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Loads and Patterns from Competative Shooters

posted Apr 25, 2013, 9:10 AM by Peter Lucas
   
When I started shooting a muzzleloading shotgun I was very curious about the loads used by the competitive muzzleloading trap and skeet shooters. My assumption was that the more experienced shooters had some secret loads which gave them an edge.  Over the last couple of years, I have information regarding the loads and patterns of the competitors.  Guess what; there is no secret load. 

    The vast majority of the competitors shoot a pretty standard load, with most shooters using close to an equal volume of shot and powder.  To the extent there is a "secret," it is that the majority of competitive shooters shoot a fairly light load. Clay targets are not that hard to break.  If you are going to shoot a 100 plus rounds a day over a four day stretch, it makes good sense to shoot a comfortable load. 

    These patterns are a collection of patterns from both trap and skeet shooters.  Shot charges ranged from 7/8 ounces to 2 ounces.  The guns ranged from 8 gauge to 20 gauge.  The trap patterns are obviously much tighter and most trap shooters tend to use slightly larger shot. 

    This Article is a work in progress.  As you will note, I do not have sample patterns for each of the shooters. With some luck, this Article updated with additional load and patterning information as it is collected.


Kim Davis (Skeet Loads)

    Kim was in the middle of a round of Skeet when he shot the four test patterns at the patterning board.  Kim's skeet gun is a side hammer percussion O/U and this is Kim's standard skeet load.  

Gun Type: O/U Side Hammer Percussion gun used for Skeet.
Gauge: 10
Powder Charge: 70 grains bulk powder    
Shot Charge: 1 ounce of 9 Shot
Over Wad Column: 1 nitro card, 1/2 cushion soaked in vegitable oil, 1 over shot card   (3 wads total -- Kim uses an overshot card above the cushion wads to avoid shot sticking to the top cushion wad when fired)
Over Shot Type: 1 over shot card
Chokes: .05 Constriction
Patterning Distance: 20 yards

 
 

Kim Davis (Trap Loads)


    Kim was at the Colorado Muzzle Loading Association's Memorial Day Shoot when he shot these test patterns at the patterning board.  Kim's trap gun is a converted Marlin bolt action shotgun and this is Kim's standard trap load.  As can be seen, this gun produces very tight patterns at 20 yards. 

Gun Type: In Line Converted Marlin Bolt Acton Shotgun.
Gauge: 10
Powder Charge: 80 grains bulk powder    
Shot Charge: 1 ounce of 7 1/2 Shot
Over Wad Column: 1 nitro card, 1/2 cushion wad soaked in vegitable oil, 1 over shot card   (3 wads total -- Kim uses an overshot card above the cushion wads to avoid shot sticking to the top cushion wad when fired)
Over Shot Type: 1 over shot card
Chokes:  full choke
Patterning Distance: 20 yards

 
 



Linda Yuebanks.

    Linda had just finished shooting a round of trap from the 10 yard line when she shot the following three patterns for me. Linda shoots a 20 gauge custom, in line gun on the trap range.  Linda's gun has removable choke tubes and she had been using a modified choke on the 10 yard line.  She uses a tighter choke from the 16 and 20 yard lines.
Gun Type: Custom In-Line Trap (Single Barrel)
Gauge: 20
Powder Charge
: 68 grains (2 1/2 drams)
Shot Charge:
1 ounce of number 8 shot
Over Wad Column:
1 nitro card 1/2 cushion wad
Over Shot Type:
Thin Over Shot Card
Chokes:
Modified
Patterning Distance
: 20 yards
 
 

Jim Snyder


    Jim was shooting a round of skeet with his flint SxS when he shot these patterns.  The first two patterns were shot with a single nitro card.  The second two patterns (which were much denser) were shot with two nitro cards. As you will note, the first two patterns show some thinning in the center core of the pattern.  Usually, a sign that there is some blow by on the over powder combination.

Gun Type: Side by Side Flint
Gauge: 12
Powder Charge: 80 grains    
Shot Charge: 1 ounce; mix of 8 and 9 Shot
Over Wad Column:
Over Shot Type: Thing Over Shot Card
Chokes: .
Patterning Distance: 20 yards
 
 


Ron Parker


    Ron shoots an underhammer shotgun based on the Hilliard design.  Ron's gun is a 10 gauge with a jug choke.  Notice that despite the fact that Ron shoots a 10 gauge, he still shoots a very light load.

Gun Type: Underhammer  single barrel.
Gauge: 10
Powder Charge: 60 grains
Shot Charge: 7/8 Ounce
Over Wad Column:
Over Shot Type: Thin Over Shot Card
Chokes: Jug
Patterning Distance: 20 yards

 
 


David Yuebanks


David shoots the heaviest of the loads patterned so far with 1 1/4 ounce of shot with an equal volume of powder.  Dave was shooting on the trap range when he shot these patterns.  His gun throws a nice tight pattern.

Gun Type: Single Barrel Custom In Line.
Gauge: 10
Powder Charge: 82 grains (3 Drams)
Shot Charge: 1 1/4 ounce of 8 shot
Over Wad Column: 1 Nitro Card and 1/2 Cushion Wad
Over Shot Type: Thin Over Shot Card
Chokes: full choke
Patterning Distance: 20 yards
 
 

Peter Lucas


These are two patterns which I shot at the Colorado Muzzle Loading Assoication Memorial Day Shoot held near Florance, Colorado.  These patterns were shot with my trap underhammer gun (which is not the gun in the picture).  

Gun Type: Single Barrel Custom Underhammer.
Gauge: 12
Powder Charge: 68 grains (2 1/2 Drams)
Shot Charge: 1  ounce of reclaimed shot
Over Wad Column: 1 Nitro Card
Over Shot Type: Thin Over Shot Card
Chokes: modified choke
Patterning Distance: 20 yards
 
 

Rod Gates 
    Rod Gates is known for building very fine, large bore SxS muzzleloaders.  Rod uses an eight bore gun with some pretty hefty loads in his gun. 

Sporting Clays Load
Gun Type:   SxS percussion -- 32 inch barrels
Gauge: 8
Powder Charge: 150 grains of Cannon powder
Shot Charge: 2 ounces  
Over Wad Column: 1 Nitro Card and 1 Cushion wad
Over Shot Type: Thin Over Shot Card

Skeet Load
Gun Type:   SxS percussion -- 32 inch barrels
Gauge: 8
Powder Charge: 150 grains of Cannon powder
Shot Charge: 1 1/2 ounces  
Over Wad Column: 1 Nitro Card and 1 Cushion wad
Over Shot Type: Thin Over Shot Card


Steve Dominic
    Steve shoots a sxs flint gun (made by Richard Dale), even in percussion events. Steve gets excellent ignition times with his flint gun and can give most percussion shooters a run for their money.

Gun Type:   SxS Flint.
Gauge: 10
Powder Charge: 90 grains of powder
Shot Charge: 1 1/8 ounces  
Over Wad Column: 1 Nitro Card  and 1Cushion wad.
Over Shot Type: Thin Over Shot Card

Estil Ator 

Gun Type:   SxS percussion original gun
Gauge: 16
Powder Charge:  68 grains ( 2 1/2 Drams) of powder
Shot Charge:  1 ounce  
Over Wad Column: 1 Nitro Card and 1 Cushion Wad
Over Shot Type: Thin Over Shot Card

Richard Dale
Gun Type:   SxS percussion custom built by Rod Gates
Gauge: 20
Powder Charge:  70 grains of powder
Shot Charge:  24 grams (approximately .85 ounces)  
Over Wad Column: 1 Nitro Card 
Over Shot Type: Thin Over Shot Card


Rady Dyer

    Rady is a consistent top muzzleloading skeet shooter.  He is very relaxed about is loads.  When he is shooting well, he will shoot 3/4 ounce of shot with an equal volume of powder.  When things are not going quite so well, he will jump the load up to one ounce of shot with an equal volume of powder.  He rarely patterns his gun because he does not know what holes might exist in the patterns. 

Gun Type:   SxS percussion (original)
Gauge: 14
Powder Charge:   60 grains of bulk black powder
Shot Charge:  7/8  ounces  
Over Wad Column: 1 Nitro Card 
Over Shot Type: Thin Over Shot Card


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