Rifles are random number generators. Each time you pull the trigger, the bullet chooses a single outcome from infinite possibilities based on countless random factors. Without a time machine, you can never know exactly where the next bullet will go.
However, you can predict the most likely outcome, and precisely describe the chances of it being high or low, left or right, fast or slow.
Many people shy away from statistics because, well, math. It seems complicated and unnecessary. On the contrary. It is a way of thinking that hones your intuition and helps you make better decisions.
Using no equations whatsoever, I'm going to show you how to think statistically about every shot you fire. Just by understanding the relationship between a sample and a population, you can learn how to predict the future.
I'd like to kick off this blog series with a walk-through of my load testing experience at the range last Sunday. While future articles will dive into the details of a specific concept, I think it will be helpful to first offer some context and demonstrate how objective thinking leads to practical results.
I fired a match at 600 meters last Saturday and wasn't happy with the grouping. I was using roughly the same load I had been last year which performed well, but whether it was the warm weather or a new lot of Varget I started in December, something just seemed off.
Many times I have gone to the range with a plan, left with a conclusion, but by the next morning after running some numbers, there were still open questions. This time I decided not to leave until I was happy, period. I need confidence in a load that will take me through the summer, and I'll do absolutely anything for it.
I think a little differently than most people. It gets me into trouble sometimes, but my analytical, somewhat critical view of the world defines how I approach everything I set my mind to. Instead of looking at what others do, I simply figure things out for myself, and that generally leads to new ideas.
I was drawn to long range shooting because it is purely a mental challenge. Hidden within friendly competition, travel, and outdoor sport lives a deep world of physics, statistics and critical decision making that begs to be mastered.