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 Post subject: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:25 pm 
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I've been using Rem Gun Club 12 ga. shells ('cause they're widely available and often on sale at Cabela's or Dick's) in 2 3/4 dram, 1 1/8 oz., #8 shot for sporting clays. Sometimes I shoot #7 1/2's, but with the same charge and load.

A friend of mine said that he's gotten better results with higher dram, 1 oz. loads to push up the velocity. He swears that it "arrives at the target faster" and is trying to convince me to switch. He claims that the speed tradeoff is worth slightly fewer bb's on the target.

All in his mind, or reality? Will 100 or so fps really make that much difference when a shot string is traveling at 800mph?

And does a higher velocity load run the risk of deforming more of the shot charge and creating flyers, thereby resulting in a slightly sparser pattern +/or shorter string?

Would a SK, IC or LM choke affect this one way or another?


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:37 am 
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If you really want to know you need to buy my book that covers all the points you raise via measurements and/or calculations.

The only subjective thing is the benefit of the reduction in lead due to higher velocities. The differences in lead are quanitifiable, but the benefits are not. The book covers this too in a different way to most other books and writers. Most books calculate the change in lead at the target and arrive at some small difference. I calculate the equivalent distance between the target and the shooter for shells with different velocities. This method shows how much closer you'd need to be to the target with a slow shell to get the same lead as someone with a faster shell. This method suggests that higher velocity is a benefit for some people on long fast crossers . . but whether that counteracts fewer pellets is still moot. In isolation, it's quite easy to calculate the effect of fewer pellets:

http://www.shotgun-insight.com/PatternOptimiser.html

Andrew.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:24 pm 
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"A friend of mine said that he's gotten better results with higher dram, 1 oz. loads to push up the velocity." -- What does he mean by "better"? If he has confidence in them he probably just shoots them better.

"He swears that it "arrives at the target faster" and is trying to convince me to switch. He claims that the speed tradeoff is worth slightly fewer bb's on the target." -- Well, they probably do get there a little sooner but 100 fps instrumental velocity is insignificant. And, it would depend on what he considered "slightly fewer bb's". That said, many people do use lighter loads for less recoil.

"All in his mind, or reality? Will 100 or so fps really make that much difference when a shot string is traveling at 800mph?" -- It's insignificant!

"And does a higher velocity load run the risk of deforming more of the shot charge and creating flyers, thereby resulting in a slightly sparser pattern +/or shorter string?" -- Maybe or maybe not, there are many variables that influence shot string and all loads have some shot stringing so how much is too much? The only way to really know what your load and choke are doing is to pattern them at the distances you plan on using them!

"Would a SK, IC or LM choke affect this one way or another?" -- Lets see what the pattern board can tell us about the pattern performance differences between 1 oz and 1 1/8 oz loads.

Pattern numbers from a 12-gauge Browning Citori w/ 28" Invector-plus barrels using Briley flush chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

12 GA 2 3/4" WINCHESTER AA XTRA-LITE TARGET LOAD
1 oz #7 1/2 lead (344 pellets) @ 1,180 fps
30 YARDS -- SK / 248 (72%)
30 YARDS -- IC / 288 (84%)
40 YARDS -- LM / 260 (76%)
40 YARDS -- M / 272 (79%)

12 GA 2 3/4" WINCHESTER AA HEAVY TARGET LOAD
1 1/8 oz #7 1/2 lead (377 pellets) @ 1,200 fps
30 YARDS -- SK / 253 (67%)
30 YARDS -- IC / 324 (86%)
40 YARDS -- LM / 264 (70%)
40 YARDS -- M / 285 (76%)

As you can see, the lighter load was more efficient (shooting higher percentages) with the SK, LM and M chokes but the heavier load put more pellets in the patterns with all of the chokes listed. The question you have to ask yourself is... are those higher pattern numbers worth the extra recoil?

There's not much difference in some of those numbers! Anyway, now you can be the judge!

Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:41 pm 
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Andrew,

Thank you for your response. I lived in London whilst in college and have a soft spot for 'Merry Old England'! Wish I had availed myself of the wonderful sporting clays courses your country has to offer!

Your book looks impressive and well researched. How did you make your observations and tests in terms of coming up with an objective standardization of the target presentations?

Do ballistics even come into play at these short distances and high velocities?

Cheers, Daniel, Hudson Valley, New York


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:59 pm 
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Joe,

Thank you, also. One thing that came to mind when I read your post and looked over the pattern numbers for the two loads is that some of this might depend on what kind of shooter one is and how and when they engage their targets. The more one moves their gun in sync with a fast target to intercept it, the wider the shot string, therefore more bb's might be helpful in that situation to ensure enough pattern density to get a break. The more perpendicular one is to the target presentation and the slower the gun as it intercepts, the narrower the string; perhaps that tighter cone would allow one to "forgo" some of the bb's in favor of a lighter load.

My buddy swears that the extra 100 fps makes a difference.

Daniel


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:17 pm 
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"The more one moves their gun in sync with a fast target to intercept it, the wider the shot string" -- Human induced barrel speed/swing does not influence the pattern width or shot stringing.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:52 am 
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Sorry Eagleblue, I have to agree with Joe Hunter, there is no evidence that shot columns can be influenced by the shooter.

I would like to ask one question regarding faster shells, if high velocity leads to such miserable loss of pattern density :roll: , then how come all the Italians use such fast shells in their various trap disciplines? Somebody ought to tell them about how much better slow shells are :roll: :wink: .


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:03 am 
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Joe Hunter wrote:
Human induced barrel speed/swing does not influence the pattern width or shot stringing.

Hosing as it's sometimes called is one of the enduring myths of shotgunning. Using very basic calculations it's easy to see that Joe is absolutely correct. A human could not swing the gun fast enough to have any measurable effect on shot string or pattern width.

I haven't read Andrew's book (yet) but I'd need a lot of convincing that fast shells deform more pellets than slow ones. More probable is that they are simply a bit more deformed.

Shouldn't be too hard to demonstrate one way or the other on paper.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:01 am 
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Daniel, Yes ballistics do come into play. One of the things I did was quantify the effect of different pellet impact energies against a clay pigeon. I derive an equation that links pellet energy, impact angle, and the energy needed to break a clay pigeon (for a perfect square-on pellet strike):

Image

In the equations above "Epellet" is the energy of the pellet; more pellet energy increases the effective size of the clay and thus increases the chances the clay will break. This equation allows one to work out the best tradeoff between pellet count (chance of a pellet striking the target) and pellet effectiveness (chance an impact actually breaks the clay).

There's a fuller explanation here:

http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=240509&start=20

I also had a CAD model of a clay pigeon from which I could estimate the target visible area versus angle, see:

http://www.trapshooters.com/noframes/cfpages/thread.cfm?threadid=227910&Messages=35

Interestingly, in trap, altering the angle of the trap to show more face does not give such a big net change as you might think, see:

http://www.trapshooters.com/cfpages/thread.cfm?threadid=228185

I also tested different shot columns; any effects due to column height were far less significant that the benefits of the extra pellets.

Andrew.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:25 pm 
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Trickster, Joe, & Yansica1

It seems intuitive (and like you say, oft repeated) that a moving gun would produce a oval rather than circular pattern and hence a wider string, but what you're all saying is that the velocity of the shot is so much higher than the swing of the gun that it makes the latter negligible in terms of having any effect on the swarm?

Is there any advantage (besides good form and establishing appropriate lead) to swinging the gun versus a dead, non-laterally moving gun that is brought up in time to intercept the target?

One of the reasons for my original question was that I was wondering if the higher velocity shells are routinely loaded with harder shot to compensate for more potential deformation in the bb's at the back of the wad when it pushes the shot column out of the barrel. In other words, do the pricier, higher velocity shells employ a sturdier, more survivable alloy that affords a well saturated pattern despite the higher velocity achieved?

Forgive my naivete if this is stating the obvious, much of this is new to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:52 pm 
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"Forgive my naivete if this is stating the obvious, much of this is new to me." -- No problem that's how we learn.

"do the pricier, higher velocity shells employ a sturdier, more survivable alloy that affords a well saturated pattern despite the higher velocity achieved?" -- First off, the alloy used to harden and make shot want to be round while forming in the drop tower is called antimony. Usually, sometimes, most of the time, higher quality shell do have shot that is harder and more uniform which leads to improved patterning performance over softer pellets. Very often light, high velocity, economy shells have cheaper, lower antimony, softer pellets to hold cost down. Since manufacturers don't publish the antimony content of the pellets in their shells on the box it is anyone guess what it is.

Now, whether the harder pellets in a lighter load are enough to overcome increased pellet numbers of heavier loads is another question best learned at the pattern board. I believe the above listed patterns demonstrate that heavier loads generally do provide more pellets in the pattern when all else is the same. The more important question is how may pellets do you need in your pattern to be effective and do more equate to more broken targets. Sometimes more isn't better, it is just more!

Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:41 pm 
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Andrew,

I must admit upfront that Calculus was my nemesis in college! And please forgive my plentiful questions if they betray my ignorance of this subject.

If the pellets follow a ballistic trajectory at average clay target interceptions, then does it follow that the pellet energy will be optimized at specific distances for different loads? Thus, would a high velocity shell loaded with 1 oz of #7.5 at 35 yards transfer a similar amount of effective energy onto a target as, say, a lower velocity shell loaded with 1 1/8 oz of #9 at 25 yards (values are just for illustration, not pretending to be exact.)?

Or, because of the higher energy output, is a higher velocity shell always more advantageous in terms of generating higher pellet energy regardless of distance (given the window of typical target interceptions)? Thus for most target presentations/ranges in trap or sporting clays, would a high velocity shell loaded with a lighter load of smaller pellets be optimal in terms of energy and increasing the target area?

How does the density of target affect all of this, i.e., battue vs. standard? And the higher brittleness that comes from lower temperatures?

Is my assumption correct that softer shot at higher velocity will have a tendency to deform more? Thus, to produce an evenly saturated pattern a high velocity shell needs to have harder shot otherwise more deformation will occur? Or, I wonder if at the distances typically engaged in clay sports and (and in your data), if it matters whether the target is broken by round pellets or flyers--does the latter present more dissipated energy on the target?

And is a taller shot column more prone to deforming if a tighter choke is used? Again, would harder shot counteract this tendency?

Your book sounds really well-researched. I appreciate all the answers and your data--not trying to spoil the conclusions! Daniel.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:32 am 
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eagleblue687 wrote:
Trickster, Joe, & Yansica1

Is there any advantage (besides good form and establishing appropriate lead) to swinging the gun versus a dead, non-laterally moving gun that is brought up in time to intercept the target?


No, there is no practical advantage. Shooting with a dead gun is obviously not an advisable practice but it does not adversely affect pattern quality. I routinely shoot overhead targets with a near static gun and get as hard a break as any other method, it isn`t easy to master but very effective if done well.


eagleblue687 wrote:
Trickster, Joe, & Yansica1

One of the reasons for my original question was that I was wondering if the higher velocity shells are routinely loaded with harder shot to compensate for more potential deformation in the bb's at the back of the wad when it pushes the shot column out of the barrel. In other words, do the pricier, higher velocity shells employ a sturdier, more survivable alloy that affords a well saturated pattern despite the higher velocity achieved?




You have inadvertently hit the proverbial nail on the head :D :wink: . We often read about how slow / reduced load shells are somehow superior to the high velocity or 32 gram variety by internet experts who conveniently forget the shell manufacturers know a thing or two about what they load :wink: :roll: , so they spend ages balancing things up to the point that the adage is simply irrelevant. If you happen to like blondes, there are plenty of intelligent ones out there so don`t listen to the nonsense.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:02 am 
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Daniel, The "conclusion of conclusions" with respect to shells and guns is "most things most of the time don't make much difference". If you are just kicking around shooting for a passtime and not keeping score, don't worry about anything (apart from the gun shooting straight).

The problem you face (especially as a beginner) is that you will be pulled all ways by people peddling opinions or products. Sometimes the people will have huge reputations. Here's a quote (as I recall it) from someone much lauded, who has a highly recommended book, comes from a top shooting school etc:

"It's not the pattern that breaks the clay, it's the string" and then something about that's why you aim well in front.

It's completely wrong. It couldn't be any more wrong. He clearly doesn't have a clue. But, he makes a good living out of sharing his pearls of wisdom.

For the most part, I report measurements. These can't be wrong because they are simple what happened. When I cite someone else it's clear who (there will be references like Br81, which means John Brindle from 1981) so you can go away and find out the original data. Finally, when I'm speculating or extending ideas from the measurements I say so. If you compare this with the pattern-string quote above, you'll see there are no numbers or references; there's nothing to pin it down, which is very common in the shooting world.

So, although most things don't make much difference, the only way you can "know" and be armed against misinformation is to learn some facts. Your challenge is to identify the correct facts from the wrong facts!

(I realise you face the conundrum of the door that always lies and the door that always tells the truth but you don't know which is which.)

Finally, when you start keeping score, the couple/few percent that can be gained (or lost) by choke and shell choices will become more important.

Andrew.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:23 pm 
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Quote:
[quote="Dr A C Jones"Sometimes the people will have huge reputations. Here's a quote (as I recall it) from someone much lauded, who has a highly recommended book, comes from a top shooting school etc:

"It's not the pattern that breaks the clay, it's the string" and then something about that's why you aim well in front.

It's completely wrong. It couldn't be any more wrong. He clearly doesn't have a clue. But, he makes a good living out of sharing his pearls of wisdom.

[/quote]

I think I know who you mean Doc :wink: , and have to agree he probably wrote it on auto pilot based on rubbish he himself had been fed by other books of a bygone era.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:09 am 
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Andrew and yansica1,

I agree that there's a lot of misinformation out there--once people get some idea fixed in their mind, it seems to evolve into "truth" which is a waypoint on the road to "religion."

I'm curious about this subject for a few reasons, one, because my friend swears by his higher velocity shells and I'd like to know, from a practical point of view, if that really can make a significant difference to one's success. If so, then perhaps the shells are worth shouldering extra recoil and spending more money on them. Also, velocity aside, does harder shot (presumably found in pricier shells) make a difference in terms of breaking clays--whether by affording more survivable pellets or by applying more impact energy per pellet to the target by virtue of its lack of deformation?

Lastly, from an academic point of view, it's an interesting subject and even if there's no practical reason to modify what I'm doing now (using cheaper, lower velocity shells) I'd like to know the mechanics of what is happening once the shot leaves my barrels. Certainly if there's no reason to switch to the other shells I have a solid counterargument to my friend's logic.

I'm appreciative there are people out there like you folks who are making these painstaking measurements and generous enough to answer questions about the subject. Daniel


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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:38 am 
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eagleblue687 wrote:

I'm curious about this subject for a few reasons, one, because my friend swears by his higher velocity shells and I'd like to know, from a practical point of view, if that really can make a significant difference to one's success. If so, then perhaps the shells are worth shouldering extra recoil and spending more money on them. Also, velocity aside, does harder shot (presumably found in pricier shells) make a difference in terms of breaking clays--whether by affording more survivable pellets or by applying more impact energy per pellet to the target by virtue of its lack of deformation?

Lastly, from an academic point of view, it's an interesting subject and even if there's no practical reason to modify what I'm doing now (using cheaper, lower velocity shells) I'd like to know the mechanics of what is happening once the shot leaves my barrels. Certainly if there's no reason to switch to the other shells I have a solid counterargument to my friend's logic.



I'll confess not to know what "swears by" is supposed to mean. What is called a "higher velocity shell" may not be-- a good chronograph tells you that, not the box. "Hard shot" is another vague term. The hardest lead is more like stiff jello. Unless you compare the shot in the shells yourself (pliers) and also check sphericity-- than again, you're just guessing.

We can speculate that #8 shot is "#8 shot" . . . is it? Rounder shot, larger diameter shot is going to arrive at your target before soft deformed shot is. Perfectly spherical, harder #7-1/2 shot makes it to the paper faster than deformed soft #8 with the same muzzle velocity. Enough to matter? You have to compare patterns in your gun. It all matters, but how much? Likely not much at 20 yards-- more significant at 40 or 45 yards.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:49 am 
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Daniel, I measured the effects of harder shot as far as pattern performance. The tighter patterns afforded by hard shot are really only a benefit when the absolute tightest patterns are needed. That means long distance targets AND a good shooter.

I also explore the benefits of higher velocity and come to the conclusion that subject to containing recoil, more velocity is a benefit. Even more intriguing is if one sets the constraint that recoil must be kept constant and compares a slow heavy payload with a fast light one. The slow and heavy load is more efficient at delivering energy; the fast one gives a reduced lead. Which gives the advantage over many targets is unknown. Really, you need to consider the data, make your own best guess and then believe in it until some better data comes along. Subject to recoil, nobody who counts chooses a slow light load!

With respect to how pellets of different hardness interact with clays, I don't believe anybody really knows. The harder pellets distort slightly less, but in the context of hard and soft pellets the difference in retained velocity due to changes in deformation is likely small. As a first approximation, relative pattern spread is a good indicator of the relative decelerative forces (the same forces that slow pellets also disperse them). Since soft pellets pattern only slightly wider than hard ones, it's a reasonable assumption that they slow only slightly more. In their favour, soft pellets are likely to have a slightly higher density.

With regard to how hard and soft pellets strike a clay, there is an argument for and against. Hard pellets will lose less energy internally due to distortion as they hit the clay. Soft pellets on the other hand will be better at transfering energy if they strike at an angle (think of pin grabber bullets). Nobody knows which effect is the greater. Oddly with shotshells, most things you can vary have a positive and negative effect so that the net effect is much smaller than you might at first think.

As a beginner, use the cheapest shells. You may as well miss as cheaply as possible.

Something else to bear in mind: Digweed uses Gamebore shells and they have medium/soft pellets. They are expensive and fast, but hard they ain't. So, I shouldn't worry about pellet hardness too much (at least in a sporting context, trap is different if you are good).

Andrew.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:52 am 
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Just a follow up to what Randy wrote above. What's written on a packet of shells is often quite different to what is actually inside, and, it can vary from batch to batch. I measured the hardness, roundness, and velocity. About half the time I was disappointed in so far as I bought the shells for a specific test.

Andrew.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher velocity loads & shot deformation
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:01 am 
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Dr A C Jones wrote:
Daniel,

I also explore the benefits of higher velocity and come to the conclusion that subject to containing recoil, more velocity is a benefit. Even more intriguing is if one sets the constraint that recoil must be kept constant and compares a slow heavy payload with a fast light one. The slow and heavy load is more efficient at delivering energy; the fast one gives a reduced lead. Which gives the advantage over many targets is unknown. Really, you need to consider the data, make your own best guess and then believe in it until some better data comes along. Subject to recoil, nobody who counts chooses a slow light load! Andrew.



I have to agree with the Doc, based on years of observing breaks both my own and those of others.

My favourite load is not the very fastest but it is the fastest I can live with. I find well placed fast shells containing competition grade hard shot produce near pulverised target breaks well beyond 30/40 yards whereas slightly slower clay loads containing less antimony (by the makers own admission) can often give more crumbly looking breaks.


There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that lead pictures suffer when switching from excellent to average loads speed wise. It is often said that the lead difference between shells cannot be detected but I do NOT find that to be the case. I can tell the difference in strike delay between our legal limit airguns of say .177 or .22 vintage where the difference in muzzle velocity is in fact a mere 200 fps, close in other words to what may be the case in shotgun ammunition.


Last edited by yansica1 on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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