I'd appreciate your thoughts.

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I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby allaboutshooting » January 1st, 2009, 1:51 pm

I am a turkey hunter. I have been for over 30 years. I also perform pre-market and post-market testing for many companies, including turkey choke manufacturers.

For the last 10 years or so I've participated in still target shooting events. You win those events by putting the most pellets in a 3" circle (none touching the outside line, a "clean" target) at 40 yards, shooting without a rest.

It's my belief that those shoots had some relevance 10 years ago when turkey guns, turkey chokes and turkey shells were largely non-existent. Those events, sponsored by the NWTF, inspired gun, choke and shotshell manufacturers to better their products and we've all benefited from those improvements.

Today, at least in my opinion, the shotshell manufactures have surpassed all expectations of 10 years ago and have shells that are much better than we could have ever anticipated. While they've been working to make shells that deliver good even patterns, in a 10" or 20" circle, still target shoots have continued to concentrate on what combination could deliver the highest count in a 3" circle.

I don't think that 3" circle has much relevance to most of us as turkey hunters or to shotshell manufacturers currently.

I'd like to know what you, as a turkey hunter, want as far as a pattern goes, from your turkey choke and shotshell.

Would you like an even pattern in 10", in 20" or what sized circle, at 40 yards? Is 40 yards the standard you use or is there another distance that make more sense to you?

Do the results of a "still target shoot" mean anything to you? Would those results mean more to you if they more closely resembled hunting patterns?

If you could decide what the standards would be for winning a still target shoot, what would they be?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this.


P.S. I apologize for the length of this post. I'm just trying to find a way to help all of us make better decisions on what we use for hunting.
"If he's out of range, it just means that he has another day and so do you."

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RE: I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby hoosierhunter » January 1st, 2009, 2:07 pm

I just returned from Wabash In. earlier today Clark where I scheduled the 3rd HHCC turkey shoot for this coming spring and I'll be contacting you for your help soon, if thats still OK?
I use 40 yds as a standard distance to check my patterns and I always use both 10" and 3" circles. I use the 10 to check for holes in the pattern and  the 3 for my most concentrated feedback. I hope I said that right. I have been using Win extended range 6 shot 3" , and just for giggles am cosidering going to the duplex or triplex loads of a manufacturer whose name right now escapes me.

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RE: I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby JPH » January 1st, 2009, 2:14 pm

I'm a bit out of the norm on this issue (go figure [8|]).

I tend to think that the focus on patterns that take heads off at 40 yds. tends to cause a lot of clean misses at 10 yds.

I shoot a factory full choke and try to keep my shots inside of 30-35 yds., but that's me.

I'd like to see loads that open up earlier, but retain their pattern and energy downrange. I know, having my cake and eating it too.

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RE: I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby Treerooster » January 1st, 2009, 2:42 pm

I do appreciate what the shooting contests have done for turkey guns and shells.
To answer your questions;
I used to look at a 10in at 40yds. Now I am more interested in whats happening in a 20in at 40yds.
The 3in means nothing to me as a hunter. Never has.
I really don't know much about shooting competition. Maybe how even the pattern is could be a criteria.

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RE: I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby Turkeybuster » January 1st, 2009, 3:30 pm

Nitro Ray?

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RE: I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby wisturkeyhunter » January 1st, 2009, 3:32 pm

3 inch means nothing to me. I look at a 10 inch circle.

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RE: I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby Turkeybuster » January 1st, 2009, 4:04 pm


My idea about a still target shoot would be go back to basics we shoot at turkeys not three inch circles so why not use a turkey patterning target and count only lethal hits in the head and neck?
You can use a 10" or 12" circle around the head and neck area to also check uniformity of the pattern.
If you want to count the hits in this circle and use some type of equasion to calculate the final score between the lethal hits and uniformity of pattern this might work.
This seems to me this would give the hunter a better idea of his overall pattern,the ammo companies a broader look at shotshell performance and shooters a better chance of possibly winning.
Since attendance is dropping of at these shoots it is possible that the turkey hunter does not want to compete against a shooter with a gun and choke system to shoot at 3" circles.
This is the type of behavior that ruined community block shoots.
40 yds. would be my guess distance wise.


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RE: I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby greyghost » January 1st, 2009, 4:17 pm

Clark great post.

I am the wrong person to ask and reply. I shoot now once again old doubles. But when I had the fixed up turkey gun and after market chocks I only focused on an even and consistent patteren at 40 yards with number of pellets in the kill zone. Even with the doubles today using 4 shot 2 3/4" loads nickel plated I still only focus on patteren and number of shot in the kill zone, vertibra and brain. My standard is at least 5 pellets in the kill zone at 40 yards. I try to take only 30 to 35 yard shots at the most. Although a couple of the doubles deliver a tight patteren out to 40 yards with as many as 16 in the kill zone. Again mostly all my birds are taken within 25 yards. Although I have misjudged the distance a couple of times from 35 to 43 yards and got the bird. And yes a couple missed or rolled over the years.

You are right, guns and shells have evaulved quit expeditiously over the years and better for the sport as a whole for many.

I am just an old broke down turkey hunter so the still target and numer of shot in no matter what size circle means nothing to me. Again the number of shot/ foot lb energy of a given shot size at a given distance in the kill zone (vertibra/brain) is all I look at.

Best to you at the shots.


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RE: I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby YEKRUT » January 1st, 2009, 5:30 pm

I like a good pattern at 40 yards with no holes in it. The 3" competition gives you a good idea who is leading the charge in tight patterns and the best in chokes, but I do not use a 3" circle in my patterning. 

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RE: I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Postby MAK » January 2nd, 2009, 5:18 am

With my scoped shotgun I like to see the performance in a 3" circle @ 40 yards (aiming point) and for an overall even 8" pattern. I also check the 3" performance at 20 and 30 yards.
With my open sighted shotgun, my focus is more on an even 8" pattern, but I do check the 3" aiming point @ various distances to make sure of the point of aim.


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