By FRANCIS SELL
Geese, literally thousands of them, came over the high Klamath Basin pass, calling, gaining elevation as they approached the gale-swept California hill which was my hideout. They were too high; a good ninety yards, but their babble came clown to me loud and clear. Behind came a smaller flock, perhaps nine or ten outriders, skimming along much closer to the ground, but still a good 55-60 yards to the left of my blind. These were White Fronted Geese. Specks, smaller than the Canadian Honker, but beautiful birds, seemingly much faster in flight.
I picked the leader, swung by him and touched off my shot. He folded. With my second barrel I dropped a wildly flaring bird, and he also came down for a clean kill. Should I have chanced these shots? Was I "straining my gun" to make them? No, because I knew almost to the pellet how many of this particular size shot my gun put in a 30 inch circle at 60 yards, knew also the pellet energy at this distance, along with the velocity. Number 5 shot it was, copper coated, selected for long range shooting but, more important, matched to gun and game. All this comes of shot shell handloading with specific guns in mind, carefully testing at the pattern board as loads shaped up.
Number 5 shot for geese? Yes. if the pattern board indicates this particular size gives the highest performance in a specific gun. This shot size should arouse the orthodox goose hunter to a cold fury at my "unsporting" shooting, as it is considered too small, lacking energy to kill geese cleanly. The individual pellet at 60 yards has only 2.40 foot pounds of energy. Yet it showed high promise as a goose load when tested at the pattern board. Field performance endorsed these findings by clean kills.
All too often someone's preconceived notions about
Sell's pattern board is steel sheet on 2 x 4s, daubed with white lead in motor oil. Patterns are brushed over for following shot.
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