Talkin’ Turkey: Density Patterns & Your Gun!

Last time, I didn’t get around to density patterns, chokes and other excitement.

Why Bother With Density Patterns?

Besides getting the shot to evenly scatter on a target, there’s an issue of figuring the percentage of shot that hits inside the circle. This is another way of making sure your gun will take down a turkey in one shot.

This huge bird has a very small area in the “kill zone” — a tiny brain and the cervical vertebra (spine).  And gobblers won’t wait around for you to reload!

Anatomy of a Shell

If you do not kill the bird outright, he will run away and die elsewhere!  This is bad for a couple of reasons.

I hate to see any animal suffer and it is usually a huge expenditure of time to chase a wounded turkey.  I might also mention that it is usually wasted time; trying to find a wounded animal/bird is hard work and usually futile.

Computing Density

You need to know how many pellets are in each shell you have fired.  The graph below will help. Look on the label of the ammo box for the number of ounces of pellets in each shell.

Shot Size Pellets/Oz.

2                                                  87

4                                                135

5                                                170

6                                                225

7 1/2                                       350

BB                                               50

How This Works

Let’s use one of MDH’s * turkey load shot:  Remington Mohawk Long Range #4 Shot  (1.25 ozs.). Looking at the scale above, we know that #4 shot has 135 pellets/oz.  135 x 1.25 ozs. = about 169 pellets.

If those #4 Shot Remingtons place 120 pellets in a 20 inch circle at 25 yards, then 70% of the shot were inside the circle, which is an acceptable range.  (120 pellets divided by 169 total pellets = about 71%)

Measuring a percentage is a good measure for comparisons.  However, a dense, even pattern is more important — when you take a bead on a turkey!


* MDH = My Deer Husband, Richard


I know, I know: I promised the low-down on the Eastern Wild Turkey.  I got bored after the other 4.  I’ll get back to the Eastern soon.


Disclaimer:  I’m the first to admit I don’t know all there is to know about hunting.  I offer this info to Newbies — maybe I know a bit more than they do.

As with most activities, there’s more than one way to do things.  This is a way that works for me. You may know a better, faster, less expensive way — and that’s great.  Share your abilities!


This blog is a companion to my website:

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Talkin’ Turkey: Density Patterns & Your Gun!  
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