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

Wentz Bros Outdoors - Throwback Waterfowl

Wentz Bros Outdoors - Throwback Waterfowl

This video is a classic! Take a front row seat with Carson as he hunted back in college. The clips are all either filmed with a GoPro or cell phone!

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.

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call.

Swedish Duck Hunt

Swedish Duck Hunt

Kevin Steele takes part in a family driven duck hunt in Sweden.

Trending Articles

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads Ammo

11 Best New Shotshell Loads For Waterfowl

Wildfowl Online Staff - August 17, 2017

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads

Check out our picks for the best new waterfowl guns from the 2019 SHOT Show! Shotguns

Best New Waterfowl Shotguns for 2019

Lynn Burkhead - January 23, 2019

Check out our picks for the best new waterfowl guns from the 2019 SHOT Show!

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call. Calls

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during...

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter from How-To

Building a Duck Boat Blind on a Budget

Mike Marsh - May 10, 2016

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

It seems almost impossible - 653 clays broken in 3,600 seconds. An hour devoted to nothing but How-To

3 Surefire Tips to Becoming a Better Shotgunner

Brad Fitzpatrick - February 19, 2016

It seems almost impossible - 653 clays broken in 3,600 seconds. An hour devoted to nothing but

Brad Biere of St. Charles, Missouri, is 35 and has been hunting waterfowl for about 12 years. He is How-To

DIY Kayak Duck Blind

Mike Marsh - April 06, 2016

Brad Biere of St. Charles, Missouri, is 35 and has been hunting waterfowl for about 12 years....

Our eyes are the sights, but because of tradition, it is often hard not to aim a shotgun How-To

Shoot Where You Look: Shotgun Stock Placement

John Taylor - July 29, 2016

Our eyes are the sights, but because of tradition, it is often hard not to aim a shotgun

Joe Muzynoski of Weston, Wis., always loved hunting geese, but he didn't see many near home. That How-To

Cheap & Easy DIY Layout Blind Build

Mike Marsh - July 20, 2016

Joe Muzynoski of Weston, Wis., always loved hunting geese, but he didn't see many near home....

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.