View Full Version : Leads vs. Speed

June 16, 2012, 01:15 PM
I found this Bruce Buck article enlightening.


I and my regular shooting partner have an ongoing dispute over whether or not we should shoot 1 ounce or 1-1/8 ounce loads for 16 yard trap. His scores regularly drop by three kills if he shoots the lighter load and the other day I did much better shooting his high velocity 1-1/8's. This suggests that the high velocity (about 1350 fps and forget for the purpose of this post that the speed exceeds ATA limits) more shot is better.

Perhaps and perhaps not. My take on what Bruce is saying is that there is a differnce in lead between the two velocities, but not as great a realized difference as between a low velocity and a boomer. HOWEVER, if one's built in computer is used to calculating leads for one velocity, and you go to another the computer may be thrown off.

My buddy has been shooting his 1350 FPS for at least 6 months and I wonder if he lost so many birds more because he was giving leads appropriate for the faster load and not so much because of a less dense shot pattern (all were loaded with the same brand of #8).

As for moi, I had been shooting 1's for a coouple of weeks, then 7/8's for a couple, then back to 1's just for the first 3 boxes the day I tried the 1-18 high velocity loads for my 4th 25. The velocity of those 7/8's was 1250 fps, the ones were 1200. I was bewildered as to why with more shot, I was getting lower quality breaks than I got with the 7/8's.

While the additonal 50 fps in velocity may have had something to do with it, and the birds were bio, I am not thinking that the reduced speed translated to a need for a bit more lead and I was probably breaking clay with the periphery of the pattern. The boomer 1-1/8's reduced the need for any lead to center the pattern.

I am rambling. Does this make sense?

My primary conclusion from this is to stop jumping around from load to load.

June 16, 2012, 01:51 PM
My primary conclusion from this is to stop jumping around from load to load.

Problem solved..............;)

June 16, 2012, 02:02 PM
Youre thinking to much. Focus on the bird and pull the trigger.
The leads in trap (16's) arent big enough to worry about payload speed. I shoot 16's with my 7/8 oz skeet reloads running about 1200-1225.

June 16, 2012, 02:15 PM
Oneounce and LSnSC are right on, as usual, but when have I ever been accused of thinking too much? (Not necessarily arriving at the right conclusions, but over thinking things.)

June 16, 2012, 02:34 PM
TKM, my friend, to parrot the others, I think you're over thinking this. The example refers to a 40-yard shot crossing at 90-degrees. When do you encounter a shot like that in trap or Skeet? If it's a straight away trap shot, there's no horizontal lead. If you're on the Skeet field, the range is closer to 20-yards.

There are some short cuts to learning the leads, but they still must be learned. But, consider this: If a target takes about a 3-foot lead at 20-yards and a similar target at 40-yards takes about 6-feet, then the angular lead you see at 20-yard will be about the same angular lead as you see for the 40-yard shot.

The trick is learning the lead (as an angle ahead of the target) for the various presentations. Take Skeet as an example: Shooters talk about learning the leads for all the station. In reality, the physical lead is the same at each station (except #8) -- the target takes the same time to get to the center stake at each station, and each station is the same distance from the stake. It's the angle (to get that lead) that's different from each station. Once you learn the general lead angle for various presentations, then you've got to get focused on choke and load selection based on the target's range.

Skeet and trap are simpler than clays because the tried and true loads and chokes have been known for some time (of course, there's always someone trying to re-invent the wheel). With clays you have to know the leads as well and the optimum coke and load based on a changeable target distance. That's why it may be recommended that newbies learn the lead angles at Skeet and trap to make learning clays a little easier.

June 16, 2012, 03:18 PM
I think I at least understand what you are saying. While there may be no 40 yard shots crossing at 90 degrees in 16 trap or in skeet, I have no idea about what one might encounter in bunker trap or sporting clays.

Still, I don't think that was the point that Bruse was making and he may have selected an extreme angle and distant to illustrate what I beleive was his primary point, which was not to be to anal about whether powder drops vary by a half a graing (unless you are approaching safety limits).

Since 16 yard trap doesn't have 90 degree crossers, I suppose velocity would be even less of a factor in determining leads.

June 16, 2012, 04:31 PM
just shoot 7-1/2 target loads (any brand) with a M or IM choke for 16 yard ATA. Easy, problem solved... :rolleyes:

340 Weatherby
June 16, 2012, 07:26 PM
Hello Klawman, missed you at the range lately. The games your playing with the shotshells are the same one's I played thirty years ago. You know I'm not a trap shooter, but I used to play all the club games at Turkey shoots and such. I always felt I could build myself an advantage with better ammo (faster). But it just never really worked out that way. If I was going to step on a trap field with you and 300, it would be with 1 1/8 Oz. 7 1/2's at 1200 FPS. I'd rather break a few more targets with that load and buy cheaper beer to make up the difference.

June 17, 2012, 04:16 PM
TKM - there indeed 40 yard 90 degree crossers in sporting - I shot today with a friend and several stations had them - except none were the same. One was a looping chondelle R2L, another was a curving and dropping L2R, yet another was a screamer from R2L and going from high to low - each target was so different that "lead" and trying to "measure" it was a waste of time.

SEE the bird
MOVE the gun to the bird
SHOOT the damn thing
KEEP the gun moving while firing
BREAK the target

Most failures occur because the shooter failed to do number 1, 2, or 4 on a consistent basis

SEEing the bird is not as easy as it sounds, especially in sporting where NO target is the same from station to station. Trying to figure out if it is a standard target or a battue or midi, is it still climbing or starting to fall where you want to break it, are you seeing dome or belly or a transition from one to the other - all of that needs to be determined BEFORE you even call for the bird after looking at one show pair.

We had some today that were black high-looping chondelles - against the sky they were invisible until the sunlight hit them and reflected - by then they were a fast dropping target - not easy.

Skeet would be the best for earning that because the birds ALWAYS travel on the same exact flight line as Zippy mentioned

June 17, 2012, 06:04 PM
And thats why you dont see any perfect scores in sporting...

Each discipline requires a slightly different skillset. The hardest thing for me to do in trap and skeet is not let my mind wander. Thats the difference between the pros and us mere mortals.

I had a pretty good skeet round going this morning. I decided to take my hunting shotgun, an older AL 390 nicknamed Black Death, out for a spin. I had a pretty good run going, first and second round I crushed the targets. Third round I dropped low #5, not too bad I can still shoot a 99, right??? Wrong! I dropped low #6 TWICE on the 4th round. Finished with a 97 due to not maintaining my focus. Afterward I was replaying the misses it in my head and each miss I called for the bird before I was ready. 2nd miss on low 6 was frustration. Brain fart. My head was momentarily stuck in my 3rd point of contact.

June 17, 2012, 06:27 PM
The hardest thing for me to do in trap and skeet is not let my mind wander.
My mentor used to say you have to concentrate for only about 2 or 3-seconds per target. That equates to about 4 or 5-minutes in a 100-taget event. Doesn't sound too hard, does it? It's easy for your mind to wander while the others are shooting, the hard part is getting back on track when you're up.

Creek Henry
June 17, 2012, 07:10 PM
Well, a little math here... for a target crossing at 90% traveling 60fps (about 40mph) 40 yards away, a pattern travelling an average speed of 1500fps = 4.8' of required lead. The same target shot with pellets averaging 900 fps = 8'.

Now, for the same taret at 16 yards, 1500 fps = 1.9' vs 3.2' for 900 fps. So, for skeet ranges, it matters a foot or so (or 50% of your lead).

What really matters for ducks and flying critters is air speed + wind speed. A bird flying slow with a 30 mph tail wind can be tricky to hit.

June 17, 2012, 07:34 PM
a pattern travelling an average speed of 1500fps
Do you have a clue about the muzzle velocity required to drive #7 1/2 (or larger) shot 40-yards with that average? It would take some hot tamales.

Creek Henry
June 18, 2012, 05:54 PM
Yes I certainly do. These are theoretical velocities stating what could be considered max/avg/min values... I omitted the minimum values because that would be about 100fps and not very informative. We can go guy 1700 fps duck hunting shells today and that is far from the theoretical maximum speed of a 1oz load!