Barrel Overview using Extreme Spread of Targets

Extreme spread is a strange thing.  In it we compare groups with one another using the outer most shots in the group with little care about the rest of the group.  I’m sitting down with a ream of data in front of me and I think this is just the best place to kick off a big chunk of it.

We have mentioned this before and I think it is important that I reiterate it before you dive into pictures and graphs thinking either this is nonsense or this is gospel.  This is the data as we recorded it.  We didn’t know what barrel we were getting behind when things kicked off.  If we did happen to see the barrel it did not matter as we were doing our very best to provide the best data as we could.  These groups were not fired from a special locking rest and human shooters outshot the Caldwell Lead Sled every time using a bipod and squeeze bag so it was ruled out as a useful tool in this test.  It was not used for any of the groups I am sharing now.

We shared information of each of the ammo types and from that information we compiled barrel profiles.  I was asked immediately following the test which barrel was the best and I had no idea.  I still really don’t.  They all shot 5 round groups that some would brag about.  They also shot groups that many people would sweep under the group rug where fliers go to die.

All the group information below is using extreme spread.  In the near future we will present the same data by way of average to center or mean radius.  I think the two different presentations may paint different pictures but without further ado this is what we found.

Below are the group shots for each barrel.

Ballistic Advantage Hanson .223 Wylde


Criterion Hybrid



Larue Predatar


Ok pictures of groups, now which performed the best?  Well none of them were MOA all day superstars.  That said three barrels lined up and averaged about 1.5 MOA each over 600 rounds.  That is something to be said towards barrel manufacturing today as well as the availability to get ammunition for quality barrels.


The group averages were within about a tenth of an inch at 100 yards.  I am sure we can pick this apart and separate certain rounds to make that seem more shiny and chrome but that is not what we are all about.  The same could be said with removing one or two rounds of any of the ten round groups to show how much better the spread is with the elimination of a ‘flier’.  Speaking of 10 round groups.



The ten round groups averaged were larger than the 5 round groups….Shocker right.


Now bar graphs in the particular use are a bit misleading as the scale makes things look to the extremes.  The intent was simply to show which was the leader in each demonstration.  An interesting bit of data can be pulled from the last two graphs though and it uses the Bryan Litz method of determining group growth between sample sizes.  In his book ‘Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting Vol 2′ Bryan talks about samples and how they generally extend out using actual shooters to test.


I think this is a very useful little tool for an approximation of actual group data for the times you have a limited supply of an ammunition type and want to stretch it out.  You can shoot a three shot group and expand it out to the 30 shot  group scale taking it by a factor of 2 and then set up the appropriate size steel at long range and make hits.

Using that line of thought our Criterion Hybrid shot a 5 round group average at 1.39525 if we take that times the constant of 1.24 it comes to 1.73.  The actual 10 shot group average was 1.884 although these groups were fired by two different shooters.  Again we can and likely will dissect each of the ammo types down the road but what you are seeing now are generalities of groups fired at the beginning of each barrels life span.

Below are each ammunition type broken down by barrel and string.
asym-77gr-barrel-target-data aussie-69gr-barrel-target-data bh-69gr-barrel-target-data cbc-77gr-barrel-target-data fgmm-69gr-barrel-target-data fgmm-77gr-barrel-target-data imi-77gr-barrel-target-data pmc-77gr-barrel-target-data ppu-69gr-barrel-target-data ppu-75gr-barrel-target-data

One thought on “Barrel Overview using Extreme Spread of Targets”

  1. Fantastic overview

    I own both a Criterion and Ballistic Advantage Hanson. At this point in the Ar15s history, we need a best practice approach to upgrading and advancing the platform. Hype means nothing in reality, but hype is weighed far too heavily in this industry and actual data and performance is often overlooked.

    While the data isn’t that far apart in each barrels realistic performance and capability… Once again the hype of the most well known brand in this study has overshadowed the real world performance of two slightly superior products.

    Thank you for this evaluation and for taking the time to put this data out there.

    And hats off to Criterion and Ballistic for producing two great products.

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