As a shot charge flies downrange it widens and elongates. I always imagine it looking like a swarm of angry bees. One of the enduring myths of shotgun shooting is that the length of the shotstring helps make up for over-leading a target because the clay or the bird can fly into the back of the shot column as it stretches out in front of it. That has never made sense to me and I think this clip backs me up.

I took a trip to Winchester’s Nilo Farms last fall where I had a chance to shoot the new Blind Side steel loads at ducks and clays while Winchester engineers did some filming. In this video, SHOT Business Editor Slaton White is shooting at a left to right quartering clay.

As I mentioned in a post last fall, Blind Side pellets are hexahedronical (dice shaped) steel, so they have six flat sides that reflect light like signal mirrors, which must explain why they sparkle as they fly downrange. You can also see how Winchester’s Diamond Cut wad holds the pellets together as they exit the muzzle then separates to release them several feet downrange, helping the flattened pellets pattern more tightly than they otherwise would.

Notice that the target remains practically motionless in the time it takes the shot charge to travel from the muzzle to the clay. The target flies so slowly relative to the speed of the pellets that any advantage of a long shot string would be very, very slight. The target simply isn’t flying fast enough to collide with the back of the shotstring.