Shotgun choke tubes are magnificent tools for hunters and target shooters. The right choke tube improves the pattern of a shot by accomplishing better range and pattern density. Many hunters are unaware of the fact that choke tubes can make a huge difference when it comes to hunting a specific game.
It brings a lot of confusion for those who are not fully aware of this topic as it is not detailed. Hopefully, In this shotgun choke tube guide, my aim is to simplify and share all the basic and some advanced details about choke tubes. It will surely help you decide on the next choke tube for your shotgun.
Types of Choke Tubes
What Is a Shotshell?
After knowing the choke tube types, we need to understand the shotshell elements and mechanism. It is the ammunition used in the shotgun. The shotshell consists of primer, gunpowder, wad, and shot.
Primer:- It initiates the propellant combustion that pushes the pellets(shots) out of the shotgun barrel.
Gunpowder:- After pulling the trigger, the firing pin in the shotgun strikes the primer of a shell, igniting the gunpowder that emits a gas as it burns and creates pressure to release the shot.
Wad:- It is a component made of paper or plastic separating the powder from the shot in a shotshell. It provides a seal that prevents gas from blowing through the shot.
Shot:- Shots are small pellets in the shotshell that penetrate the object you aim for. They are made of Led, copper, steel, zink, and many other materials on various requirements.
However, it totally depends on your need what type of shot you should use. Instead of pellet shots, you can use slugs also for hunting buck, deer, or other big games. On the other hand, pellets are best for any wing birds like turkey, duck, waterfowl hunting, and clay shooting as well.
There are various shot sizes depending on the shooting activities, for instance, SSG, BB, #2, #4, and so on. The larger the pellet size, the lower will be the number of pellets, and the smaller the pellet size, the higher will be the number of pellets. Also, we need to understand that a choke tube acts differently with different sizes of pellets.
For example, if you are using shot #2 to hunt a wing bird from a 40-yard distance using an improved modified choke tube, you may miss the target. Large size pellets have less density because of the low number of shots. So they are not appropriate to shoot small wing birds. Instead, there are 90 percent chances that you hunt a buck or deer with the same combination. So your purpose of buying a choke tube should be clear in your mind.
Steps To Choose A Choke Tube For Your Shotgun
1. Know your shotgun pattern
Here I am talking about the thread size. It is important to know what style your shotgun has, for example, If you have an SV10 Perennia, SV10 Prevail, A400 Xplor, Mod. 1301 & UGB25, or 471 Silver Hawk 12ga, it will be best to use beretta optima hp style choke tube only. If you apply the wrong choke tube that doesn’t match your shotgun-style then it may cause serious damage to your gun and even to you. Click here to check what thread pattern will be suitable according to your shotgun model.
2. Decide the purpose
Your purpose is the most important factor in deciding a choke tube for your shotgun. There are various activities like turkey hunting, duck hunting, small wing bird shooting, skeet, upland hunting, home guarding, and many more. If you are a turkey hunter, it is recommended to choose a full choke tube as it gives the tightest pattern in long-range and ensures the headshot.
On the other hand, if you hunt deer or buck you should surely have the cylinder or improved cylinder choke tube as buck shots have a large diameter. Whereas, modified choke have moderate constriction and great to shoot wing birds in 30 to 40 yards. However, it is sometimes debatable because of other variable factors like distance, shooting proficiency, the size of a game.
3. Choke Marking
It is the process of recognizing and identifying different choke tubes and thread patterns. There can be different marks, colors, notches, and stars. It is a bit complicated as different manufacturers denote it in different ways, i.e. Beretta marking will be different from Browning, Remington, and so on. Most choke tubes usually have small thin slots cut on the mussel or tip. The number of cuts defines different types of choke tube style, you can watch in the diagram below.
4. Compare the quality
Now once your purpose is visible to you and you know the best fit for your firearm, you have so many brands and options available in the market. It is recommended to not be confused, just stick to your requirements. Quality matters the most. Most choke tubes are made of steel or titanium alloy, and both are great corrosion resistant, sturdy, and long-lasting. Compare price range, material quality, and warranty of choke before making your mind to buy.
Frequently Ask Question:-
1. Are extended choke tubes better?
Yes, the extended choke tubes are much better to deliver tighter patterns and usually are more expensive. When it comes to ease of installation and protection of your barrel from any accidental damage, extended choke tubes really are worthwhile.
2. What is the best choke tube for steel shots?
A skeet choke or an Improved Cylinder choke tube is the best to use for steel shots. Never use a tight constriction choke tube with steel shots like improved modified and full choke. It may cause serious injury or may harm your gun’s barrel.
3. What is the best choke tube for skeet?
The ideal choke tube for skeet is Cylinder and improved cylinder as they produce most spread patterns in 15 to 25 yards. However, it varies on the range and distance of your shooting. If the target range is more, you will need a choke tube with more constriction.
4. What is the best choke for home defense?
For home defense, you can use open improved cylindrical or modified choke tubes. The open cylindrical pattern will produce a lot of spread, while a full choke is for long-distance shooting.
5. Can I shoot my shotgun without a choke?
It is highly recommended to not shoot any shot from your shotgun without a choke tube. In case you use heavy loads without a choke tube, it may damage the barrel or muzzle part. However, if you still want, you may do it at your own risk.
6. How to clean a shotgun choke tube?
It is pretty easy to clean a choke tube.
- You can use a good choke tube cleaner and brush available in the market.
- Take a small jar, pour a little amount of choke tube cleaner, and let the choke tube soak a bit.
- It will lose all the built-up plastic inside the choke. Use the brush on the thread and move it wisely.
- Clean the choke with the help of a towel and give good grease to the thread.
It is necessary to clean the choke tube and barrel every time after using. If you do that, it will add some extra life to your choke tube and gun barrel by avoiding rust and making them work smoothly.