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Does anyone do this on a regular basis? I was in a tournament yesterday . I was shooting #7.5 most of the time. Some stations had some closer shots where I used #9, It worked ok. Am I over thinking this ?
 

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While #9s will certainly break close-in targets so will the 7.5s. Even opening up the choke to sk, there will be more then enough coverage in your pattern with 7.5s. Due to the ammo shortage, I'm now using 7.5s in my 20 ga for skeet, instead of the 9s I had been using. My scores have not changed and I've noticed no difference in the quality of my breaks. If you are familiar with skeet then you know the incomers on 1 & 7 are very close-in as are both shots on sta 8. What advantage do you think you are getting by switching to 9s for the close shots? If the closer targets are minis, then I can see it, other than that, not so much.
 

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I'm currently averaging 95-96% with the 20 ga. with the 7.5s using Sk/Sk chokes. In the 3 weeks that I've been shooting my .410 at skeet, my highest score of 24 was shot with a box of factory AAs using 7.5 shot thru IC/Sk chokes.
 

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You might consider shooting a couple patterns at both , close range as well as , the farthest targets you'll encounter ?
#8's being the most neutral size pellet , with enough constriction to feel you have a 65% pattern at the longest distance .
Seeing these patterns to build confidence , they will also show you there's very little difference with patterns at close
range . Your ability will get better with trigger time , without mind-games !
 

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FWIW I had a couple of bags of PolyWad spreader inserts. I loaded them with #9s. For close targets I use them thru mod or improved mod chokes. If I have ICs in, I just shoot the ICs.
 

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When you can win or loose by one target, it can make a difference.
I guess if one is very serious about that, and if one thinks there is a significant difference, then that's what one should do. I used to compete at skeet, I'm having more fun shooting recreationally. I understand about the importance of one target or one shot. I also used to compete in rimfire benchrest (up until 2016) and was much better at it than I am at skeet or trap. I came in second place one year at a national championship by one point at a 1500 point event. I've also won a national championship by that same margin. When I bought match ammo, I tested it first by different lot #s and would buy multiple cases of the best performing lots. I gave up that sport and went back to shotgunning. Trying to remain at the top echelon of a sport is time, energy and resource consuming. When I realized it was more like a job than a fun hobby and that my focus was too much on winning and not on having fun - I stopped. When I went back to shotgunning, I swore to not get that involved/invested in it but to keep the focus on fun and not winning. As such, one target hit or missed means nothing to me now, but I understand the drive and obsession.
 

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When I shot with Bud Wolfe (NSCA HOF member #4) he never changed his chokes (.018 in each barrel) but he did change his ammo. At the time, he was still sponsored by Fiocchi, so he used their 1oz 7.5 and 1oz 8.5 (IIRC, it was the little Rhino, they were running ~1300fps). In any event, his philosophy was simple - 8.5 for anything under 25 yards (except rabbits) and the 7.5 for rabbits ad anything over 25 yards - it worked well for him.
 

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I agree with J.Fred, sneem, and Raven. While smaller pellets tend to shoot slightly more open patterns than larger pellets, using a more open choke or a spreader load will probably get you a larger pattern spread than just changing shot size, if that's what you are trying to do. Shooting a few patterns with the loads you're using at the distance you think you need a wider pattern will show you if there is any significant difference.

Good luck!
 

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This again seems to be what the late "Gunner's Guru", Jeff Cooper called PII -- "a preoccupation with inconsequential increments". Changing chokes and pellet sizes is probably a wise thing when you're switching from wild turkeys and geese to quail and doves. Or from long handicap trap shots to the closest sporting clays rabbits. But what you're talking about in your original post sounds like PII. If you broke it with 9 shot, you would've broken it with 8 or 7.5 shot too. Spending a day preoccupied with inconsequential increments can tend to ruin what would have been an enjoyable day of shooting.
 

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I use both 7 1/2 & 8s . These days shoot what you can find . But I always use both with LM LM
8 for close shoots and minis and 90s and 7 1/2 for the long shots and rabbits .
 

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Way back in 2010 my son had a science fair project, and I had always wondered about this concept.
So we did a little experiment. We spent a lot of time counting.
Font Material property Parallel Slope Number


Jim
 

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I’ve stated this many times before but I think chokes are the most over thought aspect of shooting...maybe second only to shooting glass lens colors. IMO one less thing to think about and fiddle with. I typically shoot fixed choke or choked barrels M/IM. If needed I’ll use a spreader. The benefits from switching between 7.5 and 9s would be minimal. Better to spend your energy and focus on reading the target.
 
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