Don’t go into the turkey woods until you know how your gun shoots.
Patterning your shotgun is a required step before you head out into the woods to chase a gobbling turkey. It’s often to easy to just dust your shogun off, grab your calls and head out to the nearest oak grove, but this can lead to disaster. Before going out on a turkey hunt, always pattern your shotgun.
In the video, Mia Anstine patterns her 12 gauge Benelli Super Black Eagle shooting 3 1/2 inch Remington Nitro Turkey loads at distances of 25 and 50 yards. The results show just how dramatic the variability of distance changes the density of shot grouping.
The point of patterning is to make sure you know that your gun can shoot reliably and consistently with a variety of loads and distances through your effective kill range, and establish just what your maximum range is depending on the type of load being fired.
To pattern your own shotgun, make sure you have a variety of shotgun loads from multiple manufacturers. Set aside at least one target for each manufacture, shot size and distance.
Starting at 25 yards, fire each one of your shells from a steady position. Following the shot, mark each target off with the pertanant information; manufacturer, shot size and distance. Repeat the process at 35 yards and then again at 40 and 45 yards.
Once complete, Draw a 8 to 10-inch circle around the bulls-eye on your target and start counting pellets. What you are looking for are the shells that put the largest amount of pellets in the tightest grouping. Doing this should make for a well informed decision on which turkey load you plan to bring into the woods, as well as increase your confidence in bringing a turkey home.