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8.5's with a LM choke seems like an odd combination to me.

#8.5 shot is for short-to-mid range targets. It can handle targets at slightly longer ranges than #9, but it will run out of energy before a #8 or #7.5 will.

LM is a mid-to-longish range choke. It is tight enough to handle the longest targets on some of the courses I shoot, and all but a few of the longest targets on the rest.

The way I see it, if the range is long enough to require a LM choke, #8.5 shot is not big enough, you should use #8 or even #7.5. Conversely, if the range is short enough for #8.5 shot, you would be better off to open up your chokes to IC or even Skt to get a bigger effective pattern.

In practice, when I don't want to bother changing chokes, I use LM and #8. I feel like some of the longer targets are already stretching the limits of #8 shot, and #8.5 is likely to lose me a few targets by barely chipping them and not breaking off pieces big enough to see - not reliably, anyway. For the shorter targets, a load of #8.5 through a LM choke won't do anything that a load of #8 through the same choke won't do. For a short target with that much choke, you have adequate pattern density with any shot size, and you don't need to go to smaller shot to get more pellets.

Some people would disagree, but I feel like #8.5 shot is a ******* size. It is neither fish nor fowl. It is not the best choice for the longer targets because it doesn't have as much energy per pellet as #8 or #7.5, and it isn't the best choice for close targets because it doesn't contain as many pellets as #9, which would allow you to use a Cyl or Skt choke.
 
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