Eddie, One pellet strike in the right place will break a clay into clearly visible pieces. Four pellet strikes in the wrong place won't. It's almost always a single pellet that breaks a clay (though others may follow along and further break the initial pieces).
Would the fact of the shot being strung out have an effect on the angle bird?
Depending on when the straight away bird is shot, like at the crown of the flight, the whole shot string would likely pass by the bird. The angle target would possibly avoid some of those pellets in the very front, and rear of the shot string, because it is flying through the shot string at an angle.
The pattern is not what it looks like on paper, in reality.
Does not mean one target is less likely to break over the other though, depending on where the one, two, or maybe more pellets hit the bird on any given shot. I guess the odds would be better on the straight away.
Assume the pellets are moving at 800fps and the target at 45fps.
In the going away case the net pellet energy is proportional to the square of the pellet speed minus the square of the target speed, i.e. proportional to 800^2 - 45^2. This is a reduction of 0.3% in energy versus a static target.
The angular target is going away at Sin(67.5) * 45fps = 41.57fps, and with the same methos as above suggests that the loss in pellet energy is ~0.27%.
The difference in pellet strike energies for the two target cases is therefore ~0.03%. Pellet strike energies affect the probability that any individual pellet strike will break the clay. If the pellets are high energy then 0.03% change will make less difference . . and in this case for US#7.5s, the pellets are fairly energetic c/w what's needed to break a clay. The reason for this thinking is that energetic pellets can break clays even when the impact is glancing. But to make the pellet effective at even shallower impact angles takes a disproportionately larger amount of energy, ergo, a small change in energy has little effect.
Ed Lowry did all the sums on crossing targets and how the chance of a pellet strike reduces. Using his method we get something like a loss in PE of 0.3%, which according to my sums (http://www.shotgun-insight.com/PatternOptimiser.html) will reduce the chance of a pellet strike in the centre of the pattern by 0.1% or so.
So, my tentative conclusion is the crossing case is more likely to suffer a failure to break despite perfect pattern placement . . . but the effect is tiny.
Due to the cone shape of a shot pattern; i.e., 3 dimensional in nature, a straight away from Station 3 would give the opportunity that the front part of the pattern would hit the target followed by pellets in the shot string. On angles, most likely some of the the front part of the pattern would have likely passed in front of the target (hard right angle from station 5) and the target would be broken by pellets somewhere in the depth of the pattern; i.e., shot string. I have proven this many times when I shot targets with my modified BT-99 with .020 choke; i.e., rarely fully smoked a hard left or right from stations 1 & 5 respectively. Straightaways often fully smoked when I do my part. I've always envisioned this as a target trying to survive a meteor field. The denser the field the less likely a target would slip through so that's why I'm more comfortable with a full choke although the modified choke served me well back to the 25 yard line. BT100dc
PERFECTLY centered----- the straight away will be ground & reground due to the fact that it will have to run through the entire shot string whereas the angle will be in the shot string a shorter time hence less pellet strikes. This unless you are one of those that think your pattern is that nice flat--round pancake pattern you see on the pattern board.
Personally I don't think the leading pellets automatically slow down, or the trailing pellets speed up until they are all traveling in a perfect "pancake". But I've been wrong before. Ross Puls
GW, that is a good example of what Dr. Jones stated . The dome isn't a vital organ. I have seen many like the one picured but a hole in the rim would be very rare because it only takes one pellet to break the rim. Most of the time, anyway.