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#601150 08/09/21 04:47 PM
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Sidelock
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Sidelock

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In a case of “looking for one thing and finding another” I found this quote from Phil Bourjaily, shotgun editor at Field & Stream, to be interesting. It’s from a 2019 article in F&S.

“When I had the Federal enginers pattern-test every gauge for me in an attempt to find out why the 28 gauge is magic, what we found instead was that the 16 seemed to be (the) real magic gun in terms of pattern efficiency.”

I’d like to know more of how Federal conducted the tests but I can’t find anything.

Have any of you seen the results of this or similar tests or done testing of your own? I even wonder how they defined “pattern efficiency.”

Last edited by FallCreekFan; 08/09/21 04:48 PM.
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Stand by for incoming “square load” rhetoric.


“When faith is lost, when honor dies, the man is dead” - John Greenleaf Whittier
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Sidelock
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No, don’t want to go there.

What I’m wondering is how would you even go about setting up an experiment like this? There are so many variables that would have to be eliminated to narrow the test down to just gauge that I can’t conceive of an objective way to do this. Assuming they tested 12, 16, 20, 28 and .410 and narrowed the loads down to a 3/4 oz load of equal pressure and speed you still have a bunch of other variables that would be hard (or impossible) to eliminate. And in the end you’d still be left with the original question: how would define your goal i.e. pattern efficiency?

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Aside from the obvious average % of shot in a 30” circle at a given range , I guess you could grid your target and judge the kill potential by pellets per square.
That seems like a small effort for a reasonable return.
I just try loads through a new gun at clays and use what feels best.

Trying to score it on a static target doesn’t do much other than show a baseline level. Real use brings other factors, as you point out.

I guess that knowing that you have a dense pattern might provide some confidence in your gun.

There isn’t any magic to be found in a particular gauge.

Last edited by Tom Findrick; 08/10/21 11:10 AM. Reason: Phrasing!

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Patterns bloom at a certain distance and their pattern efficiency (which I guess I would call eveness of distribution of pellets) declines rapidly.

I shot a couple sharptails against a snowy background last January, and I was surprised at how nice the pattern density was at 25 yards and how terrible it was at 35 yards based on the marks in the snow

The shot still had a lot of detritus on the snow and I picked up the wads from both shots, but really patterns are only good for a certain distance

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Agreed.
Like I said, put a little effort into patterning just to see what happens at the expected ranges.
I don’t have the free time nor the patience for an extended patterning session.


“When faith is lost, when honor dies, the man is dead” - John Greenleaf Whittier
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I guess you could ask Mr. B. what tests and criteria they used.

Sounds like Federal rediscovered some things bird hunters have known for centuries, but no one can explain. Like, how does a 28 manage to kill so much better than it should, why is the 16 the best upland game gun, and why do people hunt with .410s? Some things just cannot be explained.


Caution: Hunting and fishing stories told here. Protective footgear may be required.
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Some light reading for those with the inclination

David J. Compton, “An Experimental and Theoretical Investigation of Shot Cloud Ballistics”, 1996
http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1382490/1/396689.pdf

150 different 10 cartridge batches of loads were tested, and more than 2000 patterns analyzed.

These findings reinforce the attitude that many aspects of shotgun ballistics, especially patterns, have no satisfactory theory to predict or explain the effects of the internal ballistics of a gun on the downrange behaviour of a shot cloud. ie. it is magic wink

Summary. More detail starting p. 232

p. 155 “Three-Dimensional Representation”

The general shape of the shot cloud revealed that the pellets arriving first (leading edge) are located in the centre of the pattern, and the trailing edge pellets appear at the outer regions. The deformed pellets, collected at the outer parts of the pattern, travel at the trailing edge shot cloud. The well-formed pellets, associated with the pattern centre, are to be found at the leading edge of the shot cloud. With the greater associated deformation on pellets at the rear of the load, caused by the pressure in the barrel compressing them into the pellets above, a similar relationship between the pellets deformation and location in the shot cloud is seen in both experiments.

p. 160 The longitudinal distribution of pellets in the shot cloud at ranges between 20-50m was shown, via shot cloud length, to be unaffected when the internal ballistics of the gun, such as choke, were altered. However, from high speed photography it is known that the initial distribution of pellets is affected by the internal ballistics. Therefore it is assumed that the in-flight effects of the pellet become the more dominant factor, thus masking the internal ballistics effect, at ranges greater than 20m.

From the analysis of the shot cloud profiles it was established that the longitudinal pellet distribution is best described as a Rayleigh distribution.

Analysing the lateral distribution of pellets in the shot cloud it was established that there are two independent distributions, that is the horizontal (x) and vertical (y) pellet distributions. These two distributions were shown to be best described as Gaussian (“bell curve”) distributions.

Neil Winston made the point over and over that since pattern distribution was Gaussian, "patchiness" was random and the primarily determinant of pattern efficiency/quality, with the same choke constriction at the same distance, was simply the number of (high antimony) pellets in the shell.

Previous discussion here
https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=496511

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In Brister's book Shotgunning - The Art and the Science he delves into pattern efficiencies in all the gauges. In the chapter entitled The Case for the Small Gauge he writes, concerning Oberfell and Thompson's conclusion:

"The most significant conclusion about gauges in that publication (by O & T) was: "It is the shot load that kills, not the gauge"."

Later he writes:

"I have found their rule to come close to being correct with perhaps the exception of the 28 gauge, which simply kills better than it is supposed to."

And later in the chapter:

"Neil Oldridge of Remington Arms Company (where quite a few pattern tests are made) told me that there are two mysteries in shotgun ammunition he cannot fully explain. One is why the 28 gauge is so highly efficient for the shot load it throws and the other is why the 12 gauge pigeon load of 3 1/4 drams of powder and 1 1/4 ounces of shot will pattern beautifully in almost any barrel."


"With one foot in the grave ..........and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel" T.P.
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I remember that thread Drew, it was a lot of fun.

Stan, Brister is 'pre-Jones' data. And pre-Winston.

That's like pre-Copernicus astronomy, haven't you heard?

Originally Posted by Drew Hause
Therefore it is assumed that the in-flight effects of the pellet become the more dominant factor, thus masking the internal ballistics effect, at ranges greater than 20m.

That's what I've been saying all along. This accounts for the well known 'bloom' of the shot cloud and limits the effective range of even the tightest full choke.


"The price of good shotgunnery is constant practice" - Fred Kimble
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