Posts Tagged ‘chokes’
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Earlier this week, I received an email from a Pheasants Forever supporter who recently purchased his very first over/under shotgun. The gentleman asked a variety of very good questions. I couldn’t immediately answer all of those questions, so I reached out to Ryan Bronson at Federal Premium Ammunition for some help. Following are those questions with answers thanks to Bronson’s assistance.
What kind of shot pattern am I looking for out of my pheasant hunting shotgun?
(See photo to above) This image appears on the side of every box of Federal’s Prairie Storm pheasant load. According to Bronson, “This is an actual target that we shot with Prairie Storm. This pattern is actually off to the right a little bit (wind drift, shooter error, etc.). This was a 40-yard patterning target and we look for pellet counts in the 30 and 15 inch rings. Shotgunners should be looking for even distribution with few openings in the shot pattern that a bird could fit through. Even though this shot is 6 inches to the right, there are still plenty of pellets in the critical zones.”
What do people do for chokes in the upper and lower barrels of an over/under? Your best choke choice is determined after patterning your gun with your preferred shot brand and size. Personally, I like shooting open chokes. I start with a skeet choke on the top barrel to open up the pattern as much as possible for that first closest shot. I’ve found this to be an especially important factor in shooting Prairie Storm as the shot performs best with very open chokes. My second barrel has an improved cylinder choke in it to retain a more open pattern, but not quite as open as my first shot, considering the bird is now rapidly getting down range.
Is it the ammo or the choke that determines the best pattern? It’s the combination working in harmony with your shotgun. Finding the correct recipe through the three variables (gun, choke and ammo) will determine the best pattern for you. If you already know your gun, then the choke and ammo choices are determined in unison.
Bronson offered a few additional thoughts to keep in mind when patterning your pheasant shotgun:
I would emphasize understanding what your gun/ammo/choke is capable of at various distances. Sometimes you are better off letting a bird get out away from you a little before shooting it, especially if it is a tight pattern at 15 yards.
And if you shoot steel shot, then open the choke up too. Steel patterns tighter than lead. Plated lead shot, like the copper and nickel plated shot in Federal Premium will tend to pattern tighter than plain lead shot in value-priced loads because the un-plated shot will have more deformation. But these are all general rules. You only find specifics by shooting paper and testing.
Thursday, November 17th, 2011
By now, you know I’m shooting a Browning Citori on the Rooster Road Trip. Hopefully, you’ve joined Pheasants Forever through this special Rooster Road Trip link for your chance to win that Citori after my time with this pheasant hunter’s dream gun is over on Friday at sunset.
Well, before I took the Citori into the field, the fine folks at Carlson’s Choke Tubes were kind enough to send me two skeet chokes for the Citori’s over/under barrels. You see, I’m a big fan of opening up my chokes, especially with Federal’s Prairie Storm loads in the chamber. So, if you’re the lucky winner of this Rooster Road Trip Citori, you’ll also receive the added bonus of a pair of Carlson’s fine skeet chokes to help you hit those wily quail coveys and roosters.
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
For most of my life, I would have considered myself a lousy shot. I’ve blamed a lot of my shooting ineptness on my lazy right eye. A lot can also be blamed on an Allen Iverson-level of interest in shooting practice. Add those two factors and it equals a shooter’s kryptonite: a lack of confidence.
However, the proverbial tide has turned in my shooting ability over the last few years. While I wouldn’t challenge Tom Knapp to a high noon shootout, I have gained confidence to hold my own against any flushing ring-neck, bobwhite bumble bee or ruffed grouse rocket.
I credit two changes in my newfound killer confidence.
1) A Good Dog. I believe the first step to improving a hunter’s shooting is to add a good bird dog to the mix. If you are a really bad shot, then add a pointer. It’s logical; pointers give any hunter advance notice to be ready. Don’t get me wrong, not every shot over a pointer is simple, but I’ve had more “confidence building” shots over my GSP than ever before and those confidence builders have made me a more focused, faster and accurate shot on the tougher flushes. I believe any dog owning hunter would tell a non-dog owning hunter that they are able to read their pup’s body language to know when to be ready. Those seconds of awareness to a wingshooter are equivalent to a batter stealing signs before the pitcher releases his wicked curve ball.
2) Skeet Choke. At about the same time I added my shorthair to the mix, I screwed a skeet choke into my Beretta’s first barrel. If you subscribe to Upland Almanac, you’ll find some fascinating info about different choke’s ability to deliver various shot sizes to a 30-inch circle on page 4 of their Spring issue. While I always take factors like the type of cover and time of season into account, my go-to pattern is the skeet choke with 92 percent of a shell’s pellets delivered into that 30-inch circle at 20 yards and 72 percent of those pellets in the circle at 30 yards. For ruffed grouse, it’s a no brainer to use a skeet choke or even the wider patterning cylinder choke. While other skilled pheasant shooters may disagree, I personally have found the skeet choke to dramatically improve my success because the vast majority of my shots at roosters are coming within that 30 yard window.
What choke has made you a successful ringneck wrangler?
The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.