h2ofwlr wrote:It is about time to get ready for the fall hunting season, so here is the how to of doing it that I have saved in my computer. I hope this helps a few of you out in how to do it.
Patterning a shotgun.
I use Plastic white tablecloth that can be bought in 100' rolls about 40” wide. I use 2 - 2x4's, 6’ long with pointed ends and pound them in the ground almost 40” apart until they are very stable. I staple the plastic on to each side with about 8 staples onto the upright 2x4's. Make sure the plastic is taught across. I add a bold + at dead center for aiming purposesusing a majic marker, and then I use a 15" length of line attached to the magic marker and draw the 30" dia circle. I write on the corner the date, weather conditions, wind speed and direction in relation to target, manufacturer of the load, which load(shot size, amount of shot and FPS), and the choke and which gun. I fire from a bunch rest. A hood of a truck with several boat cushions or such will work too. Make sure you have a SAFE area behind the target. If the plastic tears off from the posts because of the wind, generally it is too windy to get accurate results, so wait for a calmer wind day. You can use a 4x4' piece of plywood as a backer too.
I use 3 shots minimum to calculate percentages and groupings. I circle with a magic marker and count each shot hit in the 30” circle and write it on the target. You can either use ballistic tables which tell you the number of pellets per ounce of shot or you can open up a shell and count the total number of pellets in it. Take the total hits and divide by the total pellets in the shell and this is the percentage of hits that hit within the 30” circle. Use these 3 shots for each choke and Each different load. The idea is to look for nice even patterns with the density you are looking for. This may entail buying many manufacturers and different loads to determine the best loads for your gun.
save the plastic targets for future references.