Did You Really Mean That?

Howdy Bruce,

The 391 has treated me well. Reading your web site and Bob Brister’s book has helped alot too.

Also, the UniDot that Roland sold me is helping out too. Since I’ve been shooting a mounted gun, the Unidot helps me to start w/ my head in the right spot, and thats causing me to break more clay.

On Wednesday I shot a 30 in a small unregistered SC match made up of 25 true doubles. The highest score of only 39 was shot by a 16 year SC veteran. I shot in the same group as the winner, and there were no mulligans and no cheating. He had nothing but great comments about me and my 391. I passed all of that credit on to you.

Well thats enough horn blowing, actually its probably too much. I saw something in the SR archives that kinda startled me. I have Cut and Pasted it below:

“The screw choke makers have conveniently broken chokes down into .005″ increments.

” Cylinder bore .000″ (40%)
Skeet .005″
Imp. Cylinder .010″ (50%)
Light Mod. .015″
Modified .020″ (60%)
Imp. Mod. .025″
Light Full .030″
Full .035″ (70%)
Xtra Full .040″

” So what does this get you? Not much. According to various unnamed sources, a Cylinder bore will throw about a 30″ pattern at 20 yards. A Full choke will throw the same 30″ pattern at 35 yards. That’s only fifteen yards difference between cylinder bore, the most open choke, and full choke, the tightest! With a little fudging, there may be another five yards here or there, but the lesson is clear. The difference between the tightest and loosest choke is barely 20 yards. Maybe less!

” So, if there is a maximum difference between tightest and loosest choke of 20 yards and there are nine commercially endorsed gradations of choke, that means that each gradation of choke is worth a touch over two yards! You would have to change the choke by several degrees to make any real difference.

” Bottom line: you really only need three chokes- close, middling and far or 20, 30 and 40 yards. Cylinder bore (.000″), light modified (.015″) and full (.035″) should really cover every shot. Think about it. Does all that choke changing really help?”

Do You still stand by this advice?



PS. Did I mention, that the aforementioned 16 yr. SC veteran was using an 8 yr old 390. (It may have been a 303, but It was definitely a Beretta Gas guzzler)

Dear Wes,

Do I still stand by that choke advice? Sure, I do. Can’t change the laws of physics, so why should I change my mind? My opinion are immutable. Chiseled on granite. Written in the stars. Well, sort of.

A real rough rule of thumb for chokes is that every 5 yards is worth ten points of choke. If you start with cylinder bore of .000″ at 20 yards, you will end up with .040″ Full choke at 40 yards to get the same pattern. That’s close enough to .035″ that many makers use for Full. This stuff isn’t precise. I’m even less so. “Shotgunning is a game of guesstimation.”- Technoidal tenet #14.

Now, here’s the interesting part: can you accurately judge the distance of a game bird or new sporting clays presentation down to within 5 yards? Maybe on the real close stuff, but I’ll bet that after 30 yards it’s hard to tell. Also, I’ll bet that you judge the distance to the ground or some bush under the target and not the actual hypotenuse of the triangle to the target itself. If that target is up in the air a bit, the hypotenuse is a lot longer than the base leg. Remember that old A” + B” = C” stuff? Unless you are dealing with known distance games (trap/skeet), I really don’t think that most people judge that accurately. Maybe I’m just the only one who can’t do it, but I’ve tested other shooters using my range finder and I think that everyone has a bit of trouble.

Glad to know that your grizzled vet’s Beretta gas pipe is still chugging along. I have no data that suggests that the new Beretta gas guns are any more (or less) durable than the older models once you make sure you get past that batch of improperly hardened hammer struts and links on some 390s. I remember chatting with Don Zutz at the Okemo Mountain SCA Nationals about our 303s and how well they held up. I still shoot the same 303 today.

Best regards,

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

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