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Old December 27, 2012, 02:16 AM   #1
Bake
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How do you tighten a 12Ga. pattern?

Is anyone familiar with how shotgun shells were reloaded before shotguns had adjustable or interchangeable chokes? I have a BT-99 with a fixed choke (I.Mod.) and would like to tighten it up some. The I.M. choke is good at 16 yds.,but not so good at the 21 yd. line.

Last edited by Bake; December 27, 2012 at 03:33 AM.
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Old December 27, 2012, 02:53 AM   #2
Virginian-in-LA
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How shells are loaded has little to do with chokes. The same principles apply whether building long distance goose loads. Although I seriously do not think an IM choke is too loose for 21 yards, you can put more pellets on target by using high quality plated shot, buffer the load, and use un-slit or barely slit shotcups. If you can find some international trap loads loaded with nickel plated shot that is probably going to be the best you will find, loaded. They ain't cheap.
Or, far easier, you could have choke tubes fitted to your barrel. Just make sure you get a good gunsmith to do it. Un-screwing up a barrel costs even more.
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Old December 27, 2012, 07:27 AM   #3
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You can try experimenting with shot size and charge/velocity. For example - bird shot patterns nice and tight with a full or xfull choke. Buck does not. Buckshot for me patterns well with a mod choke. velocity will change results too
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Old December 27, 2012, 01:07 PM   #4
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We didn't reload shells any differently when we had fixed choke guns ...vs today with changeable chokes...
---------------
Personally, I shoot a modified choke from 16 -22 yd line, Imp Mod 22 - 25 yd line, and Full at 26 - 27 yd lines...and the only shell I shoot is 1 oz of 8's at 1225 fps in a 12ga.
--------------
Depends on what load you're shooting now ...if its 1 oz of 8's ...you might get a little tighter pattern if you go to 1 1/8 oz of 7 1/2's ....but in general one of your better patterning loads are 1 oz loads. More velocity isn't necessarily the answer...because sometimes more velocity will cause more shot to collide and give you more "flyers" outside the pattern.

But about all you can do is go to the pattern board...draw some 30" circles around your point of impact....and shoot 3 or 4 of each shell that you're considering using ...and see what you get for that gun - for that barrel.

I thought all the BT-99's had changeable screw in chokes ..?? / I have the older model single barrel, the BT-100, and even it has Invector Plus screw in chokes in it...
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Old December 27, 2012, 01:47 PM   #5
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Yes...

...you can manipulate patterns. To tighten your IM pattern cores, try the old standby for trap shooters - Green Dot. This is on the slower side of the burn rate for target load (1 - 1 1/8 ounce) data - yet is fast enough to reduce muzzle pressure. Get that: the burn rate is slower to lessen the effect of acceleration set-back, but fast enough to keep muzzle exit pressure low.
This combination will tighten the pattern core. Be certain to use high antimony "magnum" grade target shot.
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Old December 27, 2012, 02:18 PM   #6
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Or, you could just go have the barrel threaded for choke tubes by someone like Briley, Carlson's Trulock, etc.

The IM should be just fine from the 21 yard line
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Old December 27, 2012, 04:29 PM   #7
Bake
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Maybe I should have mentioned these earlier:

1. The BT-99 was my Dad's, he died about 25 years ago.

2. The BT-99's SN. is 0027XX.

3. I sent the barrel off a couple of times to have the barrel upgrade for invector &
later for Inv+ choke tubes, but each time the barrel was returned without the
work being done. The enclosed note said the muzzle walls were just too thin.

4. My standard load is:
Federal hulls
CB2100-12 wads with 50 lbs of presser
Win 209 primers
16 1/2 grs (Mec #27)of IMR700X
1 oz. #8 (hard, or extra hard)

I settled on this load after shooting about 2 dozen different loads on a pattern
broad.

I've shot with this load (from the 16 yd line), 862 straight, and then went another 600 before another miss.

A few years ago, I remember reading about a company making wads that were able to spread/open up the pattern by a full step, but I have had no luck finding them, or the article. I was hoping to find some kind of wad that would tighten/closeup the pattern.

Sorry, I guess I should mentioned this earlier.

Bake

Last edited by Bake; December 27, 2012 at 04:59 PM.
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Old December 27, 2012, 04:45 PM   #8
BigJimP
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Well, if I were you ....I wouldn't get rid of the gun....and you're shooting well enough with it, that maybe fooling with screw in chokes won't matter.

I'm sure Briley could fit a new barrel to the receiver for you ...but investing that much money in the gun ..may not be your best choice. But you might call Briley ...and talk to them ...if you wanted to pick up a 2nd barrel ...what would they charge to fit it.

Maybe in a different barrel length - than the barrel you have now...32" or 34" barrels are common on single barrel guns.

Or just keep it for nostalgia ...as is.
-------------------
Invest in another BT-99 .....or a Citori XT Trap ...or Krieghoff KX-6 or K-80 or whatever you want ....if you're a serious competition shooter...there are always a lot of very good used guns out there too.

Some trap shooters are a mysterious breed.....when they miss 5 targets in a season....they sell the gun.....because its lost its "mojo".../ vs us skeet and sporting clays shooters - we're just nuts, in general....
----------------
Hang around the clubhouse for 2 or 3 hours....and you'll hear about all kinds of wads, or whatever....that will make a difference...a buddy of mine, buffers his 12ga loads with "cheerios" as in the breakfast cereal....and he's convinced it gives him an extra target or two ....so who knows....
---------------
Guys like me, that aren't even Trap shooters....have 3 or 4 Trap guns ( XT's, BT-100's, etc in their safes.....) just in case we want to shoot more Trap ...and even though we don't, we don't sell them either...until someone comes along that says they're looking for something.....

talk to the shooters at your next tournament ...

Last edited by BigJimP; December 27, 2012 at 04:50 PM.
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Old December 27, 2012, 04:59 PM   #9
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Did you try Briley and they couldn't even fit their thin wall tubes? I ask because I have seen them installed in some older Belgian Brownings, a Merkel SxS, and a few other guns that have really great balanced barrel that are thin. What size pattern do you get now as shown on the pattern board?

You might try a tapered hull (but I doubt it will show much improvement); there is a company that makes spreader ammo for older tight-choked field guns and they sell an insert, but I do not believe they have anything in a wad going the other way.

Another possibility would be to have someone either back bore the barrel or jug-choke it - but the cost might be prohibitive
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:00 PM   #10
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Sounds like you are looking for the flight control wads. They are supposed to tighten patterns roughly one choke step. They're loaded commercially in turkey loads, I know Hornady loads using them. I killed a turkey this spring with them. Not sure where one might be able to buy the wads for reloading purposes. Good luck.
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Old December 28, 2012, 02:33 AM   #11
340 Weatherby
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Magnum shot should tighten the patterns for you. But by the numbers your talking, I wouldn't change anything. Personally though I would shoot an ounce and an eighth past 16 yards.
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Old December 28, 2012, 01:31 PM   #12
Virginian-in-LA
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Look at Ballistic Products for wads. And nickel shot. I built some excellent loads with their stuff.
Go look at Briley's web site. They can fit choke tubes to your gun, and you can get flush or extended tubes in any constriction you desire, and they do first class work. They are one of the few gunsmithing outfits I would vouch for.
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Old December 28, 2012, 01:59 PM   #13
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Briley

I had a gun that Mike Orlen could not do, it was a Winchester 101. I chose to trade off the gun. But Briley said they could install their thinwall chokes in it.

Since the gun had no sentimental value, I chose to change guns.

As I recall it was going to run me a couple hundred to have the thin wall choke installed and a couple of chokes.

Sounds like it might be worth it to you, it was not to me.

I was also warned to be very careful with the gun after install, the muzzle is very thin with the choke removed.

I have not heard anything negative about the Briley thinwalls, or for that matter Briley in general, they have a good rep.
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Old December 28, 2012, 02:25 PM   #14
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Briley is the only company I would trust to do the work as well...regardless of what it cost....
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Old December 31, 2012, 04:04 AM   #15
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Everyone's talking about choke tubes and nobody's answering the question.

Yes, you can buy different shot cups that will have a different pattern at different ranges. The old Federal shotcups had very shallow side cuts and held the pattern tighter (i.e. the shot cup stayed with the shot longer and kept the shot together longer so that your pattern was tighter), Win AA Field shotcups had very deep side cuts and spread the pattern very well fairly quickly, and there were even shot cups called spreader cups that had a post in the middle of the cup to spread the load out very quickly (but they often blew the pattern for anything beyond 25 yds).

From the sounds of what you are talking about, you might want to talk to a knowledgeable smith about cutting a longer forcing cone, this was used to reduce recoil and tighten patterns in fixed choke guns. Just be careful who you choose to do the work, because once you recut the forcing cone, there is no going back!
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Old December 31, 2012, 12:43 PM   #16
Bake
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Thanks, Guys, Lots of food, for thought. I haven't done anything for the past 25 years, so I guess thinking about it for awhile, wouldn't hurt.
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Old December 31, 2012, 02:03 PM   #17
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Back in the day the rule of thumb was an equal amount of powder and shot by volume. More powder than shot opens a pattern up. More shot than powder tightens a pattern.
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Old December 31, 2012, 02:07 PM   #18
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Have the bbl. sleeved, just like the old guys like me.

-7-
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