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20 Yard Patterns

Advice for the Shooter

Quite often I have a conversation with a turkey hunter and somewhere in that conversation, I'll hear a statement something like this.

"Yes, I've seen those 40 yard patterns that you all shoot with that SSX Turkey Choke but I never shoot that far. All of my shots are at 20 yards or so and I don't want to be shooting a baseball sized pattern at that distance."

That makes a lot of sense...on the surface but fortunately, it's just not what happens in the real world, at least with a well designed turkey choke like the SSX.

A veteran turkey hunter really wanted to put the SSX in his SBEII with a 26" barrel but had the same concern. I've leaned over the years that sometimes, you just have to go to the range and shoot some paper, so that the results can be seen. No amount of conversation can do that at times.

So, off to the range with the SBEII, a couple of shells and a couple of chokes.

We used some "pre-Flitecontrol Wad" shells from Federal with 1.75 oz. of #6 lead shot at 1300 f.p.s. That's a good turkey load and corresponds to many that folks use every year to kill turkeys all over the U.S.

We took 2 turkey chokes, the SSX with an e.d. of .643 and another excellent turkey choke, the Wright's with an e.d. of .670. About as far apart in exit diameters as most shooters would consider with that particular shotgun.

Here are the results of those 2 shots. Same gun, same shells, same day within minutes of each other and 2 different chokes.

Before we fired those shots, I "suggested" that what we'd see was a more dense central core with the SSX than with the Wright's but that the overall pattern would be wide enough to account for any shooter error or movement on the part of a turkey's head.

As you can see, the core of the SSX pattern is tighter but the overall pattern is quite even within the 10" circle.

The Wright's also has a nice even pattern and is a bit wider outside the 10" circle than the SSX.

Both patterns will widen as the distance increases but neither threw a "baseball" sized pattern even at the 20 yard distance.

It's just one of those things that you have to see for yourself sometimes.


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