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Correction: Whitworth Accuracy and Figure of Merit vs MOA

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In my recent video on the Whitworth rifle, I made a rather embarrassing mistake, interpreting “figure of merit” accuracy measurements as complete group sizes. This was incorrect, and caused me to seriously overestimate the accuracy of the Whitworth. It was indeed a outstandingly accurate rifle, but not to the levels I originally stated. In actual fact, the Whitworth was capable of about 3 MOA at 500 yards; not the sub-1 MOA I originally stated.

The numbers recorded at the 1857 test of Enfield vs Whitworth were figure of merit, aka mean radial dispersion. This is the average distance from the center of a group (20-shot group, per British standards) to the point of impact. While much more involved to calculate, this type of measurement provides a more useful measure of accuracy than simple overall group size.

Thanks to John Simpson, David Minshall, and Rob (BritishMuzzleLoaders) for spotting and correcting this mistake!

You can see David’s article on this issue here:

Rob has a video on Figure of Merit, which is here:

And John’s book on sniping can be found here:
or on Scribd here:

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