For the 20ga crowd

Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by Larry Welch, May 19, 2021.

  1. Larry Welch

    Larry Welch Senior Refuge Member

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    I like the candy shots myself. Just sayin :pra
    Wish more were.
     
  2. Buster_AZ

    Buster_AZ Senior Refuge Member

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    A few discussions are kinda morphing together on here. There is a point of diminishing return when it comes to shot density. Take lead for example. Hardened lead performs better than soft lead and is less dense. The jump up from steel to pellets around ~10g/cc is significant. Like throwing a wiffle ball vs a baseball. Then you jump to TSS which is like throwing a bocce ball. Density is a cubic measurement so even single digit changes are significant. I’ve been testing this theory extensively and with a tight choke, good shooting form, bismuth or hevi x with a good pattern, then you’d be surprised what competent shooter can attain.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  3. Ravenanme

    Ravenanme Elite Refuge Member

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    Yep , that's the Game we play when you can shoot straight ? But , let's not forget how good Steel shot Loads have become , with the same marksmanship ,
    pattern development , shot size , but at 1500 fps or faster , birds die just the same ! Those of us who stay within the ballistic boundaries of the shots size
    kill plenty of birds inside the decoys and farther ! hehee
    We only trump this , with shot density when needed !:yes
     
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  4. CA Birdman

    CA Birdman Elite Refuge Member

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    Yes TSS is a great, I will pay the price for Turkey shells but not ready to spend that for duck shells. But I don't want to or not going to make a steady habit of shooting ducks at 60 yards plus.
    Regular steel in 1 oz loads for ducks under 30 yards is just fine, 3 and 4 shot is better than 2 shot and if just looking at steel, most guys jump to 2 shot as that is what they shoot in their 12ga, but in 20 gauge and 1oz load most times not the best choice. It all depends on your budget.

    I also forget most guys on here never miss.
     
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  5. Larry Welch

    Larry Welch Senior Refuge Member

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    So I have only been at the patterning of loads for only a couple of years, and I have a question. I have always done 30y and 40y because that's what I thought you were supposed to do. But if someone is going to shoot say 35 max and 40 only at a cripples why wouldn't you pattern at say 25 and 35? Or other distances as appropriate.

    I agree that the heavier loads (hevi shot, 15 and 18 and tss stuff) may kill better farther, but for me I feel the only place they would help would be swatting cripples in that 40+ yardage. That's expensive swatting. If I control my yardage at the shot, don't try for the hailmary steel should cover my shot and the swatting.

    Using a range finder and backing to a lasered 40y is a long shot. I am an avg shooter, some days better some days worse. I'm looking for even distribution in a 25-30" circle. I use a range finder on all our puddle duck hunts and will take it this year on layout boat hunts and stay within my skill level.

    Like I read on here, if I think I can hit it I'll pass for the ones I know I can hit. Give me the candy shots. Thanks for all the information and responses thus far, I enjoy acquiring knowledge.
     
  6. Buster_AZ

    Buster_AZ Senior Refuge Member

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    Pattern how ever you choose because all that really matters is your confidence. I use 40 yards so I can standardize my loads and compare apples to apples. At 40 yds I was taught to use the following pattern percentages in a 30” circle:

    IC: 50-60%
    Mod: 60-70%
    Full: >70%

    Guys talk about chokes and the constrictions are all over the board with variance, so all I’m concerned with is how a choke patterns a particular load and not what it is marked, per see.

    I shot a lot of 20 gauge #4 steel loads and it performs well if you can restrain yourself to 30 yards. Shot selection has a lot to do with it as well. Hit them in the head and hit them dead! I just don’t like to wound birds, so I generally hunt with a 12 gauge and #2 steel, if I am choosing to just shoot steel. Your mileage may vary!
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  7. Ravenanme

    Ravenanme Elite Refuge Member

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    Hunting with a 12 or 20 only says the smaller the bore the lesser the distance ! Those who can control themselves , with good calling and decoy placement
    do shoot birds in the decoys ! Those who can't , spend more of their hunting time chasing crip's and wounding birds . It's not hard to understand the ballistics
    of a gauge and the shot density that's being used ? With just a few shots at a patterning board at the distance You normally shoot your birds (30yds ?) , move
    back 10 yds and see how much your pattern has deteriorated ? Plus , you need to know what your shot size is capable of , 10 yds is a long ways for steel shot
    to retain enough energy to reach the vitals ?
     
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  8. Neighbor Guy

    Neighbor Guy Elite Refuge Member

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    Absolutely agree with patterning your gun at the distances you expect to shoot. Don’t worry about what the “experts” say you can and cannot do.

    I do the majority of my pattern work at 30-35yds because that is what I see as the most realistic shot distance in my world.
     
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  9. Joe Hunter

    Joe Hunter Senior Refuge Member

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    If you are wanting to evaluate your load/choke performance against the industry standard for choke designations; then pattern at 40 yards, with a 30-inch post-shot scribed circle, and average of 10 patterns. Yes, I normally only do 5, bad me, but still more than most!

    BUT, if you want to know how your gun/choke/load combo performs for your hunting situation, then pattern at the max distance of the majority of your shots, so you will have confidence in your combo at that yardage. That is why I shoot my open chokes at 30 yards, since my first shot at decoying birds is almost always inside of that, and pattern my tighter chokes at 40 yards since I may have a shot at that distance with the second shot.

    Good luck!
     
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  10. Ravenanme

    Ravenanme Elite Refuge Member

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    Surely it's been said many times before ? With Steel shot and IC (.010) choke will perform wonderfully inside decoys set out to 35 yds !
    With the average waterfowler's ability hitting a flying target beyond that being less than 20% , just as well play the odds for success !
    FWIW #3's in a 2 3/4" load of 1 1/8 oz has 183 pellets so , if you pattern it a 30 yds you should get a nice density of killing pellets !
    Try it and see ?
     
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