September 09, 2013
Shotgun chokes have come a long way in the past several years. Modern CNC machining and flight patterning technologies have given way to some very advanced research and development techniques. Time and time again, choke manufacturers are meeting the challenge with tubes finessed to achieve the best, most consistent patterns.
Pairing the right choke and load combination can yield some outstanding results, especially if the shooter does his part in delicate trigger control. But with so many options on the market, finding the right choke for your intended application can become a huge headache before you even start shopping.
Check out our list of the best shotgun chokes for this season, and you'll be ready to take down your bag limit in no time at all.
In a departure from Patternmaster's
typical choke design, the new Anaconda Constriction series
features non-parallel choking and patented 'Coil Zone ' technology, which, as we understand it, prevents gas blow-by from expanding the wad just before it exits. The result is tighter, denser patterns at previously unheard-of distances.
Hevi-Shot Waterfowl System
took a page from the military A2 flash suppressor or not is neither here nor there — these exceptional tubes dampen recoil and muzzle jump, begin wad/shot separation with gentle finesse, and deliver even, dense pellet patterns with deadly intentions. Built of aircraft-grade steel, the chokes have a knurled surface on the protruding end that assists in changing chokes in cold, wet conditions. Use the Mid Range for decoying and timber hunts; switch to the Extreme Range for distant birds.
Foiles Strait Heat
Find that greenhead's yellow bill, then the space out in front of it and put a hot steal load of death on him with Foiles Strait Heat
. The new choke keeps your shot in a 30- to 32-inch circle at 40 yards, and can be used on turkeys and coyotes as well. Available in black or camo, the tubes are ported and can be quickly changed out with the included wrench.
Price: $60 to $70
Angle Porting XtremeRange Waterfowl
When wary ducks flare at the thin edge of your range, you need a choke engineered to give you every possible advantage to reach way out there. The XtremeRange Waterfowl
choke delivers tight, consistent patterns at lengthy distances. Compatible with modern flight control-type wads, Hevi-Shot and other steel pellets, the extra-long extended choke is easy to install and remove.
Briley Timber N' Teal
If you're the type that likes to hunt flooded timber and shoot ducks right in the teeth, you need a choke that spreads shot fast, providing broad, forgiving patterns. The Briley Timber N' Teal
uses helical rifling to harness centrifugal force and spread pellets wide. Pair it with Kent's new TealSteel load for wily, fast-moving ducks up close. Most effective within 25 yards, the Timber N' Teal is available for most popular shotguns.
Carlson's Blind Side
For disciples of Blind Side ammo
and the devastating affect it seems to have on ducks and geese, Carlson
has tweaked and field-tested choke tube constriction and length to perfection. While these special tubes deliver lead, nickel, plated copper, and Hevi-Shot well, they're engineered to perform to perfection with Winchester's Diamond Cut wad and those shredding hex pellets we all love. The Mid-Range choke may be used with any steel shot, but the Extended Range should not be used with any steel larger than BB, or with any steel shot traveling over 1,550 fps.
Flambeau Fowl Max
Designed in partnership by experts at Indian Creek Shooting Systems
and MAD, the Flambeau Fowl Max
features a vertical porting design that — believe it or not — is engineered to strategically initiate wad/shot separation, and is said to hold unearthly tight patterns at extreme ranges. The ports harness physics to impart a uniquely beneficial influence on projectile flight, which in duck hunting terms means 'it kills stuff. '
Kick's High Flyer & Vortex
range from broadly versatile tubes such as the High Flyer
to specialty chokes like the Vortex — which features architecture catered to Federal's Black Cloud ammunition. An immense amount of R&D goes into achieving uniform, dense patterns. Muzzle portions extend an inch-and-a-half or so; are roll marked for easy constriction ID-ing, and chokes may be removed and changed without any special wrench. Sold separately.
Remember the love you felt for your shotgun before the advent of hard-kicking 3½-inch hulls? Mag-na-port's Pro-Porting
is an extremely useful modification for reducing recoil by 15 to 20 percent, and muzzle jump up to 60 percent by drilling holes (gasp) in your expensive barrel. Don't worry, an electrical discharge machining (EDM) allows Mag-na-port to place very precise compound ellipsoidal holes without damage or burring.
Price: $100 to $155
Much smaller than the corn-cob-sized versions of yesteryear, the TruGlo Titan
choke simply screws into the muzzle of your favorite field piece. With a twist of the wrist and a 'click, ' you can transition from wide-open decoy-appropriate cylinder patterns to XX Full for reaching way out there on wary late-season birds. Nine individual settings are laser engraved on the collar for easy identification. Suitable for all waterfowl loads, including steel and Hevi-Shot.