Shotgun Chokes Explained

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Thus, the thicker the choke, the further and tighter the shot will travel. The choice of choke will depend on what game bird you are choosing to hunt. Please note that ammo selection aids in this process, but that will be a separate story. While there are more chokes available, these are the chokes more commonly referred to for hunting purposes. I came across this chart that I have used on numerous occasions to decide what choke may be best utilized for what I would be hunting.

To illustrate the different diameters and shapes of chokes, note the images below showing the varying diameters of modified, full and turkey chokes. You will see a significant difference from the modified to the turkey choke which will keep the shot more compressed for a longer distance. Left-to-right : Modified, Full, and Turkey. To take it one step further, I have taken grouping shots from 2 different chokes at the same distance using the same loads. I chose the yard distance for the modified vs the full choke. While a modified choke is best at yards, you can see that the shot had significant disseminated at yards.

The pattern for the full choke was still concentrated at yards. That is the down and dirty of how the various chokes adjust the shot dispersal at varying distances. It really must be mentioned here that all gun owners should be knowledgeable about their shotguns and if they are built to accommodate interchangeable chokes or not. Hopefully this breaks shotgun chokes down into a format that is quick and easy to use.

I for one have a much clearer understanding of chokes and how to determine my choices based on what I hunt.

Shotgun Choke Tube Basics

Stay tuned! We use cookies to help provide you with the best possible online experience. By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more about how we use cookies. Search for:. What is a choke? Okay, I admit… I already knew this. But I needed to know more. There are essentially five chokes used for bird hunting While there are more chokes available, these are the chokes more commonly referred to for hunting purposes. This is the symbol for a modified choke. Usually, people use these chokes with shells filled with lead pellets.

If you have slugs, then it is okay to use them with a modified choke but it is not recommended. Gun experts will tell you that slugs are better used with chokes that have less constriction.

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If your chokes have too much constriction and you shoot a slug out of it then it can damage the weapon. The full choke will give a shotgun user the most accuracy out of any other choke. The reason for this is because it constricts the shots very tightly when they come out of the barrel. Furthermore, the tight constriction of the full choke allows more of the pellets to stay closer together at greater distances.

Therefore, the full choke maintains almost twice as many pellets within a short radius than the cylinder choke. All chokes are calculated at this distance in order to give an honest comparison between them. A full choke, however, can still travel much farther than 40 yards and still be quite accurate. Some gun owners praise the full chokes for giving them great accuracy at targets up to 60 yards away. It all depends on the number of pellets you have in your shells. But the bottom line is if you want to do some longer range shooting with birdshot or buckshot then a full choke is definitely what you would want to have attached to your shotgun.

The full choke has a constriction of 0.

The only other chokes that have more constriction than that are the extra full chokes and the turkey chokes. They provide 0. But for most people, that is too much constriction for most circumstances. A constriction of 0. For those who just want a shotgun for self-defense, you could still use a full choke and destroy your enemy at closer range. You just have to make sure your aim is a little more accurate since the spread is not as wide up close. The best advice for new gun owners is to experiment with the different chokes and see for yourself how well they shoot at various distances.

Shotgun owners who like to shoot at targets will typically love to go skeet shooting.

This is a competitive and recreational shooting activity where competitors use their shotguns to shoot at clay targets that are projected into the air at high speed by a machine. The targets will often get flung into varying directions, making it more challenging for the competitors.

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Shotgun Chokes Overview: Choke Em’ Out!

Those who break the most clay targets with their shots will score the most points. For skeet shooting, there are actually chokes called skeet chokes which are designed specifically for the purpose of shooting at clay targets in the air. The skeet choke has a. Due to this minor constriction, the skeet choke will give your shots a wide-open pattern that travels fast toward the target.

This wideness allows the pellets to spread wider while increasing your chances of hitting the target. Skeet chokes are also good for shooting at birds in the air as well. Although skeet chokes can be used for long distances, a lot of shooters like to do skeet shooting at close range because of these shot patterns.


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Rifled chokes provide a light constriction to your shotgun. Since they have rifling inside of them, these chokes will spin the slugs and provide the shooter with better accuracy. Just make sure you have smooth bore barrels that are compatible with your rifled choke tubes, those that screw into the bore.

Shotgun Chokes Overview: Choke Em' Out!

A lot of rifled choke tubes are just extension tubes that go onto the bore. Not only does the tube stabilize the slug as it leaves the barrel, but it gives protection to the end of the barrel as well. Choke tubes may protrude anywhere from. Of course, the exact number of inches will depend on the type of firearm in which your choke tube was manufactured for. Most choke tubes have a 1 to 35 right-hand rifle twist and a.

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Rifled choke tubes are typically manufactured out of stainless steel with a different finish. Traditional slugs should work fine with these types of rifled choke tubes also, but sabot slugs and rifled slugs are the preferred ammunition to use with them. A lot of people find that rifled chokes are best used when hunting deer, but you could use them for target practice as well. The best rifled choke brand to purchase is one that matches the brand of your shotgun. Remington, for example, creates rifled chokes that are specifically designed for their gauge shotguns, such as the Remington That way, if the hunting conditions of your environment change, then you can quickly change the rifled choke to another size choke.

If you are a shotgun owner, then you probably know the different between slugs and pellet shots like birdshot and buckshot. Pellets are much safer for a gun user because they spread in multiple directions after they are shot. On the other hand, slugs are basically lead projectiles similar to bullets.

Rather than spreading like pellets, a slug does not spread. It just creates a powerful impact to whatever it is shot at. The whole concept of choosing chokes has to do with how you want your pellets to spread. But what you have to worry about is how constricted the choke is on your weapon. If you choose a choke that is very constricted, such as a full choke, and try to shoot a slug out of it, you could end up hurting yourself and permanently damaging your shotgun. The reason being is the diameter of the slug is likely bigger than the diameter of the choke.

The more constricted your choke is, the smaller the diameter is on the inside. Therefore, what you want to do is choose a choke that has little to no constriction whatsoever. In this case, you will want to go with either the cylinder choke or the improved cylinder choke.