March 18, 2017

What Distance Should Be Used To Pattern A Shotgun?

What Distance Should Be Used To Pattern A Shotgun?

So you have already bought your shotgun or inherited one from your grandpa! That’s great, and I can’t wait to see you shoot at those ducks. However, before you can do that, you are already aware that there are things you need to know. Well, I know that’s the reason you are reading this, and I won’t waste a single moment of yours. I want you to learn what you wanted to.

Basic Things To Pattern A Shotgun

Let me begin with the most basic things, first and foremost, there is no shotgun with similar pellet patterns. The pattern of your shotgun is dependent on many things. Amongst these attributes, the most important is your guns firing attribute.

There are also several factors such as the shot size, type of shot, the shot shell, shotgun choke and even the brand of your shotgun. To take home as many geese as you can, you need to know the right distance to pattern your shotgun, that’s where I come in!

For a successful hunting day, you know, killing a deer an elk or a few rabbits, you have to know your gun. I am not implying that you don’t know it. You just need to know it better. If you understand what happens to your gun when you shoot, learning this technique will just be a walk in the park for you. Literary!


So What Distance Should Be Used To Pattern A Shotgun?

So What Distance Should Be Used To Pattern A Shotgun?

I know that you found yourself here because this is what you want to learn. For that reason, I am going to ensure that I discuss everything you need to know about patterning your shotgun. I can guarantee you that this information will come handy next time you go hunting for deer. Who doesn’t like barbecued deer ribs? Personally, it is a delicacy.

Are you ready to learn something? Well, it is time to get started.


Why Is Patterning The Shotgun Even Necessary?

Why Is Patterning The Shotgun Even Necessary?

For a hunter like you and me, this is a good question to ask. I know you are wondering, why do I even need to pattern my shotgun? Well, before answering that question, I want to stress how important this is.

We do it for just one reason. The point of impact! Patterning will help you focus on your target. With this skill, you also have the freedom to determine the density of your pattern.

Shotgun Patterning for Hunting

Preparing For Patterning A Shotgun

Good shots don’t just come from the air. You have to practice in order to become a professional. For you to learn how to pattern your shotgun effectively, you just need more than just a shotgun. This list is going to guide you on all the things you need to assemble to learn this technique.

  • You don’t have to be expensive. If you can’t afford to buy targets, you start practicing with homemade targets such as blank papers measuring at least four by 4 feet. Make sure that you use craft paper because it offers maximum thickness for the best results.
  • You will obviously need something to hold the paper tightly. A stable patterning board will come handy here. Make sure that it is in the same dimensions as those of the paper.
  • If you want to aim at precise targets, a bull eye will come handy here. However, this can’t be used at all times. It is only useful when you want something to aim at.
  • When practicing with your shotgun, you also need to take some precautions. Ensure that the area behind your board is clear or else you could be facing charges of manslaughter.
  • Ensure also that the blank paper is steady is steady enough. The most important thing here is a stable platform to work on. If you can’t find something steady enough, use a bench. It just works perfectly.

How To Pattern A Shotgun

The Complete Procedure

How To Pattern A Shotgun


We are finally here. It is time to learn how to pattern your shotgun. My procedure has been divided into steps, so you should find it very easy to follow it. Even if it doesn’t get easy for you, it doesn’t mean that you have to give. You have all the time to practice. Furthermore, we won’t be shooting all geese into extinction. They will always be there for you.

1. Fire at the Center of the Target

All you need here is to effectively use the Bull's eye technique. For it to be most effective, practice it from a distance of 40 yards. Others use 35 yards. Here, it depends on what you will be hunting. For bird hunters, 35 yards is perfect.

2. Repeat the Procedure

This procedure should be repeated from time to time but ensure that you use a different paper every time you are doing a new shot. In simple, you can repeat the first shot twice or thrice. The more, the better but don’t dwell on it.

3. Draw a Circle

After you are done with the shooting, draw a circle on the densest section of your shots pattern. You don’t have to draw it in the exact center of the paper but ensure that all the three targets have a circle on them.

4. Do Some Calculation

Time to do so mathematics, you thought you would escape it forever? Yes, but until now. It is time to determine the percentage load that landed on the circle.

After this, you can calculate the pellet average on all the three circles. To achieve this, sum up all the shots for the three targets then divide this result by three. What you get is the pellet count average.

After getting the pellet average, divide it with all the number of pellets you have used or had originally. Most importantly, ensure that you use the number of bullets you originally had. All of them. Multiply the result by 100 to get the answer.​

Let’s wrap it up

get the best suitable pattern yourself.

Determining what distance should be used to pattern a shotgun isn’t as hard as it sounds or as people are saying. This is also true when it comes to learning how to pattern your shotgun. It is also important to bear in mind that regardless of what ammunition you use, there will always be inconsistencies. All you have to do is to get the best suitable pattern yourself.

You also need to maintain a safe distance. The universally accepted killing distance is 4o yards. If you are more experienced, you can use 35 yards with similar results. However, if you are just a novice or a beginner, it is important that you stick to 40 yards for now until you can do it accurately

It is wonderful that you have followed the instructions up to now. It shows that you are interested in hunting, which is a very good thing. Let me hope that this article was interesting to you. Most importantly, I hope you have learned what you wanted to learn.

Come back for more advice like this. But until next time, it is goodbye from me? Just shoot safe!! Good luck for you and your hunting buddies. Lets catch up next time.

Alex Ramsey

Work hard & live to hunt! Countryman Hunter , Archery, shooter, Freelance outdoor writer and Love USA. founder of where I share my hunting experiences and gear reviews to help you become more prepared. Knowledge will save you, but great gear will help! Let Get Out & Go Hunting

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