my brother gave me his 12g 870. it has a modified choke. when going out and shooting at the range, what type of ammo do you use most often? Also, will a slug and/or buckshot be fine with the modified choke? How many of you don't have a scope on your gun?
A mod choke...well buck and birdshot is fine, but I really don't like shooting slugs out of a mod choke, my suggesttion would be to get a slug barrel, or get a new updated 870 barrel with the screw in chokes. I only shoot slugs out of an IC or Cyl aka skeet choke.
shotguns are mainly meant to used on moving small game like flying birds, running rabbits, and turkeys. When shot at reasonable ranges like 30-50 yards, they spray a roughly 2 foot diameter circle of small pellets depending on what choke you use. I mainly use a full choke on my 20 gauge.
Shotgun slugs or buckshot are used on deer size game and are effective to 100 yards or so.
When most people use a shotgun for target practice, they do skeet shooting. One or two clay discs are thrown into the air to simulate a flying duck or pigeon. Typically Very small diamter shot is used like #7 or # 7 1/2 shot.
I mainly use my 20 gauge for rabbits, squirrels, grouse, and turkey. I do not hunt with dogs, so I use a full choke or a special turkey chokes to keep my shot pellets closer together for better chances of hitting still game at farther distances like 40-50 yards. Overall I keep #6 shot in my 870 remmington. This setup is a good blend for rabbit or squirrel. Not optimal for moving birds that I occasionally bump into while hunting. When focusing on squirrel, I use #4 shot.
You have a 12 gauge gun. Use a full choke for fixed targets. Use a Improved cylinder or cylinder for skeet shooting. As far as the weight of shot. tougher thick skined small game to kill like squirrel use less weight like 1 oz. Easy to kill game like pigeons or those clay targets use 1 1/4 oz loads. Overall the lighter the shot weight the faster and farther the shot will hit.
Pattern you gun for the brand ammo, shot size, shot weight, and the type of choke combination. Your pattern might be overall aimed differently than your sight. The type of ammunition used with your barrel and choke combination might not distribute shot evenly. It might clump most of your shot in one corner or blow the bb's out in a ring. This is very helpful when shooting still targets like a small turkey's head or a squirrel. Try it out at different distances too. Get a big piece of cardboard and mark a bullseye on it. Get some wrapping paper or several pieces of cardboard for several attempts.
As far as practice still shots plastic soda bottles work good. When shooting shotguns at a rifle range some ranges don't allow you to shoot ground targets.
With slugs make sure the slug is ok to use in a smooth bore barrel. I highly reccomend getting a cylinder choke when using slugs from a smooth bore. I only use a rifled barrel when using slugs. Saboted slugs are more accurate.
Overall with target practice, shotguns are expensive and tough on the shoulder. My 20 gauge lightfield slugs are 2 dollars a trigger pull. Most buckshot is about 1-1.50 a trigger pull. Skeet shooting can be about 25-50 cents a pull. Most trap shoot ranges require non-toxic ammunition. Still shots at the range can be difficult to evaluate how well you aimed.
After 2-3 visits to the range, a $200 .22 rimfire rifle pays for itself in ammo costs. Bulk regular ammo is 2-3 cents each. High quality ammo is 5-10 cents. skeet shooting will make you much quicker in lining up your shot. Rifle shooting will make fine aiming more accurate. Skeet is alot of fun though!