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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Perfecting Your Pattern

Things to consider when patterning your shotgun
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  • photo by Chris Jennings
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  • A basic understanding of choke tube and load interaction is essential to getting the right pattern
  • Do your research to find the best choke and load for your shotgun
  • You may benefit from a professional choke fitting

by Chase Moore

For any waterfowl hunter, whether it be the once-a-year guy, the weekend warrior or the seasoned guide, nothing could be more disappointing than having a bird work into your spread and when the time comes to shoot, you miss all three shots.

While this has happened to every waterfowl hunter, whether they admit it or not, often it is not the result of bad shooting. What you thought was a lack of focus or an incorrect mount could be something as simple as a patterning issue caused by your choke tube and your load selections.

These shooting mishaps occur more than you think, and by learning more about how they affect your pattern, you can turn those misses into kill shots.

When referring to shotgun performance and patterning, I've heard the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." While this might hold true for some, many hunters may not realize that what isn't broke in their opinions can still be holding them back from being the best waterfowl hunters they can be.

To better understand the issues of patterning and how one should go about selecting choke tubes and loads, I took my questions to Rob Roberts of Rob Roberts Gunworks. Roberts has dedicated himself to the basic concepts of accuracy, consistency and feel. He has it down to a science when helping hunters customize their shotguns to produce the best patterns in any hunting situation.

"As with all hunting gear on the market today, especially waterfowl hunting gear, companies are always coming out with better and more efficient products to help a hunter get the most out of his or her hunt," says Roberts. "The choke tube, which always seems to get a lot of conversation among waterfowl hunters, has grown over the years into a big market for these hunters trying to improve their gunning abilities and put more birds on the strap."

With such a selection of choke tubes these days, how does one go about finding the right one? Here are some things to consider this season when looking to improve your patterning with a new choke tube.

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