In the time I've been on this site, I've seen any number of people attest to the accuracy of this barrel over that barrel, this paint over that paint. I've noticed that, for the most part, these tests are horribly conducted and prove basically that the test performer conducts poor experiments.
The goal in conducting an experiment is to determine the results of the manipulation of a single variable. That is, you must hold everything as constant as possible EXCEPT for the variable you're testing. Here are some things to consider when performing such an experiment:
-Keep the marker steady (cough*bench vise*cough)
-Ensure consistancy of velocity (I'd say if you're not getting +/-5, you needn't bother continuing.)
-Ensure the target is a constant distance from the marker.
-Test inside, so as to prevent temperature fluctuations and wind from affecting results.
-Use a control. If you're simply comparing two barrels, fine. If you're comparing two paints, fine. You won't learn much from taking your new 16" Freak and shooting a case through it on a well-conducted bench test and then leaving it. You need something to compare the data to.
Now, depending on what you're testing (barrel or paint), consider the following:
-If you're testing the barrel, use the same kind of paint, but use multiple boxes. Paint does flucuate from batch to batch, you might go so far as to buy your paint from multiple stores/websites. Obviously this is expensive, but it's the only way to get definitive results.
-If you're testing the barrel, try to use multiple barrels. If you're trying out 14" Boomsticks, use three or four, to ensure your Boomstick isn't different. Only bother with this if you're trying to claim that the Boomstick brand is better than some other brand, however. If you're simply comparing the accuracy of two barrels you own (to know which to use, for example) then don't bother; it doesn't matter how good the Boomstick line is if you bought a bad seed.
-If you're testing paint, again, buy multiple boxes from multiple places. You want to test multiple batches of paint; often a single sotre will get multiple boxes of the same batch. It's not economical or even feasable to check a single batch of paint, so you'll always want to do this.
-Use the same barrel and clean and dry it periodically, to ensure no build-up occurs in the barrel.
Some other things worth considering:
-Rapid fire. If your gun isn't consistant over multiple shots, then you'll have to test at very slow rate of fire. I would reccomend aiming for about 5 bps, to ensure there are no chops, and likely no shootdown.
-Target distance. You won't learn much if you're shooting at a target 20 feet away. Likewise, you won't learn much shooting at a target 300 feet away. Try and use a medium distance (60-90 feet sounds good.) If you want, test at all of those distances and try and figure it out. It's your money.
-Before you consider controlling something, consider: will this change over the course of the experiment? If it's even remotely possible it might change, control it. Don't attempt to justify it as "it won't matter anyways." You'd need an entirely different experiment to figure that out.
Alot of people justify their tests at the field by saying, "Well, it's not consistant in a game, either." This really baffles me. You certainly can't control things like the weather or even the precision of your aim in a game, but that can't be expected to make up for the randomness of barrels. In a game you might get lucky and the wind or your shaky aim might put the ballexactly where you want it. I'll re-emphasize lucky, because it's not a guarantee. Your luck runs out and you don't want luck influencing an experiment.
PS, sticky pwease.