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So what's so magical about 40yds???


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I ask this question as it relates to patterning a turkey gun, please read the following before answering;

 

I've been patterning shotguns for over 35 years and turkey hunting almost 20 years now and everytime I go to the pattern board before spring turkey season I just chuckle! Over the years I've read dozens of books on the subject of shotgun patterning, some that date back to the 1920's, and frankly none of them cover "turkey patterns" and I suppose that is because our sport is young compared to waterfowl or upland game hunting.

 

40 yards and a 30" diameter circle have been an "industry standard" since the first shotgun barrel was "choked" in 1870....prior to 1870 shotguns were cylinder bore from breech to muzzle for the most part! a pattern percentage system was put into place to determine full, modified, imp cyl and cyl chokes or 70, 60, 50 and 40 percent respectfully. This method (30" @ 40yds) is ideal for waterfowl, upland and clay targets....anything that is "flying"! In fact, a lot of waterfowlers shoot "flying" birds at 40 to 50 yards on a routine basis but are turkey hunters going to those distances regularly. If you watch a lot of turkey hunting shows or video's they are inside 20 yards nearly 90% of the time!

 

The NWTF and their "Turkey Hunting Safety Task Force" ironically determined that 40 yards is the maximum distance or range to ethically and cleanly kill a turkey with a shotgun. these are their words not mine, so don't flame me on this one! In addition, the NWTF has suggested that ANY turkey combo (gun, choke, load) that can place 100 pellets inside 10"dia @ 40 yards is an "ideal pattern" for turkey hunting. Adding an internal ring or diameter to the 30" circle was also done decades ago but most shotgunners used a 20" internal circle rather than a 10", the smaller diameter came about by those seeking a center dense "turkey pattern". Surely the NWTF isn't suggesting that a 28, 20, 16, 12 or 10 ga are ALL capable of putting 100 pellets in a 10" circle and ALL are capable of killing turkeys @ 40yds?!?! (you don't have to answer that, i'm just poking fun at our friends at the NWTF)

 

So back to my original question.....what's so magical about 40 yards?

1.) Is it because we use 40yds from the "industry standard" derived to measure shotgun choke percentages?

2.) Is it because someone said it was the "effective killing range" for turkey hunting?

3.) Is it because as American's we think "bigger is better" or "further is better"?

4.) Is it because the ammo industry wants to sell us more and more ammo to test each year in search for the ultimate "pattern"?

 

I think the answer is #1 and we've fallen into the trap of "pattern percentages" not "pattern density" or uniformity at a distance in which most turkeys will be harvested! The turkey shotgun is used much differently than any other shotgun in the hunting and sporting world. We aim turkey guns at a relatively small target (neck/head) much like a rifle and ALL turkey combo's (gun, choke, load) in 12 or 20 ga suffer from inaccuracy, pattern patchyness and poor pattern repeatability at distances beyond 35 yards so why do we spend so much time and money trying to find that magical 40 yd combo???? Okay, maybe it's number 4!

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I honestly cannot make sense of one word of your post :confused: More so, I cannot imagine why you spent so much time drafting your manifesto.

 

I shoot whatever gun if feel like. This applies to ducks and turkeys. I shoot whatever shell floats my boat. I like the entire process of testing chokes. I shoot whatever animals I feel like. See all those I's? It's all pretty much all about me, not you :)

 

Why is chicken fried steak and mashed potatos on so many menus?

 

Why do they call it Ovaltine? It comes in a round jar. You put it into a round cup. Why not call it Roundtine?

 

That's gold Jerry, gold....

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All turkey video do kill inside 20 yards. What you don't see is the bag of seed sitting next to the hunter. I pattern my turkey gun at 20 30 40 50 and 60 yards to see where it patterns at that yardage so I can kill affectively at those ranges. I've never just patterned my guns at 40 yards. never

 

novaking

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I'm in love with the quest. The process of trial and error.I like the manipulation of parts to find answers and solve problems thay defy me in each session.I like making a gun shoot balanced patterns through things that I do to it with my own two hands.I guess to me,it's not about killing turkeys far away,but making a gun that doesn't want to,capable of doing so. Personally,I love the wild turkey,and want them close so I can admire them.Sometimes,despite whatever caliber of calling I throw at them,they just don't want to come in closer,and I have to make a decision.Whichever of the two happens,I want to know what will go down when the pin strikes the primer,and the silence is shattered.

 

Very interesting thread,I can't help but think this one might get a little Crazy!

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I agree with NovaKing to pattern at various different yardages. As sportsman it is just ethical to know what our equipment is able to or capable of doing or what we are capable of doing with that particular equipment. Being proficient is why we practice and try new things with our equipment. What works for me might not work for anyone else.

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mud, i had a lot of time on my hands working a trade show in Houston Texas the weekend I scribed this mess.........so my appologies if it didn't make much sense to you and others!

 

I also agree with NK, I too pattern ALL of my guns at 10, 20, 30 and 35 yds with respect to upland & turkey loads. I've patterned my 10 gauge at 50, 60 and 70 yards for waterfowl, too!

 

It seems the point of my post was missed.......or maybe it was the beer I was drinking that fogged my brain and diminished my words.......but the bottomline in patterning for ANY choke for ANY game for ANY gun (except .410's) is 40 Yards. Personally, I think 40 Yds is great on flying targets (and clays birds, too) but I don't think it should be the standard for a turkey gun/choke/load! Yet, everybody who heads out to pattern their new turkey choke are looking at 40 yds and pellet count per 10" circle....frankly, i'm more impressed with pellet count inside 3" circles and no "holes" bigger than 1.5" in the pattern out to a 20" circle at a "realistic" turkey distance of 25-30 yds. Yep, I still "test" at 40 using a 10" circle, too but IMHO that should not be the std for a turkey pattern.

 

that's my rant......btw- i'll be testing some new loads any day now, still waiting for some better weather here in ohio! when i do i'll post some pics of 40 yard patterns! ;)

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mud, i had a lot of time on my hands working a trade show in Houston Texas the weekend I scribed this mess.........so my appologies if it didn't make much sense to you and others!

 

I also agree with NK, I too pattern ALL of my guns at 10, 20, 30 and 35 yds with respect to upland & turkey loads. I've patterned my 10 gauge at 50, 60 and 70 yards for waterfowl, too!

 

It seems the point of my post was missed.......or maybe it was the beer I was drinking that fogged my brain and diminished my words.......but the bottomline in patterning for ANY choke for ANY game for ANY gun (except .410's) is 40 Yards. Personally, I think 40 Yds is great on flying targets (and clays birds, too) but I don't think it should be the standard for a turkey gun/choke/load! Yet, everybody who heads out to pattern their new turkey choke are looking at 40 yds and pellet count per 10" circle....frankly, i'm more impressed with pellet count inside 3" circles and no "holes" bigger than 1.5" in the pattern out to a 20" circle at a "realistic" turkey distance of 25-30 yds. Yep, I still "test" at 40 using a 10" circle, too but IMHO that should not be the std for a turkey pattern.

 

that's my rant......btw- i'll be testing some new loads any day now, still waiting for some better weather here in ohio! when i do i'll post some pics of 40 yard patterns!

 

Ok, at least now I understand what you were thinking :)

 

But, I couldn't disagree with you more as it applies to me and most of the turkey hunters I spend time with.

 

The only reason I even mention 40 yards is that inside 40 yards, every gun I own is fine. I can put 150-190 pellets inside the 10" at 35 yards with every gun I own. The sad fact is the most guns fall apart at 38-40 yards. That's why 40 yards is magical to me.

 

Does anyone want to see my 10 yard patterns? 15? How 'bout 20? Anyone wanna see a 20 yard pattern with a 3 oz 10 gauge 4x5x7 Nitro though a .680 choke? I might just post one up for fun next week sometime.

 

Nope. I think the vast majority of guys that actually hunt turkeys are smart enough to see past the text on a choke tube package.

 

Trade shows can do strange things to folks :D

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Ok, at least now I understand what you were thinking :)

 

But, I couldn't disagree with you more as it applies to me and most of the turkey hunters I spend time with.

 

The only reason I even mention 40 yards is that inside 40 yards, every gun I own is fine. I can put 150-190 pellets inside the 10" at 35 yards with every gun I own. The sad fact is the most guns fall apart at 38-40 yards. That's why 40 yards is magical to me.

 

Does anyone want to see my 10 yard patterns? 15? How 'bout 20? Anyone wanna see a 20 yard pattern with a 3 oz 10 gauge 4x5x7 Nitro though a .680 choke? I might just post one up for fun next week sometime.

 

Nope. I think the vast majority of guys that actually hunt turkeys are smart enough to see past the text on a choke tube package.

 

Trade shows can do strange things to folks :D

 

Mud, how was your trip to Ohio last weekend???

 

I agree 100% with your "fall apart at 38-40 yds" statement and this has been what I have seen with every 12 gauge/choke/load combo I own or have tested for others! I also think more people should look at that gun/choke combo pattern at 20 yds, too....they might get a shock or at least understand why that gobbler ran away when they missed at 15 yds because the pattern was soooooo tight.

 

I won't go into a lot of boring detail but in the 1950's some research on loads/chokes were tested extensively at 10yds and they counted pellets outside the 10" circle to determine pattern efficency with surprising accuracy.....saves a bunch of walking if you are shooting 1000 or more patterns in an afternoon!

 

The biggest thing you and I disagree on is whether "most" turkey hunters are smart enough to see past the text on the choke package! The veteran hunters, i say yes.......but these novices or newbies to the sport hear they can get 300 pellets in a 10" circle @ 40yds with XYZ shells & ABC choke are buying into that nonsense without testing on a pattern board or even looking at penetration......don't get me started on the poor penetration of those #7's at 40yds in those Triplex loads! Testing should be 3 dimensional and a pattern is only 2/3rds of the puzzle.

 

I admit the first test I do with a new choke or new load is the 40 yd pattern....then I move in or out and test for limitations or ideal distance. As a reloader I have produced loads that are "ideal" out to 25 yds on clays or quail and other loads that are "ideal" at 50-60 yds on geese but these are not loads I would want to shoot turkey's with at 35 yards. I think you understand this concept better than most people because you pattern your guns and your a waterfowler as well as a turkey hunter! Unfortunately, some people don't get it and perhaps they don't care to get it either?!?!

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"......don't get me started on the poor penetration of those #7's at 40yds "

 

 

Have you done much testing with the new Federal Heavyweight #7's

 

 

 

 

This is quoted from Federal's Senior Shotshell Engineer.......

 

“Actually, one exciting thing for this year is we are bringing out #7 shot in our HEAVYWEIGHT line. The reason I am so excited about this is because at 40 yards, you still have the energy you would have with #5 lead because the of unprecedented density of HEAVYWEIGHT. The number of pellets is significantly more than you would have in a #5 lead load. With the additional pellets in the payload, you have much more of a chance for multiple hits in the vital area. I think that it is going to be a very exciting product for this year.”

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