You Gotta Do The Work


I recently bought an older Ljutic Monogun for trap shooting and so far it seems that the targets I do miss are not the gun’s fault. On the other hand, upon close examination I have discovered a very small nick on the muzzle which has caused a very small bit of metal to “rollover” to inside the barrel resulting in a very, very small bump in the bore just inside the muzzle. Now, this would be the kiss of death on a target rifle and a re-crown would be needed. However, with a shotgun does something like this negatively affect a pattern?

Thanks for your help.


Dear Art,

No one knows exactly how chokes affect patterns. You’d think that they would after fooling with chokes for a century and a half, but they really don’t. I’ve had conversations with several of the major choke makers and they told me that the theory only takes you so far. When a new idea comes up, they have to cut and try. Only by machining the test choke and then testing it can they determine pattern performance. It can’t be done by formula if it’s a new configuration.

That bodes bad for those of us who are more inclined to rely on club house chatter or desk jockey know it alls like myself. You can theorize until you are blue in the face, but the only way you will get hard answers is to go out and do the pattern work. That’s really the crux of it.

As to the ding in your Ljutic’s muzzle, it certainly sounds as though it would be easy enough to hone out. If it’s a big dent, it definitely could affect pattern. If it’s a little one, probably not. How big’s big? Dunno. You’ll never know if it makes the slightest difference unless you put the gun on paper, count the holes and then do it at an absolute minimum of five times with each shell you plan on using on a regular basis.

There are chokes, the Pattern Master comes to mind, that rely on very substantial nodes or bumps inside the choke to do the actual choking. The theory is that the nodes will retard the wad and thus separate the wad from the shot. This is supposed to do marvelous things. Frankly, I’ve tried these with target-sized shot and have been underwhelmed, but the makers claim better results with large hunting sized shot, which I haven’t tested.

Bottom line: You have to pattern test to find out what any barrel change (or damage) will do to the pattern. No way around it. You’ll probably feel better if you get a competent gunsmith to hone out the bump, but you’ll never know if it does the slightest bit of good/harm unless you do the pattern work.

Best regards,

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

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