Point Of Impact

Dear Bruce:

Sometime back I read about firing several rounds, with a tight choke, at paper plates from 16 yards out to determine whether a shotgun fits you properly. I idea was not to rush your shots and not to aim your shots either, just smoothly pull up and fire. I’ve since lost that article but I’ve tried the exercise a couple times and the results have been quite consistent. The patterns are hitting 1 1/4″ high and 1″ left on average with very little variation.

Is there any conclusion that can be drawn from these results? What changes could I make to bring my point of impact to the center of the target?

If it makes a difference, I shoot a synthetic stocked Benelli Super Black Eagle.

Thanks for your input.


Dear Jay,

The old Churchill rule of gunfitting was that if you shot a “measured” sixteen yards from your shooting eye to the paper, each 1/16″ you moved the stock in a certain direction would move the pattern in the same direction by 1″. Using this measurement (assuming a “measured” 16 yards from eye to paper) you gun needs to have the stock raised 5/64″ and cast off 1/16″ to bring it to dead zero.

In this case, the brand of gun does make a difference. It makes your life a lot easier. The Benellis have all stock sorts of shim packages (same as the Beretta 390), so you should tinker with the shims to get your stock right. It will show you how in your instruction manual. Remember, raise the stock slightly and (assuming you are a righty) move it away from your face. Remember, too , you won’t get the same rib sight picture when you move the stock. You will see more of the rib and may be looking a bit more down the right side of the rib. Handsome is as handsome does. You shouldn’t be staring at the rib when you shoot anyway.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid at <www.ShotgunReport.com>
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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Dram Equivalent

Dear Technoid:

Can you tell me how to find out what the drams equivalent is for 18 grains of Clays powder? Is there a conversion formula for finding this out?


Dear Bob,

Here’s how you figure dram equivalency: In 12 gauge, a standard 3 dram load with 1-1/8 oz of shot travels 1200 fps. Each 1/4 dram equivalent that you add increases velocity 55 fps. Each 1/8 oz of shot that you add subtracts 35 fps.

So, if you want to calculate the velocity for a 3-1/4 dram 1-1/4 oz 12 gauge load:

1) a standard 3 dram 1-1/8 oz load is 1,200 fps
2) add 55 fps for each +1/4 dram
3) subtract 35 fps for each +1/8 oz shot
4) 1200 fps + 55 fps – 35 fps = 1,220 fps

I’m not nearly smart enough to figure all this out. Hodgdon has all the dram equivalency information on page 25 of their “Shotshell Data Manual” (the hard cover reloading book).

To get a dram equivalency from the powder charge, just look up the recipe you are using that calls for that powder charge, note the velocity and shot weight, then do the numbers. Nothing easier- except maybe programming the VCR.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid
at <www.ShotgunReport.com>
(Often in error, never
in doubt.)

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Sporting Clays In The Hudson Valley 2017

Sporting clays in the Hudson Valley took a significant loss when in January, 2016, Beretta Shooting Grounds at Dover Furnace ceased operation. At the time that Dover Furnace, (as it was commonly called) closed, business activity, measured by the parking lot metric, was good. During the weekends, the new parking lot was full, at the perimeter; and during the weekdays, sometimes one quarter to one third full.

Observations on the status of sporting clays in the Hudson Valley one year post closure:

1. There are two remaining commercial sporting clays venues in the mid-Hudson valley: Orvis-Sandanona in Millbrook, NY and Mid-Hudson Sporting Clays, New Paltz, NY.

2. The Orvis shooting grounds has essentially remained as it’s been for the last 20+ years, except for an addition of a new station or two. That’s neither good, nor bad, it is an accurate statement of fact.

3. Mid-Hudson Sporting Clays has purchased additional property adjacent to their property. It’s not clear exactly what they are going to do on the new property. On the original property they have 2-4 FITASC fields depending on demand and scheduling and usually 4 target presentations (at as many as) 18 sporting stations.

4. Prices at both Orvis and Mid-Hudson have gone up since the closure of Dover Furnace. Both venues offer a paid annual membership that reduces the cost of a round of shooting and rental of golf carts.

Opinion: There is room for a third commercial sporting clays venue in the Hudson Valley.

Pluses: Demographics of the NYC metro area; high population density, high income. Proven support for a third sporting venue.

Negatives: High cost of real estate and taxes; blue state opposition to anything related to firearms, e.g. zoning; nine to ten month revenue due to weather/cold.

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Benelli Super Black Eagle 3

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Remington Clay & Field Shotgun Shells

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Olympic Bunker Gun

Dear Bruce

I am highly interested in a 12 Gauge gun that will suffice me for Bunker trench, I have looked at a few makes and models and rather like a used Ultra Trap from Browning (from the Miroku factory in Japan most probably).

The gun has an adjustable stock with fixed chokes Full and 3/4 and is backbored (the choke area measures the same as Briley Full & Improved Modified screw chokes respectively).

Can fixed chokes be easily reamed or lapped a little more open, if my needs warrant it ?

Do you rate the above gun suitable for this game and can you explain to me the sense in Browning backboring a shotgun barrel , leaving sharp forcing cones then reducing the chokes down to a true Full & 3/4 – when the wad and shot have to cram at high velocity through a standard size choking (from the backbored tube), I know their screw in chokes in a backbored gun are more open than the fixed setup, would the shot be subject to more damage and more unreliable patterns or is this just once again logic rapped in a riddle ?.

You seem to have a natural gift of extracting the logic from the riddle.

Best Wishes.

Dear Marie,

The Japanese Brownings (definitely made by Miroku) are excellent quality and I can recommend them without hesitation if you like their balance and weight.

Screw chokes in a trap gun are a mixed blessing. The major chokemeisters all seem to feel that the old fashioned built-in solid chokes are capable of better patterns because they do not have any “jump” between the barrel bore and the choke. Most of the serious bunker shooters use fixed chokes. Custom choke tube makers like Britain’s Nigel Teague keep this jump to a minimum, but on a mass produced Browning/Beretta/SKB etc, the jump is a fair amount. This is never good for the pattern, but may not hurt it too much. There has to be a jump between the bore and the rear of the choke tube to account for manufacturing tolerances. If the rear of the choke tube ever sticks up into the bore, you are going to be shooting out a lot more than 24 grams of shot!

Fixed chokes can be opened up to any more open constriction you desire. I recommend that you get a good gunsmith to do this (Wilkinson and Eyster are among the top names), as once opened it is hard to add metal to tighten them back up (though it can be done by a kind of choke sleeving process). Screw chokes offer a marvelous ability to experiment. You can hack and grind away at one all you want. If you screw it up, $35 will buy you a new one and you can start all over again. If you don’t like the way that the chokes perform that come with your gun, there are an entire ton of after-market choke makers just dying to supply you with genuwhine miracle chokes absolutely guaranteed to whack dem birdies. Briley will be happy to give you a choke cut to any exact dimension you want for a reasonable price. Chokes in overbored guns: Most 12 gauge shotguns are around .725″ to .729″ in bore diameter. Their screw chokes are sized to match those bores. Remember, a choke is the DIFFERENCE between the bore diameter and the choke diameter. Example: If your shotgun’s bore is a .725″ (pretty normal) and your choke diameter measures .690″, the difference is .035″. You would be said to have .035″ or “points” of choke- an amount normally considered “Full” and capable of shooting 70% of your pattern into a 30″ circle at 40 yards.

When a gun is provided with a larger bore than standard, it is said to be “overbored” if this was done at the factory, or “backbored” if it was done on an after-market basis. All sorts of marvelous things are claimed for overbored barrels, but it is mostly marketing hype. If your wad doesn’t seal well and the weather is cold to make the plastic wad skirt hard, overbore barrels may well produce a blooper or two.

Also, when barrels are produced in overbore by the factory, IF (big if) they maintain wall thickness, then the barrels will have to weigh more than they did when of a smaller diameter. You may or may not want heavier barrels. When backboring is done on an aftermarket basis, metal is bored out of the barrels and a 30″ set of O/U barrels will lose over 2-3/4 ounces when going from .725″ to .735″. That’s a LOT of weight and will radically change the way your gun feels.

Generally, overbore barrels work fine, but – like barrel porting- their advantages are very much exaggerated and their disadvantages totally ignored. Still, if you like the Ultra, I wouldn’t let the overbore barrels influence you one way or another.

When barrels are overbored to a larger diameter, the chokes that are fitted to the barrels are also increased in size. You CANNOT use screw chokes built for a .725″ barrel in a barrel miking .743″! They won’t fit and would cause real problems if they did. Browning has gone to great pains to change its choke sizes from the original Invectors (meant for .725″ barrels) to the Invector Plus (meant for the backbored barrels). The thread sizes are different so you can’t swap them even if you wanted to.

There you go. More than you ever wanted to know and written in my usual confusing manner to preserve my reputation for obfuscation, smoke and mirrors.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid
at <www.ShotgunReport.com>
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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Double Triggers For A Lefty

Dear Technoid,

Forgive me if this question has been asked before or if it is so painfully obvious that it does not deserve an answer. My attempt at searching your archives returned no matches.

My question: Does the trigger configuration for a double triggered gun pose any hindrances for a lefty? I’ve never seen a gun with the right barrel trigger at the rear, so there must be a (several) reason(s) to have the triggers right-forward and left-back.

I enjoy The Shotgun Report and appreciate any wisdom you can lend on this subject.


Dear Jerry,

Dunno about this wisdom stuff, but I certainly put out enough barnyard effluent to make any garden grow. Half of what I say is correct. I just forget which half.

No, SxS double trigger guns are not generally set up differently for lefties than righties as far as trigger configuration goes. Usually the front trigger fires the right hand (open choke) barrel, while the rear trigger fires the left (tight choke) barrel. Some special driven game guns are set so that the chokes are reversed and the front trigger shoots the tight choke barrel (remember, driven birds are incoming so your first shot is your longest).

The SxS double trigger gun is ALWAYS set so that the first barrel usually fired is set off by the front trigger. It is considered easier for both lefties and righties to go from front to back trigger than visa versa.

That said, there may be lefty righty differences in the way the triggers are bent. On better guns, the triggers are bent to the right so as to feel better to a righty. If the gun were ordered by a lefty, they would be slightly bent to the left. On mass production guns, they are usually centered.

That’s it. Now we can both tell our left from our right.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid at <www.ShotgunReport.com>
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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