View Full Version : Sighting in / Patterning a Shotgun?

Jeff Thomas
April 13, 1999, 09:08 AM
As I understand it, patterning a shotgun is simply experimenting with different loads at different distances so you can determine the specific characteristics of your shotgun.

I'm very much looking forward to taking my 870 to the range this weekend - just got it back from Hans Vang (18" ported barrel, MMC ghostrings, etc.). I plan to try a couple versions of Federal #1 buck, #00 buck, and some game loads. But, here are my questions:

1. What distances should I use? I'm assuming 10, 25 and 50 yards.
2. I've sighted in a rifle, but what is the proper procedure to sight in a shotgun? Right now I figure I'll adjust for 25 yards and see how the 10 yard performance varies - I would assume not too much.

Any other considerations? Does a shotgun barrel need any type break-in procedure?

Main use of this gun is self defense, although I'm sure I'll take it hunting this year as well.

Thanks for your help.

ps - BTW, Hans is a great guy to deal with.

Harley Nolden
April 13, 1999, 11:13 AM
Sighting in a shotgun:

What you are presenting is basically true. Deciding the manner in which the shot, or slug presents itself on the target. NOW What type of target.

With slugs I present it as zeroing a rifle. With shot it is a different matter.

In my opinion:
The entire shot pattern should be addressed. A target should be large enough that the whole pattern can be viewed.

A target size of an average man is a good size. using different shot, (00 buck, #4's etc) at different distances will tell you what percent of shot will be on the Stop Zone.

There is a test that I use that will give you a good example of the spread by useing several backings in line at different distances. 3yd, 7yd, 15yd, 25yd, 40yd, and 50yd. I used a sandbag rest and as the shot went through each backing I was able to determine the spread.

worked for me

The entire shot

April 16, 1999, 10:04 PM
EricK: I guess I'm a little confused also about this. While I was sighting in my Sage sighted ghoshtrings at the 50yd line in preparation for a 3-gun match, I wondered this - This will sight the shotgun in for slugs (that particular load/brand) at that range, but will buckshot at an entirely closer range, say 10-15 yds, pattern satisfactorily at that sight setting? I would assume you would have to check your buckshot load, at that range, with that sight setting, and see firsthand, but what if it isn't satisfactory? Do you check with diff. loads until something is compatible, or use a compromise sight setting? Help me out here Erick. I'm hoping this is a silly question and the answer is that the buckshot should pattern well with a 50yd slug sight setting. EricO

April 17, 1999, 04:32 PM
Gotcha Erick. Thanks for the info. I sometimes make things that aren't problems into problems. In my head that is! :-) My wife calls me anal retentive at times, and I'm inclined to believe her!