410 Skeet


Sir,

Please direct this to the proper place.

I had an interesting thing occur tonight at my gun club. I shot some skeet practice in preparation for a weekend shoot I plan to attend. I shot 4 rounds of 28ga. and shot them well, scoring a 98 / 100.

I then removed the Briley Ultralight tubes from the Perazzi I was shooting and installed the .410 tubes. I then began missing. A lot, not just here and there. I normally have little trouble with the .410 but this was baffling. As it turns out, I was over-leading the birds. Even though I perceived the same sight picture I saw with the 28’s in place.

I am at a loss but have a guess. Could it be that I was a little tired after the 28’s? So when I set up with the .410s at the usual hold points and called pull, maybe the target was getting past me a little. This would then cause a faster swing, combined with heavier barrels because of the .410 tubes being thicker than the 28’s, generating greater momentum and thereby causing me to shoot in front. I cut my lead by 1/2 of the usual sight picture and began crushing the targets again.

I am open to suggestions. This is something I think would be handy to know about so if it ever happens again I can immediately compensate. Or maybe not. I would love an exploitation on this.

Thanks,
John

Dear John,

Analyzing someone’s shooting technique over the internet is just about as productive as taking a golf lesson over the phone. Still, the price is right and there is some coffee left in the cup, so here goes.

I would love to come up with an explanation if I had one, but I don’t. Just yesterday I was shooting my FN zero weight gain tube set with a set of Briley superlights in 410. I was using my sporting clays chokes of .015″ (I have pairs of .005″s and .015″s for each gauge so that I can use them both at skeet and at sub-gauge sporting) and #8s because that was what happened to be in the tubes and at hand. Needless to say, the hits were crushers- but as usual, I didn’t do as well as I often do when moving up to 28 or 20. I NEVER shoot my 410 as well as I shoot the other gauges. Sometimes my 28 and 20 gauge scores are identical, but never the 410. They don’t call it the “idiot stick” for nothing. The .410 really does have a smaller effective pattern. So, I can certainly understand if your 410 scores aren’t as good as they were with the 28.

Still, I don’t have the vaguest idea as to why your .410 required more lead than your other gauges. The obvious area for exploration is shell velocity, but your .410s would have to be a whole lot hotter than your 28s to account for any measurable decrease in lead at 20 yards. I mean a whole lot faster. I reload all my ammo, in all gauges, to 1200 fps to keep things uniform. KISS. This way if I have to buy factory ammo, I know that it will be about the same speed as my reload practice stuff.

Maybe your .410 tubes are heavier than your 28s, but it won’t be by much. My superlight tube set is “matched weight” so there is no discernable difference. However, even in non-match weight sets, the 410 and 28 are usually very close when made for 12 gauge bbls. The 20 gauge tubes are the ones that come out lighter. I don’t think that weight difference is your problem.

If we discount the obvious thought that you were tired after shooting 100 rounds of 28 and that this caused your timing to suffer (tough to admit that we are all human, but 100 targets in a row is a haul), then my guess is that you were operating on the rear fringe of your 28 pattern. The effective pattern of the 28 is a whole lot bigger than that of the .410 and if you were consistently a little in front of everything with your 28, then you would be drawing air with the .410.

One final point: when you said that you were using your usual hold points and that the birds might be getting past you a little, you are indicating that your first bird was being shot “swing through”. Skeet, both International and American-style, are a “some up in front” sustain lead games. Of course, there is no reason why swing through should make you shoot more in front than behind, so that probably doesn’t matter.

Bottom line: my guess is that you were just getting tired and changed something that the small pattern of the .410 wouldn’t let you get away with. That’ll happen some times.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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