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Correct; All shells are not equal.
I assume that you are talking about the Card Shoots. The last time I shot or helped with a Card Shoot, I was in my early 20s.
At least it spread the winnings around.

Back when I was shooting Trap, I loaded my own (still do). It definitely improved my score.
With the Target Load Federals, I would occasionally have a wad fly out and take a spiral decent to the ground instead of flying straight out and falling to the ground. That was always a "loss". Never shot many Winchesters unless they were AAs and they were pricy.
Not applicable to your situation, but my favorite load was 17gr.-19 gr. of Nitro 100 (mostly 17.0-17.5 gr) behind a generic Windjammer 8 peddle wad. I started first using Solo 1250 but it was too dirty for my semi-auto.
 

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.654 is tight. Really tight. Sounds like a Turkey Choke.
My experience with chokes is that; proper choke plus proper wad plus proper load.
A tight choke doesn't automatically produce a tighter pattern. Like 22s. Trial and error.

My old Beretta 300 has 3 barrels. A 22' Riot Barrel, a 26" choke tube barrel and a 32" Special Trap Fixed Full Choke. Just at .700". They say that the ideal Trap Choke is around .712"
I have, with the Trap Barrel, on occasion, broke a Clay Bird at an estimated 100 yards with a 2 3/4 magnum reload. It was a load using IMR powder ??, a Remington SP wad and 1 1/4 ounce of #6 shot.
Not consistently but it has happened more than once. (Protection Shoot), Tie Breaker Shoot-off from an estimated 40 yards behind the thrower and my pardner missed. Therefore I took the shot. It was a "long shot" in more ways than one. Most often, at that distance, it was a "loss".
I learned to really dislike that word.
 
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