Dingbatter 2 wrote:Old school basic "pattering" is based on a 30 inch circle at 40 yards. Percentage of pellets within the 30 inch circle. You have to know how many total pellets are in the load, which is available if you dig deep enough, or cut some open, count them, and get an average. Full 65-75%; IM 55-65, Modified (Skeet No. 2) 45-55; IC 35-45; Cylinder (Skeet No. 1) 25-35%. One important point is just because a particular choke is labeled as such, does not mean that is what it throws. The same with constriction. A Mod choke may actually throw a Full or even an IC. That is the importance of patterning your gun with a variety of loads. Anyway, that is the basic way of "pattering" a shotgun.
apexhunter wrote:Also it is not just the percentage of pellets within the circle but the distribution of those pellets. A "good" pattern will have the appropriate number of pellets within the circle and those pellets should be evenly distributed as to not create holes that a target or bird can escape through. It will take a few shots at virgin paper to determine the average pattern the particular load and choke combination throws.
Do note that a particular choke can and most likely will throw different patterns with different loads so once you find a good combination stick with it.
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