Get ‘Em Patterned

     If you’re anything like most folks you rarely take the time to pattern your shotgun. I suppose you can get away with this for squirrel and even upland game hunting, but for turkeys it is a mistake. The old standby is 30 yards. If the birds are that close, go ahead and shoot. My experience backs this up, but there is a whole lot to be learned from taking the time to shoot at targets. Recently I patterned my 12 gauge with Remington Nitro Turkey 3″ shells, loaded with 1 7/8oz #5s. The results were very enlightening.

These targets were shot with the same gun, load and choke. The target on the right was at 30yds, the one on the left 40. What a difference 10 yards makes!

     At 30 yards I could guarantee a very dead bird. I had between 8 and 10 pellets in the kill zone consistently. Surely, at 40 yards, this should result in at least the recommended 5-pellet minimum, if not more. Not so. At 40 yards my best pattern only had two pellets in the kill zone. One target had none. Regardless of factors contributing to this (there are many), the lesson to be learned is to get out and pattern your gun with whatever load you intend to use. Turkey season isn’t open yet, so get out and burn some powder. You might me amazed at what you find out.

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