What Distance Should Be Used to Pattern a Shotgun? The Truth Out

I'm sure that while hunting, you have learned about a lot of techniques and tips so you'll be able to properly capture your game and get the successful hunting session you had always wanted. But the problem is that there are a ton of things you'll need to consider when using a gun as well, specifically a shotgun. When using your shotgun, you're probably wondering at what distance should be used to pattern a shotgun. As complicated as it may sound to beginners (and some expert hunters as well!), it actually isn't very hard learning how to pattern your shotgun and at what distance you should use.

So read on as I show you about patterning a shotgun and what you should do for a more successful hunt!

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What Does Patterning a Shotgun Mean?

To pattern your gun means to make your firearm shoot both reliable and consistent throughout your shooting session. It helps you figure out what your kill array is. Remember that no pattern is similar for all hunters, and depending on your pattern and the way you shoot, you will have a different pattern you prefer over another.

Effect of Choke

Knowing your pattern will help figure out how your shotgun (also depending on the manufacturer and model) should be shot with. It also determines the density of your pattern, helping you become more accurate with your shots and practicing until you are able to properly shoot with the pattern preferred and needed.

Knowing how to pattern your shotgun is crucial as it helps you figure out the point of impact. It defines the spot the shotgun has been designed and engineered when being shot.

Most shotguns will not straight out of the box and the bullet can be a few inches away from the point when you aim and shot. That has you miss your prey or target, which makes you unsuccessful while hunting. Through patterning your gun before a trip or after you have received your new gun, you have more of a chance at accuracy and hitting your prey.

How to Pattern a Shotgun

How to Pattern a Shotgun

Now that you what patterning a shotgun is, how do you do it? Here are the easy tips to follow when doing so:

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    To prepare for patterning a shotgun, start off with homemade targets and do it before going on a big hunting trip. You can opt to use thick paper with a patterning board to determine the pattern on shooting.
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    Be sure to stay safe while patterning your shotgun. Meaning, you need to ensure that the area where you'll be patterning your shotgun is empty to avoid injuring anyone from stray bullets.
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    To pattern your shotgun, start off by following the bullseye technique for three shots. Continue to repeat the process with new blank paper each time you make another shot. Then draw a circle that measures 30 inches around the densest part of the shot pattern, drawing this on all three targets.
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    Determine the percentage of load to land in the circle you just drew. To calculate your pellet count average, found the amount of shots you made for the three targets and that's the average. Divide it by how many pellets you originally had then multiply it by 100 to get the percentage of the load.
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    You'll know if you have a correct pattern once you have a percentage that varies between 55-60%. It may seem complicated at first, but practice makes perfect!

To get more visual, here is a helpful video on how to pattern a shotgun properly:

What Distance Should Be Used to Pattern a Shotgun?

You now know how to pattern a shotgun, but at what distance should be used when doing so?

It's recommended to start with 40 yards, which is the maximum killing distance when hunting animals. For those who are unable to shoot as far as 40 yards, then you can practice shooting at shorter distances first, or investing in the proper tools or equipment to help you see clearly when shooting from farther distances, especially if your problem is from the sun blaring into your eyes while making your target (for hunting birds).

hunting birds

The 40 yard standard has been one of the traditional and most used distances used when patterning the shotgun. This is because the distance won't have prey detecting your presence while it won't be too difficult for you to properly aim and shoot your prey accurately.

Knowing the distance is important because it will help you train to shoot at that exact range while you hunt, making you more familiar with shooting and hunting.

In Conclusion

When it comes to hunting, you'll want to make sure that you do it properly, especially if you are using a shotgun. These powerful weapons pack a punch, and compared to using carbon arrows, there are different techniques you must learn. Patterning a shotgun is a crucial one for you to know how to hunt properly and capture your game without fail.

I hope that this article answers your question as to what distance should be used to pattern a shotgun. Now that you're familiar with patterning a shotgun, you can now ensure a fun hunt anytime. So don't wait any longer and practice your hunting skills today.

If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences with patterning a shotgun, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think.

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Mitchell Wood
 

I am Mitchell, founder of muskethunting.com. Here at Musket Hunting, I provide guides on how to hunt effectively, answer reader’s questions, and review on the latest hunting gears. Hunting will give you the experience that nothing else in this world can provide with.

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