The Patternmaster story is a simple one. Not unlike almost all great inventions it started out of necessity. Many of todays waterfowl hunters don’t remember or were too young to hunt back in the late eighties when steel shot become mandatory. Steel shot performance never seemed like a huge issue unless you were used to shooting lead like most all hunters were back then. Serious waterfowlers were doing everything they could think of trying to figure out how to manage this stuff called steel shot. Pattern consistency was an issue, but the real problem was knock down energy at any distance but right in the hole. Maybe shortening the shot-string was the answer… but how?
The Problem: So, therein lied the real problem and the attempted solutions were all over the place. Some guys literally grabbed hacksaws and cut of their barrels while others just quit. That’s right – they quit hunting ducks and geese altogether, and more than a handful cached huge loads of lead shot throughout their hunting area and that worked pretty well until the wardens started using metal detectors. In fact, my own Dad cut 4 inches off his Browning Sweet 16 that was 60 yrs old in 1989 convinced no choke at all was the answer to this steel shot problem. Yes, it helped, but outside of 15/20 yards the knockdown energy was still beyond sad. Lets face it… no matter how you shine it up, affordable non-toxics/steel are much lighter than lead and therefore just don’t have the down-range energy lead carries.
A Crude Solution: A number of guys had come up with a this crazy and dangerous way to take a few set-screws and punch them through the tip of a gun barrel to restrict the wad upon firing. This was a very crude but pretty effective way to allow most of the shot to exit the barrel at once thus reducing the length of the shot-string and increasing down-range energy because the entire payload of shot arrived almost simultaneously. This method was passed around awhile and those crazy enough to do it were happy with the results. But, it wasn’t consistent, destroyed the gun barrel for the most part and beyond all that it was incredibly dangerous.
So… a Kansas farmer by the name of Mike See took the idea to a gentleman by the name of Jerry Poe in Wisconsin. Jerry was a businessman who had a military background and worked in the machine shop industry. Jerry tinkered with the idea for a few years and just couldn’t figure out how to put it all together. On a last second whim he picked up the phone and called a US Army Gunsmith from Wisconsin. Now, this wasn’t your normal everyday Gunsmith. This particular “smith” happened to be a National Champion shooter for the US Army Marksman team as well as the National Team’s gunsmith. He also just happened to be a Master-Machinist. This fellow’s name was Larry Leutenegger. Needless to say... it didn’t take too awful long before he had something to work with.
Fortunately screw-in chokes had become somewhat common-place by that time in the early nineties. But, it was still the same song and dance… squeeze the shot using constriction and hope for the best. Larry’s idea was not unlike the old set-screw idea of stopping the wad for a millisecond but instead of doing it from the outside in, his idea would be to machine a stud/ring inside a screw-in tube to stop the wad for a millisecond. As you might imagine this took thousands of attempts to get right. But, during all those failures what Larry learned was would be invaluable to the development of Patternmaster and shotgun performance as we know it today.
A Breakthrough: What he learned through all this trial and error was amazing to him. What all these failures revealed was mindblowing; based on the exact location of the stud-ring(s), Larry learned he could manipulate the pattern without using constriction, based on where he placed the actual stud ring within the tube itself. So, ultimately he was able to build a tube that would allow a shot pattern more open for the upland hunter and timber duck hunter, but still put almost the entire payload on target simultaneously, as well as deliver something for the pass shooter and Goose Hunter who needed serious knockdown power at 60 plus yards as well as everything in-between. That’s why Patternmaster uses terms like “Short-Range, Mid-Range, Long Range and Extended Range” to describe their tubes’ performance VS. Imp. Cyl, Mod, Full and Extra Full. You see, Larry had learned that the pattern was important but only if it all got there on-time. So, what the paper tells you is important but, it’s nowhere near the whole story. The length of the shot-string is just as important as the pattern when hunting. Paper doesn’t move but ducks and geese do. The understanding and ability to deliver almost the entire payload of shot on target simultaneously is what makes Patternmaster the world’s best shotgun accessory.