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Shooting & Reloading - Mausers, Big Bores and others >> Shotguns

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.333 member

Reged: 18/09/10
Posts: 290
Loc: East Coast, USA
Patterning Plate Plans
      #267040 - 27/06/15 08:27 AM

Looking for plans to build a free standing patterning board with steel plate that holds a rain sheltered roll of heavy Kraft paper. Photos, plans and dimensions appreciated. CC

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.375 member

Reged: 24/01/09
Posts: 806
Loc: Nelson, New Zealand
Re: Patterning Plate Plans [Re: CommandCar]
      #267048 - 27/06/15 05:32 PM

When I was doing a lot of patterning work with shotguns I used a 30" circle steel plate at 40 yards and just painted the plate with white paint between shots. I made notes of the patterns rather than keeping paper pattern sheets. Nowadays it is even simpler by just taking a digital photo of each pattern as you shoot and before painting over.

Strictly speaking I was not truely checking the pattern of each choke as to do this you need a larger plate or sheet and impose a 30" circle over the 'centre' of the pattern.

I am only interested in the pattern I get on a 30" circle with the point of aim using the front bead being the centre of that circle, not interested in a pattern that is off centre as unlike a rifle you cannot adjust the shotgun to shoot to a specific point of aim if it does not already place the centre of it's pattern to where the bead is aimed (well not easily).

It is quite an eye opener when patterning a shotgun especially if using a gun with interchangeable chokes. Mostly they do not just provide a denser and denser pattern as you go up in choke i.e. from cylinder/skeet to full. I found with my Miroku O/U gun and #7 shot the 1/4 choke gave the best pattern with the 3/4 virtually the same, perhaps a whisker tighter. I look for patterns that have no 'holes' that a clay target on the angle could get through. The half and full chokes were useless, a whole box of clays could fit through those patterns.

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.300 member

Reged: 03/09/09
Posts: 244
Loc: New Zealand
Re: Patterning Plate Plans [Re: eagle27]
      #268344 - 22/07/15 05:57 PM

Alternative to above is to buy blank newspaper rolls. One will last you ages. Either cut into sheets about 40" long or you could make a box to protect the roll and just lift out 40" at a time. Pin each sheet to some sort of make-shift wooden frame. Choose a calm day! Use a felt-tip pen to make a central aiming mark and shoot it using some form of rest. It could be from a rifle bench rest or just something like a stick (like a bean-stick or length of bamboo), that you can steady the gun with. You'd be surprized how easy it is to aim off.

You can do one of 2 things. You can shoot at about 20 yards unsupported, just up, aim and fire 3 quick shots from one barrel over the top of each other and look for the centre of density. That will point to aiming issues, such as badly fitted barrels, sights or choke tubes.

If you want to evaluate loads and compare, shoot once at 40 yards and set up another sheet. Label each sheet according to the load, the choke, barrel etc. Back home you should be able to judge where the centre of density is. I use a plastic compass that has a point on one end of the folding legs. The other end holds a felt pen. Set the felt pen at 15" radius so it will leave a 30" circle. You can do a dummy pass and see if it is going to enclose the pattern evenly. If so, next run use the felt pen and mark it. Note with a dot where the point went. Now mark out a 20" concentric circle inside the 40. Now use a yard-stick to draw in a vertical and horizontal line through the centre point. You now have 8 roughly same sized compartments. Count the pellets in each compartment, circle each one with the felt pen and write this total boldly in each compartment. You can also record these totals in a set order so you can refer to them later. What does this tell you...

1) If you gun shoots high, low, left or right and by how much.
2) The actual choke % inside the 30" circle.
3) If it's a good long range load, (good 20" centre density).
4) If your gun likes that load, pellet size, shot type. For instance, is it evenly filled out - how many small circles can you draw that will have no pellets in them, inside the large circles, that a bird or target could fly through.
5) It will also tell you something about the effect of wind, if you note that when you shoot. Pellets do get blown off centre.
6) It will tell you if a certain wads shoots a more even pattern, or if that special type of shot is worth paying extra for.
7) Is that expensive choke tube any better?
and so on.

I suggest that, if you're not there to find out how much recoil you can tolerate, then get a strap on shooter's shoulder pad to soak it up. This is especially so if you're looking at magnum loads.

I've patterned a lot of shotguns. My 10 gauge was the most interesting and I could judge the effect that lengthening the forcing cone had, the changed choke tube, using lead, copper plated and nickel plated shot and different wads and buffers.

If you have a gun that just doesn't shoot well, this may be the only way to find out, did they make a bad one? Or is it just you?

Last advice; DON'T use steel shot on a steel patterning plate.

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.577 member

Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 19523
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Patterning Plate Plans [Re: Kiwi_bloke]
      #268355 - 23/07/15 01:16 AM

I used map sheets from the Forest Service - expired maps of course for my shotshell patterning & developing loads. They were 4' square, thus fairly easy to place the lexan patterning circle over them. I had the 20" centre cut out and with the clear lexan, was quite easy to place it perfectly centered on the pellet pattern, as well as to see if the gun was shooting true with both barrels in doubles - many don't put both barrels on the bead.
About the time I was finished with my SXS 10 bore AYA and 12 bore Browning O/V, the trap section put up a patterning sheet of metal, however it was only feet square and undersized. Either painted, or greased (axle grease) works for taking pictures.

Using the patterning process, I was able to get my AYA 10 bore shooting 94% right barrel, 96% left barrel at 40 yards. The right barrel was quite even, but gave a good good pattern with #2 lead to 60-65yards. The centre concentration of the left barrel was w/heavy and killed greater Canada's to a good 80yards. Then, lead shot bans and I sold both of my waterfowl guns.

To get the gun to shoot that well, I had to re-work the end-chokes as it was too tightly choked.


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII

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Reged: 12/08/08
Posts: 699
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Re: Patterning Plate Plans [Re: Daryl_S]
      #268464 - 24/07/15 11:28 AM

My club has a big 5x7 or 5x8 steel plate for patterning. We use white lithium grease, just use a paint roller to roll a thin layer on it. A can of orange spray paint will give you dots to aim at. Very quick and simple to use.

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.333 member

Reged: 18/09/10
Posts: 290
Loc: East Coast, USA
Re: Patterning Plate [Re: CommandCar]
      #310263 - 11/01/18 03:04 PM

This is what I made, thanks for all the comments & suggestions. CC

Guess I do not know how to post images anymore? What did photo bucket do to us?

Edited by CommandCar (11/01/18 03:48 PM)

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.375 member

Reged: 06/01/17
Posts: 946
Loc: The Redwoods of California
Re: Patterning Plate [Re: CommandCar]
      #310266 - 11/01/18 07:02 PM


This is what I made, thanks for all the comments & suggestions. CC

Guess I do not know how to post images anymore? What did photo bucket do to us?

PhotoBucket went all PhotoBugger.

There is a very easy to use alternate, picr.de (Bilder & Foto).

I have posted step - by - step instructions on the 'Help desk - IT tips, queries & info' forum
Re: Photos

Enjoy, and thanks to member Waidmansheill for the 'heads up' about Bilder & Foto and to Lancaster, who told him about it.

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Reged: 26/01/03
Posts: 827
Loc: Volksdiktatur Schweden
Re: Patterning Plate [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #321421 - 10/11/18 12:11 PM

Have a look at this guys solution.

At my club we use a steel slab coated with some white stuff that is brushed on each time. Testing steel shots this way is not recommended.

© "I have never been able to appreciate 'shock' as applied to killing big game. It seems to me that you cannot kill an elephant weighing six tons by ´shock´unless you advocate the use of a field gun." - W.D.M. Bell: Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter.

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.224 member

Reged: 04/06/16
Posts: 42
Loc: Michigan USA
Re: Patterning Plate [Re: Yochanan]
      #321433 - 11/11/18 12:41 AM

Large Christmas wrapping paper on the backside with a black dot dry mark. About34" square. You can label and keep it for a while. Easy to count pellets on the kitchen table. Perfect for my BP shotguns. No worry about bounce back from steel at all.

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.224 member

Reged: 01/02/19
Posts: 33
Loc: Queensland
Re: Patterning Plate Plans [Re: Daryl_S]
      #324503 - 10/02/19 09:43 PM

Spot on old chap, I still have half a roll of newsprint left over. I you choose to stick at it a bit it will also tell you which shot size your gun prefers as regards even patterns. my 8 liked #2, the 10 loved #4, the 12's seemed to prefer #5/6 and the .410's solidly preferred #7's.

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.300 member

Reged: 28/09/11
Posts: 202
Loc: southern England
Re: Patterning Plate Plans [Re: theprof1]
      #324507 - 11/02/19 12:39 AM

I have never understood why British shotgun shooters don't bother to pattern their shotguns. Coming from a pistol and rifle background it seems obvious.

Maybe it's not thought to be 'sporting'?


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