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Who patterns? I'm curious.

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Yes. Knowing that it shoots where I'm looking is a must. I like a little edge up (60/40). Off to one side or the other is intolerable. Joe
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I think with me the answer is obvious! Shooting into a plane such as a lake tells nothing! AA andrea, you can always modify the POI and pattern of any gun. Since others have gone on to clarify their position on patterning I will again say that it is the lazy that make the statement it tells one nothing!
 

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The reason to not pattern far out weighs the reasons to pattern .. First, that pattern at any given point is only at that point and is constantly changing before reaching that point and beyond that point until the shot falls from the sky ... The pellets are constantly moving and become static at the Point of impact, until then and beyond that point they are multi dimensional ... This being that an inch closer or farther away would of produced and foot printed a different pattern all together ... That being said makes patterning for anything other than POI is a waste of time and money, but is a good way to see how bad your eyes are when you cannot see the little holes in the paper so you can count them anymore ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
 

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I pattern my gun every time I shoot a clay target. Gun fit and point of impact can best be determined by the way you are breaking your targets, not shooting at a piece of paper. Just my opinion, Bill
 

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Well, very interesting thread. Personally, I pattern every time that I change something as far as reloads go. And everytime that I get a different gun. And every time that I add another washer to the comb. Harlan said that you should shoot untill you are just turning targets inside out then raise it another washer. When I do get a new gun which is not too often as trapshooters go. The very first thing that I do is take a box of shells out to the pattern board and get it to shooting as close to my last gun as possible. About 14 inches above the mark on the paper at 32 yards back. Seems to cut down on the learning curve that goes along with a new gun. I don't see how anyone can pick up a new gun and just shoot it and have no idea where it shoots and expect to hit anything with it. I am not very good but I can usually pick up right where I left off with a new gun. I don't pay any attention wo how much space is between the beads because I always seem to have a whole lot. One of these days maybe I can afford to get one of dem der adjustable rib guns lol. John
 

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Interesting indeed, John. First, because Joe Kuhn posted the first response, and it was exactly right. And that's really all thet needed to be said.

You all know why, don't you? Because he was starting from scratch. No one knew where his red dot shot, and he had to find out. No surprise there.

But if was important to him, and he _had_ to start from scratch, why is anyone here better off? Why do posters here think _their_ guns shoot straight?

And that covers POI, you just have to do it. I've three "collection-only" Perazzis here, two Ithacas and one new one. They don't shoot straight. Two are a couple/three inches to the left, one the same to the right. For me that's OK, I've got some that do shoot straight, but the point is that the previous owners were handicapped from the start with guns that lowered their scores and they paid, in their day, a fortune for them. Don't tell me you can read breaks and comb-shift to fix this: in the first place the came with fixed combs so they never did it and second it doesn't work anyway.

The second point is best represented by WPT. Every pattern is different. That's true. Every-everything is different. But that doesn't mean you can never find out what's going on. It only means you are going to have to put some work into it. It's just a question of you badly you want to know.

Here are some things paterning has told me:

1) One oz. 7 1/2's will cost you targets at long-yardage handicap. You can't "tell by the breaks" but over the long run, you will score less.

2. Some guns put more pellets where you want them than other guns. This is information that I consider useful.

3. "Patterning" is one thing, and one thing only. Counting pellets and shooting a lot of patterns. Everything else is talk.

4. Based on "3" most patterns are the same in most respects. I don't do wads, primers. I've done powders once and found a better one for handicap - even choke tubes - the people who favor one brand over another are guessing - , any of that stuff. Almost all patterns are close enough to the same that it's too much work to sort them out.

5. "4" notwithstanding, patterning (as defined in 3) is well worth it. Just be willing to throw away everything you've read and see what _your_ gun is doing. Just simply trash-heap it, every word. If it's (your gun, wads, powder, shot) good enough, keep it. If it's not, shoot factory shells (they will do the job, mostly) or sell it. No matter what the loss, it's cheap compared to shooting a gun which _cannot_ win, and there are plenty of them, of all grades of name and price and engraving and wood-figure and reputation.

Neil


and, Sheree, KX-G is right, not joking. "Two hours" tells us nothing because it told you nothing. Half an hour, _off a rest_ (it's true, freehand will tell you nothing) should have given you a clue. Buying a new gun is the _worst_ possible response. But then, you were counting on TS.com. All that up/down/right/left stuff, I agree it's senseless and will never get you anywhere. Doing it right, however - and what would it have cost, $20? - would have saved you the cost of a new gun and let you shoot _bettere_ than you are likely to do with the new one. But you have to use your head. You just have to. Buying something else if you aren't aiming for something specific is _no_ answer; half the time what you get will be worse.

It constantly amazes me how successful people, whose success is presumably based on their ability to solve problems, make decisions, see reality, just throw all that out the window then the finally buy their dream gun. The performance of this new acquisition should be judged by the the same standards as a "new hire" _ he/she/it lives up to expectations or gets fixed or let go. Such a person would spend a year straightening out an employee, but faced with a gun which doesn't work, decides it's his own problem, _refuses_ to spend 20 minutes to test a $10,000 piece of probable junk with which he intends to follow a sport he's often got 100 grand in already. Now that's crazy!

But no crazier than what you've written. And no crazier than most of the rest. You've (they've) got a few grand in a gun and plan to sinks several times that into it over time and won't see it it's any good? Geez!
 

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Neil,

I'm curious why you say: "One oz. 7 1/2's will cost you targets at long-yardage handicap. You can't "tell by the breaks" but over the long run, you will score less."

I do pattern, and it has been quite the learning experience. I certainly do not think it's a bad practice by any means.
 

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Golden, I've been fishing - in the on the water rather than the Tron sense. In a day or two I'll post what I consider the answer to your question. But if the wind cooperates, I'd like a day to see if it's just the brand of shells I tested or a more general problem. I think it's all of them - that is, a pellet count not a manufacturer failure - but I'd like to see if AA can do any better than Remington.

The data are from Andrew's program and I think you'll find them persuasive.

Neil
 

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Sherree, I believe you when you say you tested the first gun to death and never got anywhere and fell into the Broadway and it works for you. What I can't understand is your present resistance to find out _why_ the new gun works and the old one didn't, especially since the old one is still in the family.

This wouldn't just tell you about the guns, mind you, it would tell you what your phrase "Shoots where I'm looking" means in your individual case. Just this thread shows how shooter-specific this can be and it surely includes all the variables listed and more.

I do begin to see why you didn't get out of patterning what you hoped to. First, you were confused by all the "flying vs. static target" mumbo-jumbo. Testing a gun for POI lays no claim to more hitting moving targets. It does one thing only - shows you _where the gun shoots_ . That's all.

I'm developing a picture of how you went about this. With a helper, and with the static vs. flying idea already in your head, you stood and shot and moved the comb and stood and shot and on and on and on. No wonder you needed a new gun. Patterning for POI is supposed to simplify things, not make them impossible, and the scenario I just described does make it impossible.

You can only tell where a gun shoots by shooting it off a rest. Again, I'm not saying where you shoot it, just where it shoots. You need something which repeats reliably, and off-hand doesn't. The lack of repeatability make the changes one makes not make any sense. All you really want to know is 1) does it shoot straight right/left when you look straight down the rib and 2) does it shoot at or above the point of aim.

The test is pretty much pass/fail. If it doesn't shoot straight right/left, I don't see how shifting the comb to the side will fix anything. Who's going to put up with looking sidewise down a gun; who's not going to line things back up when actually shooting? The vertical test is just to be sure the gun can be made to hit. If it shoots way low or way high it's best to know that right away. After that it's finding the right vertical POI just as you did, with flying targets.

Having a helper with POI is an off and on advantage. It's good, sometimes, to have a second set of eyes to judge what you are seeing. It's so easy to convince yourself of what you want to be true and an objective second opinion can keep your thinking straight. But sometimes - just as with shooting - you just need time to think alone. Eventually you have to meld what you see on the pattern board with what you see over the gun when the bird smokes, and only solo thought will let that happen.

But how about the helper when you are trying to set the vertical POI by shooting, as so many suggest (and they are right), straightaways off a locked trap from post three. I've watched plenty of shooter/advisor or worse yet shooter/crowd examples and I don't see that second person doing anything but gumming up the works. "You were a little high on that one, you were a little left, a little right, high again..." Even just sitting back on the bench I want to strangle him (No that's not sexist, it _is_ always a him.) It's in this reflective locked-trap case where you really need to be alone, really take your time. Just as on the pattern board, there's a message in many of the shots, a message repeatable enough to draw some conclusions from. But not with someone shouting some trivia in your ear.
Especially the right/left guesses. If you did your POI testing right, you know the gun shoots straight when you look right down it, and the fact that in that shot you were a little to the side (if you were, that is) is no help. It's vertical you are hunting for, after all.

When I referred to 'crazy' in my earlier post, I was specifically referring to the attitude (and in this case not even your's) of not trying to objectively relate a problem you are having with a gun to the way that particular gun shoots. It _can_ be the gun's fault, after all. It's an afternoon and $10 to see if you save a multi-hundred or multi-thousand dollar investment.

I hope someday you'll see another shooter at the pattern board with the right equipment (specifically a bench rest) and you'll take another stab at it, but this time with a different attitude. Not to try to hit more birds, at least not right away, Just for your own information. "I'm shooting this gun well and it shoots about there."

And a while later you can think "It shoots about there and you know, that's about what I seem to see when I'm shooting at a clay target too" and that is putting it all together. And there _is_ more birds in that.

Yours in Sport,

Neil

PS zzt: I liked your post very much, probably since it is a complete parallel to my own experience. Thanks for posting. It should be on every gun club wall.
 

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Sherree, you will be doing yourself a big favor by rereading Neil's posts several times, then going out and doing as he suggests. What you will gain is confidence.

I have struggled mightly with guns that did not fit properly, barrels that were not converged properly, choke tubes that didn't shoot to the same POI, etc. I have spent an embarassing amount of money in unsuccessful attempts to get them to shoot where I look. About six months ago I decided enough was enough.

I decided I wanted a 20b O/U for the new hunting season and an occasional round of skeet and sporting. Fortunately, I knew the distributor for the gun I wanted, and he let me look through his inventory to select the one I wanted. I did, and found one I liked, and it fit almost perfectly. After picking the gun up at the dealer's shop I bought one of those Allen clip on fluorescent sights with the really thin rod. Then I headed for the range, set up on a bench and shot for POI at 20yds. I sighted that shotgun just like it was a rifle. Three hours and three boxes of shells later I knew both barrels shot to exactly the same POI, 50/50 dead center left/right and up/down. I also knew that I had 5 choke tubes that shot exactly where the barrels did, and one that shot a little less than 1/2" high.

Next I stood up and shoot for POI . It was 60/40 with my mount. Then I informally shoot a couple patterns with each choke just to make sure there were no odd balls. Then I went to the skeet range and shot low 7 with a tight choke to determine my hold. A couple of rounds of skeet confirmed I had it nailed. At the end of the day I left the range with a sore shoulder and thinking that no amount of money was ever going to separate me from this gun.

One all day instruction and shooting at a sporting clays school, where each student has two instructors to monitor mount, form, aim, etc. for each shot convinced me the gun was right on. I_have_absolute_confidence_in_that_gun. That confidece makes all the difference in the world to me. With my other guns the drill was always mount, check bead/rib alignment, adjust aim to compensate for badly fitting stock, pull trigger and hope bird falls/breaks. Now, with this gun it goes like this. See bird; bird falls/breaks. I have no conscious recollection of anything in between.

That's confidence. I know the gun fits, shoots straight and where I look. So, I can devote 100% of my attention to the target- direction, distance, speed, etc. The effect has been almost magical and my scores, even on trap doubles, show it.

I'm going through the same process now with the used MX-15 I picked up at the Grand. I already know the chokes have the same POI. When I get the stock to fit, I'll expect the same results as with the 20b.

The moral to this story is that you just have to know what you are dealing with. Put in the time. Test. Test. Test. Eliminate all the variables until the only one left is you. To eliminate that one, make one adjustment at a time. Live with that adjustment for a while, until you get a subconscious handle on what its actual effect is, before you make another. Sooner or later you won't have to worry about anything other than concentrating on the target. That makes it so much more rewarding that it is well worth the time and effort it takes to get there.
 

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I was fortunate enough to attend one of the very last clinics the great Frank Little ever held in Redding, California. After about 3 hours of classroom, we all went out to the traps. The very first thing Frank did was have each of us check our gun for POI by shooting at a target box sitting on top of the traphouse from the 16yd. line. After determining the POI of my gun, I asked Frank if we were going to pattern our guns. He said he didn't believe in patterning a gun. He told me the only critical thing to do with any gun is to check the POI. His theory was if he patterned his gun, he was sure he would find enough wrong with the pattern to effect his confidence. As a result, he would not pattern his guns. Seems to have worked for him, didn't it? Dan Thome (Trap2)
 

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Trap2, I have no quibble with that. But for trap, after I've done all the things I outlined in the post a couple above this one, I pattern my shells. I pattern a lot and at different times of the year. Once I know 6 ways from Sunday what a load will do at various distances, I don't worry about it any more. It's all part of the confidence thing. When I know my equipment and loads are working properly and I miss, I_know_it's_my_fault. Saves a whole lot of guessing. It WAS my fault, so figure it out and don't do it again. It works for me.

There is one shooter at my club who doesn't miss. OK, maybe the day after a red cow jumps over a blue moon he'll drop one. He shoots a full choked p-gun and makes his POA adjustments by reading his breaks. Give him a new box of shells and it takes him about three shots (all hits naturally) until he is centering the birds again. He doesn't pattern or do any of the things I mentioned. It works for him. If I could shoot that well it would probably work for me as well.
 
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