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Author Topic: A scientific look into the shot cycle of recoiling spring-piston airguns  (Read 2014 times - 1 votes) 
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Offline Yogi

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Thanks for your kind words Marty!

Our aims are a bit different from the Titan guys.
We start by showing everyone that wants to read in detail, how to put together their OWN testbench.
The whole thing costs under $250 with a pocket digital oscilloscope we found that works reasonably well. We also show how to CALIBRATE the instrument.
These guys just purchase stuff that is way more expensive that the guns themselves. So, while interesting, it is still in the realm of the "specialist" or "professional".
I've done that already, and my main objection is that it does not empower shooters to find out for themselves, and does not provide a general platform for improvement.
I also think they complicate things needlessly by insisting on measuring forces directly. We START with velocity, then integrate for displacement and calibration, and derive for acceleration.
Once you know accelerations, forces are easy to calculate because masses are constant.
Anyway, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Tomorrow we publish the first part and show how to build "the apparatus".

;-)

Keep well and shoot straight!




HM

Very noble goals in enabling the DIYer with the knowledge and tools to do the same testing at home, Hector. I think we all benefit from a better understanding of what is going on inside and outside of a rifle. That said, Iím sure there will still remain some mysteries that can be tackled by the GTA community.

-Marty

Marty,

What still perplexes you?

-Y
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Offline ER00z

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Looking forward to a good read. I've tinkered a bit with some of my Diana airguns. Using OEM spring guides and aftermarket springs, I have a D34 @ 10ftlbs, a D460 @12ftlbs and a D350 @14-15ftlbs and others that are completely stock. What surprises me is the D350 @ 14-15ftlbs is way smoother than the D34 in stock form or detuned. Curious if the larger volume of the 350 creates more of an air cushion as the piston nears the end of the compression chamber compared to the 34. Which brings up the question, is the mass of the piston on the 34 too heavy for the compressed volume?, ie. Factory tuned for max power or just a light gun/heavy parts. The 460 is just a sweet shooting gun,  but 12 ftlbs. is about as low as you can go without the spring being too short. I may space mine up a bit, as to have a touch more preload. Either way, the guns became more "tame" when detuned. Not that they weren't accurate, but easier for me to be accurate with them.

I'll quit rambling, looking foreword to learning a bit more. Take it easy.
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Offline HectorMedina

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First Chapter has been posted, where we look at Instruments we can use and instruments we can make to understand the dynamics of the spring-piston airgun:

https://www.ctcustomairguns.com/hectors-airgun-blog/shot-cycle-dynamics-in-3-spring-piston-airguns-chap-1

Hope you enjoy!






HM
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Offline ER00z

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Very interesting read. Looking forward to the next segment.

As to gain more information on where the piston bounces, aside from cutting a view port in the compression tube or making a transparent compression tube (both highly unlikely), can the rear of the piston be viewed through the cocking slot? If so, camera lenses have become very small and could be added to the sled to view the piston skirt during its movement. Possibly modify the stocks or remove and make a custom one of same weight just to get an idea of movement. I'm sure a sticker marked in millimeters could be added next to the slot, to gain measurement of the piston doing it's oscillations from the back of the piston. Don't know if it's even possible, but just an idea.

It would be very interesting to see a gas piston/ram on the dynamograph to compare to a spring piston.

I know there's a lot more coming, but the possibilities of tests that could be done are almost endless, very neat stuff. Thanks for sharing with us.
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Offline HectorMedina

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Very interesting read. Looking forward to the next segment.

As to gain more information on where the piston bounces, aside from cutting a view port in the compression tube or making a transparent compression tube (both highly unlikely), can the rear of the piston be viewed through the cocking slot? If so, camera lenses have become very small and could be added to the sled to view the piston skirt during its movement. Possibly modify the stocks or remove and make a custom one of same weight just to get an idea of movement. I'm sure a sticker marked in millimeters could be added next to the slot, to gain measurement of the piston doing it's oscillations from the back of the piston. Don't know if it's even possible, but just an idea.

It would be very interesting to see a gas piston/ram on the dynamograph to compare to a spring piston.

I know there's a lot more coming, but the possibilities of tests that could be done are almost endless, very neat stuff. Thanks for sharing with us.

Zack;

The idea is to "democratize" the research process.
Sure there are lots of things that COULD be done, but we need to start somewhere, and, to US (Yogi, John and myself), the starting point has to be the access to instruments capable of measuring milisecond span phenomena that are affordable.

Not everyone has or can spend the money to acquire accelerometers, dedicated computers and software, and force sensors.

But a sewing machine bobbin, some wire, a magnet, some scrap wood, a pair of drawer slides and a $100 pocket osciloscope, are definitely within the realm of most serious airgunners.

;-)

Thanks for your kind words and hope you will enjoy the rest.






HM
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Offline Mole2017

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Looking good! AC coupling is certainly reasonable (as your testing shows). Having good initial and final conditions might help the integration problem, if the data acquisition will run long enough to get data at the final resting position.

I am not used to working with coils as generators, but normally a relatively longer solenoid gets one away from the end effects of the coils or of the magnet for that matter. The hard part is creating a uniformly wrapped coil. I can't help you there unless you want to make a coil winding machine....

Weirdo coil geometries like Helmholtz coils get a theoretically better magnetic field, but how it would act in this situation (moving magnet) is not something I know. It makes sense, but wrapping one's head around a generator with no coils over the magnet isn't easy...Fortunately, they aren't hard to make, and might even be more tolerant of hand winding. The only downsides are size and overall field strength (or sensitivity, in this case).

It is easy to find student assignments online looking at both (but no data!), but here's a link that actually discusses the field properties of each configuration (i.e. slides 13, 24 and 25): https://courses.physics.illinois.edu/phys401/sp2012/Files/Hall%20Probe/Hall%20probe%20experiment2.pdf

Theorizing aside, I can say I have experience with a possible solution to the limits of readability of your millimeter scale: print a vernier scale to mount on the sled instead of that single hash line. The fixed camera creates some parallax issues, but it may be better than nothing. I've done them on transparencies (for laser printers) and paper, which I then laminated. Very easy to make in CAD or even Microsoft Word. You just make an ruler scale in whatever units and nominal divisions, grab a copy and shrink that to whatever one division would result in. For example, try an inch scale in tenths. Grab a copy of a 1 inch section and shrink it to 90 percent (i.e. nine 10ths) to make the vernier. Print both your main scale and the vernier to compensate for small printer errors and bam! 0.01" readability, just like that! 0.01mm is a little trickier, but only just under half of what 0.01" requires. And you don't have to limit yourself to 10ths. Humidity is not your friend for paper, but lamination helps that. I've done them for student labs and even have a 2D one (horizontal and vertical) taped over a crack in the wall of my daughter's bedroom, watching it open and close and shift over the season, just for kicks.

Good luck with further work!
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 02:19:53 PM by Mole2017 »
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Offline MartyMcFly

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Thanks for your kind words Marty!

Our aims are a bit different from the Titan guys.
We start by showing everyone that wants to read in detail, how to put together their OWN testbench.
The whole thing costs under $250 with a pocket digital oscilloscope we found that works reasonably well. We also show how to CALIBRATE the instrument.
These guys just purchase stuff that is way more expensive that the guns themselves. So, while interesting, it is still in the realm of the "specialist" or "professional".
I've done that already, and my main objection is that it does not empower shooters to find out for themselves, and does not provide a general platform for improvement.
I also think they complicate things needlessly by insisting on measuring forces directly. We START with velocity, then integrate for displacement and calibration, and derive for acceleration.
Once you know accelerations, forces are easy to calculate because masses are constant.
Anyway, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Tomorrow we publish the first part and show how to build "the apparatus".

;-)

Keep well and shoot straight!




HM

Very noble goals in enabling the DIYer with the knowledge and tools to do the same testing at home, Hector. I think we all benefit from a better understanding of what is going on inside and outside of a rifle. That said, Iím sure there will still remain some mysteries that can be tackled by the GTA community.

-Marty

Marty,

What still perplexes you?

-Y

Yogi, I don't want to hijack this thread so I'll keep it brief and PM you the details but in a nutshell I'm curious about the relationship between efficiency and recoil in light piston/small compression setups versus heavy piston/large compression setups.

PS. I'm enjoying the first chapter - thumbs up to you guys!

-Marty

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Invert the argument, does it still make sense? If it doesn't find a new argument.

Offline HectorMedina

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Looking good! AC coupling is certainly reasonable (as your testing shows). Having good initial and final conditions might help the integration problem, if the data acquisition will run long enough to get data at the final resting position.

I am not used to working with coils as generators, but normally a relatively longer solenoid gets one away from the end effects of the coils or of the magnet for that matter. The hard part is creating a uniformly wrapped coil. I can't help you there unless you want to make a coil winding machine....

Weirdo coil geometries like Helmholtz coils get a theoretically better magnetic field, but how it would act in this situation (moving magnet) is not something I know. It makes sense, but wrapping one's head around a generator with no coils over the magnet isn't easy...Fortunately, they aren't hard to make, and might even be more tolerant of hand winding. The only downsides are size and overall field strength (or sensitivity, in this case).

It is easy to find student assignments online looking at both (but no data!), but here's a link that actually discusses the field properties of each configuration (i.e. slides 13, 24 and 25): https://courses.physics.illinois.edu/phys401/sp2012/Files/Hall%20Probe/Hall%20probe%20experiment2.pdf

Theorizing aside, I can say I have experience with a possible solution to the limits of readability of your millimeter scale: print a vernier scale to mount on the sled instead of that single hash line. The fixed camera creates some parallax issues, but it may be better than nothing. I've done them on transparencies (for laser printers) and paper, which I then laminated. Very easy to make in CAD or even Microsoft Word. You just make an ruler scale in whatever units and nominal divisions, grab a copy and shrink that to whatever one division would result in. For example, try an inch scale in tenths. Grab a copy of a 1 inch section and shrink it to 90 percent (i.e. nine 10ths) to make the vernier. Print both your main scale and the vernier to compensate for small printer errors and bam! 0.01" readability, just like that! 0.01mm is a little trickier, but only just under half of what 0.01" requires. And you don't have to limit yourself to 10ths. Humidity is not your friend for paper, but lamination helps that. I've done them for student labs and even have a 2D one (horizontal and vertical) taped over a crack in the wall of my daughter's bedroom, watching it open and close and shift over the season, just for kicks.

Good luck with further work!

Thanks, David!

There are innumerable ways to improve on what has been done already.
What I thought was interesting about this focus / implementation is that ANYONE can do something similar. And, as demonstrated, extremely precise measurements are not really needed to obtain resolution between phases of the shot cycle (which have been hard to get/see in the past).
Later on you will see that the Dynamograph, as "spartan" ("rudimentary" / "primitive"; choose your adjective) as it is , allows VERY interesting comparisons between powerplants and rifles.

And, I repeat, the intent is to "crowd source" information by allowing anyone with some basic tools, and a moderate budget, to make a useful "test-bench".
Our way is not the only way, hopefully you (and many others) will come up with whatever improvements you see fit, do some tests and publish some results.

There may be some chaos at first if 20 different airgunners build 20 different things, but over time, I am sure the solutions will converge.
Maybe even some company may hear about this and be interested in building a more "professional" one.
Who knows where this will lead. We'll see.

Thanks for reading!






HM
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Offline HectorMedina

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Yogi, I don't want to hijack this thread so I'll keep it brief and PM you the details but in a nutshell I'm curious about the relationship between efficiency and recoil in light piston/small compression setups versus heavy piston/large compression setups.

PS. I'm enjoying the first chapter - thumbs up to you guys!

-Marty

Thanks for reading Marty!

The comparison we'll go into will not cover those extremes, as, by all measurements, the three guns chosen are medium sized, and relatively long stroked.

It has taken the better part of 14 months just to write the blog entries, hopefully, once we can discuss all the aspects, we can move on to test other, far more diverse guns and then compare different tuning "principles" or "techniques".

As far as pure efficiency is concerned, the most efficient setup presently available to the airgunning community is the short stroked D48 style of gun. And that has already been demonstrated by the previous "incarnation" of the sled.
You can read/re-read those if you look for the "Saga of a 56 T/H" series.

There are a LOT of factors that go into the efficiency of a spring-piston airgun, not the least of which is the pellet itself. And a lot more work is needed.

At least now, we have the beginning of an accepted instrumentation process.

Keep well and shoot straight!





HM
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Offline splitbeing

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The images are helpful as is the clarity of the writing. Psyched for the next installment of this highly reproducible experimental setup in action.
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Offline phoebeisis

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Marty

 the inherent efficiency of these springers is pretty good- (about 20% or so)

and you would think that extracting a higher percentage  of the mechanical energy would "somehow" make the shot cycle" smoother"

My  Diana 460  ( .22 )has less weird "jump" than my TX 200 (.177) -despite being more powerful

22's should produce more "normal" rear MV recoil than .177s-  so maybe it is .177 vs .22 rather than Diana vs Air Arms

I would also be curious to see how differences in piston weight- compression ratio -and pellet diameter-would change the shot cycle-


To me springers don't recoil-they seem to "jump" upward- a weird jump.

Hector-GREAT STUFF-THANKS







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Offline HectorMedina

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Chris;

Thanks for your kind words.

Actuallly, measured efficiencies of these three are quite a bit above the 20%, and the 48 style shortstroked gun's efficiencies hover around the lower-mid 30%'s, BUT that will be reviewed later.

In reality the "Thanks" should go to John who shouldered the brunt of the building and experimenting (and had the patience to go through all the revisions we had to do because of the limitations of the website-software/platform), and to Yogi that put forward the ideas (and the sponsorship) to make this happen.

I'm just the messenger  ;-)

Keep well and shoot straight!



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Offline chemclay

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Very admirable performance! Kudos to everyone who put this together. I will need another read(or two)to absorb.
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Offline dtdtdtdt

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I started reading through the work shown to date.  In the discussion on the actual firing process and recoil physics a few things stood out thus far.

1. I hadn't considered the spring's return to stop as impacting the rifle's recoil before  It suggests that a nitrogen filled piston system shouldn't have the same recoil dynamics and hence may have quantitatively different performance to a conventional springer. 

2.  Assuming that interpreted the data correctly,  the pellet leaves the barrel as the piston is moving forward and the rifle is moving rearward - as in a powder gun.  That says the pellet leaves the barrel before all the shaking and rattling around in the piston area occurs.  That should mean that it should have little to no impact on the external ballistics of the pellet and its path.  That suggests that all the care and effort put into developing the artillery hold and the other esoteric things we do to make our rifles shoot better are not really relevant.  It also suggests that a tight hold as used in powder arms should be the best approach.

3.  Group size statistics are the best way to evaluate the performance of a rifle.  I was interested to see that the C-T-C group sizes and standard deviations are quite close to those that I see with my two 54s - both set up to shoot at about 850f/s.  I also shoot at just about 20 yards (a nominal 50' pistol range) from a very solid bench rest.  I also shoot a minimum of 10 shot groups and usually shoot 10 or more groups to develop my statistics. 


Whiie I'm not going to suggest that the authors do another tranche of experiments a couple things do come to mind.

1.  Lots of people expend great effort in measuring and weighing their pellets to improve accuracy.  My experiments suggest that it may be a waste of time with generally available scales and calipers/micrometers.  Most use powder scales and balances for such weighing.  A few years ago, I did this and found that both the electronic (load cell) and balance-based powder measuring devices could not reliably detect a 0.1 grain differences in two pellets or even repeat the same number on the same pellet.  I found and bought a gem scale that purports to weigh to the nearest 0.001gram or approximately 0.01gr. A good experiment would be to separate pellets  Doing that, I could separate batches in a 0.02 batches fairly reliably.  The shooting results showed that the all stayed within the average group size for the rifle.   There was detectable vertical string but not nnough to justify the effort.  While I actually own a two pan analytical balance capable of weighing to 0.0001gm accurately and repeatability.  I didn't think it worth the considerable effort to set it up.   

2.  Following on the comment in #2 above, it seems that the barrel vibration and harmonics may be the real cause of hold sensitivity as they impact the pellet's path while it is still in the barrel.  That follows from the separate discussions of the value of, and need for, harmonic stabilizers on the barrel as Hector has been promoting in his "tuned" 54s and the new 54 Pro.   

Anyway, these are interesting analyses and I look forward to seeing more of them!!!
 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2021, 11:42:22 AM by dtdtdtdt »
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Offline HectorMedina

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I started reading through the work shown to date.  In the discussion on the actual firing process and recoil physics a few things stood out thus far.

1. I hadn't considered the spring's return to stop as impacting the rifle's recoil before  It suggests that a nitrogen filled piston system shouldn't have the same recoil dynamics and hence may have quantitatively different performance to a conventional springer. 

2.  Assuming that interpreted the data correctly,  the pellet leaves the barrel as the piston is moving forward and the rifle is moving rearward - as in a powder gun.  That says the pellet leaves the barrel before all the shaking and rattling around in the piston area occurs.  That should mean that it should have little to no impact on the external ballistics of the pellet and its path.  That suggests that all the care and effort put into developing the artillery hold and the other esoteric things we do to make our rifles shoot better are not really relevant.  It also suggests that a tight hold as used in powder arms should be the best approach.

3.  Group size statistics are the best way to evaluate the performance of a rifle.  I was interested to see that the C-T-C group sizes and standard deviations are quite close to those that I see with my two 54s - both set up to shoot at about 850f/s.  I also shoot at just about 20 yards (a nominal 50' pistol range) from a very solid bench rest.  I also shoot a minimum of 10 shot groups and usually shoot 10 or more groups to develop my statistics. 


Whiie I'm not going to suggest that the authors do another tranche of experiments a couple things do come to mind.

1.  Lots of people expend great effort in measuring and weighing their pellets to improve accuracy.  My experiments suggest that it may be a waste of time with generally available scales and calipers/micrometers.  Most use powder scales and balances for such weighing.  A few years ago, I did this and found that both the electronic (load cell) and balance-based powder measuring devices could not reliably detect a 0.1 grain differences in two pellets or even repeat the same number on the same pellet.  I found and bought a gem scale that purports to weigh to the nearest 0.001gram or approximately 0.01gr. A good experiment would be to separate pellets  Doing that, I could separate batches in a 0.02 batches fairly reliably.  The shooting results showed that the all stayed within the average group size for the rifle.   There was detectable vertical string but not nnough to justify the effort.  While I actually own a two pan analytical balance capable of weighing to 0.0001gm accurately and repeatability.  I didn't think it worth the considerable effort to set it up.   

2.  Following on the comment in #2 above, it seems that the barrel vibration and harmonics may be the real cause of hold sensitivity as they impact the pellet's path while it is still in the barrel.  That follows from the separate discussions of the value of, and need for, harmonic stabilizers on the barrel as Hector has been promoting in his "tuned" 54s and the new 54 Pro.   

Anyway, these are interesting analyses and I look forward to seeing more of them!!!

Dave;

Sorry for the delay, but life has been extra hectic with a recalcitrant HW80 and two 1960's LGV's, LOL!

Anyway, you raise some really good points:

Futility of all "tuning" efforts.- In a way, you are right MOST of what shooters "feel" is BEYOND the 15th millisecond. The human senses simply "do not have it" to sense very fast phenomena. AND the pellet is out (in the three rifles used as examples)  in about 8 ms after the shot cycle starts (which is not when the trigger breaks, as there is an additional lag time between sear break and actual piston movement).

So, the pellet is really out before we can feel anything.

HOWEVER, you can see differences in the velocity of the gun between the three examples:

If you see at the LGV's curve, the pellet exits at, or very near to the point of motion inflexion, meaning that the GUN'S SPEED is very close to zero.
While, in the LGU's case, the gun's still moving backwards with some speed.
This may be a function of the different power levels (almost 1Ĺ ft-lbs more for the LGV), but it also stresses the fact that most airguns shoot better at around 13 ft-lbs and making them shoot just as well at 12 is an Odyssey in itself.

So, we need to see ALL aspects of the implications of the charts.

Now, BECAUSE the guns start moving FROM the moment of piston initial movement, the barrel starts being affected almost immediately. Vibrations in steel are transmitted VERY fast (between 10 and 10.75 kFPS), so the vibrations reach the muzzle MUCH faster than the pellet.
It is the ARCHITECTURE of each gun what determines how much the muzzle vibrates up/down/left/right.
A pronounced architecture, like the LG's and the FWB will impart more "rotational momenta" to the muzzle than the extremely slim D34 EMS.
Still, that is also the reason why I believe that controlling/tuning the harmonics of the muzzle is more important than it has been accepted.

Now, for the sake of fairness, we must point out that guns that too "flippy", "buzzy" , "twangy", or "snappy" simply are no fun to shoot. So, the "tuning" of the guns seems to be more for the sake of the shooters than for the sake of the guns themselves.
And that is FINE! A gun is not an isolated entity. It is part of a system that defines a larger frame of reference:
Scope/Rifle/Pellet/Shooter; EACH has a role to play and the needs and interphases of all must be taken into account to come up with a well-working system.

Shooting is 80% mental (at least). So ANYTHING that inspires confidence and contributes to the enjoyment of the shot itself is a positive contribution.

;-)

Keep well and shoot straight!







HM
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Offline HectorMedina

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"Figures lie and liars figure"?
Not really.
A look into how to use statistics to really look into the accuracy and precision of your airgun

Chapter 3 is here:

https://www.ctcustomairguns.com/hectors-airgun-blog/shot-cycle-dynamics-in-3-spring-piston-airguns-chap-3

Hope you enjoy, and if not, hope you get some useful insights.

Keep well and shoot straight!




HM
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Offline Bimota

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Hector, thanks I really enjoyed reading chapter 3.
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Offline MartyMcFly

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"Figures lie and liars figure"?
Not really.
A look into how to use statistics to really look into the accuracy and precision of your airgun

Chapter 3 is here:

https://www.ctcustomairguns.com/hectors-airgun-blog/shot-cycle-dynamics-in-3-spring-piston-airguns-chap-3

Hope you enjoy, and if not, hope you get some useful insights.

Keep well and shoot straight!




HM

This chapter would make an excellent entry in an intro course to stats - not only will it teach about the random walk but also get a bunch of students interested in air rifles - a win-win situation if you ask me ;D

That said, I wish there was a product that coupled this type of analysis with an optical scoring system. After a burn-in period with a new shooter it could be used to enhance training and better quantify the userís progress in mastering shooting technique. I believe removing subjectivity from scoring performance, especially with a good understanding of what role random chance plays, would be very helpful in professional training.

-Marty
  • USA, Massachusetts
"If people can't control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people's behavior" Rob Skynner

Invert the argument, does it still make sense? If it doesn't find a new argument.

Offline HectorMedina

  • GTA Senior Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 2061
  • yes
    • Connecticut Custom Airguns
  • Real Name: Hector Jose Medina Gomez
A day late, but it's here!

Chap 4.- Swapping power plants between the LGU and the LGV

https://www.ctcustomairguns.com/hectors-airgun-blog/shot-cycle-dynamics-in-3-spring-piston-airguns-chap-4

Hope you enjoy!





HM
  • USA, Maryland, Darnestown