Leading Questions…

All right, Junior Technoids, unsheathe those slide rules from your plastic pocket protectors, put down your Twinkie and Jolt Cola and follow me. We are going to discuss measured leads- yet again.

Here are some numbers for #7.5 shot, 40 yard true crossing target at a typical 40 mph-

muzzle velocity of 1130 fps; lead is 8.5 feet

muzzle velocity of 1250 fps; lead is 7.9 feet

muzzle velocity of 1330 fps; lead is 7.6 feet

Do the super hot shells really help on the long crosser when they reduce your lead by only .9 feet? For some shooters they do.

Warren Johnson’s most excellent Choke Chooser states that at 40 yards, using the fullest choke that you can find, the largest killing pattern you can hope for with 1-1/8 oz of #7.5s is a paltry one foot! 12 meager inches! More open chokes give you larger overall patterns, but a smaller killing pattern.

So, if you use exactly the same lead on a 40 mph 40 yard crosser with a 1330 fps load that you do with a standard 1130 fps load, you’re gonna miss in front! But, since we usually shoot a bit behind the long ones, perhaps the hot shell will make up for not giving enough lead. Perhaps not.

It’s really all a question of practice. If you practice the long shots with your standard speed ammo, you will hit best with that. You always do best with what you practice with. If you are unable to practice many long birds, you will commonly underestimate the lead and may do best with a hyper velocity load.

This data is for a true 90º crosser. A 45º quartering target would cut the apparent leads by one half. (Of course, the real lead remains exactly the same, but that is a discussion for another time.)

Just remember that, all things being equal, the faster the load, the more open the pattern. The high speed and abrupt start damage more pellets than a leisurely shell. Damaged pellets are less likely to stay in the pattern. If you are going to use high velocity loads for your long shots, always buy the highest quality you can afford.

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