A Tight Spray Pattern
The choke on your shotgun and the shotgun shells you use determine the spray pattern. (Yes, I know wind velocity and other things have an effect.)
If you are a Newbie, it is important to understand that the shells used in one gun may create a completely different pattern in another gun.
A 30 Inch Target
Firing a few shells will give you the opportunity to determine if that particular brand is going to give you the ‘tight pattern’ you want for hunting.
Basically, there are two things you want to
know. (1) Do most of the pellets fall within the 30 inch circle? If they don’t, can you modify your choke to concentrate the shot or spread out the pattern?
(2) In looking at the pattern created, are there ‘holes?’ Holes are areas (inside the 30″ ring) with no pellet shots. Depending on the size of the blank areas, it may indicate that if an animal was standing in that spot, it would escape being your supper. Will a different brand do better?
Game and Shot Size
Each shot size is effective for certain game.*
Game Lead/Tungsten Steel Shot
Pheasant 4 to 6 2 to 3
Turkey 4 to 6 2 to 3
Quail, dove 7 1/2 to 8
Rabbit 6 to 7 1/2
Ducks, low 4 to 6 2 to 3
Ducks, high 2 to 4 BB to 2
* This graph and the picture of the shotgun shell were extracted from Wikipedia, “Shotgun Shells”
BTW, US law requires the use of non-toxic (steel, bismuth. tungsten, etc.) shot while hunting waterfowl.
Lead vs. Steel Shot Sizes
Lead is heavier; it flattens and deforms on impact. Lead tends to create a wider pattern and carries farther.
Steel is lighter and does not deform on impact. It creates a narrower pattern, but does not carry as far as lead.
Shot size Equivalence: Steel vs. Lead
Steel 6-4 2 BB BBB T
Lead 6 4 2
Did You Know?
Ammunition requires careful handling. I am not referring to locking it up separate from weapons — to protect kids.
Certain things can be dangerous to ammo: excessive heat, contact with sharp objects or high impact. Be sure to check the condition of your ammo before loading.
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