Friday, February 09, 2007

Hunting Tip: Pattern Your Shotgun

Here's another hunting tip from the folks at Gander Mountain. This one is on Turkey hunting:

I hope you wouldn’t consider going on a big game hunt without checking your rifle’s zero. It isn’t any different with turkey hunting because, unlike most other shotgunning, turkeys are taken by aiming deliberately at a small target. Commercial “turkey head” targets are available, or you can simply draw a rough outline of a turkey’s head on clean paper. Put up targets at the ranges you intend to shoot at 10-yards intervals, as in 20, 30, and 40 yards, and beyond that at 5-yard intervals. Try different brands, payloads, and shot sizes. Most rifles provide different levels of accuracy with different loads, and some shotguns are the same, producing noticeably better patterns with some loads. Use the turkey head as an aiming point, and you will quickly learn three things:

1. Exactly where you need to place your shotgun bead on the turkey’s head to center the pattern. Some shotguns shoot a bit high, others a bit low, and some are dead on.
2.Which load produces the tightest and most even pattern? Count the hits in the turkey’s head; for this application, that’s all you care about.
3.By moving the targets farther out, you will learn your maximum effective range with your shotgun and its best load. When you can no longer get consistent multiple pellet strikes (at least four or five, preferably more) in a turkey’s head, you are beyond your effective range.

Craig Boddington
TV Host of Tracks Across Africa & Guns and Ammo
Elite Gander Mountain Pro Staff Member

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