Fun Patterning

By Phil.

Damn, I'd forgotton my digital camera, and a notepad and pen, and a ruler or tape measure. Oh well we'll forget the scientific patterning and just have a play with the assortment of cartridges I have in my bag.

I'd never patterned any of my 410 guns/cartridges and having just discovered that there was a pattern board at the top of the hill at the localish shooting ground I thought we'd have a go just to get a feel for the sort of patterns we might be getting with out homeloads.

The board was a thick steel afair that you whitewashed between shots (having first watered down the thick white paste using the stream just off the left of the photo.

The photos are better than I expected as they are courtesy of the inbuilt camera in my mobile phone which was rather handy.

Rather than the standard 30 yds and 30 inch circle we moved up to 20yds and simply ( and unscientifically) held a standard clay against our resulting patterns just to give us a feel of how effective our cartridges might be.

As a standard against which to judge our own cartridges I fired a Fiocchi 3" cartridge  (11/16 oz of #8, plaswad, 6 star crimp) from 20yds to produce the pattern on the left.

The shot hit the plate with a resounding ( and quite satisfying) ring and produced a good killing area of about 2 ft across with just a few fliers as shown.


The gun was a choke free Mossberg Model 500 .410 pump

The hand belongs to David C. who is pictured in the top photo shooting  at the pattern plate.

This is a homeloaded gamebore 3" .410 case with  14.5grain Vectan SP3 against a hard fibre wad and 11/16 (ish) #9 shot held in with a roll turnover. (One of my better roll turnovers, good enough to photograph!)

Through the same open choked Mossberg we got a slightly larger pattern than the Fiocchi but still with plenty of power and clay smashing potential with not too many holes in the pattern to let much through.


The smaller shot and fibre wad presumably contributing to the more open pattern.

The same cartridge through a full choke Investarm brought the pattern  in quite substantially and a few fliers can be seen at the top of the pattern, presumably due to bore scrubbing on the pellets or some other distorting influence on the shot as it passed through the barrel and choke.

I was quite pleased with the two pattern from the 3" #9 shot cartridge and will now have to stop blaming the cartridge for my misses!

Moving back another 10 yards to see what the patterns would open out to shows that there is still plenty of clay busting potential at 30 yds with aprox 3 feet of usable pattern available and, going on the noise when the plate was hit, still plenty of energy.

This was again through the full choke Investarm

OK, the failures.
This is a Marlin .444 case with large pistol primer igniting (badly) 15grain Alliant 2400 under a hard fibre wad and then topped off with a Speer .44 cal shotshell capsule.

The cases and capsules very kindly provided by Marshall Williams.

Although pressed firmly into the case, I don't believe that the capsule (with aprox 1/3 ox #9 shot) provided enough back pressure to form a good powder burn and unburnt powder was left all up the barrel.

The first shot from 20 yds was little more than a pop and nothing appeared on the pattern plate!
After checking for anything left in the barrel (there wasn't) we tried again at 10 yds with the resulting 'pattern' on the left.

I could see the shot travel in a gentle arc towards the (underneath) of the pattern board!
The fact I could see the shot showed that, even with little power propelling the load, the capsule had completely broken up before leaving the barrel.

OK, again for comparison purposes, this was a "Boar Clay Shoot" (The shooting grounds own ( Hull cartridge Co.)), 1 oz #8 shot clay load from 30 yds.

Not that disimilar from my 3"  .410 #9 shot pattern from 20yds!

Something different, this is a 12ga - .410 adapter which is 2 1/2 inches long. Thus leaving NO .410 gauge tube for the shot to accelerate up.

The shot is immediately 'dumped' into the 12 bore barrel for the rest of its journey within the gun.

The pattern on the left is an Eley 2 1/2 " #6 shot (fibre wadded) cartridge shot from 20yds through a Beretta 303 s-auto with improved cylinder choke.

 I have to say that, although not brilliant, it's a better pattern than I expected and arrived at the plate with plenty of velocity.

The pattern was improved upon below .....

by shooting a homeloaded #9 shot 2 1/2" cartridge.

The pattern being almost as good as with the .410 shotgun and the sound it made at the plate implied there was plenty of velocity there.

I have to say that the pattern on the left was, for me, the most impressive and unexpected of the whole bunch tested.

Somewhere I have an adapter with a longer tube section (an old Webley adapter) and this I must pattern next time!

Finally a 444 marlin loaded as above but without the Speer shot capsule.

1/2 oz #9 shot was dropped onto the hard fibre wad and topped with a cardboard disk glued in with silicone sealant (window/bathroom type stuff).

This performed better than the speer capsule and although the pattern looks OK it arrived at the pattern plate with little velocity and may only have worried clay targets that were in it path (I forgot to shoot one at a clay target!)

I still need to experiment with different glues/crimps etc. to get a better 'burn'

Having exhausted my supply of different things to shoot we made our way back down the hill to the clubhouse and the excellent 'Boar Shoot' bacon butties and coffee.



Many thanks for the facillities of the Boar Shooting Ground.

The loads on this page are NOT recommended loads, they are experimental load that we were testing.
No responsibility is accepted for using these loads., 2007