View Full Version : Patterning an 870 for Trap

March 13, 2011, 09:48 PM
I searched and read some of the old threads and hava an idea what to do, but what I saw was for O/Us. I have heard that a pump probably shoots flat.

Anyway, the only chokes I have now are a skeet and a modified. I undersatnd what Dave McC said about patterning with a tight choke to identify where it is hitting, but I don't want to buy a choke just for that. Maybe I can borrow one.

Prado has a patterning board and I guess I don't need any fancy targets. Some construction or butcher paper will do and I can clip it to there board.

I guess since the idea is to find out where it is shooting in relation to whare I am pointing, do I literally draw a bead which I try to avoid doing when shooting at clays? I am told then if I look at the berad I will almost always miss but that is a moving clay and this is patterning.

Also, I assume I am limited to the largest shot size allowed for shooting clays. Too bad as it would be nice to see where a slug hits.

To rule out operator error, if possible I will try to get one of the dead eyes at Prado to try it if I see someone I know.

Meanwhile, my scores are improving. One of the benefits about shooting badly it's easy to do better.

Also, does a strong wind in your face reduce your effective range?

After starting this thread I jusst saw the post on a grease patterning board. I thnink that is what they have at Prado but I will bring some paper targets made up in advance.


March 14, 2011, 03:59 AM
here, lets make it easy. Pattern the gun at roughly 30 yards with the modified choke. Use a large patterning target, or just make your own. Fire one shot, take a look, then fire a few more. No big deal.

A pump and autoloader shoot about the same, the action has nothing to do with shooting flatter or not. Just use the choke you intend to use on the trap field...

March 14, 2011, 06:23 AM
As I understand things, Dedicated Trap guns are set to shoot high. Field guns by comparison, shoot lower (flatter).
I, also, am new to the Trap game. At this point, I use an old Mossberg Country Squire - a variation of their 500 - with a 30" FC'd barrel. To get it to work for me, I had to add an inch to the LOP (which I did with a spacer and a removable recoil pad) and a lace-on comb.
I would pattern at 40 yards - though I have done some of my guns at 30 - as I like to know what the extremes may be (and I'm using a FC).

March 14, 2011, 07:18 AM
Patterning is seeing what kind of pattern you gun shoots with different shot/ choke combo's. I think you really want to check where your gun shoots. The idea is to get it to shoot where you are looking, without "aiming". I shoot at 20 yds with a full choke at an orange stick on spot. Start at low ready, mount your gun and shoot without "aiming". If your shooting consistently low you need to add to the comb, high you need to lower it. For trap most shooters like 60-70% of their pattern above their aiming point to compensate for rising birds.

March 14, 2011, 07:56 AM
Most field guns shooting "flat" means they are putting 50% of the pattern above the POA and 50% below, while target guns, especially trap guns are designed to be 70 or even 80% high as the shooter is shooting a rising target and it lets the shooter "float" the bird above the rib to keep it in view. Some of the guns even have adjustable ribs so the shooter can adjust the POI/POA to his/her liking

KM - use the M choke for trap from the 16 for now - you need to see where it is shooting in relation to where you are pointing - thus the grease plate or pattern board

March 14, 2011, 07:58 AM
Check this web site.

If you have ever wondered what all this about close-range shotgun testing is all about and wondered "if P&PTa13y is right for you" as they say in the pharmaceutical commercials, then you should click on the link below and find out.

http://www.northstarclaytarget.com/tech ... ttern.html


March 14, 2011, 08:12 AM
My first post does not work. Google :shotgun pattern 13 yd Neil Winston".


March 14, 2011, 11:08 AM
To rule out operator error, if possible I will try to get one of the dead eyes at Prado to try it if I see someone I know.That would be somewhat meaningless since everyone mounts a gun a little differently. And, without a mid rib bead, how do you know if your gun is in the same location each time you mount it? Get that short monte carlo stock and target beads and then worry about your POI.

It's not rocket science. I've shot at several gun clubs where you shoot into the side of a hill. It works great as a backstop for rifle and pistol, but makes a lousy background for Trap and Skeet. But there is an advantage to having a slope covered with broken clays: Stand fairly close to the embankment and you can see exactly where your pellets hit with respect to your aim point.

For slugs, you may wish to try a rifle range.

March 14, 2011, 12:26 PM
I think you can get a pretty good idea of Point of Impact .../ center of your pattern ...by shooting a Modified choke ( aim at a big dot - say a 1" circle) at 20 yards ...and see what you get. You should be able to at least see - if you're hitting primarily low or high ....or if its left or right. Typically, I would say mount - and shoot at that dot - 3 times / to make sure you are consistent in your mount and taking the shot. If all 3 shots are wildly different - it gets to Zippy's point about making sure you mount the gun the same way every time ( and a mid rib bead will help that).

It would be better if you can borrow a Full Choke ....but I 2nd Zippys comment - that letting someone else shoot the gun is irrelevent. What's important - is what is your point of impact/how the gun fits you ...not someone else.

But like others said "patterning" and determining fit by "point of impact" are different. Once you get the point of impact / then looking at your effective pattern at 30 yds or so with a Modified choke ---will tell you something about what you are doing to a typical "Trap" target that you should be hitting at about 30 - 35 yds when it is still rising ( you stand at the 16 yd line / and the target starts to flatten out at about 35 yards or about 20 yds beyond the house).

March 14, 2011, 01:08 PM
Great explanations. Thanks. It may help to know where the gun is shooting in relation to where I am pointing.

I looked at Neil Winston's post on patterning and while it helps to understand, I don't think I will try to emulate him at this point. As he does it, patterning is a process that happens over time and there are a few pointers that I wonder about for me.

One important one concerns 13 yards. He is using paper and if for now I will be using paper clipped on a steel grease target I wouldn't want to be that close in case of ricochets. Maybe that is silly but until someone that knows a lot more than myelf I wold be concerned.

He suggests using a rest or even sitting, which I had wondered about if the idea is to reduce inconsistencies.

I picked up on ignoring the wad, especially as I can often spot it and had been using it to try and tell where my shot was going. Apparently that it not a good ideas.

He also puts the bead on target and given that I don't have a mid bead and my mounting remains inconsitent I think I will try to point as suggested by Zippy.

March 14, 2011, 01:16 PM
BigJim. I just saw your post. That 3 shots indicate I am doing everything esle about the same if they all pattern the same makes sense. Since I have enough variables to worry about, I will try to get or borrow that full choke.

March 15, 2011, 07:26 PM
Shooting off a rest wont help much IMO. You need to mount and shoot your gun without aiming. If it does not shoot where you're looking patterning is of little use. That modified choke with a load of 7.5's or 8's will do the job at trap IF the gun is pointing where you are looking.

March 19, 2011, 02:29 PM
I shot at a paper patterning board yesterday. I didn't quite center the target far enough down from the top and didn't check between the three shots taken at 30 yards with a modified choke, but it did appear to shoot "flat" and perhaps slightly to the right, but that could be a problem with my aim. At this point, when I tend to shoot late and as the target (trap) is falling I am pleased with the performance of the gun. I canalso see how it would be better to develop a pattern with a tighter (full) choke but I pretty well got the job done with the assistance of a trusty gun bearer.

We learned a little trick. As I didn't have something to mark the kraft (similar to brown package paper) type roll of paper with the gun bearer took a smalle paper target abpout 8" square and suggested wetting it down and seeing if it would stick. It not only stuck, but stayed stuck even when I tore the paper dosn and hauld it back to the line.

I did this with aiming since I only wanted to know where the gun was shooting in relation to where it was pointing and not to where I was pointing when shooting, which adds a host of variables.

Nick S.
March 23, 2011, 09:00 PM
After about a year of shooting lousy at the trap range I broke down & paid for a lesson. My gun is a Mossberg 500 pump 12 ga. I told him I was thinking of investing in a good quality trap gun & he said "I'll show you how to hit clays with this gun & save you alot of money." He gave alot of pointers about the sport & because he could see where the shot was going in relation to the clay, I could adjust my aim & knew exactly where to point. Once I got in the zone, I hit 11 in a row.