This is the year to finally pattern your pheasant hunting shotgun. Mike Holm and Erik Carlson of Federal Premium Ammunition bring their expertise and cut through the technical world of patterning to help you master the basics and get ready for wingshooting.
1. Most pheasant hunters never pattern their shotguns. Why should they start?
“All hunters should pattern their shotguns to see what their point of impact looks like at different distances,” says Mike Holm, Federal Premium Product Manager, “Not all shotguns shoot dead center. Knowing your pattern can increase your ability to hit game in the field. Patterning also lets you see the pattern density and can help you choose the right choke constriction.”
2. At what range(s) should you pattern your pheasant hunting shotgun?
Holm says it’s good to pattern your shotgun at both 20 yards and 40 yards. “This gives you a representation of what your pattern will be for an up-close flushing bird and a more distant flyer.”
3. Should you pattern for both early season and late season pheasant hunting?
“By patterning your shotgun at 20 yards and 40 yards you are preparing yourself for both early and late season hunting. As we all know, not all early season birds are close,” Holm says.
4. How many different pheasant loads should you plan on patterning?
The most important thing, Holm says, is to pattern the load you plan to take to the field and know what it does. But patterning different loads can be valuable. “It can be interesting to pattern two different loads to see the performance differences. You might even find performance differences that fit different hunting conditions,” Holm says.
5. What choke is a good starting point to begin patterning?
“When patterning Prairie Storm® with the FLIGHTCONTROL® wad, start with Improved Cylinder (IC) chokes, because they generally provide a great combination for up close and at distance,” Holm says, “If you are using a load with a standard wad system, try both IC and Mod (Modified) chokes.”
Q&A's 6-10 and the complete PheasantBlog post