Why Do Hunters Pattern Their Shotguns?

Have you ever wondered why hunters pattern their shotguns? Patterning is the process of firing several rounds in order to determine where your shot will hit at varying distances.

This information can then be used to select a choke and ammunition for the best performance. Why do hunters pattern their shotguns? It’s an important question with an easy answer- it makes hunting more successful!

Why Do Hunters Pattern Their Shotguns?

Why Do Hunters Pattern Their Shotguns
Shotguns are effective in hunting if you know how to use them, don’t you think so? If the gun is not familiarized with and handling specific needs of shooting effectiveness, it will be difficult for a hunter to take an accurate aim.

Additional factors that affect shotgun performance include; firing characteristics of shotguns such as choke, shotshell brand type shot size, and patterning techniques which allow hunters to select ammunition based on their desired level of performance.

When you are using a shotgun, it is important to take into account where the shot will land. For example, if you shoot at 30 yards or 40 yards away from your target, it will be different than if you shot at a deer. Make sure to practice before hunting with any game and have an idea of where your shots should go before shooting.

You can learn more about the gun by shooting it with different ammo. This is good because you want to know how your gun will work.

One does not need to be a professional shooter to hunt animals properly. You might have the best skills, but without coordinating with your shotgun, those skills won’t matter as much without coordinating with your shotgun.

As a result, many hunters choose to test their shotguns and pattern them before they go on an adventure so that they don’t hurt themselves or others because of inaccurate shooting (or worse!).

How to Pattern Your Shotguns

How to Pattern Your Shotguns

Step 1: Checking Your Shotgun: Unloaded Or Not?

Clean the shotgun bore with a cleaner or solvent. Clean it up really well so it will be accurate.

Step 2: Check The Bore

Make sure there’s no damage or obstructions, and any active choke tubes are placed in a secured location.`

Step 3: Choose a Shotshell

You will need the right type of shotshell to use in your firearms. You want to have the right one for what you are doing with it, like target shooting or hunting.

Step 4: Put a Sheet of Paper on a Wooden Frame

The paper needs to be patterned and sturdy. You can use any large piece of paper (or even the side of a building!), but make sure that there is ample space. If not, tape two pieces together or fold one up accordion-style so that they are easier to see when shooting at different distances.

First, find an aiming point that is centrally located: this could be either with chalk (#0000) or paint (black works well). It should be approximately 6 inches wide by 4 feet high to ensure visibility from all angles.

Step 5: Measure the Distance Between You and the Goal

To measure how far away you should stand when shooting a skeet gun, estimate 25 yards from the target. How about other guns? Just measure 40 yards and mark that spot on the ground so you can shoot at accurately the same place every time.

Step 6: Perform Your Shotgun

Perform Your Shotgun
For each sheet, just fire 1 shot. Remove it and replace it with fresh paper, then number them 1-4. Don’t forget to note the barrel and load used.

Step 7: Figure out How Many Shots For Each Barrel, Choke, Or Load Combination

To decide on choke pattern performance with 95% statistical certainty, fire and assess 5 shells. This is the best way to ensure that you find out which type of ammo your shotgun needs or which one will be ideal for hunting purposes within a short amount of time by saving ammunition costs on buckshot (for example).

The number 10 may not give you an accurate assessment if it’s a high-performance gauge like 20ga. Engineering work requires more precise measurements than what would typically satisfy most users’ interests in shooting different chokes over various types and weights of the shot from field point up to heavy turkey load.

Step 8: Locate Where To Start Drawing

Lay the pattern sheets on a flat surface, which comes in white color. Use the pattern sheet with the most pellets shot in it as your reference for where to start drawing and put a 30-inch circle with holes at the center of it on that sheet.

Divide this large circle into eight sections, so you have 16 in all by drawing two concentric 20-inch circles inside this larger one, giving each section 4 pellets each.

Step 9: Find the Number Of Pellet Hits In Each Segment

Find the number of pellet hits in each segment on your pattern sheet (20″ and 30″). Add up all the pellets hit for both circles, which are found at either 20” or 30″. Repeat until you have finished with every single page.

Step 10: Add up All The Pellets In A 30-inch Circle

Add up all the pellets in a 30-inch circle. Divide that number by the number of pattern sheets. This will give you an average, which can be used to compare different targets with similar proportions.

The more pellets per sheet within your target area, the higher the chance that close shots will break through and create too many holes for just one person or small hunting party – wasting time spent reloading after every shot!

Step 11: Find out How Many Pellets Are In Each Round

Find out how many pellets are in each round by checking with your local gun store on what their ammo is rated. Determine which ammunition has a higher success rate when hunting ducks, geese, and other waterfowls.
Although some people may use different types of rounds for hunting these animals, most hunters will find that using BB’s or pellets is more effective than rifle bullets because they don’t have as much range but can still kill quickly at close distances.

Step 12: Evaluate Choke Performance

You may be able to tell a lot about your shotgun’s choke performance based on the patterns it leaves when you shoot. You’ve got control over three factors in evaluating choke performance:

How far does my pattern spread?
What distance do I have to shoot at an animal before hitting it reliably (with respect to this factor);

Do I miss high or low?
Having all three pieces of information will let you figure out if adding some additional energy would help hit smaller prey earlier without sacrificing impact for larger prey later downrange.

Step 13: Assess the Final Results

At 40 yards, your percentage of pellet hits is as follows:

Cylinder: 40% , Improved Cylinder: 50% , Modified (4 pellets): 60-70%, Modified Full (6 pellets), 70%-80%; Extra Full (8 or 10) 80%. Hits are distributed in the pattern by central thickening and quadrants. The majority of measured points for this product fall within a 20″ circle, but it also has significant coverage in a 30″ circle with some overlap between them on each side.

Hit distribution in the pattern (from 12b above): The central thickening and quadrants both have about 27% more pellets than segments. Hits near corners are only 5%.

Pattern center point of impact for field guns is most likely slightly high, 2-6 inches high. This ranges from dead on with the small game to much more forgiving if you’re shooting upland birds or migratory waterfowl like ducks.

Target Guns are typically set up right around the 25-yard mark, and skeet starts just over 1 inch higher than that area. In contrast, the trap might start 3 inches higher still but then gently slopes down toward 6 to 8 inches by about 35 yards away, so it’s less punishing there too-dead-on remains pretty accurate all the way through.


Why do hunters pattern their shotguns? There are many reasons: Some people want a gun that is good for long shots, and others want one that is good for close range. They have to know which choke tube works best with their gun and ammunition combination.

Whatever your reason may be, you want to make sure you do it right so that there is no error when shooting down the game.