Choke Chooser™

Choke Chooser™ now available.

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Orange Clays Harder Than Black?

Dear Technoid,

Another brain numbing question for you.

I read years ago that orange clays are harder to break than black particularly when striking the upper face at a shallow angle due to the effect of the paint on the clay ie weight and natural frequency etc.

Any views on this and would 5% antimony shot help?


Dear Steve,

Don’t believe everything you read. I know because I write a lot of that stuff. That said, I have absolutely no idea whether a painted clay surface inhibits or increases its breakability in certain circumstances. Different target makers use different clay compounds and I am certain that has a lot to do with breakability. I remember when the first of the ecological non-polluting clays came out, they were so hard that I could literally stand on top of one without it breaking.

That said, 5% antimony shot is always a good thing. It suffers less distortion in the barrel due to setback and choke squeeze, so it patterns better. Soft shot patterns open up more due to distortion.

Bottom line: use the 5% hard shot regardless of whether the target is painted or not.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Ask the Instructor: Technical Targets

Source: Ask the Instructor: Technical Targets

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Hartmann’s Hint #51: Hot Weather

Source: Hartmann’s Hint #51: Hot Weather

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High vs. Low Pressure

High Vs. Low Pressure

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Hot Barrels, Loose Ribs?

Mighty Master of all things shotgun,

I am fortunate to have a couple hobby grade auto-traps, a place to shoot them, and a willing puller (aka, my wife). So this morning it gets a bit warm, say mid-90’s and a very warm sun at 6’800′ of altitude. Since I am the only shooter, I find my O/U getting hot, too hot to touch but not hot enough to burn tissue. It really doesn’t take much, roughly 25 rounds. However, if I set up a couple problems to work on, sweet talk the CFO to pull, I want to get in some serious practice. Am I in danger of damaging my shotguns? If it matters, my primary is a F3 and I have a bunch of Brownings, a Beretta or 2, and even a CZ.

As always, thanks in advance.

s/f Steve

Dear Steve,

My main concern with shooting the guns so hot is the solder which holds on the top and side ribs. Conventional soft solder will definitely come loose if the barrels are shot too hot for too long. I believe that your F3 has the top rib welded on, but the side ribs use a higher temperature soft solder. That should be better, but not impervious to excessive heat. Zolis use durable high heat silver solder, but Perazzis use lower heat soft solder so as not to warp the barrels when they are being soldered together. Perazzi ribs are notorious for coming loose after being shot a lot. Belgian Brownings usually were soft soldered (and thus eventually had loose ribs), but they also has come silver soldered barrels in some FN models. With the Berettas, it depends on the model. The problem with high temperature silver solder and welding is that the high heat used to attach the ribs can warp the barrels, especially if they are thin. Soft solder is much lower heat and won’t move carefully laid barrels, but it will come off sooner or later. Take your pick.

Bottom line: shooting the barrels too hot will loosen the soft soldered ribs. Silver soldered ribs last longer, but can also come loose eventually. Welded ribs don’t come loose due to heat. To be safe, my rule of thumb is that when my barrels become too hot to touch with a bare hand, I let things cool off a bit.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Winchester SX4-20 Gauge

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Real Length Of Pull

Dear Sir –

I have a Browning 425 that comes with one of those fancy adjustable triggers. Would it be possible for you to comment on what effect increasing or decreasing the length of pull has on alignment to the gun?

Many thanks,


Dear Steve,

Great question and one of my pet peeve points. Moving the trigger back and forth adjusts length of pull just about as well as porting lowers recoil. Technically, both work. Practically, they are both sales hype.

Here’s the real deal:

Gunsmiths love to measure length of pull of a stock as being from the center of the front of the trigger to the center of the rear of the recoil pad or butt. Fair enough. Everyone likes this measurement because it can be made precisely.

Unfortunately, this measurement doesn’t mean much, certainly not much as to how the gun fits you. The best and most accurate measurement of stock length would be from where the web between your second and ring finger on the right hand stations itself on the pistol grip to the center of the rear of the pad.

This is a better front measuring point than the center of the trigger because the trigger can easily flex forward or backward 1/2″ without the slightest problem. You won’t feel any difference in the length of the stock when you mount it by just moving your finger only a bit forward or back.

You will feel a significant difference in stock length if you move your hand up (forward) or down (backward) on the pistol grip. Try it. Hold your gun in the normal way and mount if a few times. Now hold it exactly the same way, but move your right hand up a good bit on the pistol grip. This will bring it forward, increasing your “real” length of pull. Now mount the gun a few times and see how much longer the stock seems. The standard length of pull from butt to trigger hasn’t changed the slightest, but the practical length of pull sure has.

Same thing if you move your right hand down the pistol grip to the very bottom. Since most pistol grips (except Perazzi trap guns) slope rearward, you are effectively shortening the “real” length of pull. Now mount the gun a few times and see how short it feels. Distance from butt to trigger hasn’t changed but, again, where you place your right hand has altered the way the stock length feels.

I do think that moving the trigger forward and back can be helpful in obtaining a comfortable finger bend. This is a very typical and useful adjustment on Olympic match rifles and pistols. That said, it has nothing to do with what the length of the gun feels like.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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