done a great service for shooters by creating the FREE OnTarget program. It is easy to learn, it functions great, and it can save you time and effort measuring targets. It also lets you easily archive and compare multiple targets produced during load development or rifle testing. You can record ammo type, date, location, weather etc. in note fields accessed by “Group Info” and “Target Info” tabs.

Keep in mind that OnTarget was NOT created to replace existing methods for scoring competition targets. But for all other target measuring purposes it does a great job. Visit Jeff’s website,, view the tutorial, and check out OnTarget for yourselves.

To learn more about OnTarget, see more measuring samples, and read advanced Power-User Tips, visit our full OnTarget Product Review.

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