What is a good pattern % at 40yds?

Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by MNBucksNDucks, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. MNBucksNDucks

    MNBucksNDucks Refuge Member

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    I recently bought a SBE II Classic and with it, I bought a Carlsons Cremator Long Range Choke and have a Mid Range on the way. I decided to pattern the LR choke today at both 30 and 40yds with some left over Remington Nitro Steel that I purchased back in 2015 but haven't gotten around to using and now may be my go to load. I originally wanted to get 3" 1 1/4oz #3's but after trying these #2's I may stick with them.

    First pattern was at 30yds being this is the distance the majority of birds I shoot at are taken. (140 Hits in 30" or 92%) m+UYhJs7Tv6w13tSjh54Aw.jpg

    Being that this was a very tight pattern, I decided I better back it up and this would be my dedicated late season/long range choke tube

    First pattern at 40yds (116 hits in 30" or 76%) (excuse my horrible aim point, I decided I made it a tad too high. Also, there are about 8 or so hits within the blue that you can see faint darker lines coming out of the circle to represent what number of hit they are) R6gxRNw6TbexR4ysmFn%oA.jpg


    2nd Pattern at 40yds (122 hits in 30" or 79%)
    k6ZbBFLzRnGmIavYfCB7%g.jpg

    I decided to use a larger sheet of cardboard for the 2nd shot at 40, being that my gun obviously shoots a little high (I float the bird in trap and prefer this to "covering the bird) and I wanted to capture all of the shot on the target. Surprisingly all of the shot even the ones that landed outside of the 30" were on the target. 155 pellets is what I measured on a shell cut open and 155 were counted total on this target.


    I know I should definitely pattern more than this just to be sure, but I am limited due to only having 5 shells remaining that I will want to use to pattern at 40yds and 30yds again with the mid range choke when It gets here. If those patterns go well do you guys think these patterns would be suitable for teal-mallards? Are there too many gap areas where there aren't enough pellets or would these be considered even, quality patterns? Im assuming that this is too tight at 30yds, but what percentage should I be looking at for that distance?

    Thanks in advance and Ill be sure to get a few pics up of the Mid Range choke at 30 and 40yds when it gets here and if you guys think these are good patterns Ill have to order a case up quick before the season starts as it'll be my go to all around duck load! Also, how would these possibly work on Giant Canadas or the like encountered in ND and MN? I usually use BB but if these are really strong patterns, I'd consider using these.
     
  2. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor

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    All of them are way to tight for decoying birds, you shot all of those from the same gun using the same ammo and same choke??? Very inconsistent looking to me at least, maybe I'm being to critical.
    This 15/16 of 4's at 35 yards from my 16 gauge, IMO all that's needed for decoying birds.
    164004's.jpg
     
  3. Native NV Ducker

    Native NV Ducker Mod-Duck Hunters Forum, Classifieds, and 2 others Moderator

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    Good on you for doing the work.

    First, I am not a fan of %'s. I am a fan of 'hits in the circle'. See, (to go over the top a little bit) if you are shooting very large shot, say BB's, there are only 90 pellets to start with in your size load. So even a 100% pattern you barely meet the minimum # of hits to bring down a duck over decoys. (90)

    This is the problem with 2's. Lower # of pellets (156) Compare that to 3's, which are just fine at 40 yards (197) (or, even better for 90% of hunters, 240 pellets with #4's, which are great to 35 yards, and with your load, probably to 40)

    That said, if you can get 60% patterns with your 2's, that is 93 hits, so you should be good. (if you were shooting 3's, you would have 118 hits)

    So, sticking with the % thing (which I hate) you need to be hitting at a 60-70% rate with that load.

    Now, lets talk about the two things you SHOULD be thinking (IMO). Getting the proper # of hits in 'A' circle (not 'THE' circle) (you want to know how many pellets your gun can put in a 30" circle, not necessarily how many you can put into a circle you draw and then shoot at. THAT is a function of how your gun shoots, not how it patterns) For decoying large ducks, that number is about 90. For smaller ducks, that number is about 115. At ANY range, those are the numbers you are looking for.

    So, to pattern properly, yes, you can have an aiming point. That will tell you 'where' your gun shoots. But your paper should be large enough to catch the whole pattern, no matter where it is. Once shot, go to the paper and decide where the 'center' of the pattern is. Then go 15" to the radius, and mark your 30" circle. Now count your hits.
    (If your 'pattern center' isn't where your 'target center' is, well, that is a gun fit problem (as you mentioned)

    Now, to the 2nd problem. You hear guys saying all the time, "My gun just won't pattern X size shot very well." Your 2nd pic is an example of that. Very blotchy pattern. Lots of places you could put a duck outline and not hit a vital. Oh, you would hit the duck, and feathers would fly, as would the duck (away). And you would cuss those lousy steel pellets for not being able to penetrate. Which wouldn't be true.

    Your 1st pattern, while a little tight for my tastes, is great. Center the bird in there and you got a very dead duck. I LIKE your 3rd pattern, at least the way it is evenly spread across the board. That is more like what you want. I would like it more if there were another 40 pellets in the pattern (using 3's). But you have 122 hits, so that is pretty good.

    Sound right?

    As an addendum, when I pattern, I look at the hits, and ask not if I would have hit the duck, but would I have hit a VITAL. Remember, the only ways to KILL a bird is to hit the head/neck/spine/heart/lungs. Sure, you will probably also hit a wing, but depending on where and how you hunt, you might not recover the bird. Your chances of recovery go way up if the bird is dead when it hits the water, or moments after.

    Also, don't just look at one pattern. I know you are short on shells, but you really need to see 3 patterns at a given range to judge how the gun/choke/shell combo is doing. (If you shoot 2, and they are consistent, you can stop. If they are different, try the 3rd)
    Here is what I mean. 3 patterns, all the same shell, same distance. Totally different.
    Expert 35 yards I-C 142 Hits.JPG Expert 35 yards I-C 143 hits.JPG Expert 35 yards I-C 146 hits.JPG
    As you can see, I had 142, 143, and 156 hits, for an average of 146. Those are not 'great' patterns, but I am putting enough pellets in the circle, so they should be doing their job. Remember, patterns are not 2 dimensional, they are 3 dimensional. Granted, with steel, shot strings are tighter, but they still exist.

    You said you were going with 3's originally, but decided on the 2's. I think that is a mistake. I shoot 1oz loads of 4's followed by (sometimes) 3's in my 20ga, and I log well over 65% shots fired to birds in the bag, including any crip shots I might use. I actually consider 3's to be my long range shells, and I am very confident out to 45 yards with them. (Well, confident in the shell, not always in my ability to hit what is a VERY long shot at 45 yards) I choke my O/U accordingly, usually I/C followed by Mod if my decoys are close, LtMod followed by Mod or ImpMod if not. My 4's and 3's all pattern very well with that setup, and the results prove it.

    Hope this helped
     
    Steel3's, Sunklands and Dave in AZ like this.
  4. cacklercrazy

    cacklercrazy Senior Refuge Member

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    I love my Cremator choke tubes. I like dead birds. Not crippled birds.
     
  5. derbyacresbob

    derbyacresbob Refuge Member

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    For big honkers I would go with the steel BB shot instead of the steel #2 shot. You can't always hit geese in the neck and head.

    There is about 89 BB steel pellets in 1-1/4 oz. 89 pellets should give you a dense enough pattern for big honkers.

    On very big birds going away from you a great pattern won't help much if the pellets don't penetrate into the body far enough.

    The first picture of the 30 yard pattern of steel #2 shot looks like it would be to tight for ducks at 30 yards for me. I sure wouldn't want to hit a bird dead center at 25 yards with that choke and load, way to many holes in the duck.
     
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  6. Native NV Ducker

    Native NV Ducker Mod-Duck Hunters Forum, Classifieds, and 2 others Moderator

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    Where are you hitting them with those big pellets (and sparse pattern) that kills them?
     
  7. Drake91

    Drake91 Senior Refuge Member

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    I've come down to two shot sizes now no matter wood ducks teal or mallards I use 3's in 1 1/8oz. Or 1 1/4oz. 2 3/4" or 3".... for honkers its 3 1/2" BB in 1 1/2oz. Loads but I have shot a a few mallards with the BB loads when I was set up for geese
     
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  8. MNBucksNDucks

    MNBucksNDucks Refuge Member

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    Okay, so Im getting the notion that the patterns are not quality. I too would like to stick with #3's but I am having a hard time figuring out what loads to get. I used to shoot Federal blue box but always had a large amount of unburnt powder in the receiver and a few times in my eyes. Didn't give me a ton of confidence that they were going anywhere near advertised velocity. I tried the "new" speed shoks last year and had good success, but the new primer sealant they use would fragment while firing and leave crystal like sand particles in your trigger group and rear of receiver. Also, Ive heard bad about catalyst primers such as the one they are using in the new speed shoks due to being extremely susceptible to moisture.

    At my local Sporting goods store I have access to Fiocchi warlock or waterfowl steel 3" 1 1/5oz #3 1500fps, Winchester Xpert 3"
    1 1/4oz #3 1400fps, and Federal New speed shok 3" 1 1/4oz #3 1450fps.

    otherwise they have these same brands offered in #2 or #4 along with Remingtons sportsman steel line, but dont carry the Sportsman steel in 3's.

    I could get a box of any of these if they are known to shoot good out of benellis but, I have heard (and seen) Winchester experts have uneven and different sized pellets, fiocchi's dont have sealed primers or crimps and also use a thin wad (which I believe as of 2017 onwards is a close relative of the CSD 118, rather than the LBC 43 they used to use), and as I said before about my experience with the new federal speed shoks.

    I could order a case of Kent fasteel 2.0 or Remington Nitro / sportsman in 3" #3's but Im a little hesitant to spend that much and then have them pattern bad like these Nitro #2's are.

    Maybe Im over thinking it and I should just grab a box and shoot them like I always used to... :nutz
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  9. derbyacresbob

    derbyacresbob Refuge Member

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    I shoot geese wherever I can when they are in range. If they are going straight away I still knock them down because the shot I use gets enough penetration.

    per Tom Roster’s CONSEP table summarizing mortality test results, you’ll statistically need to hit the bird with 5 or more pellets… and to hit the bird with 5 pellets, geese require 55 pellets in a 30″ pattern for consistent kills.

    So if 55 pellets spread out evenly in a 30" circle will put enough pellets in a big goose, 89 steel BB pellets spread out evenly in a 30" circle should work even better. There are about 89 steel BB pellets in a 1-1/4 oz load.

    Back when I shot big honkers with lead loads I preferred the copper coated lead BB loads over the copper coated lead #2 shot loads. Those copper coated lead BB loads hit the geese much harder than the copper coated lead #2 shot did.

    From KPY Ballistics
    1450 fps steel BB shot gets 2.43" of gel penetration at 40 yards, speed at 40 yards is 779 fps.
    1450 fps steel #2 shot gets 1.70" of gel penetration at 40 yards, speed at 40 yards is 713 fps.
    1600 fps steel #2 shot gets 1.83" of gel penetration at 40 yards, speed at 40 yards is 753 fps.

    When shooting ducks, geese and coyotes with a shotgun I want pellets that will get more penetration than I need when the shots are perfect. I don't want to cripple them if the shot angle isn't perfect or if I misjudge the distance by 10 yards.
     
  10. Dave in AZ

    Dave in AZ Senior Refuge Member

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    Native's reply up above was great, worth reading twice.
    Thx to you for doing some great work on tbe patterns, and telling us what is available to you for shells. And your goals. Very good post and readers don't have to dig for info.
    30yd pattern too tight for me, i use skeet choke or IC depending on gun, for 30 yds. If it is a semi, that's what I use. If OU, other barrel I use LM.
    Ammo...all the choices listed are.good, and none of the objections you raised seem worth worrying about to me.
    1. Fiocchi, I'd buy these. Who cares if wad is thinner than LBC? Csd wads work fine and are what Kent uses, and tons are sold to reloaders because they work great. You don't need sealant on shell, keep them in ziplock bag in pocket.
    2. Fed speedshok, I have gotten advertised speeds from on chrono results . So what if there is a bit of powder. If you dont have a pancake air compressor or other, you should, get one for $100 and blow your receiver out after a hunt, takes 10 seconds. Same goes for any sealant grit.
    3. Win xperts, those things are just fine. The shot imperfections make them spread a bit and pattern nice in close, where you are most worried about being too tight if youre thinking about it.

    So that choke you used, too tight at 30, might be good with win xpert 3s.
     
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