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Old December 25, 2011, 03:53 PM   #1
Nick9130White
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Choke problems?!

I went duck hunting yesterday morning and ducks were flyin but my pellets weren't even crippling them. And for awhile I was thinking I just wasn't hitting them. So I shot the bill, a foot ahead, two, three. BEHIND. Nothing was working. AT ALL. So then I got so desperate I shot a ruddy duck on the water (not for nothing, my buddy uses them for stuff) at 20-25 yards and pellets completely surrounded him in the water and it didn't phase him. And that was with hypersonic 3.5" 4shot and it started swimming calmly to the left so I racked up a black cloud 3" 4 shot and shot again, NOTHING. surrounded by pellets and then he did his running to fly thing and I racked up my last shell. A blindside 2 shot 3" and pellets went around him and could swear it hit him and he flew away. And he was about 25-27 yards away.

I've narrowed it down to either shell or choke or both.
I'm using a benelli nova with a modified factory choke.
What is wrong?!
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Old December 25, 2011, 04:30 PM   #2
mrawesome22
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You need to pattern your gun with the shells you intend to use BEFORE you go hunting.
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Old December 25, 2011, 05:48 PM   #3
nathaniel
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What size choke is it exactly? I have an extened long range pattern master in my benelli nova. It took awhile to get used to shooting it but once I did I couldnt miss. Take it to the trap field and use it extensivley. Most people cant understand why they cant hit anything after pulling the gun out of the cabinet for the first time in a year and going hunting. Its just like a rifle, you have to practice, practice, practice.
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Old December 25, 2011, 07:11 PM   #4
Nick9130White
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It's the factory mod choke that came with the nova. Not sure the exact size but I can check when I get home
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Old December 25, 2011, 09:18 PM   #5
Art Eatman
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For whatever reason, similar loads from different manufacturers can have "holidays" in the pattern that a bird can fly through. Patterning is the only way to find out.

Remington might be evenly spread throughout; Winchester might have holidays. Or vice versa. And it can vary between identical shotguns.

Example: In my Model 12, Win high-brass 3-1/4 x 1-3/4 loads patterned nicely in the 30" full-choke barrel. I changed to a 26" improved cylinder barrel, and that same load has holidays. But, with Win low-brass 3-1/4 x 1-1/4 it patterns uniformly.
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Old December 25, 2011, 10:59 PM   #6
Nick9130White
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Damn. I only have a place to pattern at 25 yards. Is that to close?
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Old December 26, 2011, 02:27 AM   #7
columbia_shotguneer
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No, I think 25 yards is a good range to pattern any shotgun used for hunting. preferrably put you up a target with a 30 inch circle. That will show you where your pellets are hitting. I agree with the above said that some chokes/loads will donut your pattern while other chokes/loads will blister the center. I want to go out on a limb and say if your factory modified choke is what you are describing to me as a donut pattern at such short of range your stating, that an improved cylinder should be about right at the range you were shooting those birds at(20-25 yards). I am just basing this on the idea that magnum loads will often blow a pattern with too tight of choke when using harder than lead shot(mod choke =full). + 1 battle trying at least more than one load already and I respect that. Alot of folks spend hundreds of dollars on chokes and barrels just to shoot one brand/size load.
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Last edited by columbia_shotguneer; December 26, 2011 at 02:39 AM.
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Old December 26, 2011, 12:06 PM   #8
Orphanedcowboy
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If you are not able to pattern your gun, try backing down on velocity. I shoot nothing but 1400-1450fps loads in the 1 1/4oz range. When velocity goes up it makes it more difficult to get a pattern and maintain it for any distance, even more so for the thin spaghetti barrels.
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Old December 26, 2011, 05:47 PM   #9
AllenJ
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I'm going to respectfully disagree with columbia_shotguneer on the distance, you need to pattern your shotgun at different ranges and here is why: I once had a BPS that patterned better than any other shotgun I had out to 40 yards with all brands of shells I tried in it. At 45 yards that pattern had exploded and was the worst of all my shotguns.

I'm going to completely agree with columbia_shotguneer on moving to an I/C choke. For some reason we forget about that choke when shooting waterfowl but I have found it to be a very good choke size for steel shot.
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Old December 26, 2011, 10:42 PM   #10
columbia_shotguneer
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AllenJ, I take my hat off, to wave a fair shake of my brim your way! I see your point, indeed. It's all up to a particular gun, barrel, choke, and load, etc.
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Old December 26, 2011, 10:47 PM   #11
columbia_shotguneer
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It's just like me to forget a important thing on my closing statement, how could I have left out distance before my etc.
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Old December 26, 2011, 11:17 PM   #12
Art Eatman
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Even 25 yards beats not testing at all.
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Old December 28, 2011, 08:37 PM   #13
Rich Mc
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Some days we have off-days and don't shoot well.

I shot a Benelli with a od once and could only wound a hen pintail - then had to run her down after shooting my last 3 shells at less than 30 yards on her...

I found that my 870 shoots good with mod but kills 'em deader with full. The full choke does miss birds the mod would not but the ducks that fall are rarely kicking with the full choke.

Pattern your loads and try a full choke while you are at it.
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Old December 30, 2011, 07:47 PM   #14
langenc
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You said 'hit all around it'--three times?? Was the 27 yards accurate or was it 57 yards?

As I recall from the 50s when I duck hunted, killing a duck on the water was tough, even with lead shot.
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