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How to Pattern your Shotgun

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Wild turkeys seem impossible to miss.  Look at any magazine and there’s a monster gobbler, just standing in the wide open spaces as still as a statue.  However, if you speak with enough (thruthful) hunters, they will admit that they miss far more often than they care to say and one of the reasons Thanksgiving dinner lives to gobble another day is poor pattern performance.  The truth is, all shotguns pattern differently, even those of the same make and model.  One shotgun may pattern well with #4 shot, while another produces a more even pattern with #6.  The only way to learn which ammo works best in your shotgun is to experiment and an ideal way to make this happen is to do it with friends.  It’s not only more fun, but economical and effective.  If you and four buddies each bring two kinds of shells, you can test your shotgun without buying 10 boxes of ammo and the most effective heavier-than-lead loads are quite expensive. 

The Remington Website offers a brief video that covers the basics as well as a batch of two-minute videos on turkey hunting, footage that’s sure to get your motor running.  

Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.