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Accuracy is a relative term considering cost

I have shot a rifle since I was a kid and have always considered myself to be a fairly good shot. By being a good shot, I mean being able to hit my target if the target is not too small. If I do not hit the target, it is not my lack of skill; we just need to get a larger target.

Dick was about eleven and I was twelve when we managed to save up enough money to buy new rifles. Dick made a fortune running a trap line and catching muskrats. At least for a kid, it was pretty good money if a person did not freeze to death plodding through the snow and occasionally falling through the ice during the winter trapping season.

I saved up money from the bounty collected on crows and raising sheep. Several years ago, crows were considered a nuisance and the county would pay 10 cents for each pair of crow's feet. It takes a lot of crow's feet at 10 cents each to buy a rifle. It also takes putting up with a lot of annoying sheep. Sometimes I would have several months' worth of crow's feet in the freezer, which would eventually cause my mother to insist I get the disgusting things out of the house and turn them in.

Dick had much the same problem with his mother. Only so many muskrat pelts could be stored next to the roasts and bacon before she became testy.

We had studied up on the best .22 calibers made. It did not take long to figure out, unless he became a lawyer and I became a doctor in the next year or two, we were not going to be able to buy the best on the market before we turned 30 or some antique age like that. We needed rifles now and how much difference could there be between a $100 gun and a $1,000 one. We knew the difference was a lot of crow's feet, muskrat pelts and a few sheep. We did not want to wait until we were old to get a good rifle. I decided to get a Ruger 10/22. Dick settled on a Remington Nylon. When we were finally able to get new rifles, we were the happiest guys in town.

We practiced with our new rifles and got really good with them. We could hit a quarter-sized target at 50 feet. That was good enough for the size town we lived in. There was not a sparrow, rabbit, or squirrel in the area safe from a couple of dead-eye shooters. We were good.

A few years later, Dick bought a .222 caliber rifle. We moved up in accurate range from 50 feet to 100 yards. Shooting one-inch groups was now possible at close to 10 times our normal range. We found this precision to be amazing.

In the last couple of years, I have done a little bit of shooting with actual target rifles. I have discovered there is a lot of difference between a $100 and a $1,000 gun. There is also a difference between a $1,000 gun and a $5,000 gun. A person can buy just a bit more accuracy with just a bit more money. It is only limited to how far a person is willing to go. With a high-priced rifle and high-priced ammunition, I am able, at times, to have three shots touching each other at 100 yards. My problem is I just do not care enough to spend the required money to be really good. I still have and use my Ruger 10/22. If I can not hit a squirrel at 50 yards, I need to move closer or find a bigger squirrel.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.