Minimum pattern density

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Minimum pattern density

Postby squeasel » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:29 am

I've assembled a variety of shells and chokes and I'm ready to hit the patterning board. One of the things I want to determine is the maximum distance for ethical shooting with the various loads.
I've got the info from JJmac on pellet penetration, but was wondering about pattern density to reliably bring down (a) mallards and (b) Canada geese.

Thanks for any help. Shawn
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Postby J J Mac » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:50 am

This has been discussed a lot on this forum. If you use the search button I think you will find what you want. See posts by Ohsay and Ned S. You may see some differences in opinion. Rather than percentages what you want is # of pellets in 30 inch circle spread evenly. Assuming you will be using steel, for mallards #3 is my favorite and for big geese #1, B, or BB depending on distance. If you will be shooting both and the geese aren't too far out #1 is a compromise. Use high velocity shells.
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Postby Sagebrush » Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:54 pm

I carry duck and goose loads into the field with me.

99% of the time you can hear or see geese before they get to you
with plenty of time to swap out your shells.

The odds are even better if you hunt with a partner !!

If the birds fall straight down and quiver.............instead of sailing
off and dropping 300 yards away you are using the right loads
and chokes.

Your friends are to tell you..."Nice shot" !!
not, "There goes another bird for the buzzards".
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Postby donttreadonme » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:10 pm

Sagebrush wrote:I carry duck and goose loads into the field with me.


Me to. If I were to only shoot one load it would be #2 steel or #4 Heavy. #2 doesn't pattern well for me and I rarely shoot both ducks and geese in the same location.
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Postby njonesy_07 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:19 pm

I picked up from someone on here, that you need 88 pellets in a 30" cirlce (evenly spread/no holes) for mallards. 100 is what I would aim for. With #3's that shouldn't be a problem for a LM or Mod. Good luck! :thumbsup:
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Postby squeasel » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:36 pm

Thanks for the replies. I got various configurations of 3's, 1's and BB's that I'm going to pattern tomorrow.

I'm going to pattern at various distances and that should make things obvious. If not, I'll definitely use the search function.

Good hunting, Shawn
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pattern density

Postby ttu » Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:05 pm

Check out a CONSEP chart (CONSEP=cooperative nontoxic shot education program). The charts are found in many state hunting handbooks. The CONSEP data is as solid as it gets. I believe that the data has been statistically analyzed with a confidence interval set at 90 or 95%, I can never remember which it is. The database was formed after necropsies were conducted on literally thousands of birds killed at laser ranged distances with known load/pattern combinations. It is about as scientific as a waterfowl mortality study can be.
Last edited by ttu on Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby slothman » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:32 pm

I took a Consep Wingshooting class with the Missouri Dept. of Conservation and it was truly eyeopening. A great experience that I would reccomend to anyone with the opportunity.
The glass is not half empty or half full, it's just twice as big as it needs to be.

If you miss a lot of birds, does that make you a conservationist?
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Postby Joe Hunter » Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:50 pm

ttu is right on. Tom Roster, CONSEP (Coopertative North American Shotgunning Education Program) ballistics consultant, has done the lethality reseasch for you.

Many states publish Roster's CONSEP 2006 table in their hunting regs books.

Good luck.
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Postby Ned S » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:45 pm

It takes 88 pellets fairly evenly spaced in a 30" to put 4 pellets in a mallard. I like around 100 pellets at 40 yds. It takes the following number of pellets again fairly evenly spaced to put 5 pellets in a goose by weight.
8lb-----35 pellets
10lb---28
12lb---23
16lb---17
The bigger the goose the less pellets required in the circle to put 5 pellets in it. I try to put more pellets than the min shown in the goose. I get 90% at 40 yds shooting 7/8 oz of B's at 1724 fps with no holes in the pattern. That's' 69 pellets out of 75. I shoot mostly 8 lbe geese so that is almost twice the pellets I need at 40 yds. 90% of our geese are killed over the decoys at 20-40 yds. So this is an adequate load. This load will penetrate to kill to 73 yds at 32F and 4000 ft. I hunt at 4000 ft. At sea level this load will penetrate to kill to about 64+ yds. You generally run out of pattern density before reaching the max penetration to kill distance. Hopes this helps. Have a great season. Ned S.
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby Tkrysl » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:09 pm

Slothman,

I've never seen the missouri conservation class offered. Where did you find the info?
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby Joe Hunter » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:18 pm

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Re:

Postby Frank Lopez » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:15 pm

Ned S wrote:It takes 88 pellets fairly evenly spaced in a 30" to put 4 pellets in a mallard. I like around 100 pellets at 40 yds. It takes the following number of pellets again fairly evenly spaced to put 5 pellets in a goose by weight.
8lb-----35 pellets
10lb---28
12lb---23
16lb---17
The bigger the goose the less pellets required in the circle to put 5 pellets in it. I try to put more pellets than the min shown in the goose.


Unfortunately, this isn't quite true. Its basis is in Burrard's calculations related to the weight of the bird. This theory has been proven to be way off both in actual practice and its basic assumptions. As the weight of a goose increases, the area of critical organs increases, but it does not increase in a linear manner. This method lists a minimum of 17 well distributed pellets as being the minimum for a 16lb goose. As you can see from Joe Hunter's link to Roster's table, the data obtained from over 25,000 individual observations and necropsies list the minimum to be 50 to 55 pellets for the same sized bird (Roster lists them by their race, Giant, Western, Atlantic and Interior Canada geese.)

Interestingly, Roster lists the minimum pattern for small to medium geese to be 60 to 65 pellets. A 69 pellet pattern will certainly fill that bill.

Frank
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:52 pm

ho hum here we go again.... :lol:
my take on it...get a saucer from under mums cup of tea or a clay bird and put it on your shot pattern you shouldnt be able to place it on board without covering holes...a mallards vital area is about the same as your fist with thumb sticking out being head/neck.
some loads pattern nice some no so even. its a balancing act. too tight and you risk missing altogether in close/to loose and no good out a bit as not enough hits to ensure a clean kill.
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby BT Justice » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:32 am

Elvis Kiwi wrote:ho hum here we go again.... :lol:
my take on it...get a saucer from under mums cup of tea or a clay bird and put it on your shot pattern you shouldnt be able to place it on board without covering holes...a mallards vital area is about the same as your fist with thumb sticking out being head/neck.
some loads pattern nice some no so even. its a balancing act. too tight and you risk missing altogether in close/to loose and no good out a bit as not enough hits to ensure a clean kill.

:lol3: :lol3: :lol3:
Yeah they'll argue about this for another 10 pages and still get nowhere.
Use what kills the birds
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby Bug Doc » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:59 am

There was an article published a while back that calculated the vital area of most North American waterfowl species, but my bookmark no longer works. :mad:

Here's what works for me (all numbers are pellet counts in a 30" circle with a reasonable distribution):

Small ducks (teal, buffies, etc...) - 140
Medium ducks (wigeon, spoonies, etc...) - 120
Large ducks & small geese (mallards, gadwall, pintail, rossies, cacklers, etc...) - 100
Medium geese (lessors, snows) - 80
Large geese (greaters) - 60

These are the minimum numbers that I will accept at the max range I plan on shooting. They're fairly conservative numbers, to help make up for range estimation errors and the vagaries of patterns.
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby The Drake » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:49 am

I agree with the numbers above..........my goal when patterning is 125-130 hits at 40 yards with 1550fps #3's.
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby solway gunner » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:38 am

BT Justice wrote:
Elvis Kiwi wrote:ho hum here we go again.... :lol:
my take on it...get a saucer from under mums cup of tea or a clay bird and put it on your shot pattern you shouldnt be able to place it on board without covering holes...a mallards vital area is about the same as your fist with thumb sticking out being head/neck.
some loads pattern nice some no so even. its a balancing act. too tight and you risk missing altogether in close/to loose and no good out a bit as not enough hits to ensure a clean kill.

:lol3: :lol3: :lol3:
Yeah they'll argue about this for another 10 pages and still get nowhere.
Use what kills the birds



"use what kills the birds"..prescisely,what works best for you-end of!!!
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby Frank Lopez » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:03 am

solway gunner wrote:
BT Justice wrote:
Elvis Kiwi wrote:ho hum here we go again.... :lol:
my take on it...get a saucer from under mums cup of tea or a clay bird and put it on your shot pattern you shouldnt be able to place it on board without covering holes...a mallards vital area is about the same as your fist with thumb sticking out being head/neck.
some loads pattern nice some no so even. its a balancing act. too tight and you risk missing altogether in close/to loose and no good out a bit as not enough hits to ensure a clean kill.

:lol3: :lol3: :lol3:
Yeah they'll argue about this for another 10 pages and still get nowhere.
Use what kills the birds



"use what kills the birds"..prescisely,what works best for you-end of!!!


The problem with this line of thinking is that on an open forum, someone is going to come along and tell everyone that they've killed mallard ducks at 60 yards with a 3/4oz load of #4 shot (see the #7 steel thread for a real life example.) And while they may have, in fact, killed large ducks at that range with that load, it should be filed under the heading that even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and again.

Put it another way, using Roster's or Burrard's recommendation of 85 well distributed pellets in a 30 inch circle as an example, what happens if you've only got 75 pellets in the patter? Will the pattern kill the bird or not? It will certainly more than likely kill the bird in question, but in reality the kill ratio of centered birds will invariably go down. When the kill ratio goes down, the wounding ration goes up, and that's something that should be avoided at all costs.


This is not an admonition of light loads. It doesn't matter what you start with, it's what you end up with that matters here. If you're shooting a 3/4oz load of #2 steel at large ducks and can keep a 90% pattern at 40 yards, you have all that's needed to be statistically reliable.

It isn't really enough to "use what you think kills", you need to know what is going on in order to make an informed decision.

Frank
I feel slightly sorry for a man who has never patterned his gun, who has no idea how far his chosen load will retain killing penetration. But I'm extremely sorry for the ducks he shoots at beyond the killing range of his gun and load - Bob Brister
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby solway gunner » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:12 pm

i see where your coming from and agree with you .,but youve highlited the whole issue when you mention "open forum" and the difficultys that arise by posting on them.
perhaps to be correct then anyone posting a question such as the thread title,should only be answered in military fashion ,with direct quotes from the afformentioned ballistic authoritys to ensure that none of the problems that youve just mentioned take place by mr.greenhorn.
we need two sections to post under then,beginners and experienced,so beginners dont get led astray..

thats prescisely what i meant when i re -iterated joes statement ,"use what works for you"and ned and some others stating their liking for lighter loads which work for them and thats just my point .,cant help the fact that experienced guys state loads which arent for everyone ,but which realy work for them,its just a pity that things can get picked up wrong on an open forum by the less experienced.,just one of those things i suppose.
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby Sagebrush » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:23 pm

Now that this post is five years old I will add that...........

two BB's work as good as 4-5 #4 pellets in a body placement on ducks........

Do you only need a 40 pellet strike in a 30" dia. with the larger pellets ?

Just one "Golden" pellet to a head, neck or wing bone will also work..........
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby mudpack » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:35 pm

ned's numbers have been proven to be ridiculously low in the last five years, so you can disregard them.

I like solway's post and Elvis' is worth noting, too.

Minimum pattern density is that which will reliably (that doesn't mean half the time, either) put 5 pellets into the vital area of the bird you're trying to kill.

By the way, two BB's are not a reliable killer of birds, whereas 4 or 5 number 4's is.

Yes, birds are killed by one Golden Pellet every year. Does that mean that a load consisting of ONE pellet is a viable load?
Of course not.
Look at it this way: the more appropriately-sized shot you have in a pattern, the better the chance of ONE of those pellets striking a vital....and that's what you're looking for: at least ONE pellet in the vitals.
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby Yuchi1 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:53 pm

Frank Lopez wrote:
solway gunner wrote:
BT Justice wrote:
Elvis Kiwi wrote:ho hum here we go again.... :lol:
my take on it...get a saucer from under mums cup of tea or a clay bird and put it on your shot pattern you shouldnt be able to place it on board without covering holes...a mallards vital area is about the same as your fist with thumb sticking out being head/neck.
some loads pattern nice some no so even. its a balancing act. too tight and you risk missing altogether in close/to loose and no good out a bit as not enough hits to ensure a clean kill.

:lol3: :lol3: :lol3:
Yeah they'll argue about this for another 10 pages and still get nowhere.
Use what kills the birds



"use what kills the birds" ..prescisely,what works best for you-end of!!!


The problem with this line of thinking is that on an open forum, someone is going to come along and tell everyone that they've killed mallard ducks at 60 yards with a 3/4oz load of #4 shot (see the #7 steel thread for a real life example.) And while they may have, in fact, killed large ducks at that range with that load, it should be filed under the heading that even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and again.

Put it another way, using Roster's or Burrard's recommendation of 85 well distributed pellets in a 30 inch circle as an example, what happens if you've only got 75 pellets in the patter? Will the pattern kill the bird or not? It will certainly more than likely kill the bird in question, but in reality the kill ratio of centered birds will invariably go down. When the kill ratio goes down, the wounding ration goes up, and that's something that should be avoided at all costs.


This is not an admonition of light loads. It doesn't matter what you start with, it's what you end up with that matters here. If you're shooting a 3/4oz load of #2 steel at large ducks and can keep a 90% pattern at 40 yards, you have all that's needed to be statistically reliable.

It isn't really enough to "use what you think kills", you need to know what is going on in order to make an informed decision.
Frank


You are misquoting/wordsmithing the man. His comment (taken in its proper context) indicates it was predicated upon actual field experience.
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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby Yuchi1 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:55 pm

mudpack wrote:ned's numbers have been proven ( by whom? ) to be ridiculously low in the last five years, so you can disregard them.

I like solway's post and Elvis' is worth noting, too.

Minimum pattern density is that which will reliably (that doesn't mean half the time, either) put 5 pellets into the vital area of the bird you're trying to kill.

By the way, two BB's are not a reliable killer of birds, whereas 4 or 5 number 4's is.

Yes, birds are killed by one Golden Pellet every year. Does that mean that a load consisting of ONE pellet is a viable load?
Of course not.
Look at it this way: the more appropriately-sized shot you have in a pattern, the better the chance of ONE of those pellets striking a vital....and that's what you're looking for: at least ONE pellet in the vitals.
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Does the number of bands claimed simply mean you have an Ebay account?

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Re: Minimum pattern density

Postby Frank Lopez » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:16 pm

Yuchi1 wrote:
Frank Lopez wrote:
solway gunner wrote:
BT Justice wrote:
Elvis Kiwi wrote:ho hum here we go again.... :lol:
my take on it...get a saucer from under mums cup of tea or a clay bird and put it on your shot pattern you shouldnt be able to place it on board without covering holes...a mallards vital area is about the same as your fist with thumb sticking out being head/neck.
some loads pattern nice some no so even. its a balancing act. too tight and you risk missing altogether in close/to loose and no good out a bit as not enough hits to ensure a clean kill.

:lol3: :lol3: :lol3:
Yeah they'll argue about this for another 10 pages and still get nowhere.
Use what kills the birds



"use what kills the birds" ..prescisely,what works best for you-end of!!!


The problem with this line of thinking is that on an open forum, someone is going to come along and tell everyone that they've killed mallard ducks at 60 yards with a 3/4oz load of #4 shot (see the #7 steel thread for a real life example.) And while they may have, in fact, killed large ducks at that range with that load, it should be filed under the heading that even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and again.

Put it another way, using Roster's or Burrard's recommendation of 85 well distributed pellets in a 30 inch circle as an example, what happens if you've only got 75 pellets in the patter? Will the pattern kill the bird or not? It will certainly more than likely kill the bird in question, but in reality the kill ratio of centered birds will invariably go down. When the kill ratio goes down, the wounding ration goes up, and that's something that should be avoided at all costs.


This is not an admonition of light loads. It doesn't matter what you start with, it's what you end up with that matters here. If you're shooting a 3/4oz load of #2 steel at large ducks and can keep a 90% pattern at 40 yards, you have all that's needed to be statistically reliable.

It isn't really enough to "use what you think kills", you need to know what is going on in order to make an informed decision.
Frank


You are misquoting/wordsmithing the man. His comment (taken in its proper context) indicates it was predicated upon actual field experience.


Actually, not a misquote at all. Quotes are often used to highlight a point, as was the case here. I'm sure you would have recognized that had you bothered to read the entire post instead of cherry picking to start an argument where there is none.
I feel slightly sorry for a man who has never patterned his gun, who has no idea how far his chosen load will retain killing penetration. But I'm extremely sorry for the ducks he shoots at beyond the killing range of his gun and load - Bob Brister
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