It was (and still is) a glorious afternoon in my part of the world. I’ve just got back from my first pattern-testing trip using the new “patterning box” and it was a complete success.
I was treated to clear skies, blazing sunshine and relatively low wind – as opposed to the rainstorms and gale-force blasts that frustrated somewhat my previous attempt! With the use of the new patterning box, the whole process was significantly easier and I managed to get through 31 individual patterns in a little over 2½ hours.
The cartridges under test today were the two Fiocchi “Magnum” loads I had outstanding from the pre-Christmas acquisitions. I also shot some supplementary patterns for the Eley “Trap”, “Extralong Subsonic” (#6) and “Extralong” (#7) cartridges for which I’ve already collected some data.
Patterns, data and photographs of today’s tests will follow in the next day or two once I’ve had time to do the analysis required.
Whilst my 28 gauge isn’t the “official” Small Bore Shotguns test gun for 28 gauge patterning, I did take the opportunity to pattern properly the Eley VIP load which I use with my “unofficial” gun (another Yildiz, but this one is an over and under).
I haven’t done pellet counts or analysis on this cartridge either, but I don’t need to know the exact numbers to be able to say it patterned beautifully.
I’ve been using the Eley VIP cartridge since I bought the gun, but I started out with the 21g / #6 version. I’ve downed some good birds with this load, but during last year, I often had a nagging feeling that I was losing (or wounding) birds every now and again because the pattern wasn’t particularly good.
I re-patterned the cartridge in October last year and found that none of the patterns I’d shot, using loose or tight chokes, were particularly good. Some were adequate for a 40-yard bird, but only just; most were somewhat sparse. The full choke (0.040″ constriction!) blew patterns. Perhaps that was just the way the tests went that day, but when the need to re-stock arose, I ordered the cartridge with #7 shot in it. That decision appears to have been vindicated.
Although I’ve shot some patterns (and some birds) with the #7 version of the VIP cartridge already, none were produced as carefully or methodically as today’s patterns. The actual results will be interesting to discover when I’ve finished the counts, but if anyone reading this is in the market for a 28 gauge cartridge, I strongly recommend the Eley cartridge – or the #7 version of it, at least…
Data to follow.