It is easy to get a little biased with a new gun or a new choke. "It really hits them" or "Did you see that smoke" types of observations can easily mislead us.
Patterns very often have hot spots and patches. A target finds a hot spot and it gets smoked. The target finds a patch and all you get is a little dust. It is entirely possible that you placed the pattern properly on both of these birds.
Make your choices based on measured results and not just a few passing observations. The first thing to learn with patterning is the relative performance of your individual chokes.
We all understand that open patterns make close birds easier to hit and tight patterns give us the density we need at the longer distances to make that connection. Where it gets a little tougher is all those places in between very close and very far.
The answer is in a simple number that the Lucky Weaseltm can generate very quickly from your gun/choke/barrel/load combination. That number is the number of pellets in a 30" circle produced from your gun/choke/barrel/load combination. We will come back to that number because we need to give some thought to another consideration before we can understand what we should look for in our 30" pellet counts.
Lucky Weasel tm Patent Pending.
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