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Reading the breaks Xmas Poll!

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Dr A C Jones, Dec 29, 2009.

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  1. Dr A C Jones

    Dr A C Jones Member

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    Well after all the excitement (and a little rancour) lets see where people stand with respect to reading the breaks.


    State which of the categories best describe your break reading beliefs.


    A) The way the clay breaks reveals nothing of interest.


    B) There are solid/hard hits and chippy hits. They don't always indicate a centred shot and off-centre shot respectively, but mostly a chippy hit means some adjustment is required. Assume typical target distances for shotguns.


    C) Hits can be read and reveal directly where the shot pattern is relative to the target but only when the target is close and the pattern is tight. (or some other limited scenario).


    D) Hits can be read and reveal directly where the shot pattern is relative to the target at almost all typical shotgun presentations.


    E) Hits can be read and reveal information about the shot placement, PLUS, extra information about pattern quality (due to choke constriction, choke design etc), shotshell quality, etc. This is the highest level of sensitivity.



    I'm a "B".


    I'll put HMB down for a "E".


    Andrew.
     
  2. JACK

    JACK Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    If I am close behind the shooter, I can see the shot go by the target on a miss. About half the time. and usually, a full choke hit will tell me that the shooter is centered or slightly off. Most of the time. And usually I can guess on which side the target is hit by seeing where the big pieces fly out of the strike. Kiner can do this on video.

    Oh... That was not the point? Oh.
     
  3. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    I'm an "A". (No ribald comment, please.)

    I've done this experiment in "real time;" I was the shooter and others did the judging. Here's what I found:

    1. It is really, really hard to aim "just a little off." Mostly you miss until you refine that to "just a red hair off."

    2. Once you do that, the best-intentioned subject could not tell where you were shooting from Shinola.

    Neil
     
  4. Dr A C Jones

    Dr A C Jones Member

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    Neil, You surprise me. I didn't expect anybody in the "A" bin.

    Andrew.
     
  5. Dr A C Jones

    Dr A C Jones Member

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    Bryce, I meant your breaks or observations, not my videos.


    I should take this opportunity to make something else clear. I mean "reading the breaks", not observing the shot string, or where the observed shooter appears to be pointing the gun.


    I know exactly what Neil is getting at. I have video clips of full choke clips, and centred shots using the open choke. It's surprising how difficult it is to tell some full choke hits from some cylinder shots and how some slightly off full choke shots still destroy the clay. Personally, I'd still say that (assuming the pattern is tight enough, say 85% PE which is cylinder at skeet distance and full choke to about 35 yards) smoke is a good indicator of being on the target, chips a good indicator you are not.


    However, if I did a test, as Neil has, I might well be surprised at how hard even this modest target is to meet.


    It is also worth pointing out that just because a lot of people agree on something does not mean it is correct. Neil might end up being the only "A" and be correct.


    Andrew.
     
  6. Doug Kennedy

    Doug Kennedy Active Member

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  7. wayneo

    wayneo Active Member

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    Well Doc, I'm not sure you have a letter designated for me. I thought I could read breaks with a full choke, but with so many variables, and so few pellets it takes to break a target. I don't know. I shot a round of trap and skeet this weekend, and watched another round of each. I could not be definitive on the breaks.

    Let me ask you a question. What if I'm using a modified choke, on the 16 yard line, and at 40 yards I have a hole in the shot string toward the center of my pattern. I chip the clay on one side or the other. Wouldn't that look like I hit the target on the side, when actually the shot string was centered? Wayne
     
  8. 20yard

    20yard TS Member

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    Well the answer depends on the choke and shooting distance and the break itself. If its a wide open choke or at a long distance with any choke It's an A, you cant tell much because pellet density at target is too low. If i have a tight choke and at the 16 yard line I'd say B to C. It still depends on actual break, some dont tell me anything. But some when you see a hit left, right, top, bottom i am convinced that location is the center of my pattern. I also shoot some games where your partner shoots a piece and have practiced shooting left side of target and you see a break that sends a large piece to the right. Now sometimes you miss and others you smoke whole target but i think if someone with a full choke stands on the 16, and shoots a box trying to hit on left they will be able to "read" some. I take it that Neil tried this and it didnt work
     
  9. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    That's just what I tried, 20yard. I had a set plan for left/right. My observers - who of course did not know the plan - got about half right.

    Neil
     
  10. Dr A C Jones

    Dr A C Jones Member

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    Wayne, If the position of the impact could be "read", then yes. But my video clips showed that on a lot of occasions the position if the pellet impact did not cause the clay to break in a predictable manner. Sometimes they might, sometimes not. Similarly, sometimes a single pellet strike gave ~20 pieces, but on other occasions only 2-3. So, as well as the source of confusion you alluded to, there is the unpredictable response of the clay. In short, you can't tell anything from a single shot.

    The only way to avoid this state of affairs is to have a sufficiently tight pattern to draw plenty of dust most of the time. At 40-yards, "most of the time" is the best you can hope for because even the best choke (~80%PE) will only give three+ pellet strikes ~85% of the time. One or two strikes ~14% of the time and none ~1% of the time. (All figures assuming 400 pellets.) If you start opening-up the choke, the probability of 1-2 pellet strikes increases and then the chance of the undecipherable light hit to which you alluded also increases.

    Now, a lot of people will use words like "crushing", "grinding", "smoking", "destroying", etc to describe their gun's performance at great distance. Either they are suffering from an optical illusion or their gun patterns way better than 90%PE. The latter is easy to verify. So far, my best gun is 78%PE at 40 yards. I think Neil has an ~81%PE result over 10 patterns.

    I think the "optical illusion" is simply that at 40-yards the human eye can't resolve small pieces of clay going in random directions. I have experienced this many times at the range when people are shooting high driven style clays. 30-40 yards straight up in the air looks pretty high. Often when people hit the target it seems to largely disappear. Some seconds later some fairly large pieces hit the ground.


    Andrew.
     
  11. Smok'n Joe

    Smok'n Joe Active Member

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    Have to say at least a B...

    Really need to define what READING a BREAK is. I think everyone will agree that we would all like to see consistent SMOKED, INKED, SPLATTERED, CRUSHED, DESTROYED, etc. targets. I also think everyone will agree that it takes some time to get to that level, i.e., it is a very rare occassion that ANYONE takes a gun he has never shot before and runs 25 straight devastating breaks.

    So, I hope you all agree that as we LEARN to shoot a particular gun, or work on getting it ZEROED in, or use different chokes, loads, rib heights and comb settings, etc., progress is measured by how hard the target breaks.

    I think you will all agree that a SMOKED target is a GOOD THING and we all assume that the smoked target indicates that we made a centered hit. Likewise a CLEAR MISS has got to indicate that something went wrong. Those are the extremes. The information that we get by "READING" the CHIPPY breaks in between the extremes is what we can use to hone our skills, adjust our rib, comb, choke or load, etc., until we find something that WORKS.

    Now, if guys are running 100 straights with with a .410 from 27 yards and alternate practise rounds shooting from the hip or with both eyes closed...
    more power to ya! If you can honestly say that you can consistently and deliberately place your shot 1/2" high, low, right or left of any target, then you are trully blessed...you should be writing instruction manuals and have no need to READ anything.

    But, if you are like most of us, I hope you will agree that the quality of the break is certainly something that can be assessed and provoke adjustments. Although even the BEST shooters will miss an occassional target, most of their hits are centered breaks and they get to that point by READING THEIR BREAKS.

    My point of reference is an ongoing endeavor to get master an SKB Un-Single that I affectionally refer to as my "ADJUSTOMATIC". I know what the gun is capable of doing, but I'm struggling with getting it to perform.

    While I was struggling with getting the gun zeroed in on its second or third outing, I suspected that it was shooting low left. During a round of 16 yard, I got 4 consectutive HARD LEFT targets shooting from station two and SMOKED all four. At the end of the round a friend put a laser on the barrel and sure enough, it was shooting low and foot to the left. I reset the comb which corrected the POA/POI with very noticeably improvement. On a subsequent round, I adjusted the rib down one notch to raise the POI. Doing nothing else resulted in progressing from CHIPPY breaks to CENTERED HARD HITS...

    Isn't that READING THE BREAKS????


    Smok'n Joe
     
  12. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    I'm a "D" as generally I can tell where I am in the pattern by which way the fragments fly. I try to shoot the nose off every target unless it's a straight away.
     
  13. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    I hafta agree with Bryce and his view of the way he sees or reads his target performances.

    Unless a video is used or the observer can actually see the shotstring and it's relationship as it passes a target, reading hits isn't 100% exact science. Think of all the angles of possible pellet strikes involved from true straight to the greatest angled target? Chipping a target tells you something, you didn't center that clay with the pattern if you smoke a lot of those same targets. It's my belief you can drive a pellet through a target with either side of the pattern and break a piece of the ring off or an even smaller chip! The data feedback your eyes give you at the moment of the shot tells you where you were in that respect.

    With certain backgrounds, I can see others shotstrings but I can't see my own! When guys stop their gun movement on an angle target, they usually shoot behind that target. Hitting or releasing the trigger while stopping the guns movement, gives the shooter false data feedback. He saw the necessary lead, stopped and shot behind the target! How would he read the break if one of the pellets on the outside of the pattern happened to hit the leading edge of the target? That piece may give him the impression he was too far in front when in fact he shot behind? That's the way I see reading the targets develop.

    Hap
     
  14. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    I am in group B.

    Pat Ireland
     
  15. 870

    870 Well-Known Member

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    I find the analysis interesting, but honestly, I don't care much about reading the breaks, other than "good" or "not so good." Keep shooting and you will make the adjustments without thinking about it.

    I think the shooter gets better input from other observations during the shot that help determine where he was. Sometimes I feel I was right on but still miss, these findings seem to support that is definately a possibility. Good to have another excuse available!

    I am interested in more discussion of the number of pellets that might hit a target at, say 32-35 yards from a full choke. Is a smoked target really a result of a 3 pellet hit? I'm not arguing against this observation, I'm just interested.
     
  16. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    870,

    Is a smoked target really the rsult of a 3 pellet hit?

    Only in Andrew's mind. His explanation has failed to consider pellet hits on the pieces of the target generated from the initial pellet strikes. The first hits were from pellets in the front of the shot cloud. Then the broken pieces are turned into an ink ball by the main portion of the shot string or cloud. HMB
     
  17. 870

    870 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not so sure about that guys. There have been a few vidoes and pictures of targets breaking on this site over the years and to me, the so called shot string doesn't look all that long at all. I am leaning toward the Doc's view since he is the only one that shows us something and doesn't just say what he imagines happens.

    Seems to me most of the pellets are past the target before many of the pieces actually spin off in another direction. I just thought the string looked a bit tighter where a lot more pellets were hitting the target. Maybe some of the videos I'm thinking of were at closer range, leading me to that conclusion?

    Then again, it was probably detonation.
     
  18. Dr A C Jones

    Dr A C Jones Member

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    870, The numbers I gave were for 40-yards. For ~32 yards try a PE of 95% in the Pattern Optimiser above and see for yourself the approximate number of expected pellet strikes for a full choke.


    Regarding shotstring, if you look at this clip from the quiz thread:


    <object width="425" height="344">





    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/YWCnH49yP7A&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>


    The following pictures capture just after the clay is first hit and then the next two frames.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    In the time the shotstring passes the clay (assuming the leading pellets hit the clay) the shotstring will have passed the clay sometime between the 2nd and 3rd still images. The clay doesn't move much in the time the shotstring takes to pass. (Assuming a target distance of ~30 yards).


    You can also see this effect in Tom Salzer's very high speed video I included in the quiz link.


    Proponents of the theory that the pieces of clay get blown into the path of other pellets thus magnifying the effectiveness of the pattern need to come up with some proof.


    Andrew.
     
  19. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    The proof is in the pudding. HMB
     
  20. waverider

    waverider Well-Known Member

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    B & C here. Reading breaks only on singles.

    Your video is with 24 grams = ~7/8 oz; 7 1/2 shot; .029 constriction = ~ Lt Full.

    I would like to see the same shot taken with a 32 grams = ~1 1/8 oz; #8 shot; .040 constriction = X-Full or olden days Full Choke. Or at least .035 constriction, modern day Full Choke.

    Jason
     
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