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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently did a little pattern trial with Lefever Nitro Special, 12 ga., M&F. I wanted to see how things looked at 25 yards. (They looked pretty far!) Shot both barrels a couple of times using fresh paper each time. Results for both barrels were very similar; both put the majority of the shot, #6, into an 18 inch circle right at point of aim.

I thought there would be some discernable difference between the barrels, but there was none that I could see, so I counted, as best I could, the number of shot in each circle and they were almost the same. Roughly 160, give or take a few. Ammo was inexpensive Winchester field loads from WalMart. This was not what I expected.

I'd be interested in anyone's views and/or comments. I'm kind of new to this patterning stuff, so I am all ears.

R.
 

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Standard patterns are shot at 40 yards, and then you check for the greatest number of pellets in a 30" circle. What you did is okay for checking point of impact but it is hard to draw conclusions other than that it delivers good killing patterns at 25 yards..
 

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Even at the 40 yard pattern plate there is only 10% difference in the 30" circle between mod & full choke - that was the old 'parameter' and I am sure its the same now.
As Virginian said these are good killing patterns and the gun is shooting to point of aim in both barrels.
Another calculation from my old reference book says " Diameter in Inches of the Spread at various ranges of the whole charge of the gun - mod choke at 25 yards is 26 Inches and full choke at 25 yards is 21 inches". There is not really much in it on that basis.
It might be worth going out to 40 yards and having another try - so far as I remember your full choke should put 70% of the pattern in the 30" circle and the mod choke 60%.
The standard method was to put an aiming mark on your pattern plate but draw the 30" circle after estimating the centre of the pattern by eye.
 

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Sans Peur said:
Even at the 40 yard pattern plate there is only 10% difference in the 30" circle between mod & full choke - that was the old 'parameter' and I am sure its the same now.
As Virginian said these are good killing patterns and the gun is shooting to point of aim in both barrels.
Another calculation from my old reference book says " Diameter in Inches of the Spread at various ranges of the whole charge of the gun - mod choke at 25 yards is 26 Inches and full choke at 25 yards is 21 inches". There is not really much in it on that basis.
It might be worth going out to 40 yards and having another try - so far as I remember your full choke should put 70% of the pattern in the 30" circle and the mod choke 60%.
The standard method was to put an aiming mark on your pattern plate but draw the 30" circle after estimating the centre of the pattern by eye.
All of the above are old references. These tables were developed using shells before the plastic wads with shot cups. I would shoot the gun at different distances you plan to shoot at; using the ammo you plan on using for hunting or clay shooting, just to see the effectiveness of the patterns.

You are lucky that both barrels shoot to the same place. But then back when they made the gun, most SxS were fitted by hand and pride in workmanship was the norm.
 

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A few years ago, I quit worrying about choke.

If you are shooting skeet, then you want a gun that has no choke at all, and shoots wide, round, even patterns. On the other hand, if you take a light modified choked gun and shoot skeet with it, there really isn't much difference in scores. It would matter a lot if you were shooting skeet for serious competition, but it doesn't matter at all on Wednesday night with my buddies.

If you shoot trap, well then you'll need a tighter pattern. If you are deadly serious. But, on Wednesday night, from the 16 yard line, an improved cylinder will break all the trap birds that I can hit. In fact, you can break quite a few with a skeet gun.

A shotgun is a short range weapon. Choke's only value is to prevent the spread of the shot charge at distances from beyond where a cylinder bore starts getting too thin to reliably break a target or kill a bird, which is about 35-40 yards, on out to sixtysome yards, where even the best full choked guns start tossing the pellets all over the place, and we are truly out of reliable shotgun range. On the other hand, the difference between the circle of 18 inches at 25 yards with either a modified or full choke, and a cylinder bore gun, is maybe ten inches,,,but that's only five inches on each side. If you spread out your thumb and forefinger, the distance between them is about six inches, more or less. Five inches isn't much,,,,when we are talking shotguns. :wink:
 

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Bill M. said:
You should be very happy that both barrels shoot to the same point of impact, and that it is where you are aiming.
I agree... Is your gun for sale ? What kind of shotgun is it...
 

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the difference between the circle of 18 inches at 25 yards with either a modified or full choke, and a cylinder bore gun, is maybe ten inches,,,but that's only five inches on each side. If you spread out your thumb and forefinger, the distance between them is about six inches, more or less. Five inches isn't much,,,,when we are talking shotguns
An 18" diameter pattern covers an area of 254 square inches.

An 28" diameter pattern covers an area of 616 square inches.

Which would you rather have? 8)
 

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I would rather have the largest pattern that is still dense enough to reliably break the bird.

And, if I was shooting in the black darkness at a quacking duck, then I'd for sure want the pattern with the most cubic inches of coverage.

But, if I have a full choke gun with an 18 inch pattern at 25 yards, then it's only five inches difference between a hit and a miss all the way around that 18 inch circle, and both guns will hit the bird with the middle 18 inches of pattern. The primary difference would be those birds I've missed less than five inches "behind", as shooting isn't a random thing,,,,or at least it's not supposed to be. :wink:

Yes, a wider pattern makes hitting easier at 25 yards. But the full or modified choke gun is less handicapped than "Pie are square" calculations would indicate.

If you are hitting the birds, and on your game, you can hit them with any choke the gun happens to have. If you are off your game, a cylinder bore shooting spreader loads won't help much. :wink:
 

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"All of the above are old references"

So whats wrong with old :evil: :) .

Certainly my reference is a bit old (I go to Burrard's 'The Modern Shotgun' of 1932) 8) .
Most of Burrard's testing was of course carried out with 2 1/2" cases and fibre wads and the general consensus in the UK trade is that plastic wads would add 1/4 choke (10 thou constriction) to nominal patterns.
Surprisingly enough current charts differ very little from the 1932 model - this from an article in Wildfowling.com quoting Briley :

Chart 1
Percentage Of Shot Inside 30" Circle
CHOKE 20 Yds 30 Yds 40 yds
Cylinder 80% 60% 40%
Skeet 92% 72% 50%
Imp Cyl 100% 77% 55%
Mod 100% 83% 60%
Imp Mod 100% 91% 65%

Full 100% 100% 70%

It all a bit academic really as what matters is how effective the pattern may be at varying ranges and that is going to differ from gun to gun and cartridge to cartridge.

In the 'old' days one's gunmaker :roll: would regulate each barrel to shoot a given pattern with a specific shell (in the UK an Eley Grand Prix Game Load (Fibre Wad) - 1 1/16 oz of #6 would have been the usual). I think barrels were also set-up and regulated to give the same p.o.i. at 30 yards ?

As SuperXone says "I would rather have the largest pattern that is still dense enough to reliably break the bird" and I can not put it better than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the thoughts and comments. I appreciate them. I guess I should add a few remarks of my own:

I shot at 25 yards because I wanted to see the pattern at that range, not the traditional 40. And yes, I created an aiming spot on the center of the paper, but drew my circle around the pattern, not the aiming spot.

I used the load I normally use in the field: inexpensive 1 1/8 oz. #6 shot. I was pleased to confirm that both barrels essentially shot to the same point of aim and surprised that there was virtually no difference in the size of the pattern at that distance. I thought there would be.

Somebody asked if the gun is for sale. Yes, it is. Lefever NItro Special mfg in 1929 according to the serial number. It's a "shooter" not a collector piece. During its lifetime someone did a home made checkering job on the butt stock and forend that adds a little character to the piece. Every time I handle the old girl I imagine all the stories it could tell. It's a fun gun, but its back in the closet.
 
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