Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Precision Rifle Blog

precision_rifle_blogWe don’t know how we missed this guy,, until now. As long time readers know, we have always admired the empirical, side-by-side A-B testing, like the tests that Andrew Tuohy carried out on his own website, Vuurwapen blog, and later at the sadly moribund Lucky Gunner Labs and The Firearm Blog (just search for his name on those sites — if he did it, it’s good. He’s a young man, but he has his stuff in one bag). It reminds us of a scientific experiment. In the same vein, we have enjoyed some of the experiments that Phil Dater PhD did with barrel length, muzzle velocity, and sound pressure levels. Science FTW!

Now, wouldn’t it be neat if somebody did something like that with rifle scopes, among other precision rifle data sets? Turns out, somebody has; his name is Cal Zant and his website, Precision Rifle Blog, promises “a data-driven approach” to long-range, precision shooting. Cal delivers that, in spades. That’s why he’s the Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week.

Let’s show you one example of his coolest recent research, an incredible comparison test of high-end rifle scopes. These are the sort of scopes you’d apply to a precision rifle for target, hunting, or war.  He has conducted a well-planned and thorough battery of tests of 18 high-end scopes, side-by-side, using a pretty solid array of methodologies. Then, he ranked the scopes according to a weighting scheme that he worked out based on what respondents to a survey said was important.


Every step of his way, he shows his work. Disagree with his weighting scheme? All the data are there; you can draft your own and see how that changes the ranks. Some features are not important to you? Delete them from the weighting scheme and recalculate. The data are all there, and will cost you only the considerable time needed to read and consider them.

The two essential links are to the Field Test Results Summary and the Buyers Guide and Features to Look For.

But those alone don’t tell the whole story, because he’s also included in-depth links and all his methodologies. Not surprising in the STEM world, especially in engineering, the end of STEM furthest from all the theory. And even if you read all the links, you may have further questions, especially if you’re not well-versed in optics terminology. (We thought we were; the site disabused us of that notion right smartly). So he provides an extremely useful online glossary. Confused by the difference between miliradian-based (Mil) and minute-of-angle (MOA) reticles? He’s not, and you won’t be either, if you read his page on the subject. (Short version: if you’re a yards-and-inches guy, you might be happier with MOA, if you’re metricated, you’ll want a mil reticle and turrets).

You can quibble with the weighting scheme, or bellyache that your favorite scope was not included, but we’re still just struggling with the disbelief of the whole thing: that someone would do all this work for nothing but the pleasure of doing it, and then bestow it on the rest of us.

best-long-range-cartridgesAt this point, you might think that Precision Rifle is all about scopes, and it’s not. That’s just an example of what he’s got for you over there. Here’s another example — a chart from a long article on the calibers most used by National Championships’ top 50 competitive shooters. It’s interesting that the question of caliber is now down to 6 or 6½ millimeters, at least among top 50 competitors. We didn’t know that before reading it on Precision Rifle.

Go, and return smarter, grasshoppers.

6 thoughts on “Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Precision Rifle Blog

  1. Aesop

    This is the internetz we were promised before it got bastardized by faux-intellectual hacks and marketing fools. (The pr0n of all types I can live with: WYSIWYG.)
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Stefan van der Borght

    It was a surprise to hear you have to suffer a daily four figure deluge of spam. May a thousand camel fleas infest their nether regions.

    It was also disappointing to see Expat nearly pulled the pin on his WM-surfing because of his comments getting caught in the anti-spam defences…and thanks for the gracious way you handled his dummy-spit. I’ve had a few comments go adrift lately, maybe I’ve made myself odious or perhaps I got eaten by the antispam rottweilers as well.

    You don’t feature much cold steel on the site, and sadly most of what does appear is in the WGAO category in the hands of reprobates. I reminded myself of a project just now, and thought perhaps it or the site it features on may serve as a WWW someday, or hopefully at least be something different to look at.

    It’s an interesting weapon from the days where guns had just become more than novelties, but not yet reliable enough for the soldier to ditch his traditional and proven weapons; and the sword was regarded as the queen of hand weapons as it excelled in defence against all the rest. This meant the handgunner of the time could cut down on armour and didn’t need a shield, and wasn’t burdened with a polearm. Anyway, enough of my blather, here’s the link, enjoy:

    p.s. The micro-crossbow project got stalled, too much IRL crap bubbled up, but it’s coming back online, and with the lovely local weather I might get a first limited run completed, tested, and ready to ship; to a suitably anonymous location, considering this is the internet after all. I’ll see if the Slingshot guy will autograph one for your boy.

  3. Pingback: WeaponsMan: Precision Rifle Blog | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  4. Pete

    Holy Data Dump, Batman!
    That website is awesome. Thank you for the heads up. I agree, like the stuff Andrew Tuohy puts out.
    They haven’t written a lot in the last couple years but the stuff Scott Berish over at the Liberty Optics Blog and Ilya Koshkin on Opticsthoughts is also very good.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Great tips, Pete. And an old 10th Group bud sent me another data-dump-like precision shooting website today. When it rains, it pours.

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