How to Choose the Right Shotgun Choke

How to Choose the Right Shotgun Choke

With the vast array of after-market shotgun chokes available today, choosing the right one for you gun can seem a daunting task. Here's some information that might make that task a little bit easier.

Constriction

Depending on whose list you use, there are about a dozen different choke constrictions to choose from. As waterfowlers, we can dispense with about two thirds of the list (see Table 1 below).

More open constrictions like Cylinder, Skeet and Improved Cylinder are used largely by trap and skeet shooters and upland hunters. If you intend to use the same gun and choke for sporting clays and decoying ducks, you might consider a Light Modified choke.


choke_trugloModified was once considered the choke of choice for steel shot, and to a large extent it still is. However, advancements in after-market choke tubes have brought us more and better options, like the Improved Modified, which reportedly patterns large steel shot better than Modified.


And if you're pass shooting at longer ranges, there's the Light Full. If you're shooting non-steel, non-toxic shot, you can go even tighter, to a Full, for long-range pass shooting. Tighter chokes like the Xtra-Full and Super Full are designed more for turkey hunters who are aiming at a stationary target rather than for wingshooting.

Material and Construction

Waterfowling is a rigorous sport, so you'll want something up to the task. Better after-market choke tubes are manufactured from 17-4 PH grade stainless steel, then heat-treated to a high strength level so they resist wear. You should also look for a matte, parkerized or black oxide finish to reduce glare.

Extended vs. Flush


choke_extThere are several good reasons to consider an extended tube.

First, they tend to pattern better than flush-mount chokes because constriction occurs more gradually and uniformly in the longer taper and parallel section.


Second, extended tubes typically have a knurled or fluted grip allowing for tool-less installation and removal. Third, there's usually an exposed stamp or imprint indicating the constriction so you don't have to remove the choke to tell what size it is.

Furthermore, they allow you the option of ported or non-ported. The former offers the additional advantage of venting gases to reduce recoil and muzzle lift.

The better ones use diagonal porting angled away from the shooter to reduce side blasts.

Variety

There is no one choke for all needs and there's a couple different ways to address this.

Several companies sell sets of two or three tubes for short-, mid- or long-range shooting. Old timers probably remember the Poly-Choke, a single tube that allows you to change constriction with a simple twist. It and several others, like Tru-Glo's Titan are still around and offer a one-size-fits-all alternative.

Make and Model

That just leaves you with finding the right choke for your gun, an area where I feel gun makers have done a bit of a disservice to the consumer by not establishing an industry standard for choke threads.

With few exceptions, you need a different tube for each brand, and in some cases for different models from the same manufacturer.

Fortunately, most choke tube makers have a choke for most brands and models.

Caveat

Bear in mind that every gun/choke/load combination shoots differently. If you already have a gun and choke, the easiest variable to change is the load. Get together with your hunting buddies, swap loads and see which ones pattern best in your gun, with your new choke.

Table 1. Choke constriction and diameter.

Choke            Restriction     Diameter

MOD                   015- .20           .710

IMP MOD         .020-.25           .705

Light Full           .30                   .700

Full                     0.035               .695

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Women

Women's Waterfowl Lineup

SITKA Gear waterfowl product manager Jim Saubier shows off the company's full line-up of women's waterfowl hunting gear for 2019. From warm and moisture-wicking base layers to water and windproof outer layers, this is a complete system for women who love to chase fall and wintertime ducks and geese across the four flyways!

Browning A5 Shotgun -

Browning A5 Shotgun - 'Gun Stories'

Gun Stories host Joe Mantegna talks about the origin and history of the Browning A5 shotgun.

Arkansas Snow Geese

Arkansas Snow Geese

Wildfowl Editor Skip Knowles took this short video showing all the Snow Geese flying. Let's just say, he had a very good hunt!

Franchi 12-Gauge Affinity Semiauto Shotgun

Franchi 12-Gauge Affinity Semiauto Shotgun

Craig Boddington and Eric Poole take a look at the new modern Franchi Affinity shotgun.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Prairie Potholes Region is alive with waterfowl and a perfect place to test a new shotgun. Stories

Testing the Savage Renegauge on North Dakota Waterfowl

Skip Knowles - May 19, 2020

The Prairie Potholes Region is alive with waterfowl and a perfect place to test a new shotgun.

Perfect for party gatherings, these spicy bacon-wrapped poppers come from a Sooner State hunting fan who likes the taste of fresh duck breasts hot off the grill. Recipes

Bacon-Wrapped Duck Breast Poppers Recipe

Lynn Burkhead

Perfect for party gatherings, these spicy bacon-wrapped poppers come from a Sooner State...

Are you asking enough of your retriever? Maybe your good gun dog could be great. Retriever

Reach Your Duck Dog's Full Potential

Tom Dokken

Are you asking enough of your retriever? Maybe your good gun dog could be great.

For a good aquatic intro for your pup, simply take it easy. Retriever

Basic Water Training for Your Retriever

Bill Gibson

For a good aquatic intro for your pup, simply take it easy.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

I spent several days spotting for ducks and geese, with the hopes of having a couple fields tied up How-To

4 Tips to Remember When You Travel to Canada

Brad Fenson - June 23, 2016

I spent several days spotting for ducks and geese, with the hopes of having a couple fields...

Knowing how to plant spring crops pays off big on opening day. How-To

When to Plant Crops for Wildfowl

Brad Fitzpatrick

Knowing how to plant spring crops pays off big on opening day.

Using high-tech tools such as aerial photography and smartphones for duck scouting hasn't quite caught on like it has in deer hunting. Here's why it should! How-To

High-Tech Duck Scouting

Tony Peterson - July 18, 2018

Using high-tech tools such as aerial photography and smartphones for duck scouting hasn't...

Follow these rules to live by for killing more ducks than your neighbors. How-To

The Best Crops for Attracting Waterfowl

Brad Fitzpatrick

Follow these rules to live by for killing more ducks than your neighbors.

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Wildfowl subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now