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<  16ga. Guns  ~  Patterning 870 with Turkey choke
PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:38 am  Reply with quote

Joined: 28 Aug 2014
Posts: 860
Location: Western Kentucky

Just curious I've been using a Browning BPS Upland 24" with Turlock turkey choke loading 1-1/4 oz #6 buffered loads suggested by bow builder at 1,125 fps for last 2 seasons. When I purchased my 02' 870 Express 28" a time ago I purchased the Turlock turkey choke for it too. Wonder if anyone has done any patterning with loads of that combo?

16' Brown A5
15' Brown White Light Citori
13' Brown Upland Spcl BPS
02' Rem 870 Exp
53' Rem 870 Wing
53' Mar 90 DT
50' Mar 90 DT
47' Rem 31L
46' Win 12 (2)
33' Rem 31
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Bill K
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:30 am  Reply with quote

Joined: 13 Oct 2014
Posts: 78
Location: North Shore of Boston


I do not have any patterning experience with that particular choke and load combination, but in general I have more patterning experience than all my shooting friends combined times ten.

Patterning is perhaps the most important thing you can do with any shotgun & load.

It requires discipline, dedication, accuracy, and time, but in the end you have a paper record of what's going on - although some shooters don't really want to know what's going on.

First off lets define what patterning is: it is the skillful 'aiming' & discharge of a shotgun at a measured distance of 40 yards, at a target with a 30" circle. I use a Caldwell lead sled to absolutely assure sight picture alignment, other wise you'd be surprised how badly you wobble around.

After doing so you examine the target first to see if your optical alignment puts you dead on, or allows you to visually determine just where the center of pattern is in relationship to your sight picture.

This really upsets a lot of shooters because they often find out that there is 'Kentucky Windage' associated with their shotgun - as it may shoot slightly off at anywhere around the clock (i.e. 1 o'clock, 7 o'clock, etc.). This will drive shotgunners out of their minds.

Secondly you count the number of pellet holes that lie within the 30' circle, then determine how many pellets are in the load. Then by dividing the number of pellet holes by the total number of pellets in the load you come up with a percentage, and it is that percentage that determines what the choke and load are patterning.

Roughly 70% indicates Full choke, 55% - Modified, 35% - Improved cylinder, etc.

Many shooters figure a choke and load will pattern one way but get results that says some all together different.

As an example a number of years ago I thoroughly pattern tested my new Ruger Red Label 28 GA. I found that it patterned best with skeet choke tubes firing 3/4 ounce loads of 7-1/2's. So that's what you use - period.

Other patterning observations include that 00 buckshot seems to pattern best using an Improved Modified choke - patterning 90-100%. And with that knowledge you now have an effective deer gun.

Another is that turkey chokes shoot incredibly tight, throwing dinner plate size patterns that require rifle sights, or even a scope to render them effective.

Upland hunters are usually astounded to find that the best choke for them is straight cylinder - throwing as wide a pattern possible, because most of their shots are taken at 20-25 yards.

Another revelation is with non-toxic waterfowl loads & chokes. First off its time to retire traditional steel shot loads, they are old school - under performers, great wounders - teetering on unethical.

Which brings us to Black Cloud or Heavy Metal or the like, these loads shoot incredibly tight - but you won't know unless you pattern them. Good luck on that as you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what combination works best, and once you determine that - that's what you shoot, PERIOD.

BTW there are such things as spreader loads & spreader chokes - I suggest you approach with caution. Spreader loads can bring old tightly-choked gun back into the field, and/or give greater odds of hitting in close wild flushing action.

Spreader chokes may indicate that they have 'rifling' and work best at 25 yards or less. If they do not have rifling its probably a cylinder choke with a lot of hype.

So, that hopefully gives some you some concept of what's happening, besides it gives you something to do in the off season.
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