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Old September 14, 2005, 08:14 AM   #1
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Join Date: September 13, 2005
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Mods for tightening shotgun patterns

Hi guys. I'm a newbie here and haven't had time to go back through all the threads, so I may be repeating a question here, but here goes.

I was at a turkey shoot last weekend. The only two rules that matter are no extra full/turkey chokes and no poly-chokes.

What can I do to my gun to tighten my patterns. I'm shooting an 870 express 12G. I was considering the having the forcing cone lengthened and polished and maybe getting the barrel backbored.

Does anyone have any experience with these mods?

Any other suggestions?

Thanks for your help.
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Old September 14, 2005, 08:47 PM   #2
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Forcing cone work will help, but handloading will help even more. Hard plated shot and lower velocities can do amazing things for pattern density. AA wads, quality plated shot, very slow powders and loads around 1000 fps can make a modified barrel shoot patterns that look like they came from a turkey choke.
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Old September 14, 2005, 09:30 PM   #3
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Using hardened shot, plated shot,and buffered shot all tighten patterns and make more uniform patterns. Steel shot also works .But you have to experiment, guns and ammo vary considerebly. ..When I shoot geese I use a modified choke in my Benelli and with 3" steel BB shot I get an Extra, Extra Tight pattern !! I try for head shots with that combination !
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Old September 15, 2005, 07:36 PM   #4
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Unfortunately, they supply the ammo. So any ammo related tricks are out the window. I was considering palming a 3" no. 7 1/2 shot, but I'd probably get caught! LOL!!!
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Old September 17, 2005, 12:40 AM   #5
T. O'Heir
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Hi. What choke do you have now? If it's not a full choke, pop into your local gun shop and buy a full choke barrel. New or used will do. If your 870 will handle 3" magnums, it'll easily handle a 2.75" with a full choke.
Just remember that turkey shoots are social occasions, not competitions. Spending a pile of money on your 870 to win one is a waste of time and money. $20 will buy a good sized turkey. Having anything done to your shotgun will cost much more.
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Old September 18, 2005, 01:57 PM   #6
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I've got an 870 Express 3" with Rem-Chokes. I was using full. I was also shooting a Cooeye 12g 3" full choke model 84 single shot. I paid $50 for this one way back when and I was actually thinking about doing the mods to this one in the hopes of someday using it to go turkey hunting in my later years when I MIGHT have more time to go. This one also shot worse than my 870. I figure even if I mess it up, I'm out the cost of doing the mods plus $100 for the old gun and one to replace it. I think of it as more of a research and development project and am not worried too much about losing the money on it. I could probably go out and spend that same amount for a weekend at the bar and end up with nothing more than a hangover to show for it! I'm doing as much research as I can and plan on buying the tools from Brownells and doing the work myself.
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Old September 19, 2005, 11:12 PM   #7
Dave Haven
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One of my Dad's friends came up with a trick to tighten the pattern.
He drilled a hole in top of the barrel with a #31 drill about 2 1/2 inches back from the muzzle. By releasing gas, it slowed the wad and allowed the shot column to to lead the wad without the wad spreading the pattern. It tightened the pattern considerably.
Your results may vary.
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