Grease board. You can count pellets. Take a picture, blow it up and mark it out.
Really, who bothers with counting anyway? Confidence is verified during practice with good score/breaks. #1) is the pattern centered at 13-14 yards? #2) is the pattern still centered at 28, and 42 yards? #3 Verify the height of your POI.
I agree with Setterman. I shoot at a grease board, look at where the center of the pattern is, look for holes and good pellet distribution. Don't see what use counting pellet holes has if you have a good even pattern with no big holes.
What are you patterning for? If POI and your tough enough to shoot at steel plate at 13 yds then that's the quick method.
I am old fashion I guess and everything I do is using wood frames. Owning a construction means I always have it available. Mine are generally 42"×42".
But you shouldn't listen to me because I still count every pellet by hand and believe there are truly differences between loads running down the same pipe and consistency can be acquired. Furthermore I am not seeking help for this belief!
If you aren't counting the pellets and holes, you are wasting your time. Shooting one or two patterns and counting holes is also a waste of time. I wouldn't bother unless I shot ten. I count the pellets and the holes. Shooting a pattern or two looking for holes in the pattern is also a waste of time because they vary so much from one pattern to the next. The idea is to get an average. Singular patterns don't tell much at all. Many people don't even know how high their gun actually shoots. I see people all the time shooting at the back of a target box out by the trap. They don't even check the distance. They learn nothing.
I think yor best bet is still going to be a grease plate over the long term. Use a paint roller w/a long handle, otherwise that goop will get on you. Paint rollers are also very fast to clean a grease plate with, but they do throw some spatter and the long handle keeps you cleaner.
Based on recommendation from Rucker, you refinished a Browning Citori for my next door neighbor a couple of years ago, he is so happy with the way it turned out.
Based in checking for POI and gun fit (left, right, center of pattern), I would use a steel paint and a paint roller. I think this would be the least maintenance. I have heard that a mixture of lithium grease and some motor oil works well, but I do not have first hand experience with mixing the ingredients.
Larry, I love grease plates. They are extremely useful when checking barrel regulation and whether all the removable chokes shoot to the same place. However, they are not the best for shooting for POI. That is best done on paper clipped to a metal pattern board. The center of the board should be open or have that thin metal mesh over it. If you shot on paper against a solid steel plate you will blow big holes in the paper.