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Old May 3, 2012, 10:30 PM   #1
Nick S.
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Shot patterns.

I added 2 new extended choke tubes so I now have 3, (Full, Mod, & Skeet).Next I want to see the different patterns of each. Should I fire one, two, three, Etc. at each target sheet? I can set one at a time up at my rifle range. The line is live for 15 minutes in between target changes. It'd be great to set up 3 at once but the range is usually crowded. If it's one shot per target it'll take an hour to fire 3 shots. All while other shooters are waiting & watching for their turn to shoot. I guess I could also set up a small target in the lower corner & plink at it with my 22.
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Old May 3, 2012, 10:36 PM   #2
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I suggest doing at least 3 per choke. I have noticed changes in pattern between shells in the same box when patterning myself.
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Old May 3, 2012, 11:06 PM   #3
Nick S.
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I was thinking at least 2 or 3 per also. My friend said he would only shoot 1. I said but when you sight in a scope, you take at least 3 shots before you adjust to correct. This friend out shoots me every time on the range. Maybe that explains his advice. He wants to keep it that way.
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Old May 4, 2012, 08:21 AM   #4
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Many will shoot 5, but counting holes gets boring - be sure to try each type of ammo you will use as well-

for example - if you use 1oz. 8's for some and 1oz. 7-1/2's for other targets, pattern both of them as there might still be a difference. What the choke is labeled is a general approximation of the pattern it SHOULD provide, but it can be different in each gun
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Old May 4, 2012, 01:05 PM   #5
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If you want to see how effective the patterns are ...just fire one shell.../ then you evaluate the saturation of the pattern area - typically a 30" circle from the center or point of impact.

When you sight in a scope ..or a red dot ...on a rifle or a handgun you are looking for point of impact..( way different than a pattern ) you fire 3 rounds verify the point of impact (vs you flinching, etc). Then you adjust the sight and fire 3 more ...and dial it in.

Patterning and finding or adjusting for point of Impact ...are 2 very different things....

Looking for a Point of Impact on a shotgun'd use a Full choke ...and see where the gun is hitting vs where you are looking ( on a shotgun, your eye is the rear sight ) ... This is the concept of "Fit" you adjust the stock, recoil pad, etc the gun hits - where you look. In this case, I'd fire 3 shells as well ...then adjust my stock or comb ...and fire 3 more and dial it in ( just like if a shotgun had a scope or red dot on it). Once I have the shotgun adjusted so it "Fits" - because it hits where I look ....then I consider "patterning" to check my shells or my chokes....

Patterns - effective size of the pattern size vary by choke a specific range....! A modified choke at 35 yds should give you about a 30" circle with an effective pattern - with no holes in it - and it will vary if you shoot one oz of 8's vs 9's or 7 1/2's because the pellet count is different. A skeet choke will give you an effective pattern or a 30" circle at about 21 yds... / and I would pattern a Full choke at 45 yds... ---- then I would evaluate "the pattern or density" of each 30" circle....seeing if my shot pattern had any holes in it. So when you "pattern" a gun are evaluating the shell you chose - or reload --- and see how its performing ( so it ideally gives you that 30" pattern - at the desired kill range )....and you're also evaluating your chokes see how they perform ...just because the choke says its a Mod...doesn't mean it'll give you a good pattern at 35 might be tighter than you ideally want or more wide open. So if I had 6 Modified chokes...I might pattern each one of them see which 2 of them, I'd set up for my primary use that gun.

Remember a choke is the amount of difference in the constriction between the diameter of the bore ...and the choke.../ so I have some guns (12ga) that are a little tighter bore than others....and picking the right choke makes a difference. Some guns and choke combinations throw tighter patterns ...because the difference in the constriction is a little tighter. I have a Benelli 12ga semi-auto ...and all of its chokes my gun ...are a little tighter than the label on them indicates..../ so with that gun, I shoot an open Cyclinder for Skeet....and IC for Trap singles ...( where with one of my Brownings...I shoot a Skeet choke for Skeet and a Mod for Trap singles).....that's why you have to pattern a gun / plus to see if my reloads are blowing patterns ...maybe I've got them too fast ...or something...or hulls are wearing out ...or whatever...

So don't mix up the concept of Fit - and Point of Impact .....with Patterning a Choke or patterning a shell and choke combination....

Last edited by BigJimP; May 4, 2012 at 01:14 PM.
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Old May 6, 2012, 07:37 PM   #6
Nick S.
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Thanks Bigjim.
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