Gauss Again


I subscribe to your theory of tight chokes after doing a fair bit of pattern work with my multichoke, sporting clays gun using open & tight chokes but do you think there can be a situation where you can get too much of a good thing. My full & full combination is running 0.048″ & 0.050″ from nominal bore, 0.736″, and I still have holes in my centre 24″ pattern at 40 yards with different, quality brands of cartridges. I would appreciate your input. Many thanks for an interesting site.



Dear Callum,

.048″ and .050″ certainly could be a case of overchoke, but maybe not. Lots of turkey guns use that much and their patterns just keep getting tighter and tighter. The ONLY way to know for sure is to go out and count stuff. Don’t bother counting holes in your pattern. Just count the pellets in the shell and then the pellets in the 30″ circle (draw the circle to encompass the most pellets AFTER you have made the shot). Anything over 80% would be considered very good. The hole distribution of an 80% pattern is strictly Gaussian and mathematically predictable. If you have a 300 pellet load and are putting 80% or 240 pellets in the 30″ circle, over time you are going to have an certain average number of holes no matter how many guns you test. Just as long as all of them produce that 80% pattern with that particular shell. In the long run, all 80% 240 pellet patterns will have the same distribution. If you want fewer holes, use a shell with more pellets or a gun that produces a tighter pattern.

And, yes, I know that Oberfell and Thompson count holes. But I don’t. I follow the lead of Lowry and Giblin and consider TWO DIMENSIONAL patterns purely a function of the bell curve (Gaussian distribution). Once you get pellet count and percentage, how many holes you come up with is just math. Now, if you add in shotstring for a third dimension, then things can change and there can be a definite difference in the performance of two 80% 240 pellet loads.

Best regards,

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

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