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XT Pattern Dilema

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by rdland, Jul 20, 2012.

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  1. rdland

    rdland TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    I have been shooting trap for just a few years and have been shooting a Ljutic single barrel with a fixed choke for singles and handicap. I have done pretty well and have shot my way up to AA class, handicapping from the 25.

    My shooting buddies recently twisted my arm into shooting doubles to complete my trap experience. I got a very good deal on a 34" Browning XT with adjustable comb. I then went to the patterning board. I raised the comb a little to get my desired patterned height. The top and bottom barrels pattern well and about identical elevation wise. The bottom barrel is dead on but the top barrel patterns to the left. The initial patterns were done with the Invector Plus factory chokes Full on top, IM on bottom. I tried the IM on top and it shot about the same distance left.

    There is a plethora of varying opinions out there on patterning and I feel that I have covered most of the bases. I patterned it off of sand bags and an elevated solid bench at 25 and 30 yards. At best, the pellet count averaged about 15% left for the top barrel compared to the bottom. I patterned it at 15 yards and the top blew a nice ragged hole about 10 o'clock and the bottom 12 o'clock.

    I have tried different chokes than the factory Invector Plus chokes that came with the XT. Friends lent me some Briley INVPXL extended and Spectrum Invector plus chokes of different constrictions. The chokes were thoroughly cleaned before testing. xt barrel threads are fine as all chokes easily screwed in and out. Although I only used three different types/brands of chokes the top barrel still shot to the left when comparing the same choke and constriction or different constrictions to the bottom barrel with identical loads. I tried the same choke on top and bottom, different chokes on top and bottom and the top still patterned left while the bottom remains pretty much dead center for left and right.

    Testing was done with 1 oz loads of 8's Win 209's, once fired STS hulls and Clays powder. I tried WWAA12SL's, Claybuster clones, Green Dusters, DR TGT 12's and Windjammers. I also tried 1 1/8 oz loads with Winchester 209’s, Clays, once fired STS hulls, WAA12’s and Windjammers. I tried to keep all loads around 1180 - 1200 fps (Hodgdon Manual). Some wads did a little better than others but ultimately, the top barrel still shot left of the bottom. 15% pellet count left was about the best I could get. All loads were tested through the various chokes listed above. I even had other shooters pattern it and although patterns varied considerably among shooters (which is to be expected), the top barrel patterned left of the bottom to various degrees for all shooters when using the same loads in each barrel.

    I have now heard the razzing about why I got such a good deal on this particular XT have been advised to sell it and buy a more expensive gun or an auto. I am reluctant to do this at this point as I have just started shooting doubles and don't really know if I will do a lot of it as a really enjoy singles and handicap. I think that the Browning is a pretty good gun and can’t justify spending a lot for a higher end gun for an event that I just started and am not sure of. Others tell me that this is why they never pattern their guns because it just messes with their heads. Some say if I just go out and shoot what I have, I would never notice the difference. They may be correct but as much as a head game as trap shooting is, I know that the left shooting pattern on the top barrel will always be on my mind when I call for the bird. At this point I don't have much confidence in the gun and we all know that really has an effect on scores.

    What is more discouraging is that I have patterned a friends Browning Citori Trap and other O/U's and although the choke constriction between barrels was different, pattern alignment was great. This confirms my assumptions that it is the XT and not me.

    That is the reason for this post. Should I try a completely different recipe for each barrel in a hope to find something that will pattern the top barrel to the right? A completely different load for each barrel seems like more of a pain than it is worth. Several loads pattern great and work fine for singles and handicap in the Lujtic. I know many shooters who shoot singles, handicap and doubles with the same load and/or factory ammo and do very well. XT’s have a good reputation, did I just end up with a bad one? If I have overlooked anything or you can add some advice or logic, I would appreciate it as I am pretty frustrated at this point as I have put in a lot of time, effort and a recycle bin full of pattern paper.
     
  2. Scott Johnson

    Scott Johnson Well-Known Member

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    PM Steve Maltzahn, Creston Iowa, he will know what you can do. I have heard him talk about offset chokes you can buy that will true your gun to center. Scott
     
  3. MDMike

    MDMike Well-Known Member

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    Well, I've got an XT that shoots about 20/80. I just don't understand Browning's quality comtrol. I had a friend that won then new 425 as a prize. He had to send it back to Browning as he couldn't hit anything with it. They replaced the gun with another 425 and all was well. I don't know what to tell you.
     
  4. Rufus80

    Rufus80 TS Member

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    Have you shot it at targets yet? I have the exact same gun you have,but with 32"barrels, I use it for singles and doubles. I have never patterned it, just adjusted the comb till it felt right and smoked targets with regularly. There is a reason I never put my guns on a pattern board and you figured it out, the mental aspect. Now that you know the top barrel is off that is all your going to be thinking about. I say just go shoot it and see what happens. Also Briley offers offset choke service to help correct your problem. Good luck.
     
  5. Unsingle

    Unsingle Member

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    Have you checked yourself in a mirror to see if you may be canting the gun to the left? I cant my guns and if I am not careful, it will throw my top patterns off to the side. I have to correct my trap guns by twisting the but stock pad to eliminate the cant. Some guns may cause this to a certain degree by the way they are made. How far off to the left is the top pattern compared to the bottom pattern? You may be amazed at how much you cant the gun, especially a new one that you are not use to.
     
  6. charleyj10

    charleyj10 TS Member

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    Recently I allowed a Junior shooter to try my Browning XT 30" that I hardly ever use. He had a severe problem with canting the gun to his left. I think the OP needs to check that very carefully before he does anything else.

    Charlie
     
  7. RobertT

    RobertT Well-Known Member

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    I believe Briley can make chokes to compensate for the difference. Honestly, I think you may have never noticed the difference had you not patterned the gun. A 15% difference may not show itself in actual clay shooting. As for more expensive guns, seen to many Perazzis etc. that shoot more divergent patterns that you describe.

    Robert
     
  8. ClaySmoke

    ClaySmoke Member

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    I see that a few guys have questioned whether you are canting the gun...if you were canting the gun one way or the other, it would affect the bottom barrel more so than the top barrel; seeing as how the bottom barrel is farther away in relation to the bead. If you were canting the gun to the left, \ for instance, your bottom barrel would be patterning to the right, while your top barrel would be just slightly off to the right of the POA. This effect is very small, and is definitely not the cause of your issue with the top barrel. Garrett
     
  9. rdland

    rdland TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Thank you all for the great input,

    I am inclined to go along with ClaySmoke on the canting issue since the top barrel patterns left for me and several other shooters. The canting issue came up when patterning, so when patterning off of the sand bags, I made a concentrated effort to ensure that the gun settled quite well vertically on the sand bags and even had people stand behind me to make sure the gun was aligned. Admittedly, I could have moved it while shouldering it and someone standing behind and watching barrel alignment is not very precise so I will not completely rule out the fact that I may be canting.

    In my original post, I didn’t mention that I installed a Morgan Premium pad on the XT to get a better fit. Although the Morgan is adjustable up and down, it is not adjustable for cant. However, I can back the tightening nut way out and cant it for testing purposes. If that solves the problem, I will need to make some pad changes.


    As mentioned before, I patterned a Citori Trap (Invector Plus) which should be very similar to the XT and both barrels shot the same. I also tried several other O/U's, and both barrels patterned the same for me with those as well so I am not totally convinced that I am canting the XT but will certainly test the theory.

    I have shot the XT on clays. I shot a round of singles before I patterned it and didn't do well. The comb was all the way down and far right so I thought that I simply needed to adjust the XT to my preferences. That’s what lead me to the patterning board. I definitely needed to raise the comb as the XT was pattering lower than I liked.

    As I mentioned before, the lower barrel shot exactly where I liked and my next singles score was a 24 with the bottom barrel and a 18 with the top. Of course this was after I patterned and found that the top shot to the left so the lower score with the top could have been a mental thing.

    I received a PM wanting to know where the gun patterns in inches. The center of the pattern averaged about 4 inches above POA at 30 yards with both barrels. That is about where I prefer it. The bottom barrel is centered perfectly (right and left) at that distance and the center of the top barrel's pattern is consistently about five inches left at the same distance using a full choke of different manufacturers in both barrels. This pretty much stayed the same trying the different chokes described in my original post and one of the many loads described actually shot further left.

    These were not one time shots but an average of five shots with each variation (choke and loads), hence, a huge pile of pattern paper for the recycle bin.

    Thanks again for the great advice and input, you have definitely given me some things to think about and try. Any more constructive input would be appreciated.
     
  10. rdland

    rdland TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Correction: My XT has 32" barrels and not 34".
     
  11. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    perhaps you now know why you got such a good deal on the gun.

    I might look for a similar one with a regular stock and well regulated barrels - change out the wood and sell the 'bent' barreled gun...

    Lot less aggravation in the long run.
     
  12. bigben

    bigben Active Member

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    Rdland, your problem is not uncommon, ANY o/u could have the same issues, and many do, yours is an easy fix, send the gun to Tom Wilkinson, , Kerry Allor or Briley, they will excentrix choke the tubes in the barrels to shoot the same, just keep in mind that the choke tubes must never be switched around , Buying another simlilar gun is not the greatest idea, the new one could be worse. incinerate em!
     
  13. MDMike

    MDMike Well-Known Member

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    In rereading these posts on shooting to the right. Would it be possible that after careful testing that the barrels could not be unsoldered from the ribs and reregulated. Might be cheaper than another gun or some fancy custom choke work. Just a thought....Mike
     
  14. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    For shooting doubles you want the 1st barrel to pattern high and the 2nd barrel to shoot flat. HMB
     
  15. rdland

    rdland TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    hmb,

    Although I'm not diputimg your claim, you are getting way ahead of me as at this point I would be very happy if the top and bottom barrels shot in the same place.
     
  16. Jon Reitz

    Jon Reitz Well-Known Member

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    Send this gun back to Browning and have them test fire and evaluate it. If it's wrong they will make it right, but be patient. I sent them an XT a couple years ago that they had to re-barrel, no questions asked.

    Good luck.

    Jon Reitz
     
  17. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    Rdland,

    Getting the gun set up right in the beginning will save you alot of aggravation later on. HMB
     
  18. rdland

    rdland TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    I heeded advice that I was given on this post and have found a solution to the problem. As I stated in my original post, I am fairly new to trap shooting. That is why I posted the pattern dilemma on this site. I was seeking the knowledge and advice of experienced trap shooters to help me solve the problem. That is exactly what I received.

    This was a good thread and I learned a lot. Although there were differing opinions, I’m glad it didn’t develop into what the “Squad Leader Etiquette” thread developed into.

    Thank you all for taking the time to add your input. Thanks for the PM’s, images and links. I greatly appreciate it.

    Good shooting,

    rdland
     
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