What is considered the optimal spread in inches for a skeet pattern? I know that the shot cloud is really three dimensional, and the pattern as it prints on paper is only a two dimensional representation, but patterns are used as guidelines. So how wide should the pattern be to be optimal for skeet?
I'm fine tuning a recently aquired 20 ga. model 12 and making it my main skeet gun. Haven't yet gotten to pattern it nor experiment to find the best handload or factory ammo. That project begins soon. I'm curious what my goal should be. I won't get so wound up on choke and shot size etc. to the point of forgetting that it's all about looking at the bird and fundamentals more than anything else. But I do want to have the advantage of knowing I'm shooting the best pattern I can so that I have one less distraction on my mind, and confidence in my load so that I can always concentrate just on the target.
By the way...it's all moot until I pattern test I know, but the gun now is .013 I get good breaks but sometimes smoke on the closer targets. I know .013 is tighter than most dedicated 20 ga. skeet guns and I'm not hesitant to have it opened, but I won't do that until I see what I can cook up first with various factory or hand loads.
I'm not a registered shooter. Just week-end fun and a couple of informal vintage competitions per year and I may shoot league this summer. Basically just interested in what a good standard spread is.
I'll post my pattern results as soon as I'm done. Until now my skeet gun was a 16 ga. model 12 at .009 Without dragging out the sheets to look again, as I recall, it has a useful pattern of about 36 inches at 23 yards with 7/8 oz. of hard 8 1/2 shot.
I'd be quite happy to get the 20 ga. somewhere near that, but I don't know how the smaller bore size may or may not effect my efforts.
What do you knowledgeable skeet folks think?