Hunters have been hunting for centuries. They use a wide variety of equipment to make the hunt successful, including shotguns, rifles, and bows. Recently shotgun hunters have started patterning their shotguns in an effort to improve accuracy. This article is going to talk about why this has occurred and what you need to do if you want your own shotgun patterned!
Beginners Guide to Patterning a Shotgun
The patterning process is essential for the hunter. It may take a few shots to determine how different pellets will behave at various ranges and angles, but once complete. You’ll be able to hit your target confidently. Read on for more details about this important step in shotgun shooting.
In order to know which pellet works best with its gun, hunters should first decide what range they want their shot to go out to (short distance or long distance). The next thing that needs consideration is the choke constriction points on a barrel; these can help regulate the spread of pellets as well as increase accuracy over longer distances.
Finally, it’s important to consider the shooting angle of a target so that pellets will have an even chance of hitting.
Meaning of Patterning a Shotgun
A shotgun is a unique weapon in that it can fire projectiles at many different angles. Therefore, the pattern of the shot depends on where you point the barrel and how much lead (forward or backward) movement you give to the target when pulling the trigger.
Patterning your shotgun is more about making sure the weapon hits where you want it to and less about how far away that target is. The reason for this? If you miss, even by a few inches, the shot will not land on its intended point of impact.
In order to pattern your shotgun, all you need to do is fire one round at each of six different distances – from 25 yards down to five yards (or as low as three feet). This should give an idea of which distance range works best with what barrel length and choke type.
Patterning your shotgun gives you control over its spread, direction, power, and speed. This guide below will show how to perform this task with four easy steps properly!
How to Pattern a Shotgun?
Step One: Select Your Pattern Breaker
There are two main types of ammunition for shotguns: birdshot for shooting birds and buckshot for hunting deer-sized animals (and larger). Birdshot is typically tiny pellets, while buck shots contain bigger chunks of metal that are more likely to penetrate deep into an animal’s body.
Step Two: Load Your Shotgun and Stand in a Straight Line Behind It
Load your shotgun with the ammunition you want to pattern. For example, for birdshot, load five rounds, while for buckshot, load six or seven shots. Now, stand in a straight line behind the shotgun and point it downrange.
Position your feet about shoulder-width apart and try to keep all of your weight distributed evenly between them. After you get set up, align the barrel to point at a 45-degree angle downward from the level ground (about 15 degrees below horizontal).
Step Three: Shoot Your Shotgun into A Solid Backstop
Now comes time for some fun! Point your firearm towards a solid backstop on either side of the muzzle. The further away you are from the target, the more accurate this pattern will be when tested later on. Aiming higher than an inch or two above top height should suffice as long as there’s no wind to worry about too much.
Step Four: Now, Shoot Several Shots
With your shotgun broken into two pieces and set up parallel to the ground with a 45-degree angle downwards from the level ground (about 15 degrees below horizontal), shoot several shots at your target. Be sure that you are shooting at an inch or two above top height in order to get them as close together as possible.
After you have shot all of the rounds on one side, flip over the gun so that it’s now aiming upwards instead of down towards center earth beneath both barrels. Aiming higher than an inch or two helps ensure accuracy for later testing purposes when done again on this same surface.
Why Do Hunters Pattern Their Shotguns?
Shotguns are a long-standing icon of American hunting culture. In order to find the shotgun that best suits your needs, it is important to understand the various types and features available on today’s market. One option you should consider when looking for a new scattergun is patterning your gun. Aiming at targets with an unpatterned barrel may not yield desirable results, such as misfires or poor accuracy from shots fired away from the center mass.
This may not sound like a big deal, but if you are shooting at something that is moving or on the move (like a game), hitting your target can be difficult. Knowing how to pattern your shotgun will make hunting more productive.
There are several reasons why you should consider patterning before deciding where to buy a scattergun:
- Patterning tells you what part of the barrel shoots most accurately by comparing it with other barrels in different choke patterns and sizes. This helps hunters determine which parts of their field might need special attention from them when they hunt, such as adjusting for wind speed, muzzle velocity, and range differences between their gun’s size versus their quarry’s size;
- It provides an opportunity to ensure that all shots fired are at the same height;
- It provides an opportunity to ensure that all shots fired are on a level plane;
- A patterning kit will provide you with four specially marked shotgun patterns plus stands and targets for shooting 20 rounds of ammunition, which should be enough to determine your gun’s accuracy.
The Particulars of the Shotgun Patterning Process
Hunters and people who shoot shotguns recreationally for sport or as a hobby will pattern their shotgun. However, shotguns are not built to be shot from the hip at targets that can’t be seen; they’re designed for shooting games with accuracy (or shells loaded with birdshot). Therefore, the process of calibrating your gun is something you should do after purchasing it but before using it in actual hunting situations.
The particulars of shotgun patterning vary depending on what kind of shotshell ammunition you intend to use – whether clay pigeon or live animals like deer, squirrels, ducks, etc. Clay pigeons are easy because all you need is some clays and a trap-shooting platform. For other sorts of ammo, such as slugs or birdshot, you’ll need to find a way of simulating the animal’s flight path and varying distances.
Even if your shotgun has been customized for specific purposes like turkey hunting or waterfowl hunting, it is still important that you pattern it before using it in any new situation – especially when switching ammunition types or guns altogether. The steps are generally simple: The first shoot at 25 yards from an elevated position with no allowance made for wind (to simulate shooting game on the ground), then move back 15 yards and repeat until you reach 50 yards; now hold the gun up high as though aiming directly above game animals’ heads and do one final set of patterns at 60-75 feet distance. This will help account for shot angles while also covering the range distance that most shots will be taken, as well.
Useful Shotgun Patterning Tips
Shotgun patterning is a way to improve your shot placement. The shotgunner can easily shoot himself in the foot if he does not know how to use his weapon properly. These are some useful tips on shooting patterns with shotguns:
- Select an appropriate choke and ammunition for each hunting situation possible (e.g., turkey, coyote)
- If you’re using non-toxic lead birdshot or similar target loads, select wandless shotshells that do not need paper or plastic hulls inserted between powder and payload; these “wadshots” eliminate messiness from spent hulls
- For any hunting situation, use the appropriate choke and ammunition to maximize pattern density at a given range. For example, where dense cover will limit your shooting distance so that you need a long shot (or shots) for success
- Use more open chokes with heavy loads or reduced payloads
- Choose a tight choke if you’re planning on using light target loads from relatively close ranges of 20 yards or less; these patterns should have proportionately increased pellet sizes according to their tighter construction
What Distance Should You Pattern a Shotgun?
Patterns are traditionally shot at 40 yards, but some shotguns pattern well over 40 yards. If you have a shotgun that shoots really tight patterns at 50-60 yards, then shoot it from the distances of 30 and 70 to see where your best shooting distance is for that gun.
Suppose there are other people in the group. In that case, they can also help evaluate what’s going on with different guns, as some people may be better able to identify tighter or looser patterns than others.
The distance that you pattern a shotgun should be the effective range for hunting game. For example, if a manufacturer designs your shotgun to shoot at 100 yards and you typically hunt deer, which are common in North America at ranges of less than 75 yards, then it doesn’t make sense to spend time shooting the gun beyond 50 or 60 yards. A good rule of thumb is not more than one-third out past the kill zone or point-blank range. This will vary based on individual preferences and what type of game an individual expects to shoot most often (rabbits vs. pheasants).
What is a Good Shotgun Pattern at 40 Yards?
The industry standard for a pattern at 40 yards is a 10” circle. This means if you hold a dollar bill out at arm’s length, the pattern will cover an area that is about the size of two dollars. For example, when shooting clay targets, you are looking to hit within this circle to break them all and avoid leaving any “flyers” or uncracked clays.
For hunting purposes, it is not necessary to have as tight of a pattern because most hunters do not shoot vermin (such as squirrels) from 40 yards away. The game hunted with shotguns typically stays closer than 20-30 yards away, which provides ample time for shot placement even without having such precise aiming capabilities as one would need when hunting birds and other small animals at long distances.
How Should You Hold a Handgun for Maximum Accuracy High or Low?
The grip is the first thing you should consider before purchasing a handgun. You want to buy one that will feel comfortable in your hand and have a frame size that matches up with your dominant hand. A lot of people think they’re right-handed when really they’re left-handed, so it’s important to train yourself how to shoot both ways! If you don’t know which way is best for you, just try shooting some rounds from each grip, then decide which felt better. Then again, if you are actually right-handed but still can’t seem to get good accuracy on target (meaning every time the bullet goes off-target or doesn’t hit where aimed), there could be an issue with the gun, such as poor trigger management or not enough practice.
A good shotgun will have a recoil pad, which is made of rubber or laminated leather and designed to soften the blow when you shoot. A really bad gun won’t even come with this feature!
The barrel length also needs to be taken into consideration if it doesn’t match up with your arm length. The longer the distance from grip to muzzle, the harder it becomes for people who are below average height (such as women). You want something that’s long enough so you can use both hands while aiming at some faraway target – but not too long because then you won’t be able to get in close on cornered prey without getting yourself tangled up in branches and barbed wire!
What’s the range of a 12 gauge shotgun?
The range of a 12 gauge shotgun is approximately 100 yards. Some shotguns have barrels that are 16 inches, and some are 20-inch barrels. The more barrel, the higher the velocity and thus longer distance before gravity takes over.
Related Video: How To Pattern Your Shotgun For Hunting? Advice From A Pro
We hope this article has helped to answer any questions you may have about patterning a shotgun. If not, please feel free to reach out, and we would be happy to help!