Near And Far With Gas

Dear Master Technoid:

Oh Exulted Master Of Shooting (the breeze, the bull, and the clays), I pray you to lend me your wisdom. Your most excellent advice of having a choke for every load is a brilliant. I have No. 9 shot for open chokes, No. 7 1/2 shot for tight chokes, and No. 8 1/2 shot for in between chokes. Choke selection is quite easy using the Choke Chooser.

I do, however, struggle with the motor task of changing chokes between birds. Perhaps you could suggest some eye-hand coordination exercises for me and my Beretta A. L. 390. I do find frequent use for my full choke due to the time lag between my first shot with a skeet choke and my second shot. It is also becoming hard to find squad mates.

On the other hand, if I decide to stick with one choke for both shots, what is the ideal compromise choke? Should I choke appropriately for the far target, the close target, or the statistical mean? I’m looking forward to your sagacious suggestion!

In your honor, let me place on the altar of Gaussian distributions the following original joke. A statistician called for the first target in five stand competition. His first shot fell behind the screaming left to right quartering target. Accelerating his lead resulted in shooting in front on his second shot. Gleefully he jumped up and down shouting, “I hit it!”

Respectfully yours,



Love your statistician joke. He wouldn’t work for the gummint, would he?

I very much appreciate your prodigious efforts to change chokes between shots. Now that your pals all call you “Lefty”, we might look into the situation a bit more.

Some course designers just love to get even with gas guns, so they do something really imbecilic like combining a 5 yard and a 50 yard shot into a report pair. This makes all the guys who are getting their brains beaten out by O/Us feel better for a moment. Most course designers are nice guys who don’t beat their mothers and force their children to panhandle at truck stops, but there are exceptions.

I think that the best way to handle the near/far situation when using a gas gun is to choke for the longer shot and use a spreader load for the shorter one. You can’t use spreaders in FITASC, but you can in English sporting as practiced by the NSCA, SCA, PASS and the rest. Polywad Spred-R, PO Box 7916, Macon, GA 31209, tel:800-913-9310, not only makes spreader loads, but they also sell the little plastic mushroom spreader component to reloaders.

I reload most of my stuff and always try to carry a dozen spreader loads in #8-1/2 for my Beretta 303. The reloading procedure takes and extra step, but it doesn’t take long and you don’t need too many. Complete instructions come with the inserts. Two types of Polywad spreader inserts are available in 12 gauge. One insert with three holes in it is designed to open the pattern one degree of choke. The solid insert is designed to open the pattern two degrees. I have experimented with the inserts and find that they really do as they claim. Modified becomes Skeet. Full becomes IC. The patterns are not full of holes or doughnut shaped. These Polywad things really work. You can order them directly from Precision Reolading, 161 Crooked S. Road, PO Box 122, Stafford Springs, CT 06076, tel: 800-223-0900,

Polywad also makes the spreader inserts for 20 and 28. I use them in a F&M choked 20 and they work great for skeet.

Now tell me again how you change chokes between shots on that true pair…

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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1 Response to Near And Far With Gas

  1. Bill Beinert says:

    With extreme trepidation, I beg to differ, Use the tighter choke with 7 1/2s for the long bird. And the same choke with 8s or 9s for the close bird. Under 15 yards, the pattern difference between full and cylinder is not very great. (I admit I have not actually tested this.) And at 15 yards and under, you should be able to hit the bird with anything.



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