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Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by Larry Welch, May 19, 2021.
Had a leather lace up comb piece on it as I tend to shoot LW 20 gauge 870’s & 11-87’s a tad low. Notice the POA on this and the next.
It's true. I dunno, google it...
Going down in pellet size will not always result in more pellets in the effective pattern. It's why we pattern our guns.
You are taking my use of the word efficient and twisting it into something else. A load that puts 80% of it's pellets into a 30" circle for 100 pellet strikes is more efficient than a load that sends 40% of its pellets into the same circle to get the same 100 pellet strikes. 60% of the pellets going somewhere outside the working pattern isn't very "efficient".
How efficient a round is at putting birds in hand out in the field is another matter altogether, and really comes down to the application and ability of the shooter.
Dense, evenly distributed patterns are very good performers at the ranges they are dense and evenly distributed. Evenly distributed can also indicate the edge of a steel loads effective range, as things tend to fall apart quickly after the shot cloud finishes "mushrooming" or "blooming". A pattern with a working "core" still intact on the pattern board will indicate a shot cloud that still has some range left in it.
Even better, I went to Dr. A.C. Jones' book, Sporting Shotgun Performance, where on page 135, I found this paragraph:
"The results from the study of the...gun in Chapter 6 lead to the conclusion that a change in the size of the pellets does not affect the width of the pattern to practically significant degree. This conclusion counters two different trains of thought that pervade shotgun circles. First, (that) guns are very sensitive to pellet size and one needs to experiment to find what works best with a specific gun, and second, (that) large pellets throw tighter patterns...."
All else being equal, going down in pellet size will result in more pellets in the effective pattern in virtually every case.
If it didn't, we'd all be shooting T shot for everything.
Less than 5% of the pellets in a typical pattern actually hit the target. By that measure, all loads/patterns are inefficient.
Two loads that put the same number of pellets in the pattern will be equally efficient in putting 4-5 pellets on target. Percentages or pellets outside the "circle" don't count.
A payload of 156 #2 steel is fired at a canvasback drake. Five of those #2 steel pellets strike and kill the bird. The other 151 pellets miss the bird. They don't count. Only the five that struck the target count. Is that an efficient load? I'd say, "yes, it is", since it was dense enough to bring the bird down. Only the number (not the percentage) of pellets in the pattern.....not the number of pellets in the shell....count in your chance of bringing down a bird.
I agree that it's up to the shooter to put the pattern on the bird. However, and I think you'll agree, he must be shooting a good pattern if the shooter is to consistently bring down birds.
I'm not talking about pushing a load beyond it's effective range. I'm talking about an effective pattern and, of course, every pattern has its maximum effective range.
My Holy Grail load is one that has only five (5) HTL pellets in the load and all five strike the bird. I could buy another shotgun with the cost savings.
The previously posted HW-15 patterns shot with the Elsie (Marlin mfg. by Fausti) @40 yards have a 20-21” kill zone. Am going to shoot some more at 50 & 60 yards on Wednesday to see what they look like at those ranges. Looks like my hand load in #5 steel and/or the Kent Upland load in #5’s is the go-to option for 35-40 yards.
My first twice-barreled (16 gauge) shotgun was in 1964. Am finding myself gravitating back to them (especially SXS’s) lately especially with the 16, 20 & 28 gauges.
Lemme guess.. you googled it first but didn't find anything to refute my claim, so you dug that up? I can't reference the book, but my understanding is that it is largely geared towards/based off lead target loads. Given your history of selectively quoting things, I'm curious as to what you omitted? "The width of the pattern" could mean several things, but if it encompasses the entire shot cloud (pellet to pellet), well.. you're gonna get fliers no matter what you shoot.
Spherical pellets have ballistic coefficient ratings directly related to their sectional density, a value that increases with each pellet size. The larger the pellet, the greater it's ability to retain energy, fight wind drift and atmospheric pressures. There are many things that can effect patterns.. barrel resonance, choke, wad separation, charge weight and setback, deformation, velocity, temperature, elevation, humidity etc. etc. In theory, every load fired from a cylinder bore inside a vacuum would produce 100% patterns. But we don't hunt inside a vacuum. From the moment it leaves the muzzle a patterns every moment is spent fighting the thing that will prevent it from being lethal (until it ultimately loses) and we must choose shot sizes and materials that help temporarily negate the one constant that causes deceleration and pattern spread.
To say that larger pellets do not pattern tighter than smaller ones kind of throws shade on the laws of physics and everything described above. It also refutes what we have found shooting steel since it's inception. Guys like Joe Hunter, for example. Kinda hard to ignore raw real-world data when it's predictable and duplicated time and time again.
If I'm paying for them, they all count
When we started shooting steel it was a learning curve. By the 2nd season I was shooting 3" mags.. 1 3/8oz 4's. They worked because they threw a dense pattern, but a lot of that shot charge was wasted. Lots of pellets migrating outside the "working core" of the pattern because i was choking them down to try and retain some range.. lots of strays, fliers, etc. I started loading and working on 1oz loads. They were just as effective, with less material because the patterns held and utilized a higher percentage of the pellets... they were a "more efficient load". If that means something else to you than that's fine, but keep in mind you are debating it on the interwebs with someone who's mind isn't gonna change on the matter.
The late Ned S. always said "It's not what you start out with, it's what you end up with that matters".. or something like that. A lot of differing opinions on the man, but he sure liked his 1oz 3's.
Nor was I. I was just adding some knowledge (sorry, will refrain in the future ). Something a lot of guys don't realize... the contradictory marketing on the Fed. Black Cloud boxes fooled lots.
And that would be an incorrect guess. Actually, I didn't waste my time going after "internet wisdom" (there's enough of that on forums like this, which is where....I'm guessing.....99% of Google searches would lead me) , and went right to one of my books on shotgunning.
You'd be correct. Keep in mind, though, that spherical projectiles have ballistic characteristics that are more alike than different, no matter what their material.
Well, I omitted the other 3,209 (est.) paragraphs in the book for reasons that should be obvious.
I agree that Dr. Jones' "width of the pattern" could be interpreted in several ways, but since he used the word "pattern", I think we could rule out "encompassing the entire shot cloud" as one of them. I have to interpret his meaning as "the width of the effective pattern", not to include fliers outside of that.
Large pellets don't "fight wind drift" any more than a coal barge would drift downstream slower than a rowboat would. Because larger shot loose velocity slower than small shot (all else being equal, of course), crosswinds have less time to affect their trajectory during their time-of-flight. That's why larger shot appears to be slightly less affected by crosswinds than small shot shot. Large shot does not fight wind drift, it is passive and is simply less affected by it. Not because it's bigger, but because it's quicker.
No disagreement there, my friend.
Which laws of physics are that? I really want to know.
Yeah, aren't we both......
Swygard's quote is one that I agree with. Not sure why you included it with your post, since it neither supports your argument nor refutes mine. Makes good filler, though, and I thank you for bringing it up.
Tuleman -- Thanks for your mention of Dr. A.C. Jones' book and the reference from Chapter 18 "Effect of pellet size on pattern spread."
I think it is important to include a couple of other excerpts from that chapter and encourage those with interest to get a copy of the book and read it for themselves.
"The trap gun test used pellets with declared sizes of UK #8, UK #7.5, and UK #7... These covered the range of pellets used by most trap shooters but left unanswered what happens with significantly smaller pellets as used in skeet or much larger pellets as used for game."