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Hello all,
I'm very new to trap shooting (and shotgun shooting in general) but believe I am hooked already. When patterning my shotgun would it be more beneficial to shoot at 13 yards (there is no bench at this distance at my club) or would it be better to pattern at 30-40 yards (I could shoot with the gun mounted and /or from a bench at this distance). Thank you.
 

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What seems to work best for me is to use full choke at short yardage (13-15) to assess POI. I also use 35 yards to confirm load and pattern performance and that I am pointing properly.
 

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If you are shooting a gun with an unsingle barrel, the elevation of your POI will be different at
13 and 40 yards. HMB
 

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here is a great idea i came up with. I have an old microphone extendable stand. The kind singers use. I made a cross bar that screws on the top and covered it with one of those foam pieces that insulate pipes. Got that at home depot. You shoulder the gun and aim at the enter of the pattern board and bring the tand to just under the barrel and use it as a rest. It provides a bit of repeatability for shooting patterns as you rest the front of the gun while shooting. This method allows for proper stance of the shooter and not waving the gun around. motordoc
 

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POI at 13 yds, just because you get more definite results. Then use the calculations process of Mr. Winstons link at bottom of post. In fact, read it fully through. I also use a poll, or vertical surface to rest against while in my shooting stance for stability when finding POI. To me it has to be done this way, especially with todays heads up stocks, and high ribs. Bench rests to me, are for rifle shooters. The best way to shoot a shotgun for finding information as to POI, is in the exact position you will be in when you shoot at the targets, IMO. Hard to duplicate that when sitting on a bench trying to align things from memory, IMO.

Pattern testing to me is pointless at 13 yds. Hard to see a pattern when there is nothing but a hole, or solid mark and maybe a couple of flyers showing. I pattern at the average distance the target will be when you shoot at it. Patterning does not matter if from a bench, as long as you hit the paper, or pattern board is all that matters at the correct distance.

http://www.mn-trap.org/tech_corner/n_winston/Point_of_Impact_and_Pattern_Testing_at_13_Yards.pdf.
 

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Hello all,
I'm very new to trap shooting (and shotgun shooting in general) but believe I am hooked already. When patterning my shotgun would it be more beneficial to shoot at 13 yards (there is no bench at this distance at my club) or would it be better to pattern at 30-40 yards (I could shoot with the gun mounted and /or from a bench at this distance). Thank you.
****,

It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to make sure your gun shoots reasonably straight, then pattern at 13 yards. Note that if you are shooting an unsingle, or the bottom barrel of an over/under, as HMB said, your patterns at 13 yards will be lower than if you pattern using a top barrel.

If you are trying to establish the pattern percentage for the choke and shells you are planning to use, it's better to do that at 40 yards.

In either case, do some reading up and do it right. Better to not do it at all than to do it taking shortcuts and get results that are meaningless.
 
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I've done the 13 yard pattern. But, I shoot fast so, I pattern at 30 and 40 yards using a three legged shooting stick. You really need a steady platform of some type to get good results. I've shot lots of patterns and found what works best in my gun, considering I don't like recoil. Not all shells, chokes, or speeds work the same.
 

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Are you able to estimate where you are breaking targets, at what yardage? I found it very useful to pattern at 30-35 yds from a normal hold and stance.

In my quest to improve and IMHO, to get a decent idea take 2 or 3 shots from that range without trying to hold it too long. You should know if you are pulling your shots if you are not able to get a decent repeatable pattern.

If you are all over the place, then try to get a stand or don't worry about anything because that's how you are going to shoot when at the line.

If you discover you are patterning high/low or left/right, THEN make adjustments and see if they actually help after you make adjustments. Do you have an adjustable comb? If not, time to see Tronspace or someone that can help you there.

I've done this from 33 yds and was able to adjust a high & left of center to a confident centered pattern. Had to get an adjustable comb to make adjustments. More importantly, confidence was boosted and ran my first 50 right after and scored a 94/100 on my first team effort.

You will have to do what works best for you as you develop your style. What works for one may not work well for you. Welcome to trap and on to your 1st 25!
 

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If you can't shoot a rifle accurate from the off-hand position, chances are you won't with a shotgun either!

Use a rest as mentioned above to actually know where your gun and you shoot patterns. 13 yard holes in paper will tell you a couple things, whether or not your barrel shoots straight and an "approximate" pattern height!

To find which loads pattern best in your gun, do it at the approximate yardage you'll be shooting at the targets. Again, if you have trouble doing this off-hand as when you're shooting clays, you'll do the same thing then also!! Difference is, at the time on a moving target, most won't be aware of the mis-point.

HAP
 

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Given that you have a 30-40 yard bench, I would pattern the gun at 34 yards to see where it hits. I would adjust the comb until the center of the pattern is about 8 or 9 inches above the aiming point when you fire the gun. The high pattern will provide the vertical lead for a rising trap target.
 

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Follow the Neil Winston paper - noted above - exclusively. And once you get the gun shooting where you hit birds, shoot it at 13 yards again - keep that piece of paper and never, ever, destroy it as you'll use it later for any new and/or replacement guns.
 

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Well here goes:

Best advice I EVER had was to do the POI test the way Terry Jordan (Canadian shooter) taught my wife. (Terry is a very trusted shooter in the game.)

I held off for a year doing it to my gun, but when I did, what a difference in my shooting ! ( How dumb was I not to try this right off ? )

If you have an adjustable comb, it is easy, if not get one of those wrap around elastic combs that have the inserts to put into them.

Go to the range, and set a trap up on straight away targets from Station 3.

Stand on 3, and begin shooting the target, and have an experienced shooter "Read the breaks".

You don't want an audience giving you advice, only one fellow or lady who is experienced in "Reading" the break.

First adjust the comb so you are hitting the target straight, NOT on the left or right side...

You may need to shoot at 5 targets before you are sure which side you are hitting, or if straight on.

( A new shooter may not be consistent, so multiple shots will be required before adjusting. )

Next, Terry told my wife to begin to raise the comb until she was shooting OVER the target, or "Topping" them with every shot.

(I needed to make longer posts for the adjustable comb on my BT-100. It was shooting very flat for me))

Then begin to slowly lower the comb, little by little, until you are "Sootballing", each and every target. ( In other words, hitting the target dead center each time. )

You should have the proper POI now for how you shoot. (fast or slow)

You need to remember that the target is rising about 6" after you pull the trigger if you are shooting them at the normal speed, and that is why when you shoot at a stationery piece of paper, you want to have a HIGH pattern.

A NEW shooter may be shooting the target a little slower to the point that the target is not rising, but hitting it at the "Crest", so this method will actually "Adjust to your speed of shooting at the target".

As a NEW shooter progresses to shooting the target faster he/she will see the hits are towards the bottom of the target because you are now hitting the target "On the Rise" .

(Any experienced shooter can explain the terms of "Crest" or "on the Rise" to you if you don't know.)

Just repeat the method, and adjust accordingly as you get on the target faster..

Hope this helps, It sure did for me and my wife.
 

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For POI I have used both 13 and 20 yards. I've only caught one gun, a Mono gun that printed enough different at 40 that short yardage calculation didn't corelate.

I've mostly used a ladder to shoot off for poi. A 5ft one is just the right height for me and also being simulating an upright shooting style. All to often I feel folks trying to achieve results from a bench will try to rifle shoot their shotgun. By this I mean weld themselves into their gun placing different face/check placement than what they'll actually be using in their shooting style. While this will work when setting up one gun from another, it can vary the potential result when going in cold on a new gun. It can also change actual left-right placement as well.

For patterning performance as it effects the end result of quality, I use 32yds for 16's and 42yds for handicap (for 27yd) shooting. Second shot of doubles, 35yds. I don't worry about shooting from a rest when patterning for performance. Just get it on paper.

I will never believe the crap responses about patterning for quality/performance is irrelevant because no two patterns are the same. Hogwash!!! Not all shell designs will perform in a respective manner of appropriate significance but if you spend the time, there will be one that through your barrel that will be so identical in how it prints that you'll wonder why the other loads were ever designed. Be for warned that it may take a lot of shell designs to find the one. I have come up with a handful that seem to be consistent over the years. But I'll have you know that 35 years ago it took over 30 different designs to gain the desired patterns that I was trying to achieve. Like most things in life, its how committed you are. It will be one of the most boring and monotonous under takings you partake of if you want to drink beer or watch ball games as you can ever imagine.
 

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Slick, there are really three things you want to find out. The first is where your gun shoots. To do that, set up on a bench 13 to 20 yards away from the target. I prefer 20 for various reasons. Put the gun on rests, aim like a rifle and fire at a specific point on the target. Do it enough times, with all your barrels and chokes so you know where the gun shoots. Assuming the barrels and chokes all shoot to the same POI, it is time to see where you shoot the gun.

As pheasantmaster says, shooting from a rest does not tell you where you shoot the gun. Put in your tightest good choke, stand just like you would on the line, and fire. Just put the bead on the target and fire. Don't try to line everything up. Adjust until you hit your target.

For patterning, I use Shotgun insight software to analyze. I've found it is better to aim for the exact same spot each time. Use a bench. You are counting holes, not POI.
 
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