#7-1/2s For Everything

Dear Technoid,

Hmmm …. did I read you right? You’re using #7 1/2 shot for everything, so you won’t have to carry so much? Next thing, I’ll hear that you’ve gone to a fixed choke – easier to clean, less to carry. Just kidding!

Seriously, have you given up matching shot size to range/choke constriction for competition clays?


Dear Bill,

OK, OK. I’m lazy, slothful and two-faced. All highly desirable qualities in a gun writer.

Yes, I’ve always advocated #9s for shots out to around 20 yards, #8s out to 32 yards and #7-1/2s thereafter. There are special situations which alter these rules, but generally they are sound. In 12 gauge if you were to team the #9s up with a skeet or cylinder choke, the #8s with a .015″ Light Modified and the #7-1/2s with a Full or Light Full of about .030″, you would be in pretty good shape for the large majority of sporting clays targets.

BUT, if you were a lazy sod who shot International Skeet, American-style skeet, ATA trap, bunker/wobble, FITASC and sporting AND used all four gauges for a lot of his sporting shooting AND also used 12 gauge guns of different weight that cried for 7/8, 1, and 1-1/8 oz loads, you might try to simplify things.

Since I’m a Neanderthal at heart, I generally simplify things by going big. I’m as likely to shoot wobble trap or sporting with a 28 gauge as I am to use it for skeet. The one pellet size that I know will do everything is #7-1/2. Is it ideal for skeet? Nope. Not hardly. Is it ideal for all sporting shots? Nope. But, is it convenient? Yup. Is it always “enough”. Definitely. It’s all the law allows.

If I didn’t shoot so many different games, gauges and guns, it would make more sense for me to set up my inventory for exactly the right shell combinations. This is what I recommend that other, more normal, shooters do when they write me. As for myself, it’s like the mother crab telling her baby crab to walk straight, not sideways. Do as I say, not as I do.

I must add as an aside, in sporting #7-1/2s have saved my bacon a number of times. I quite often run into a shorter shot that I misread. The distance might call for fine shot, but the bird may have been placed on the front of the arm and thrown parallel to the land downhill, thus having virtually no spin and being very hard to break. Usually, I can pick this up by watching the breaks of the other shooters, but sometimes I can’t. #7-1/2s are a nice insurance policy when you aren’t absolutely sure what the bird is really doing. When I’m not certain what the bird is doing, I choke up and pellet up.

So- if you are serious about your sporting you will pay strict attention to your choke/shell combinations to assure yourself of the largest effective pattern possible. It will be worth a bird or so every now and then. You only win or lose by one bird, so if you think you have a chance to win, take every advantage. If you are just shooting for fun or are always testing stuff, sticking with #7-1/2s for most shells will allow you to go from game to game at your club without always returning to the car for a different plastic bucket of shells It will also save all sorts of space in your cellar.

By the say, since I mostly shoot an auto in sporting clays competition, when I’m serious I always carry a box of spreader loads for that near/far garbage some “course designers” like to throw.

Lemme see now: Ideally it’s 410s in #9s and #8s, 28s in #9s and #7-1/2s, 20s in 3/4 oz #9s and 7/8 oz #7-1/2s, 12 in 7/8, 1 and 1-1/8 oz #9s, #8s and #7-1/2s, 1-1/8 oz #9 spreaders, plus 1-1/4 oz #9, #8 and #7-1/2 for FITASC, plus 1350 fps 24 gram #8-1/2 and #7-1/2 for International Skeet and bunker. That ought to about cover my needs.

Best regards,

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

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1 Response to #7-1/2s For Everything

  1. Jeff Hunter says:

    I have a small brain. I’ll be lucky if I can get close to calculating spped, distance, and angle enough to break a few of the birds. I don’t need the extra variables of shot size, payload, shot speed, and choke messing up this computer. That’s why my formula is 7.5s for everything, Mod choke for everything, and 1200fps. I also us the maximum payload for the sport be it FITASC, sporting, skeet, or god forbid Trap.


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