Just curious to hear your thoughts

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Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby hamernhonkers » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:28 pm

I have been really thinking about just what is the best/easiest pellet diameter (in general) to get to pattern out of the different gauges lately.

I guess it's because of all this pattern work with the 28 and 410 the last couple of months I have been thinking about it.

In my experiences the following have been the best/easiest for the following gauges in hard (non lead) shot types.

410 - 8 shot
28 - 6 shot
20 - 3 and 4 shot
12 - 1 and 2 shot
10 - bb and bbb shot

So what have you guys found in general?
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby Columbia Basin Local » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:52 am

I've only patterned factory loads so far(over 50) but have just started to reload. With this many loads and several chokes I can offer what seems to be a few generalities. I agree with your 12 and 20 gauge findings but, I think I've had better luck even narrowing it down further. With #1's and 2's a 1 1/4oz is the sweet spot. # 3's work very well at 1 1/8- 1 1/16 oz. #4's seem to like 1 oz down to 7/8th's loads. These are all for the 12gauge. The 20 is fickle. Pretty much stuck with 7/8-1oz which is why I shot Kent's 7/8'th's in the 20g.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby BT Justice » Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:31 am

In general your close as far as what is the easiest to get to pattern in different gauges, the problem is you can't make a blanket statement to cover all types of guns, loads, chokes and shot types.

Starting with the 10 ga, I've seen a lot of 10 ga shotguns that pattern BB's very poorly and some that don't, we've gotten every steel shot size from #4's to F to pattern well in our 10 ga guns with the right choke and load combination.
Same goes for the 12 ga, some guns will pattern up to BBB or T steel well and some will never pattern shot that large.

As you get smaller in gauge you will have to reduce shot size due to bore constrictions, your 28 ga guns are not going to handle larger steel shot not matter what you do, but I think your selling it short if you just say my gun won't pattern shot larger than size X and that's final.
I've seen a lot 20 ga guns that will pattern steel 2's and even 1's very well, just depends on the gun and what your shooting in it.

One trick we have found over the years to work is to use lead loads, which are easier and cheaper to work with and find out the largest size/weight pellet your gun will pattern well with, try all of the tubes you have with the loads in a few different shot sizes. When you get to the largest shot size with the lead loads your gun will pattern well, then find the closest steel shot weight pellet to the lead pellet size that patterned well for you (example would be if your gun patterns lead 6's well then steel 4's or 5's should pattern well in it also), this works in about 80% of the guns we have tried it in, some guns are just uncooperative pattern wise not matter what you do.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby hamernhonkers » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:45 pm

BT Justice wrote:In general your close as far as what is the easiest to get to pattern in different gauges, the problem is you can't make a blanket statement to cover all types of guns, loads, chokes and shot types.

Starting with the 10 ga, I've seen a lot of 10 ga shotguns that pattern BB's very poorly and some that don't, we've gotten every steel shot size from #4's to F to pattern well in our 10 ga guns with the right choke and load combination.
Same goes for the 12 ga, some guns will pattern up to BBB or T steel well and some will never pattern shot that large.

As you get smaller in gauge you will have to reduce shot size due to bore constrictions, your 28 ga guns are not going to handle larger steel shot not matter what you do, but I think your selling it short if you just say my gun won't pattern shot larger than size X and that's final.
I've seen a lot 20 ga guns that will pattern steel 2's and even 1's very well, just depends on the gun and what your shooting in it.

One trick we have found over the years to work is to use lead loads, which are easier and cheaper to work with and find out the largest size/weight pellet your gun will pattern well with, try all of the tubes you have with the loads in a few different shot sizes. When you get to the largest shot size with the lead loads your gun will pattern well, then find the closest steel shot weight pellet to the lead pellet size that patterned well for you (example would be if your gun patterns lead 6's well then steel 4's or 5's should pattern well in it also), this works in about 80% of the guns we have tried it in, some guns are just uncooperative pattern wise not matter what you do.


BT I fully agree with your post and that is why I stated "in General". You have to remember though, I don't have near the years you do with pattern work and I only own about 30 shotguns and of those only half of them have had hard nontox shot patterned through them. I think it would be nice to have a sticky at the top with yours and others years of experience in a chart forum as a reference of where to start, on loads for patterning based on shot size and (thank you Columbia) load size and speed with a specific constriction based on range. I think it would be good for all our new friends each year and hell even for me if ever buy another one of those fancy spaghetti barrel guns :thumbsup: I just could see it being a lot more helpful then lets see your scattergun :wink: :beer:
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby 10gaOkie » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:41 pm

I agree with your list except for 10ga. My only choice for 10ga would be #1s. Forget the BB and BBBs for putting birds on the ground. I like #2s in 12ga however, for the most part, I find them hard to get to pattern except for a few chosen loads that seem to like #2s. If you find a load that likes them, you better wright it down. I dont have enough experience with the smaller bore sizes to comment on them.

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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby BT Justice » Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:21 am

hamernhonkers wrote:
BT Justice wrote:In general your close as far as what is the easiest to get to pattern in different gauges, the problem is you can't make a blanket statement to cover all types of guns, loads, chokes and shot types.

Starting with the 10 ga, I've seen a lot of 10 ga shotguns that pattern BB's very poorly and some that don't, we've gotten every steel shot size from #4's to F to pattern well in our 10 ga guns with the right choke and load combination.
Same goes for the 12 ga, some guns will pattern up to BBB or T steel well and some will never pattern shot that large.

As you get smaller in gauge you will have to reduce shot size due to bore constrictions, your 28 ga guns are not going to handle larger steel shot not matter what you do, but I think your selling it short if you just say my gun won't pattern shot larger than size X and that's final.
I've seen a lot 20 ga guns that will pattern steel 2's and even 1's very well, just depends on the gun and what your shooting in it.

One trick we have found over the years to work is to use lead loads, which are easier and cheaper to work with and find out the largest size/weight pellet your gun will pattern well with, try all of the tubes you have with the loads in a few different shot sizes. When you get to the largest shot size with the lead loads your gun will pattern well, then find the closest steel shot weight pellet to the lead pellet size that patterned well for you (example would be if your gun patterns lead 6's well then steel 4's or 5's should pattern well in it also), this works in about 80% of the guns we have tried it in, some guns are just uncooperative pattern wise not matter what you do.


BT I fully agree with your post and that is why I stated "in General". You have to remember though, I don't have near the years you do with pattern work and I only own about 30 shotguns and of those only half of them have had hard nontox shot patterned through them. I think it would be nice to have a sticky at the top with yours and others years of experience in a chart forum as a reference of where to start, on loads for patterning based on shot size and (thank you Columbia) load size and speed with a specific constriction based on range. I think it would be good for all our new friends each year and hell even for me if ever buy another one of those fancy spaghetti barrel guns :thumbsup: I just could see it being a lot more helpful then lets see your scattergun :wink: :beer:

Thanks for the compliments, it's appreciated.
The sticky thing would be a good idea however it's hard to tell somebody what will and what won't work in their particular gun.
There so many variables involved with shotguns, especially with steel shot, that each shotgun even of the same brand and model may pattern differently than the next.
You mentioned the spaghetti guns, there's another variable. We've also found that for some reason thicker barreled guns pattern steel shot better in many cases than thin barreled guns, maybe others have had different results but that's what we've seen in a lot of our testing.
Think the best thing for people to do is decide on what shot size will work best for their particular hunting situation and see if their gun will pattern it or not, like I mentioned on the 20 ga guns, you can get lucky and find out you have a 20 ga that patterns larger shot well, then you have an added advantage in your bag.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby Honkerblaster » Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:03 pm

10gaOkie wrote:I agree with your list except for 10ga. My only choice for 10ga would be #1s. Forget the BB and BBBs for putting birds on the ground. I like #2s in 12ga however, for the most part, I find them hard to get to pattern except for a few chosen loads that seem to like #2s. If you find a load that likes them, you better wright it down. I dont have enough experience with the smaller bore sizes to comment on them.

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If you like #1s thats fine and dandy, but With steel #1s you are limiting your effective range of your 10 ga, the reason I shoot my 10 is to extend my effective range, if I was going to only be shooting over the decoys and the occasional passer then I would be using a lighter and more manageable gun like a 12, which is basically what you are limiting yourself to with small shot out of a big heavy gun. To maximize your effective range you need to have pellets that have the energy to kill at that distance and the pattern density to do so effectively. If you like shooting smaller shot out of it, use something like hevi shot that has the killing energy at extended range. If you are happy with limiting your range with small steel out of your 10 that's fine with me, but that's generally not why people use them.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby 10gaOkie » Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:14 pm

60 yards is a long shot using steel shot for anyone which I try to use as a limit. I put more geese down with the 1s than with the bigger shot strictly pass shooting. After reloading, patterning and shooting bigger pellet loads in 10ga since 87, this is my opinion as to what works best for me. I have reloaded hevi shot in 10ga and its not for me.

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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby DoubleDutchChuck » Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:29 pm

Quote:
In my experiences the following have been the best/easiest for the following gauges in hard (non lead) shot types.

410 - 8 shot
28 - 6 shot
20 - 3 and 4 shot
12 - 1 and 2 shot
10 - bb and bbb shot

So what have you guys found in general?

Overall, I agree with these shot size choices for steel shot. For the majority of the duck shooting, on the river that we do, I can get by easily shooting 3's and 2's. For geese with my 10ga, I like shooting 1's, B's, and BBB's. The 1's work great for the first shot at 40yds, and then followed w/ B's and BBB's, I can shoot great patterns out to 55yds. Personally, if I have a bird beyond that distance, I don't shoot. I'd rather know that I can drop them dead than just cripple them to the water. As for BB size shot, I haven't found a load that patterns worth a darn thru my setup. We changed our shooting area for the past 4 years and now we seldom see geese come across our blocks. They just don't fly this part of the river, while duck shooting is fantastic. I now don't take the 10ga but have 12ga Hevi 4's for that goose looking to commit suicide. Thru my gun and LM choke, these Hevi 4 reloads pattern great at 50 yds. and have provided several DOA geese.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby BT Justice » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:54 am

DoubleDutchChuck wrote:Quote:
In my experiences the following have been the best/easiest for the following gauges in hard (non lead) shot types.

410 - 8 shot
28 - 6 shot
20 - 3 and 4 shot
12 - 1 and 2 shot
10 - bb and bbb shot

So what have you guys found in general?

Overall, I agree with these shot size choices for steel shot. For the majority of the duck shooting, on the river that we do, I can get by easily shooting 3's and 2's. For geese with my 10ga, I like shooting 1's, B's, and BBB's. The 1's work great for the first shot at 40yds, and then followed w/ B's and BBB's, I can shoot great patterns out to 55yds. Personally, if I have a bird beyond that distance, I don't shoot. I'd rather know that I can drop them dead than just cripple them to the water. As for BB size shot, I haven't found a load that patterns worth a darn thru my setup. We changed our shooting area for the past 4 years and now we seldom see geese come across our blocks. They just don't fly this part of the river, while duck shooting is fantastic. I now don't take the 10ga but have 12ga Hevi 4's for that goose looking to commit suicide. Thru my gun and LM choke, these Hevi 4 reloads pattern great at 50 yds. and have provided several DOA geese.

BB's are tough to get to pattern in a lot of guns, took a while but my I finally got a decent combination for my Gold 10, the SP-10 handle's BB's a lot better.
This is 45 yards 1565 fps 1 1/2 oz BB load through the .705 Terror in the Gold 10, not the best looking pattern I ever shot but it's a good solid goose load out to 55 -57 yards drops them well.
Image
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby DoubleDutchChuck » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:46 am

BT, That BB pattern is great compared to any that I've been able to achieve. Since I have good BBB loads, I'll stick w/ them.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby Honkerblaster » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:39 am

BT Justice wrote:
DoubleDutchChuck wrote:Quote:
In my experiences the following have been the best/easiest for the following gauges in hard (non lead) shot types.

410 - 8 shot
28 - 6 shot
20 - 3 and 4 shot
12 - 1 and 2 shot
10 - bb and bbb shot

So what have you guys found in general?

Overall, I agree with these shot size choices for steel shot. For the majority of the duck shooting, on the river that we do, I can get by easily shooting 3's and 2's. For geese with my 10ga, I like shooting 1's, B's, and BBB's. The 1's work great for the first shot at 40yds, and then followed w/ B's and BBB's, I can shoot great patterns out to 55yds. Personally, if I have a bird beyond that distance, I don't shoot. I'd rather know that I can drop them dead than just cripple them to the water. As for BB size shot, I haven't found a load that patterns worth a darn thru my setup. We changed our shooting area for the past 4 years and now we seldom see geese come across our blocks. They just don't fly this part of the river, while duck shooting is fantastic. I now don't take the 10ga but have 12ga Hevi 4's for that goose looking to commit suicide. Thru my gun and LM choke, these Hevi 4 reloads pattern great at 50 yds. and have provided several DOA geese.

BB's are tough to get to pattern in a lot of guns, took a while but my I finally got a decent combination for my Gold 10, the SP-10 handle's BB's a lot better.
This is 45 yards 1565 fps 1 1/2 oz BB load through the .705 Terror in the Gold 10, not the best looking pattern I ever shot but it's a good solid goose load out to 55 -57 yards drops them well.
Image

How do you know what your pattern looks like at 55 yards if you pattern at 45 :huh: 10 yards is everything in shotgun patterns
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby BT Justice » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:11 pm

I've used that load in the field enough to know it's good on birds at those ranges and BB's tend to start being ineffective further than 55- 57 yard shots .
Figure if it went down 15% more (which is a lot) 10 yards further down the line it would still be around 64% and still good enough to bring birds down.
You'll figure it out>>> pretty patterns shot at unbelievable ranges can be achieved with very slow steel loads by just about anybody, Making big steel go fast and still hold patterns well is the tricky part but you'll kill a whole lot more birds with it.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby Honkerblaster » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:45 pm

BT Justice wrote:I've used that load in the field enough to know it's good on birds at those ranges and BB's tend to start being ineffective further than 55- 57 yard shots .
Figure if it went down 15% more (which is a lot) 10 yards further down the line it would still be around 64% and still good enough to bring birds down.
You'll figure it out>>> pretty patterns shot at unbelievable ranges can be achieved with very slow steel loads by just about anybody, Making big steel go fast and still hold patterns well is the tricky part but you'll kill a whole lot more birds with it.

So you are assuming what it will do in 10 yards?! Wow... :no:
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby mudpack » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:53 pm

BT Justice wrote:Image


That's one pattern, and not very even at that. Would like to see three or five more shot with that same combo. If I shot five patterns and they all looked like that, I'd cross off that load and go on to something else. Maybe that's just me.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby baltz526 » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:27 pm

I would like to try a tighter choke with this load.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby Theduckguru » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:40 pm

BT Justice wrote:In general your close as far as what is the easiest to get to pattern in different gauges, the problem is you can't make a blanket statement to cover all types of guns, loads, chokes and shot types.

Starting with the 10 ga, I've seen a lot of 10 ga shotguns that pattern BB's very poorly and some that don't, we've gotten every steel shot size from #4's to F to pattern well in our 10 ga guns with the right choke and load combination.
Same goes for the 12 ga, some guns will pattern up to BBB or T steel well and some will never pattern shot that large.

As you get smaller in gauge you will have to reduce shot size due to bore constrictions, your 28 ga guns are not going to handle larger steel shot not matter what you do, but I think your selling it short if you just say my gun won't pattern shot larger than size X and that's final.
I've seen a lot 20 ga guns that will pattern steel 2's and even 1's very well, just depends on the gun and what your shooting in it.

One trick we have found over the years to work is to use lead loads, which are easier and cheaper to work with and find out the largest size/weight pellet your gun will pattern well with, try all of the tubes you have with the loads in a few different shot sizes. When you get to the largest shot size with the lead loads your gun will pattern well, then find the closest steel shot weight pellet to the lead pellet size that patterned well for you (example would be if your gun patterns lead 6's well then steel 4's or 5's should pattern well in it also), this works in about 80% of the guns we have tried it in, some guns are just uncooperative pattern wise not matter what you do.



Out of a 10 ga with 1-3/8 to 1-1/2 of #4, how do you get a poor pattern.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby Honkerblaster » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:38 pm

Theduckguru wrote:
BT Justice wrote:In general your close as far as what is the easiest to get to pattern in different gauges, the problem is you can't make a blanket statement to cover all types of guns, loads, chokes and shot types.

Starting with the 10 ga, I've seen a lot of 10 ga shotguns that pattern BB's very poorly and some that don't, we've gotten every steel shot size from #4's to F to pattern well in our 10 ga guns with the right choke and load combination.
Same goes for the 12 ga, some guns will pattern up to BBB or T steel well and some will never pattern shot that large.

As you get smaller in gauge you will have to reduce shot size due to bore constrictions, your 28 ga guns are not going to handle larger steel shot not matter what you do, but I think your selling it short if you just say my gun won't pattern shot larger than size X and that's final.
I've seen a lot 20 ga guns that will pattern steel 2's and even 1's very well, just depends on the gun and what your shooting in it.

One trick we have found over the years to work is to use lead loads, which are easier and cheaper to work with and find out the largest size/weight pellet your gun will pattern well with, try all of the tubes you have with the loads in a few different shot sizes. When you get to the largest shot size with the lead loads your gun will pattern well, then find the closest steel shot weight pellet to the lead pellet size that patterned well for you (example would be if your gun patterns lead 6's well then steel 4's or 5's should pattern well in it also), this works in about 80% of the guns we have tried it in, some guns are just uncooperative pattern wise not matter what you do.



Out of a 10 ga with 1-3/8 to 1-1/2 of #4, how do you get a poor pattern.

2 oz of hevi shot or lead #2 or 2.25 oz of lead BB is almost scary, I believe hevi shot makes a non tox turkey load with 2 3/8oz of shot for 10 ga...
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby BT Justice » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:32 am

I'll make a blanket statement for everyone who commented, we don't look for the prettiest or most even patterns in many instances. BB's (especially fast BB's) as was the original reply to the post by DDChuck, are difficult to get to pattern in a lot of guns.
I already stated it's not the prettiest or best looking pattern but it works in the field for us, that's the point I am and have always tried to make to you guys. Pretty looking patterns don't kill birds, although it does help, a lot of times to get the right balance of speed, payload weight and range your not going to get the best looking patterns in the world. But as even Fackler from BP noted many years ago sometimes the best field loads don't give the best looking patterns.
The object for me at least is to kill birds, not make patterns that I can post up and say hey look guys I got a perfectly even picture perfect pattern for you guys to see.
As for the comment on #4's nobody said they were difficult to pattern, just that we have tried them and gotten loads to pattern well with them. Usually that's 1700 fps 1 1/4 oz loads for the 10 ga, which just gives us a bit more versatility when you only have one gun and you get some close in duck opportunities.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby mudpack » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:28 pm

BT Justice wrote: a lot of times to get the right balance of speed, payload weight and range your not going to get the best looking patterns in the world.

Then what is the point of patterning your loads??

Just pick a MV, payload weight, and shot size that sounds good to you and load up a couple of cases.

To most of us, the proof of the pudding, so to speak, IS the pattern produced by a load that is carrying the proper shot size.
You may disagree, but I think those who are not trying to achieve the best patterns possible are selling themselves short.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby BT Justice » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:41 am

mudpack wrote:
BT Justice wrote: a lot of times to get the right balance of speed, payload weight and range your not going to get the best looking patterns in the world.

Then what is the point of patterning your loads??

Just pick a MV, payload weight, and shot size that sounds good to you and load up a couple of cases.

To most of us, the proof of the pudding, so to speak, IS the pattern produced by a load that is carrying the proper shot size.
You may disagree, but I think those who are not trying to achieve the best patterns possible are selling themselves short.

Simply put my friend, the faster you go with a lot of steel shot sizes the harder it is to get great looking patterns especially with larger sizes of steel. The pattern I showed was off center a bit but it showed I was getting high enough percentages to make a good killing load at 1565 fps with BB steel. I could have shot 10 or 15 more and posted up the prettiest looking one, but I doubt the percentages would been much different, usually you get a 3 -5% +/- difference if you have a consistent load on your hands anyway.

I've tried a lot of loads in the field that looked great on paper and didn't work all that well on geese, the one I posted up on the other hand works very well in the field. I tried it because it met the requirements of what I was looking for a fast 10 ga BB load that had good percentages and held together, other fast BB loads were not holding together as well.
It works for me that's all I can say.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby Theduckguru » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:22 am

mudpack wrote:
BT Justice wrote: a lot of times to get the right balance of speed, payload weight and range your not going to get the best looking patterns in the world.

Then what is the point of patterning your loads??

Just pick a MV, payload weight, and shot size that sounds good to you and load up a couple of cases.

To most of us, the proof of the pudding, so to speak, IS the pattern produced by a load that is carrying the proper shot size.
You may disagree, but I think those who are not trying to achieve the best patterns possible are selling themselves short.


I tried a BB load several years ago in 2-3/4". The patterns were tight enough, but uniform distribution stunk on paper. When I loaded a case anyway and shot them in the field, the performed surprisingly well. Sometimes we over think this stuff.
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Re: Just curious to hear your thoughts

Postby mudpack » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:27 am

Theduckguru wrote:Sometimes we over think this stuff.

No doubt about that.
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