Good stuff and a great place to start to determine a gun’s actual performance. Actually patterning a shotgun can be a real learning tool. Regardless of what the barrel or tube is stamped, the actual number of pellets in a 30“ circle at 40 yds with different loads is the old school way to measure actual choke performance…and will also show pattern uniformity. It lets you tell the actual vs theoretical range of your gun/shell combo & let’s you know if you just missed a bird or were stretching the range of your set up.
Midway sells official NRA 36” patterning targets in a 10 pack. Something fun to do in the off season.
Conventional wisdom has always held that choking a shotgun too much will cause steel shot patterns to distort to the point of ineffectiveness. Others say when there are holes in your pattern, it may mean you need a tighter constriction depending upon the shotgun. I say what you said. Do the actual work using real benchmarks to determine what is actually the case.
I shotgun hunt almost exclusively with 5 old doubles, 4 conventional tubed 12s & a 20, so I have 10 different barrels to play with, some in steel & all in lead. Its a great excuse to go to the range. Save the results in rolled up tubes for later reference.
I 100% agree modern changeable choke guns are much more practical, but I like the way the old guns were made.
I used to call ducks for an old Marine and Dallas Attorney who shot old Parker SxS’s and Winchester Model 21’s SxS’a. Man he could shoot. Amazing what he could do with bismuth, lead and 70 year old shotguns. He was dying with terminal cancer and shot lead. He didn’t care.