There are many questions that arise when talking about the activity of hunting. And one of the most common questions you’d ever come across is this one. So why do hunters pattern their shotguns?
Not many of us know this, but we still do it anyway. The thing about hunting skills is that you need to understand why and how to perform them on the field. Otherwise, what’s the point of the whole adventure!
Seasoned shooters and hunters may be experts, but they still don’t know the answer to this question. So it’s time to change that!
Why do hunters pattern their shotguns?
1. Understanding the Importance of Cartridge and Choke Performance
There’s no difference between zeroing the rifle and patterning the shotgun. The process is both easy and beneficial. When hunting, it’s important to adopt humane methods to capture the animal. Failing to do so tends to kill the creature in a slow, painful manner. And we don’t want that now, do we?
The thing about using shotguns is that they offer unique patterns. These include round and oval patterns. So you need to pattern your gun if you want to aim more accurately.
Another important aspect to take into consideration is the flight of the pellets during firing. Many of us just assume that these bullets shoot along the center of your aim. But that’s not true. Short stocked guns shoot high while their longer counterparts aim low.
On the other hand, high comb guns force their pellets to move towards the left while the low comb versions move in the right direction. So the next time you’re patterning your shotgun, keep these important points in mind.
One more additional point that I would like to discuss before we move further is that patterning encourages the use of the most suitable gun choke. What a choke does is reduce the broad distribution of your shot. And even though it does this, the choke doesn’t mess with your shot’s power.
A choke is just like a nozzle that one uses in garden horses. Older models of shotguns have fixed chokes while the newer versions come with an adjustable design. With a choke, you also get the opportunity to make use of different types of cartridges.
2. Understanding the Dominant Eye
Why do hunters pattern their shotguns? Shotguns don’t come with rear sights now, do they? And it’s because of this reason that patterning your shotgun is crucial. For left-handed shooters, it’s the right eye that’s dominant.
To be able to understand the concept of the dominant eye, use any finger of the right hand to point at some object. Keep both your eyes open until this point. And when you shut the left eye, a deviation will appear. This applies to when you’re using a shotgun.
3. Understanding the Patterning Process
The Point of Impact (POI) is something that you, as a shooter, need to know. More often than not, your shotgun does not give you accurate results. You may aim and fire at point A, but it lands about five to nine inches away from that particular spot. So to avoid this, you need to pattern your shotgun.
The first step towards patterning the shotgun is to provide it with a well-supported rest. You can also make use of sandbags for this purpose. Just keep in mind that the area of the target is large enough. You can use a sheet of black paper measuring 40 inches on all four sides. What this does is allows you to assess the outcome of your pellets.
During the patterning process, the load and choke should be similar to the ones that you’ll end up using for the hunt. And that’s because these two components have a significant impact on the POI of your shotgun.
Before you begin shooting, count the number of pellets by opening the shell. Also, take into consideration factors like distance. The most suitable range is 40 yards when working with shotguns.
Accurate patterning requires you to fire as many as ten shots. Keep a check on where these shots are landing on the black sheet of paper. If they fall five inches below its center, it means that you need to raise your shotgun five inches higher.
Just remember that at such times, practice is essential. Keep at it till the pellets hit right where you want them to.
Patterning and Testing Shotguns and Loads for Turkey Season
That’s about it!
If you’re not an occasional hunter, then knowing the answer to why do hunters pattern their shotguns is important. Manufacturers have now come up with different kinds of shells that offer unique properties. So you need to be able to aim better, right? And the only way to do so is to pattern your shotgun.
If you don’t believe me, then pattern your shotgun and see it for yourself. Not only does it enable you to shoot better, but it also helps in making your hunting expeditions more successful.
So tell me, is this what you were looking for? And is there anything else that you would like to add to the article? Please feel free to drop in your comments below.