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Patterning a shot gun is a waste of time!

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by ebsurveyor, Apr 5, 2013.

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  1. ebsurveyor

    ebsurveyor Member

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    After seeing all of the "posts" concerning patterns I can't stay quiet any longer. Question #1 is how many of the really good shooters bother to pattern their guns?

    I still believe it is important to check for POI when making changes. But, counting holes in paper is a waste of time. It all started with silver bullets. For handicap I shot mostly Federal papers 3 dram 7.5's and I could see harder hits with the new silver bullets. No "paper" was shot just targets and it was easy to see harder hits with the silvers. So , at the Grand that year I bought some extra ammo to be tested later.

    Now after four address changes my notes are lost and I must write from memory When I got the new shells to my local club the first test was with the chronograph. All I can remember is: the Feds were right at 1200 fps and had the least variance. I think the AA's were a little faster and both Win & Rem had more variance. Now on to the "paper" test.

    Up when the paper. We measured 40 yards and fired away. As usual my patterns had so many holes in them that I wondered how I could even hit a 27 yard target. I shot 3-5 patterns with the various loads and it was easy to see the AA Silver Bullets were putting more pellets in the paper. Why?

    The next test was to cut open the shells and look at the shot. First was a Fed. paper., nice size 7.5 shot and the pellet could was normal. Surprise Surprise the AA SB's had about 30 extra pellets in each shell. The AA's weight was good but the pellets were not all 7.5's. The shot size in the "NEW" silver bullets varied, mostly 7.5's supplemented with some 7.75's & 8's.

    Since I shoot factory shells and have no control over what they put in them I just do my testing on targets. You can't go wrong if you remember "Smoke is good, chips are bad and more smoke is better". Holes in paper are holes in paper.
     
  2. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    A very astute observation on your part, don't forget to tell Neil. HMB
     
  3. Avaldes

    Avaldes Well-Known Member

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    Uhh, ok.
     
  4. mx2k33

    mx2k33 Well-Known Member

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    First started shooting trap with a Browning O/U. Couldn't understand why I was chipping and missing easy quarter angles. Patterned the gun and found out that it shot a 70/30 pattern(about 6in)from the bottom barrel...only it was to the left, and the top barrel shot a 60/40 pattern (about 3in.)to the right. Called Browning and was told that the gun was "within tolerances". Sold the gun and shot Perazzi fixed choke guns ever since...and you're right, never had a need to pattern any Perazzi.
     
  5. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    The original poster is a very good local shooter and I share his opinion, especially when it comes to patterning for point of impact unless you are confirming that no abnormalities like barrels that don't shoot where they look are present.

    Several years ago, a local shooter with too much free time started patterning his K-80, Silver Seitz and Kolar. His scores went down dramatically and he kept saying that "the gun is shooting where it should." Meanwhile, he shot himself into two yardage reductions. I went to his club one afternoon at his request to observe his patterning drill.

    He had gone so far as to have a print shop make up patterning targets for him! After numerous shots showed that his gun (the Seitz that day) was shooting roughly 70/30, we signed up for a round of practice.

    Numerous misses and light hits later, I adjusted his comb upward and his breaks became better. By the end of a second trap, he was back in his old form and shot well that night. We shot together the next night and he was missing targets like it was his job. When I asked what happened, he said he patterned it that afternoon and didn't like what he saw, so he adjusted it to shoot "where it should."

    The next day, I shot my gun at his targets multiple times and could not believe how high it shot - 140% high by our calculations and here's why patterning for POI doesn't hold water for me. I can accidentally run up too far on a target - to the point of covering it with my gun - and still break it fairly hard. That just about cannot happen with a gun shoots that high. Obviously, there is something I do when shooting a moving gun at a moving target that I do not do when shooting a stationary gun at a stationary target.

    I adjust my guns to break targets hard when I first get them and almost never adjust them after that. The score sheet gives you no points for pretty patterns that are in the "right" place.

    Ed
     
  6. Dickgshot

    Dickgshot Well-Known Member

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    Confucius say:" Only pattern shotgun before you buy it, or after you sell it."


    Confucius also say:" Never ask a question that you don't want to hear the answer to." O.K. Maybe isn't wasn't Confucius, but good advice all the same.
     
  7. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you this... Patterning really shows what combinations of ammo and chokes work or do not work for turkey hunting, and it gives a good indication of effective range with a particular combination.

    For example, I found that some brands of shells were good for another ten to 15 yards over others, because of shot hardness. One company used bare but hard shot and it did better than another company that was copper plating soft shot. The recovered shot showed that going through the super full turkey choke it was being squeezed literally into cubes, while the other brand resisted that.

    Ditto for buckshot. Some brands can extend the range because of harder shot and buffering.

    Both of these patterning tests are important to me for turkey and coyote hunting.
     
  8. Tron

    Tron Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    It's a waste if not done properly. The patterning board is a tool and not a definitive answer to anything.
     
  9. Stl Flyn

    Stl Flyn Well-Known Member

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    What really makes it a waste of time, is if you can't hit the board.
     
  10. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    I believe that patterning a shotgun barrel is beneficial to the shooter. I had a friend who purchased a new Kolar combo set. Out of the box he ran 100 straight.

    He decided he wanted to pattern the gun after he shot and he decided he did not like what he was seeing on the pattern sheet. He took his barrel to a local gunsmith and requested barrel work be done.

    Even the gunsmith tried to talk him out of it because he just broke a straight. The gunsmith gave in after the barrel work was done he patterned the gun and liked what he saw.

    The following week he entered a tournament and broke an 88. The next week he sold the gun. Some times, maybe it's better for some shooters not to know what the pattern sheet actually looks like??
    Steve Balistreri
     
  11. dale1957

    dale1957 Member

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    It gives u the confidence that the guns pattern has no holes in it and it will break the target. That problem solved. Then set it up to shoot where u r looking. That problem solved. Now if u don't hit the target it possibly could b u. It eliminates 2 questions. The 3rd is ur shooting ability.
     
  12. bluedsteel

    bluedsteel Member

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    I am with AveragEd and ebsurveyor on this one. The comment by AveragEd "Obviously, there is something I do when shooting a moving gun at a moving target that I do not do when shooting a stationary gun at a stationary target." is well worth repeating, and is true of my experience with patterning.

    I think that most would agree that if one normally breaks 22-25 clays per round and suddenly starts breaking 15-20 per round, even with a different gun, then patterning then might be worthwhile, AFTER other causes are ruled out (such as: picked up the .410 instead of the 12 gauge, forgot to wear corrective lenses, forgot to load shot into hulls during reloading, forgot to take medication, etc.).

    But, if one normally breaks around 90%+ of his/her targets, then patterning is probably a waste of time, and may even be counterproductive, as has been stated.

    bluedsteel
     
  13. blizzard

    blizzard Active Member

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    So how does one set up a gun to shoot where they look?
     
  14. 1atatime

    1atatime TS Member

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    Years ago I took a trapshooting class from Frank Little. Someone asked him about patterning a gun.

    Frank's advice was to check it for POY, then give it to a good shooter to pattern, then have him give it back and tell you it shoots the best patterns he's ever seen.

    Other than POI, you'll drive yourself nuts worrying about "holes" in your pattern. What he also said was essentially that there is never a hole in the middle, so if you know where it shoots, all you have to do is center the target.

    Shoot well and don't get caught up in the small stuff.
     
  15. OldGoat

    OldGoat Well-Known Member

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    1 atatime said it best!! Patterning to check "point of impact" seems to have merit...especially if it turns out the gun is patterning too far left or right. High or low patterns can possibly be the result of the shooter's technique as described by AveragEd above or gun fit. Since the definition of a "good pattern" - meaning density of shot in a 30" +/- circle - is a whole different "ball game" as noted by the original poster of this thread. What is a good "percentage"...80% @ 40 yards? Since I turned 73 and had 7 heart bypasses, I don't seem to worry much about this as I once did...just shoot a light full choke and 1 oz. of hard 8s up to 22 yards and 1 1/8 of 7.5s further back. Best Regards, Ed
     
  16. shooterIII

    shooterIII Member

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    But it's so much fun!
     
  17. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    eb, I would certainly agree with you if you were to re-title this thread to improve its accuracy. I suggest "Patterning a shotgun the way I do and probably the way you do too is a waste of time." I've no quarrel with that at all; your post described it perfectly.

    If I understand you correctly, you were trying to find out if one brand of factory shells "patterned better" than the other two. I can't see from what you wrote how you were going to determine that, but that's really where you have to start. If you don't have some plan about deciding what is better, then you _are_ wasting your time.

    I've even stored a graph somewhere to illustrate what you and your pals did:

    Nomnosort0045_zpsd261966e.gif

    I'm sure you recognize that. But now ask yourself, what did you expect? That the "answer" would jump out at you like the alien in the film? Just because you tried to do something without any planning or hope of success doesn't mean everyone is in the same boat, or that it wouldn't have worked if had done a better job with it.

    All you need is a plan, some time and money, and a willingness to do a little non-strenuous work.

    Here's how. Remember what you are trying to do, find if one brand is shell works better for you(so you can buy a season's worth) and you decide that pattern percentage at 40 will be your criterion. You get the paper, shoot the targets at the measured distance, photograph them and run them through shotgun insight and now the answer _does_ jump out at you.

    BrandAbest0040choke_zpsb9b483ac.gif

    And really that's all you have to do. You have the answer; there is a "best" brand and you know which it is. If you had done this, you would know too.

    But you are on a roll and have these other choke tubes. . . Are these pattern effects really as variable and unpredictable and all the pattern-naysayers say? It that why it's a waste of time, nothing repeats?

    Of course not - it's just more bull to justify not getting off our dead butts to find something out.

    Here's the result with a 0.035 Wilkinson choke:

    BrandAbest0035choke_zpsb7d561e8.gif

    and 0.045:

    BrandAbest0045choke_zps294a7d4d.gif

    So that's it, nice reliable data, no surprises, just multiple confirmation that you made the right shell choice.

    But still. . . OK, you have selected your brand of shell, is any one of these three chokes better with those shells. Heck, the data are right there, all you have to do is look:

    3chokessamenolegend_zpsfb11e4ae.gif


    Apparently none has a big advantage, but I'll look up the one with the most pellets in the inner 10-circle and use that, _knowing_ I've made the best selection of shells and choke for handicap this year.

    And you are going to do that some other way?

    I know, when you and the rest read "You get the paper, shoot the targets at the measured distance, photograph them and run them through shotgun insight" above I lost you all right there. The $50 spent on paper and the $10 in shells could buy a lot of cheap beer and the time might be more rewardingly invested in Laverne and Shirley reruns, but that is the sort of cost/benefit calculation we do every day. If it not worth it to you and the rest, then it's not worth it to you. But that does not mean it's a waste of time universally; it's just that you would like to waste your time doing other things.

    I often wonder if there is any other sport where the participants revel in how little they know, proudly proclaim how unwilling they are to learn anything. Look at this thread, remember all the apocryphal Frank Little references, look at how your club's pattern board has fallen into disrepair with no one caring, read the BS people here post. No wonder people think patterning is a waste of time! They don't have the foggiest clue how to do it and they have never met anyone who really has done it, no matter what they say. The magazines they read are thin gruel indeed and a guy here posted a question how to do it a week ago and no one could answer!

    Patterning is a waste of time if you are too lazy to carry it out in a way that can tell you anything. If you aren't that lazy, patterning can tell you how to improve your scores, maybe just a little bit, but improve them nonetheless. It's not a question of the value of the technique, it's just a question of your willingness to do work that may make you a better shooter. Most people don't have that willingness, which is all the better for those that do.

    Yours in Sport,

    Neil
     
  18. Jawhawker

    Jawhawker TS Member

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    If you don't enjoy patterning and learning then obviously its not a productive format to involve yourself with as most likely you'll half a$$ the outcome.

    But to tell others that little benefit can be gleaned from the experience is akin to telling just trust me as I know it all!

    But it really doesn't matter what I say as those that believe to what they will and patterning correctly for efficiency is definetly task related.

    A few years ago a gun I had been shooting for probably 4 or 5 years was causing me some anxiety as I was breaking mid 90's in handicap consistently but couldn't break the winning score. Went and patterened it the day before I left for a 5 day zone shoot with its load of choice that had been previously validated. In the first handicap of the shoot I broke 100. In the next 4 I had two 98's (one was a winner the other tied for high) a 97 & a 96. The gun patterned like it should on paper. I just needed mentally assured all was well.

    Now I don't think I can be convinced nothing but boredom is created from the experience.

    But always remember one fact of life. Each has to go forth as they seem fit!
     
  19. 4th. down

    4th. down Active Member

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    Amen!

    Next?
     
  20. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Trap clubs are full of guns like that, jcl, yet we have people here telling people that checking how your gun is really working (for or against you) is a waste of time!

    And look at the general intellectual content of this very thread. We have Steve telling us that we shouldn't pattern because someone with more money than brains may have (or maybe didn't, who's to know) made a mistake. Count on confidence, not fact. All this stuff about moving targets and so on, I mean it, what could be sillier?

    It's all just nonsense. If you want to know something, go find out. If you don't, don't. But don't try to convince anyone that there is merit in your position, don't try to convince people that they should be satisfied doing as little as you do.

    It's as Kay says. Some few people are willing to do whatever it takes to win. And those are the ones who _do_ win. Everyone else is fighting for second place.

    Neil
     
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