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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess I could be asking about shot "pattern", as well, but in a different way than we (me) usually think about it... I was shooting sporting clays with some family, and a nice older guy who saw us novices (to the shotgun) shooting figured we needed a free lesson... and during this little lesson, he said something that we'd never heard, and kinda doubt since it seems so important that we figured we'd'a heard it somewhere along the way... anyway, he said that the shot comes out of the barrel kinda stretched out... he held his hands about 18-24" apart, sorta indicating that the shot might stretch out that far as it traveled... so as well as expanding outward in the usual pattern we think of, he said the shot-group lengthened, as well. His point being, within reason, you almost can't shoot too far out front, as the trailing shot will hit the clay.

Blew my mind.

Thoughts? I mean... facts? Tried to watch some of the super slo-mo stuff on youtube, but I couldn't tell...

zman
 

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I have read similar things, like how a 12 gauge 2-3/4" patterns better than a 20 ga 3" with similar loads of lead; the shot string is shorter.
I have decided to load some 3" 12 Ga shells with #8's for dove hunting with a cylinder bore to see if my hit rate improves with a longer, wider and denser pattern. I am not very good at determining how much to lead them, and maybe a longer shot string will help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wish I could read anything definitive on it... anywhere! I find nothing about the lengthening of the shot string... maybe because it's fiction? What else could explain this dramatic lack of available information on what would be a very important thing to know about your ammunition?
 

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The shot 'string' will stretch out over the flight of the charge. But it is because the shot that is away from the densest portion (the area of the shot pattern that tends to clump together and slowly spreads because of resistance and velocity drop) will push harder on the outer ring of pellets (less mass/density there) and cause some pellets to slide off slower thus 'lengthening' the shot string. Very little lengthening occurs at the normal clays distances and there can be differences caused by the dram load, the type of wad, the shot size and density, buffered shot, etc. There are some videos that show this but my favorite is this one - think of it as a very large shotgun - enjoy Slow Motion Shotgun Shell - Video
 

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Saw that one before. Looks like good science.
Also read one where it was suggested that the shot travels in an inverted cone shape. No science to support it, but at least it offers one assumption for some figurin'.

The question in my mind, for doves or clays, is if the most outer pellet at the front edge of the shot string misses the dove, does the last pellet in the string have a chance of hitting it?

Assume a dove flying 40 mph (~60 fps) perpendicular to the shooter, 1200 fps of shot in a homogeneous inverted cone with a 30" pattern at the front and a single pellet at the rear of the shot cone 6' feet back, but on the center line of the cone.

The outermost pellet at the front of the shot string is 15" from the centerline of the cone and just misses the dove's beak. Will the last pellet in the cone hit the dove? (I am figuring this out in my head as I type, so check my math and trig).

The last pellet has to travel 6 feet in (6/1200) sec or .005 sec. to get to the same distance the first pellet was when it missed the dove.
The dove needs to fly 15" or more (to the centerline of the cone) in .005 sec to "fly into" the last pellet.
60 fps x .005 sec = 0.3 ft, or 3.6 inches. Doesn't make it the 15" or more to get hit by the last pellet.

Hmmm, that sucks. The trailing pellet of the shot string didn't do anything for my lousy lead on the bird.

For the math to work, the dove would need to be going 170+ mph to fly into the last pellet after missing the first. When they start doing that, Ifind another sport.

Of course that is for the inverted cone idea.
If it really comes out in a "cloud", might still have a chance.
Way more physics homework than I am willing to do this late at night.

Still, I am going to load some heavy loads, and regardless of the length of the shot string, i will see if twice as many pellets and possibly a more open choke help my chances of hitting anything.
 

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try to picture a meteorite as it flies thru the air, bits of it peel off and form a firetail. the ones that peel off slow down, but the main mass continues forward. with shot, those pellets that peel off and slow down are on the outer ring of the shot string and are known as golden b-b's. they are the ones that clip a target while the mass just plain misses. odds are, a golden b-b will break a target if you shoot in front too much...because that trailing golden b-b is what nails the target...as it trails the main swarm a split second late. when a golden b-b hits, it usually splits a target in 2. when a mass swarm hits, it pulverizes the target into smoke.
 

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try to picture a meteorite as it flies thru the air, bits of it peel off and form a firetail. the ones that peel off slow down, but the main mass continues forward. with shot, those pellets that peel off and slow down are on the outer ring of the shot string and are known as golden b-b's. they are the ones that clip a target while the mass just plain misses. odds are, a golden b-b will break a target if you shoot in front too much...because that trailing golden b-b is what nails the target...as it trails the main swarm a split second late. when a golden b-b hits, it usually splits a target in 2. when a mass swarm hits, it pulverizes the target into smoke.
This!!^^ All that other stuff just makes my head hurt. See the bird - shoot the bird...poof, feathers!! Nobody has time to calculate a formula...

And this from The Gun Nuts video above "The belief persists that a long string is an advantage because the trailing pellets can hit a bird if you shoot too far in front. Maybe every once in a while it happens, but I wouldn't count on it. Remember, it's the width of your pattern that gives you margin for error, not the length of the string."
 
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