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A wad & pattern test with 7/8 oz. loads (Winston)

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Neil Winston, Jan 3, 2009.

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  1. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    When I first started trap in 1982 I did as many do – I read everything I could to “catch up” on a sport whose technology was foreign and endlessly interesting. Who could have guessed that all these apparently tiny differences could have such on profound effect on patterns, scores, wins and everything else? The magazine “Shooting Trap” was my constant companion, as were the myriad reloading guides, Gough Thomas, Burrard, Braun, you name it. I remember sitting on a rainy day in a northern Minnesota cabin torn between the pattern-widening effects of 700-X or the push-rather-than-jab recoil of PB.

    It all seemed pretty straightforward. There were pictures in ST – representative patterns from Green Dot compared to the same from what-all and you could see the proof right there. Clearly, the differences were such that there were combinations to avoid as well as seek and Oberfell & Thompson (The Mysteries of Shotgun Patterns) which I fell on like a hyena on carrion laid out an easy-to-follow path to nail down the good ones, involving in particular the evaluation of “patchiness” resulting from one load or gun and using nomographs to come up with a rating from “poor” to "excellent." Oh yes, there were Wannsee and Krogius to pay attention to as well, though they largely discounted the former. (I must say now that there were parts of O&T I should have paid way more attention to and in fact am starting to, if belatedly. There may be a way to quantify "even distributions" but it'll take more study and retrospective analysis before I go much farther with it.)

    Here’s one of my data sheets.

    [​IMG]

    Now if that doesn’t establish my credentials as obsessive-compulsive I don’t know what would. Six concentric areas, four quadrants, all the rest of that calculation and computation. It was only 1983 of course and I was only a year into it, and I see that by 1985 I’d thinned it out to just pellets and percentages and all the rest of that had gone by the boards because not a shred of it was reproducible. Three consecutive patterns never got the same rating, the patch-count never duplicated, and informally, it became clear that I could reproduce any of the “differences” I’d admired in magazines just by shooting a half dozen using the same shells and picking patterns which would illustrate any point I wanted to make. You want even? Pick shot three. Patchy? Pattern five illustrates that. Six has an unusually even distribution, don’t you think? Let’s call that Super-Lite powder for an upcoming article.

    I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of these pages. The number of birds it got me is unknown, but not large, other than by patterning I found a lot of barrels that didn’t shoot straight and saved myself a lot of grief that way.

    I assumed that my patterning was at an end with the notebooks passing unappreciated to my heirs, but then Andrew Jones came up with Shotgun-Insight, his photo-based pellet counting program. Finally it was possible to shoot enough patterns to get an average and range and variability, a task about impossible when approached the way I’d started out. With three/five patterns you could never tell anything, and though ten isn’t enough to see small differences, it will surely tell the wheat from the chaff.

    I’m now several hundred patterns into this new rededication, and I must say I’m more doubtful than ever about the results reported here on TS.com, which is largely just a replay of Shooting Trap without even the misleading photos. Today again I read “When trying a new load” and see all these posts reporting differences and easy ways to find them and wonder why I never do. I only use factory or conventional reload – no tricks – and they are all about the same and just fine at that. Why would I use anything else?

    I’ve never paid much attention to posts about the effect of wads on patterns. Until Trap2's (Dan Thome) Versalite study a few weeks ago, a refreshing change with pellet-counts, they have been mostly about “more even” and “hard-hitting if I do my part” and that kind of thing. Nothing you can test, nothing I’ve been even tempted to think about much less try. After all, I have a couple of loads that work using conventional components; why chase after phantoms I’ll probably end up keeping in the same cabinet as my target-lead blueprints and low-recoil powders?

    But last winter, I saw something I could test, and which might actually have a result people could use to improve their scoring and bolster my personal understanding of the effects of lighter shot-charges. As you all know, seven-eighths ounce loads have enjoyed a period of popularity here (whatever happened to them; they were everywhere?) and along the way someone asked about wads for STS hulls. There was a reply that there is “only one load” that would work in the 1150 to 1200 FPS range and that is the Federal 12SO which, besides exhibiting more consistent speeds, produces patterns which are “absolutely terrific.” In contrast, the poster continued, the WAA12L (the so-called Winchester Gray wad) has inconsistent ballistics below 1250 fps and the patterns are no good either.

    I tested the ballistic part and that didn’t prove out – there was really no difference in consistency of speed or pressure.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    . . . but the pattern comments stuck with me. I’d loaded plenty of each for patterning but since I didn’t shoot 7/8 ounce much anymore I let it slide until the September issue of Shotgun Sports reignited my interest with claims about dramatic effects allegedly attributable to different shot-column heights.

    It was late fall before I got out to Metro in Blaine, Minnesota and got a chance to work. I tried to assemble what I thought a real-life competitor might use shooting singles with 7/8 ounce. The distance I chose was 34 yards, which is just my standard for singles; the pellets were Remington Tournament Grade 8 ½’s. WW 209 primers sparked enough Red Dot to produce speeds of 1150 FPS from once-fired STS hulls. I used the under-barrel of an MX-2000 Perazzi with a bore of 0.738 and a choke of 0.030 inches, all entirely standard stuff, but just one of countless equipment choices shooters make all the time. I thought of this protocol as “typical” though another would have been equally reasonable.

    Let’s look at overall pattern percentage and smaller concentric areas, as good metrics of “quality” as any other. Here are the two wads in the cited speed range, a tested 1150 fps.

    [​IMG]

    And since so many speed shells like up quite a bit, I did some at 1300 fps.

    [​IMG]

    The graphs say it all. There’s no difference at all in the patterns produced by these two wads in this experiment. Note too that there’s no added pattern spread attributable to the big increase in speed from 1150 fps to 1300, just as I got with one-ounce loads. All of which makes me wonder once again, why is everyone else reporting results I never get?

    I did some other work with 7/8 loads which I’ll post as soon as I get it together. There will be something interesting to look at there, I promise.

    Thank you for your interest,

    Neil

    © 2009 Neil Winston
     
  2. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    Don't you hate it when Neil actually tests things?

    Facts and proof make for boring clubhouse conversation.

    Speculation and anecdotes are much more fun.

    So Neil, what did shotgun insight say about the probability of breaking a target at 34 yards with these loads?
     
  3. bigbore613

    bigbore613 Active Member

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    What I have always said ,given payload times X amount of FPS equals , x plus or minus .010 deviation in pattern. Just shoot its the Indian not the arrow. Thanks Neil. Jeff
     
  4. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Mike, I just want to test what people might use. I've no doubt the fiber wads would make a big difference, distance I don't know about, and the speed I think would have little effect. But this is lot of work and expense and I can only justify the time for "mainline" subjects; time's the real constraint and I have to make it pay off to the max. There are all these modified barrels to get to, a Baker Big Bore, enough for years, really.

    timb99, that's what's in the next installment, as well as a return to my old one-ounce experiment I've never completely analyzed in this way. There'll be a lot to think about, but I don't want to spoil it... And thanks to the others who responded as well.

    Neil
     
  5. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Neil. Can't wait to see your results.
     
  6. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    "But Neil...did ya try this ____ ?"

    Or "Neil...but what about that ____?"

    Or "Neil...how come you didn't try such-and-such?"
     
  7. markdenis

    markdenis TS Member

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    Neil

    Thanks for the exhausting effort it must take to complete these statistics and inform fellow shooters.

    Mark Rounds
     
  8. RunGunIPSC

    RunGunIPSC TS Member

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    Neil,I admire & appreciate your work. I have been seriously playing with patterns for at least 35 years. Every thing from 12 thru .410. Perhaps if you find it convenient sometime,send me your phone # & a time to call,and we can share some thoughts. I would relate my ideas here,but I peck/hack at the keyboard & a call would be so much easier. And the invatition stands to anyone else that is a student of patterns,velocity & POI. Tom Lobonc Hamilton,MT 406 821-3215
     
  9. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

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  10. Shady Creek

    Shady Creek TS Member

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    Thank you. GOOD LUCK
     
  11. Kemen053

    Kemen053 Member

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    Thanks for the results Neil,I was comtemplating getting some 12so's shipped to the land of Kangaroo's,but after your results I may just stick with AA's.That said my Kemen prefered the two piece wad over the 12S3 in Federal papers. Regards Ross
     
  12. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Thanks Neil, great data but it will not stop the search for the perfect load. There is another dimension to this question that can't be quantized. That is the mental confidence one shooter has in his loads. If "Joe the Shooter" is convinced that Nobel primers produce less recoil and better patterns than Winchester primers, he will shoot better scores with Nobel primers regardless of what the pattern is actually doing.

    Pat Ireland
     
  13. Dr A C Jones

    Dr A C Jones Member

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    Nice work Neil.

    There are bonus points for anyone who can say why the change in speed does not have a big effect on pattern spread.

    Andrew.
     
  14. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    Andrew,

    Because both loads are subjected to the turbulence caused by passing through the sound barrier. Only sub sonic loads will show a measurable difference. HMB
     
  15. Dr A C Jones

    Dr A C Jones Member

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    HMB, No bonus points there I'm afraid. If you read my thread on the air flow over pellets you would have seen that subsonic is in fact "transonic". As far as pellets are concerned there is little magic about the speed of sound. Doubt this? Go and pattern a sub sonic shell and compare with a shell at just over the speed of sound; 10 of each and average.

    Andrew.
     
  16. chipking

    chipking TS Member

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    Neil Thanks for a bunch of hard work. How did these compare with 1oz and 1 1/8 oz through the same set up.

    --- Chip King ---
     
  17. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    Bonus points? Lemme git my guessin cap turned around here.

    The higher velocity load gets to the target quite a bit quicker for less time in the air. Years back when softer chilled shot was the most used, higher velocities could lead to more pattern spread easier than higher antimony shot. Even with softer shot the velocities had to be extremely high to see that spread.

    Good work Neil, thank you for sharing!

    Hap
     
  18. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    Neil,

    Very nice. I wonder if there's a wad that is used today that wouldn't perform 'with the pack' at trap range speeds. If you wanted to show a difference, could you find a wad that would lag? My general impression is that you don't think there is one. Of course, it's only fair to compare wads in the same volume groupings.

    Joe
     
  19. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    Andrew,

    Subsonic is subsonic. Neil did some testing a while back that showed some degree of pattern improvement with subsonic shells. You remember the fellow in the jet plane in the movie "Breaking The Sound Barrier", remember what he said? "We are encountering buffeting". HMB
     
  20. chipking

    chipking TS Member

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    Hows this for a stir. HMB and Andrew are BOTH right. Any object moving at less than 1126 fps at sea level can be termed subsonic. HOWEVER back to "Breaking the Sound Barrier" buffeting begins at around .8 Mach and normally continues to some degree to around 1.2 Mach. That zone is defined as Transonic because airflow on an object within that region can be either supersonic or subsonic depending on where you look. While the term is most often applied to flight surfaces it can be applied to any object moving through the air within .8 to 1.2 Mach. At sea level 68 degrees that region is 901 to 1351 fps. just mt 2 pennies

    --- Chip King ---
     
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