Background:

For a long time now I've been shooting trap. To get consistent scores at this particular game you need tight consistent patterns and good distribution within the patterns. The pattern size must be controlled so the density is sufficient to break the target when the pattern is on target but not so dense that the target is missed altogether. For any given yardage the key phrase is "not too big and not too small but just right".

Over the years Iíve heard many theories and myths about how I could improve pattern control and therefore my scores. Most of these pertain to pattern size, density, chokes or shot size. Seems these myths and truisms are always unsubstantiated and I am asked to take them at face value. Couple this with the fact that results achieved by implementing these ideas canít be verified and I am very reluctant to make any changes at all.

The question is, are these myths actually true and if so can I use any of the results to improve my pattern control.

In search of answers:

Somebody says something questionable and it gets repeated over and over again until itís "TRUE". With the advent of the Internet this happens even more often. Seems that if it's "in print" then it must be true. So how do I verify or debunk these myths?

Looking for published research turns up nothing or very little. Shell and gun manufactures have done research in these areas but I canít find any that have been made public.

So it appears that I must do my own research. Hopefully I can shed a little light on some of these shooting myths and mysteries.

However, verify my methods, analysis and conclusions before you take any results coming from my research as fact. Without verification my conclusions are no better than any other unsubstantiated myth. I explain my test methods and the analysis used to reach my conclusions. If you find fault with anything in these procedures or conclusions, let me know.

Things I want to accomplish:

  1. Develop a good method to test pattern size.
  2. Use it to either verify or debunk some of these myths.
  3. Develop a method to better determine pattern size before shooting.
  4. Develop several good reload recipes to shoot at various distances.
  5. Determine what chokes to use for various objectives.
  6. Investigate stuff as I get an interest.