Monday, September 21, 2009

Shotgun Point of Impact Test - .410 Gauge Shotgun - Part One

RW, Jr.'s .410 Shotgun

Shotguns can have a wide range of variance in the type of pattern they shoot and will affect the point of impact when shooting your shotgun depending upon the type of shotshell load. It's best to know ahead of time if you will hit your target or if your aim needs to be adjusted to get the maximum benefit of the shotshells you are using in your shotgun.

The Target

Over the weekend RW Jr. and I conducted a very unscientific POI (Point of Impact) test with our .410 gauge shotguns. The first part will show the result of our little test with RW Jr.'s Stevens Model 311A. This .410 shotgun was manufactured in Chicopee, Mass. by Savage Firearms.It's a double barrel model with a full choke and a modified choke. For purposes of our practice it was used with the full choke. The test was designed to simulate real life conditions in order to get a better idea of just how well this little shotgun performs. It was done at a distance of 50 feet and from a free standing position, which is probably the most unstable platform you can use for any type of shooting. The target was an old tree stump that stands about 4 1/2 feet tall. RW, Jr. cleared an area around it with the riding mower and we were good to go.

Test Rounds

The test rounds that were used were all 3" shotshells with with 11/16 ounce shot. We used #6 and 7 1/2 Winchester High Brass Game Loads and some Remington Express Long Range #6 shotshells that RW Jr. likes to use in his shotgun. We also included some Winchester 2 1/2 inch shotshells in 000 buckshot (3 pellets).

Remington Express Long Range Shotshells

Winchester High Brass Game Load #6 Shotshells

Winchester High Brass game Loads 7 1/2 Shotshells

RW, Jr. fired numerous rounds of the shotshell loads and found out his shotgun was shooting several inches low with all the different rounds when aiming dead center on the target. By adjusting his aim up to the top of the center circle he was able to get a good spread on the target with his rounds.

RW, Jr. 000 Buckshot at 50 Feet

Repaired Tree Damage

The next part was to test out the 000 buckshot loads and see how they performed. I told RW, Jr. that I wanted to do it at a distance of 20 feet which would be about the maximum distance for a home defense scenario. RW, Jr. stated "In the country, 50 feet is a home defense scenario! If they get within 20 feet, it's only because you've stopped to reload!" RW. Jr. then loaded up and proceeded to shoot some 000 buckshot at the target from 50 feet. He was probably anticipating the recoil from the buckshot load and his shot went low and right. It was probably due more to his aim being off a bit. Only one pellet struck the target from 50 feet. The other two pellets hit low on a big tree about 25 feet behind the target. Very important to remember that you will be held responsible for where your rounds end up. Afterwards he moved up to 25 feet and shot some more 000 buckshot rounds. The results were a little better this time.His first shot was a little low and to the right but his second shot put all three pellets within a 5 inch circle at 25 feet, with two pellets inside 3 inches.

Although not very scientific, it does give us a good idea of the point of impact and what kind of pattern spread to expect from our .410 shotguns. knowing how your gun performs will help you develop more confidence when you are using it.

In Part Two, I will post my results.

Staying above the water line!



Bitmap said...

"He was probably anticipating the recoil from the buckshot load and his shot went low and right."

I'm sorry but I had to chuckle at that.

riverwalker said...

To: Bitmap

The difference in recoil is very slight and it was probably his aim more than anything. he had never shot any buckshot loads through his .410 before and now realizes that there isn't that big a difference in the recoil. Now if it had been 12 gauge 00 buckshot in a 3" shotshell....

Thanks Bitmap!


Ken said...

...about 25 yrs ago,i did a POA vs POI on my lil .410,i removed half the front bead sight,with a big file in the back of a pickup...went 6 for 6 on the bushytails that day...3 outa 5...4 outa 6 was the i knew why...the bead on the lil orphan maker has been the same since...Good Advice hidden herein,teach'em to pattern their scatterguns...

riverwalker said...

To: Ken

Thanks for the tip about filing the bead sight to get it right.


The Other Mike S. said...

Very good information. I really need to get out and do the same with my shotguns. We always assume the shot is going straight out front in a perfect pattern, but that is rarely the case.

I look forward to your next report.

riverwalker said...

To: the Other Mike S.

I was pretty confident about my results and they were what I expected. The shotgun RW, Jr. is now using is the same one I used as a teenager to hunt doves....many, many years ago. I was surprised to learn that it was shooting a bit low but when RW, Jr. compensated slightly he had good success at getting a decent pattern on the target. I need to shoot it and see if it shoots low for me as well. Most of the time it's the shooter and not the gun...especially in my case. Thanks.


Did it MY way said...

Shoot-shoot-shoot. Great post. Know your gun.

riverwalker said...

To: Did it My Way

Total agreement. You need to know how your shotgun performs and which loads work the best for you. The patterns on shotguns are not always consistent and many people wrongly assume that they are going to get a perfect pattern all the time with all loads.



Bitmap said...

Something to remember is that POI vs. POA can vary depending on your clothing (think winter coat vs. only a t-shirt), the elevation to the target (pointing down at a rabbit vs. a quail almost straight overhead) and your overall body position (straight ahead vs. having your body twisted to one side or the other, or if you are a little off balance or your target jumps up when your feet are crossed).

Anything that changes the position or angle of your face on the stock or the position or angle of the buttpad on your shoulder will cause the POI to seem to move because your face on the stock is the rear reference point instead of a rear sight.

Most of the changes will be small and unimportant but sometimes you will find a big change.

Don't forget to pattern it at a number of ranges with the loads you intend to use so you can see how the pattern opens.

Anonymous said...

While you are testing the .410 Buckshot loads, you might want to give those Federal buckshot loads a test as well. Designed for (at least so sez the box) the Taurus Judge .410/.45LC handgun. The box says it has 4 000 buck per shot, increasing by one more pellet.

Very good points made about patterning your guns. Loads will vary on where they throw their patterns, its kind of strange. Ken's advice about bead filing is good - I've never read that before but it makes a lot of sense. My problem is where that bead is hard to see in the first place (old eyeballs I guess) - those fluorescent filament sights really help me there.

I put a strip of glow in the dark paint on top of the filament for better sighting after dark, sort of like the Claymore warning THIS SIDE TOWARDS ENEMY, lol.

Thanks for the article RW - I know shooting this .410 ammo is not inexpensive. Much appreciated for time and effort. BTW, that SxS .410 is cool.

riverwalker said...

To: Bitmap

Once again my friend you are there with some excellent advice. Thanks.
Being right-handed and left eye dominant makes me well aware of how posture can affect your shooting. I know that if I don't concentrate on keeping my head straight my point of aim is going to be affected. I sometimes have a tendency to cock my head to the left somewhat, which makes my rounds go to the left and down from center.

Thanks again Bitmap!


riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 7:36

Will have to give those Federal buckshot rounds a try as soon as I can locate some. I know they will probably be even more expensive than the Winchester buckshot loads. That's Murphy' Law...whatever works the best costs the most.

Thanks anon!


Anonymous said...

I may be wrong, but the Federal cost of 20 shells was either $12 or $13 bux at Wally World. Compared to the 5 round box at $4 plus a bit of change, seems to be a bargain. But way to new to know for sure.

While researching this ammo, I saw that some of the Federal .410 is labeled a bit misleading. It seems that some of it stated it was #4 shot (or maybe it was T sized shot), not buckshot. So read label and / or inspect shell before buying. Just saying is all.

Hope this helps.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 12:10

Hey, thanks for the additional info! Will check it out.



Related Posts with Thumbnails