August 26, 2015
By Bob Humphrey
Waterfowlers are far more concerned with function than form, except maybe the "form" in performance. Serious hunters who burn up shells by the case want the best bang for their ducks.
Shotshell makers have responded by producing high-velocity loads at reasonable prices. And choke designers have found ways to make those loads perform, making shot strings more even with a thick centering at the core.
That means when you aim right, birds die.
Angle Porting | Xtreme
Angle Porting customizes shotgun barrels and applies the same technology to its chokes. The Xtreme
is engineered for modern flight-control wads and compatible with steel, Hevi-Shot and other non-toxics. The design delivers better knock down patterns at long range. CNC-machined from 17-4 PH stainless steel and heat-treated.
Federal | Black Cloud
Flitecontrol wads hold tighter patterns, potentially adding 10 yards of effective range. On impact, a blend of 60 percent steel pellets and 40 percent sharp-edged Flitestopper steel produce massive wound cavities and impart more energy on target, which means fewer cripples.
Briley | Buck Garner EXR
Briley used the same straight rifling as its tightest turkey chokes, as well as reverse porting and internal geometry to create the EXR
for extreme range shots. With .025 constriction, models are available for most popular guns (Benelli, Browning, Winchester, Weatherby, Mossberg, Ruger and Remington).
Carlson's | Cremator
Featuring new Triple Shot Technology, a series of three graduated rings that allows for a gradual transition from bore to final constriction, the Cremator
decreases pellet deformation and shortens shot strings. You also get tighter, denser patterns, easy installation and removal and muzzle protection. Choose from ported or non-ported models. Comes with a lifetime guarantee.
HEVI-Shot | HEVI-Choke
We smash the snows with the Hevi-Shot extended range choke
. These chokes are gun-and -game-specific, ported and non-ported for most 12 gauges. The waterfowl combo pack includes one mid-range and one extended-range (past 40 yards) tube. Both have a knurled fore-end for easy changes in the field. Manufactured from aircraft quality 17-4 stainless steel, they're guaranteed for life.
Hevi-Shot | Speed Ball
We are fanatical about Hevi-Metal because it's an affordable killer. But when the weather turns cold and the geese fly, Speed Ball
is our choice, because it performs at longer distances...and there's a two-honker limit in Illinois, so we don't go broke shooting it. Devastating on Canadas and greenheads alike, it's a 1,650 fps beak buster.
25 (10 shells)
Hevi-Shot | Hevi-Steel
Hevi-Shot is a proven killer, but pricey. So if you're a high-volume shooter (i.e. you miss a lot like us), try Hevi-Steel
. Available in 12- and 20-gauge from No. 4s to BBBs, it travels up to 1,550 fps. For those who want to test themselves during teal season, the line has expanded to include 2¾ ', No. 4s in 28-gauge.
Kick's | High Flyer
chokes increase pattern performance while reducing muzzle jump and felt recoil. Kicks' 135-degree diagonal porting is angled away from the shooter, reducing side blasts while the inside forward lip grabs, stabilizes and slows wads for faster separation of wad and shot column. Manufactured from 17-4 PH stainless steel and CNC-machined to precise tolerances.
Kent | Tungsten Matrix
Kent designed its Tungsten Matrix
pellets to specifically simulate the physical and ballistic properties of premium quality lead shot. The reality is that because it has malleable, lead-like properties, Tungsten Matrix responds to all choke constrictions and is safe to use in nitro-proofed or high-grade fixed choke barrels. This year, Kent added No. 6 shot to the 20-gauge line.
32 (10 shells)
Mojo | Fatal Shot
The Fatal Shot
line is the result of a partnership between Mojo and Rob Roberts, who has spent a lifetime making shotguns pattern to their highest potential. Computer-designed and field-tested to achieve optimum performance, hold patterns longer and produce a more consistent point of impact with modern shotguns and ammo, these short-, mid- and long-range chokes get the job done.
Rio | BlueSteel
has everything a waterfowler could ask for: it retains energy downrange, patterns consistently and generates safe chamber pressures so your gun (and shoulder) don't suffer. Oh, and it's affordable too. Whatever your pleasure: 20- or 12-gauge, 2¾ ' to 3½ ', Blue Steel has it covered. And the magnums run out the muzzle at 1,550 fps.
Rio | Bismuth
More devastating than steel, Rio Bismuth
offers a safe, non-toxic option for vintage shotgun shooters, or anyone looking for ammo with plenty of long-range payload power. Now available in 12-, 16-, 20- and 28-gauge, and .410.
20-26 (10 shells)
expanded its line of color-coated steel shells with a new 3½-inch BB. The 15/8-ounce payload averages 115 pellets, with a velocity of 1,400 fps. Available in yellow, red, blue and green, so there's no confusion about who shot which bird.
TruGlo | Titan
The adjustable Titan
allows you to select one of nine constrictions — from cylinder to XX full — with a simple turn of the collar. Settings are laser engraved for fast reference and the Titan is compatible with all waterfowl loads, including steel and Hevi-Shot. And TruGlo substantially expanded the line this year to include a laundry list of shotgun models.
Trulock | Precision Hunter
are custom-built to produce tighter, more consistent patterns with fewer 'holes ' than flush-mounted tubes. The result is more accurate long-range shooting. They also do a better job handling heavier payloads and work well with high-velocity loads. Manufactured from 17-4 stainless steel, CNC-machined from solid bar stock and heat-treated to a high strength level (200,000 psi), the tubes come with a lifetime warranty.
Winchester | Blind Side
The foundation for Blind Side High-Velocity
is Hex Shot. The pellets produce prodigious wound channels resulting in more clean kills. The Diamond Cut wad delivers consistent patterns and can increase your kill zone beyond the 30-inch sweet spot by 25 percent. The new hinged wad reduces peak pressure and recoil, but adds velocity.
Patternmaster | Black Cloud
Working closely with ATK/Federal, Patternmaster engineers designed a tube that enhances Black Cloud's
Flitecontrol wad, creating shorter, tighter shot strings. PM Black Cloud is compatible with all brands of lead, steel and non-toxics. Like all PM chokes, it's made in the USA from durable aircraft quality 17-4 stainless steel.
MAG-NA-PORT | Pro-Port
process saves your shoulder and makes you a better follow up shooter. You provide the barrel and Mag-Na-Port uses its surgically-precise EDM process of removing metal to create eleven ports on each side of the muzzle, behind the choke tube or constricted area. Subtracting metal to vent gases up and out also results in a 15 to 20 percent reduction in perceived recoil and an average of 60 to 80 percent reduction in muzzle rise, so you can keep on shooting day after day.
Remington | Nitro-Steel
Waterfowlers want the best, but don't love paying for it. That's why Nitro-Steel
is appealing for the frugal hunter. Nitro's 1,500 fps of velocity means plenty of power and its heavy payload will put a thumping on the birds. Pellets are zinc-plated to prevent corrosion and shells are Wet Pruf sealed at the primer and mouth for impervious protection.