Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 61

versions, just be sure that your shotgun
is chambered for them (the barrel will
be stamped accordingly).
Even though the majority of shotguns bought are in 12-gauge, I find
that the recoil can be too much for
beginners. People seem to learn quickly
when using a 20-gauge with an "improved cylinder" choke, because it is
a lighter gun in heft and recoil, but
carries enough shot for confident hits.
The 28- gauge and .410 are challenging
to work with, and once hitting flying
targets is mastered with a larger gauge,
they can be a lot of fun and very satisfying when competing or hunting.
The 16-gauge was once extremely
popular, but when the 20-gauge 3-inch
magnum was introduced in the 1960s,
it lost a lot of its appeal and has waned
from popularity ever since.
Shot Size
There is a variety of shot sizes. The
most common sizes for game birds,
small game (rabbits, squirrels) and clay
bird shooting are, 9, 7½, 6, 5 and 4.
As we go from the larger "numbered"
size shot to the smaller, the pellets
become larger and heavier. As the
pellet size increases it has more down
range energy at equal velocity. There
is a down side to larger-sized pellets:
fewer are contained per shotshell (as
compared to smaller pellets), and so
there is a lesser chance of hitting the
target as a result of the reduction in
shot density. In general, the smaller the
game is, the more fragile it is, so smaller
size shot works best because its denser
pattern has enough energy to ensure
more hits and cleaner kills.
When I first started shotgunning,
there was only lead shot. Now, we
use steel, Bismuth and Hevi-shot for
NOVEMBER 2013

waterfowl. Steel is the lightest and
hardest. These non-lead shot products
are harder than lead, therefore deform
less and give better patterns. Given
their hardness, however, they tend to
spring outward when over-compressed
as they pass through a normal full
choke (lead is a dead metal and once
compressed it stays in that shape). So
a more open choke is required for optimum performance.
Steel shot is lighter than lead and
holds more shot in equal weights and
requires a thicker fingered wad to protect the bore of a shotgun. Also when
using steel, go with the next larger size
shot as compared to lead to equate the
same energy level (if you use #6 lead,
then go with #4 steel).
Bismuth and Hevi-shot have about
the same density/weight as lead (if not
more), so the energy delivered is about
the same as lead. About the only downside is non-toxic shot is more expensive
to manufacture than lead.
Pattern/Choke
Density of pattern is determined by
the percentage of shot held inside a
30-inch circle at 40 yards, and density
is mainly determined by the amount
of "choke" used. The word "choke" is
the amount of constriction used at the
end of the barrel. The more open the
choke, the wider the shot patterns. In
general, you want a choke that gives
you the most effective pattern - about
75 percent - at the distance you expect to shoot the game.
If you could watch a slow-motion
flight of a pattern of shot, you would
see all the shot doesn't impact the
target simultaneously. It comes out in
a growing column that widens as distance is gained and velocity is lost. So
61



Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2013 - Cover4
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