Patterning Question

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bantamax
 
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Joined: March 15th, 2011, 11:33 am

Patterning Question

Postby bantamax » March 15th, 2011, 11:58 am

This is my first post, but I've been lurking here for most of a year and I have a question.

My Shot Patterning Results

The above table represents a considerable investment of time (and money) for me to try to determine the best load and choke for my new Remington 870 Express Super Magnum.

Unfortunately, I live in the city of Richmond, VA and have to use a public range at a local Wildlife Management Area to do my patterning and the only shotgun ranges are at 25 or 50 yards. At 25 yards, I have some confidence that the majority of these combinations will get the job done.

The problem is that I expect the majority of my shots to be in the 35-40 yd range, right in between the gap of the ranges I can pattern. So my question is how far down the chart should I feel comfortable with one of these choke/load combinations if I know I am not going to be taking shots over 40 yards? In other words, can someone with considerable experience patterning shotguns extrapolate the numbers I might get at 40 yards based on the numbers I get at 50 yards?

Thanks,

Mike

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Cut N Run
 
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Location: central North Carolina

RE: Patterning Question

Postby Cut N Run » March 16th, 2011, 1:52 am

First thing, welcome. Glad you decided to jump in versus continuing to lurk.
Next, That's a cool chart. While I can't extrapolate the numbers for you at 35-40 yards, it is impressive how many HD loads out-performed Lead. The greater pellet count seems to prove how well the pattern holds together. I intend to copy the basic outline of your chart to analyze my shooting better.


No matter what you pellet count is, it will be better closer to you and all of them are probably good enough to kill a turkey inside 40 yards, which is where most birds are taken anyway. My farthest shot has been 27 yards, only because I hunt in fairly tight cover.

Good luck this year.

*Edit* I got to thinking about this some more and you could probably take the data from your 25 yard targets and average it with the data from your 50 yard targets and get a fairly good idea of what to expect mid-way between the two. It wouldn't be exact, but it would be better than nothing.

Jim
Luck Counts, good or bad

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kenturkey89
 
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RE: Patterning Question

Postby kenturkey89 » March 16th, 2011, 4:23 am

First off, I think you did a great job on your spreadsheet that's full of a lot of important information to help you determine which shot/shell combo gives you the best results from your 870. There are a lot of different combinations on there that I feel would work just fine out to 40 yards. But IMO, I think the first combination on the spreadsheet with the Hevi-Shot/Jellyhead combo is the best set up for you. You got an average pellet count of 102 pellets from 50 yards, which is lethal at that range. You'll definitely have enough pellets to flatten a bird at 40 yards but it also gives you a little wiggle room if you miscalculate the yardage. Sometimes its a little difficult to judge just how far a bird actually is. If you think a bird is at 40 yards exactly but he's actually at 45 or even closer to 50, you'll still have enough gun to knock him down at that distance. I'm no expert in this category (or any category for that matter) so take these words at your own risk[;)]
Brian

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allaboutshooting
 
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Location: Southern Illinois, U.S.A.

RE: Patterning Question

Postby allaboutshooting » March 16th, 2011, 4:47 am

Hey Mike,

First of all, welcome to the T&TH forum. We're glad you're here and look forward to hearing more from you.

Patterning a shotgun, trying different chokes and loads at various ranges certainly does represent an investment of time and money and you've done a good job of documenting your results.

Strictly on the basis of what I see on your chart, the Hevi-13 shells with the JH choke would be the one that I'd choose, from what you shot.

Just as an observation, I always recommend that a hunter pattern his load of choice under several different weather conditions that he's likely to encounter during the season or seasons that he's likely to hunt. A cold and damp day may influence both the pattern density as well as penetration, for example.

I also recommend that you start with a squeaky clean barrel, "deep cleaned" http://www.allaboutshooting.com/article_info.php?articles_id=282 and shoot several of the same shells, though the same choke,  without cleaning between shots, to see if that combo prefers a clean or slightly fouled condition. When you change shells or choke, I recommend that you deep clean again.

The only comment or recommendation that I'd make with your 870 is that you might want to try a little tighter choke with the H-13 shells. I see my best patterns with 870s with the 3" Hevi-13 "Bronze" shells with 2 oz. of #6 shot and the SSX turkey choke which has an e.d. of .643.

Again, great to have you here and all my best this spring in the turkey woods.

Thanks,
Clark
"If he's out of range, it just means that he has another day and so do you."

tradewater
 
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Joined: March 12th, 2011, 11:01 am

RE: Patterning Question

Postby tradewater » March 16th, 2011, 4:27 pm

Well Mike you have really put in your time patterning your gun. Looks to me like you definately want to go with the hevi-13 6s in 3.5 with the jellyhead choke. I shot this load for years and it performed great. If you can find them get a box of the hevi-shot magnum blend and i will bet you will up your pellet count by 35-50 pellets at 50 yds.

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hawglips
 
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RE: Patterning Question

Postby hawglips » March 18th, 2011, 4:06 am

Bantamax,

Were those numbers the core of the pattern on a large sheet of paper, or were they the pellets that hit a pre-drawn 10" circle?

With heavier than lead, you typically can expect a 70% or greater drop in the 10" counts as you move 10 yds farther out. So, I'd expect about 140 to 150 at 40 yds with your highest 10" count shell -- assuming it's the core of the pattern you're counting and not a pre-drawn 10" circle.

williambwbill
 
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RE: Patterning Question

Postby williambwbill » March 18th, 2011, 4:13 am

You did do you home work! That is a cool spread sheet! You didn't mention barrel length. Longer barrels tend to deliver more volicty. That combined with shot weight (density) provide penitration. Punching paper is easy you want to penitrate and brake bone for a clean kill. I too have the same problem with a place to shoot. and end up having to settle on 25 yard results because it's an indoor range. I have places to shoot any range I would like but time is an issue. I shoot an 11/87 SP
3", 20" deer barrel, with a Briley .660 EXT choke. REM Heavy Shot #5. Since they don't make those any more your sheet might help me out on a replacement when I run out. I like the extra weight of the #5, and I don't sacrafice much on pelet count compared to 6's. I don't like the long shots over 30 yards but I have made them 40 being the longest. If Your happy with a result you have on your sheet, and I think you are. Run with it and see what happens, the test that really counts is in the field.
Wild Bill

bantamax
 
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RE: Patterning Question

Postby bantamax » March 20th, 2011, 10:03 am

Hawglips,

The numbers were from the core of the pattern. I took a sheet of poster board, put a small dot in the center then aimed for that. To get the counts, I traced a ten inch circle over what looked like the area with the most hits.

Thanks,

Mike

bantamax
 
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Joined: March 15th, 2011, 11:33 am

RE: Patterning Question

Postby bantamax » March 20th, 2011, 10:07 am

Wild Bill,

The gun has a 26" barrel. I too am concerned about these shots ability to penetrate the neck or skull of a tough ole tom, but it is my understanding that you can treat a hi-density pellet like a pellet of the next size up. At the minimum, if I was going to shoot lead, I'd shoot a #5 and if I was going to shoot hi-density, I'd shoot a #6. That should, in theory, give me enough energy per pellet to penetrate the vitals if I keep my shots under 40 yards.

Thanks,

Mike

williambwbill
 
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RE: Patterning Question

Postby williambwbill » March 22nd, 2011, 5:26 am

That should give you more volicity over my 20" and that's a good thing! That's why I stuck with the 5's. Also with a 3 1/2" your basicly shooting a 10 guage it just has an extended shot string. My original final comments still stand. Your hard work and cash has told the tale for your set up. I don't think you will have problems at extended range but the true test will be in the field!
Wild Bill

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