Thursday, July 27, 2017

Patterning Belladonna's new shotgun

If you have been following this blog for a while you know that I recently bought Belladonna a new shotgun.

It is a single-shot, 16 gauge shotgun with a 30" barrel.  The choke is not specified anywhere on the barrel.

Wirecutter, I know what you are thinking.  But I assure you that I emptied the box first.
Find a box.  Choose something to use as a target.  I used a standard 9" diameter paper plate.

Step off the distance you are most likely to shoot at.  In my case I stepped off 25 yards.  Make sure that have nothing important downrange and that discharging firearms is legal at your location.

Load the gun with the load of interest.  So far the only ammo I have on hand are Federal, one ounce of #6 shot.  For the record that should be about 225 pellets.

Aim or point the gun in your usual manner.  In my case it was to lay the top of the front bead at the bottom of the paper plate.

Shoot the gun.

I counted 129 holes in the plate which is over 55%.

Counting holes is tedious.  I chose to circle groups of ten holes.

The pattern has fantastic density across the center of the pattern.

Laying the bead at the bottom of the plate worked well.  Shotguns are pointed more than aimed.  That means the shooter can fully see the target over the top of the front sight/bead.  Manufactures tune the guns/stocks so that is where the gun will hit for the average shooter with the average load.  In this case it worked like a champ.

The pattern thins out near the top of the plate (groups 10, 20, 30).  A lucky red squirrel or starling might get away.

Changing from one ounce of #6 shot to 7/8ths ounce of #4 shot will halve the number of pellets in the load.  That would drop the number of hits to about 65.

Kinds of shooting
My other shotgun(s) have very open chokes.

My usual hunting is to plod through cover.  If/when I see game it has always been rabbits.  20 yards is a very long shot for this kind of hunting.  Furthermore, the game is moving and changing direction.

The choke on this gun is suitable for knocking squirrels out of fifty foot trees.  Squirrels tend to flatten themselves against high limbs. When hunting for squirrels you are not looking for squirrels.  The squirrels will "clock" around the limb or trunk of the tree to keep the limb/tree between you and them.  You are looking for a bit of squirrel tail or a couple of ears and an eye.

Consequently, when you bring your gun up to fire at game in a tree, you don't have a target the size of a squirrel (or raccoon or possum if those are your quarry), you have a target the size of a squirrel's head (or raccoon's head or possum's head).

And while fifty feet of vertical is not 25 yards, it is almost exactly that if you factor in 50 feet of horizontal.

It is my judgement that Belladonna's new shotgun is going to be an death-ray in the squirrel woods.  So far it has already collected a raccoon and a woodchuck.  The only trick will be to get her to "aim" four inches below the squirrel's head.

A gun for non-hunters
Another market for this gun is for non-hunters.

While that may sound like a very small market but it was, in fact, quite large.

Consider the traditional farmyard with a chicken coop.  No matter how tight the building/run was when first built, time, rot and decay make the fortress less secure.  In time, every coon, possum and fox sees your egg-making-machines as God's drive-through window.

This kind of gun, a single-shot shotgun of modest gauge, is just the tool for knocking those thieving varmints out of the mulberry tree over the chicken run.

1 comment:

  1. My mother was hell on wheels with a .410 in the woods... it's bad when your mother gets MORE squirrels than you do. sigh...


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