Increasing Pattern Density - What would you do?

JP

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A twice barreled shotgun is your friend.

The first choked with a SKT II/LM tube and the other with an IM tube. The Brits have been using a similar setup for decades with devastating effects.

Steel pellets of a small(er) size in the open barrel and larger in the other. You can also substitute HTL pellets when conditions dictate.

BTW, if your shotgun doesn’t shoot where you’re looking and/or renders atrocious patterns, adjust accordingly.
 

Doug E

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If the premise is I have a gun already, I'm not sensitive to recoil, and want to dial in a "best" pattern, I would start with the CONSEP table (google "Consep ducks"). On the chart, find the type of bird to be shot and approximate distance. Each bird/distance selection gives a steel and hevi-shot option. Decide if you want to go steel or hevi. Get a couple of loads that match the chart. Have on hand or buy additional chokes to have IC, Mod, ImpMod, and go to the pattern board. Pattern various loads and chokes for the distances anticipated and decide what combo you think you will trust.

Or, skip all that and buy 1.25 oz hevi-shot #4's and shoot through an IC choke and never look back (as long as recoil isn't a problem for you).

Is that along the lines of what you were looking for?

Best of luck!!
 
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Doug E

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The first choked with a SKT II/LM tube and the other with an IM tube. The Brits have been using a similar setup for decades with devastating effects.
Yep. For geese I would have 2-3/4" 1.125 oz bismuth 3's in SKII followed by same in 1's through a Mod. And remember, the Brits have the second barrel for the second bird, not to follow up a miss....
 
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Aunt Betty

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Yep. For geese I would have 2-3/4" 1.125 oz bismuth 3's in SKII followed by same in 1's through a Mod. And remember, the Brits have the second barrel for the second bird, not to follow up a miss....
In my country we can afford guns that shoot THREE times.
Amerika
 

Buster_AZ

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The OP was asking specifically about a 12 gauge and steel loads. In regard to these specifics, the choke can be opener up considerably and still achieve good patterns at 40 yards.

Nothing beats a little pattern work with the gun and loads you intend to hunt with. You can learn a lot by putting this time in. I seen the exact same choke perform differently in two separate guns, so using what works for another guy, may not actually be reproducible in your setup. That being said, a LM choke has worked best for me in my A300 using #2 or #3 steel. If I have to reach out past the dekes, I screw in an IM choke, but steel works best within 40 yards.
 

Jim Atlas

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I don't find the "shoot closer" argument really helpful. It may be a good idea for the OP for all I know, but it isn't what he was asking about.
I start with the choke, moving up or down from MOD.
After that, I switch wads.
Then shot charge.
Then shot size.
Then powder charge.

And I'm looking for distribution just as much as number of hits.

Just my method. Not that I follow it much since I've pretty much found the sweet spot for my main duck gun.
 

JP

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Buster & Jim are IMO, spot on as with my own experience using steel shotshells is they're more fickle than a menopausal redhead. When you get a recipe of gun/choke/loading that works, by all means stick with it as changing even one component can and often, will alter the downrange results.
 

Ravenanme

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In 12 ga with a short'en Rio hull like oskar's , 1 1/8 oz of 15 g/cc #7's would produce a fog-bank depending on choke , at the distance you want
to shoot ! There again , it does take ones ability to put it on the Bird !
 
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C M Wings

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Maybe I over-complicated it in my head, but either way I was not clear and I apologize for that.

I was thinking more along the lines of (**and this is hypothetical, just to convey the rough format of what I was inquiring about**)
1) Picking a proper choke tube is more important than all else
2) Picking a shot shell and sticking to it is next
3) Over-bored barrels are pricey but work
3) Forcing cones are pricey and dont

Kind of a thing. More of what can be done to the gun and less simple, obvious steps.

But again, I could be over-complicating it.
So….. none of that “stuff” really works well enough to make a change from what you have. Lots and lots of info on the interweb you can search. A bigger bore does pattern better as a rule but usually just with bigger shot. If you want a denser pattern in a 30 inch circle the easiest and cheapest method is shoot more pellets. How you do that is up to you. You can play with chokes and shells all you want and find a combo that works “best” together, sure, but simply adding 1/8 ounce of pellets will work every time.
 
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derbyacresbob

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In 12 ga with a short'en Rio hull like oskar's , 1 1/8 oz of 15 g/cc #7's would produce a fog-bank depending on choke , at the distance you want
to shoot ! There again , it does take ones ability to put it on the Bird !

We have had great results with 1 oz of 15g/cc #7 shot on ducks and 1 oz of 15g/cc #6 shot on geese, using Skeet chokes..

1 oz of 15g/cc #7 shot has about 219 pellets and 1-1/4 oz of steel #3 shot has about 190 pellets.

1 oz of 15g/cc #6 shot has about 164 pellets and 1-1/4 oz of steel #1 shot has about 102 pellets.

The speed kills theory doesn't work very good on small steel shot that doesn't weigh enough to hold it's speed.

1500 fps steel #4 shot is going 666 fps at 40.1 yards and has 2.26 lbs energy with 1.25" of gel penetration at 40.1 yards.

1350 fps steel #3 shot is going 658 fps at 40.1 yards and has 2.75 lbs energy with 1.37" of gel penetration at 40.1 yards.

So at 40.1 yards away the steel #4 shot that started out 150 fps faster than the steel #3 shot, is only going 8 fps faster than the much slower starting steel #3 shot. The much slower starting steel #3 shot gets more penetration and has more energy at 40.1 yards than the much faster starting steel #4 shot.
 

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