Whether you plan to use the shotgun for target shooting or hunting, a larger spread is useful in many cases. This is especially so if you are shooting small, quick moving animals or birds at short range. A larger spread will assure you of a definite hit even when the animal or bird moves erratically. Additionally, by killing the animal with a wider spread, you are more likely to be able to obtain a greater quantity of useful meat.
One way of ensuring maximum shotgun spread is to use down range wads to pack the shot. These wads came in a variety of designs and colors, so that you need to choose the best to increase the spread.
Eight Petal Shape
Depending on the shotgun you are using, select a down range wad that has the classical eight petal shape. This will ensure that your shot spreads as wide as possible.
Another way of increasing the spread using the down range wad is to pick one with a center insert. These plastic inserts will help push the shot away from the center of the wad, ensuring that the spread is greater.
Another technique used by experienced hunters and shotgun shooters to increase the spread is to use a wide choke. The narrower the choke at the tip of the barrel of the shotgun, the lower will be the spread of the shot. When you want to increase the spread of the shot, all you need to do is widen the choke as much as possible.
Another way of increasing the spread of the shot inexpensively is to use soft shot. This shot has lower quantities of alloy and will be less expensive that hard shot. However, when you want to achieve a wider spread, the soft shot is ideal as it will naturally spread a lot. However, the pattern might be a bit irregular.
When using down range wads to pack your shotgun with shot, you need to keep in mind the target you are aiming for. If you are hunting for rabbits, squirrels, birds, and other small creatures that are likely to move randomly even as you shoot, you have a superior chance of success if your shot spreads widely. This is all the more so as you will be quite close to the animal you are hunting. Another advantage of a wider spread is the lesser damage to the meat. With a wider spread, only some of the shot will hit the animal, leaving plenty of meat for you to take home and you do not have to worry about blowing large chunks of the animal away.
To increase the width of the spread when you are using a shotgun, make sure that you use an eight petal down range wad and that it has a central insert. You can use the choke to control the width of the spread as well. Widen the choke to increase the spread. By using soft shot, you will be able to further increase the spread of the shot.
A bit of practice with using various combinations of choke width and shot density will enable you to control the spread of your shots when out hunting or participating in target shooting competitions. By keeping the down range wads constant and varying the choke width and shot density you can easily manipulate spread to meet the actual hunting needs. For instance, if the rabbit is further away, you can increase accuracy by reducing the width of the choke and narrowing the spread. On the other hand, if the animal you are hunting is closer, just increase the choke width to ensure that you do not miss the shot. You may only have one.
About the author: Benjamin Roussey, a hunting enthusiast and father of three.