Pattern Plates

Dear Technoid

I am searching for information on constructing a patterning plate. Specifically, the type that is made of steel plate on which a coating of sticky white stuff is applied by paint roller. I saw one of these many years ago at a Skeet club near Seattle but haven’t seen any since. It wouldn’t be very useful for counting-BB’s type patterning but could be great for general point of impact and stock adjustment work.

Any information on dimensions, construction, and the composition of the sticky white stuff would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and Regards,


Dear Fred,

A pattern plate really is an excellent idea for a club, especially if you want to do some gun fitting. “Pattern” plate really isn’t the right description. You are absolutely correct when you say that it is more valuable as a “point of impact” plate. Counting pellets for pattern percentages is best done on paper. The metal plate is ideal for checking barrel convergence and stock fit via point of impact.

Construction of a plate really depends on what kind of material you have access to. Just about any type of mild steel plate will stop fine shot. All of them will get badly dimpled if some yo-yo uses the plate to test his slug gun or pistol.

4′ x 4′ plate is the most commonly available, but it is a little smaller then I would really like. 5′ x 5′ would be ideal if you can manage it. Rather than a single plate, you might well find that two plates welded together in a horizontal rectangle will save you some time and trouble by letting you shoot twice.

Set up is easy. Just set a couple of pipes into the ground and hook your plates up to them at about chest height. I drill a 1″ hole in the center of each plate as a permanent aiming point. Try to keep the face of the plate smooth, with no welds or protruding bolt heads. This will cause fewer drips when you repaint between shots.

You can use just about anything for paint. I have seen watery mud used. My choice is cheap white oil base paint, cut with salad oil. The idea is that you don’t want the paint to dry out. This makes it much easier to re-roll. Cheap white water base paint will also work. Apply it with a disposable roller. Use an extension handle on the roller. That paint has a way of getting around more than you think.

Best regards,

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

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