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Old September 5, 2009, 12:08 AM   #1
koolminx
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New owner, Choke question

What the heck does it do?

What's the difference between a 12 Gauge and a 32" barrel and a 12 gauge with a 29" barrel and a Full Choke.

Now, what's a 3/4 choke or a modified choke Etc...

What are the pattern or range changes, and what would happen if you took off the choke and shot it?

Sorry for all the questions but this is the first I've owned a "cheater gun".

All my life, whenever I bird or fowl hunted with my friends I used my bow... But now I can't shoot as well as I could so I got this cheap azz cheater gun...

Help a feller out please?


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Old September 5, 2009, 12:44 AM   #2
RNB65
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Good questions!

Quote:
What the heck does it do?
It varies the diameter of the shot pattern by constricting the diameter of the muzzle. A tight shot cloud will give you more distance. An open shot cloud will make short shots easier but not be effective on longer shots.

Quote:
What's the difference between a 12 Gauge and a 32" barrel and a 12 gauge with a 29" barrel and a Full Choke.
Barrel length and choke are unrelated. Barrel length is a matter of personal preference based on feel, handling, and sight picture. Barrel length has no significant effect on ballistic performance. Some people prefer short barrels (24-26"), some prefer long barrels (32-34"), but most shotgunners usually find that the medium length barrels (28-30") are the best all-around choice. I prefer 28" barrels on my autoloaders and 30" barrels on my O/U's.

Quote:
Now, what's a 3/4 choke or a modified choke Etc...
The typical chokes are:

Cylinder = 0 constriction (ie, the muzzle diameter is the same as the barrel bore diameter).
Skeet = .005" constriction
Improved Cylinder = .010" constriction (aka, quarter choke)
Modified = .020" constriction (aka, half choke)
Improved Modified = .030" constriction (aka, 3/4 choke)
Full = .040" constriction

The more constriction you have the smaller the muzzle diameter and the tighter the shot cloud. Note that these are the typical choke constrictions. Some companies such as Briley make choke tubes in 10 or more different constrictions.

Quote:
What are the pattern or range changes, and what would happen if you took off the choke and shot it?
The diameter of a shot pattern will vary quite dramatically based on different choke sizes and different shotshell loads. The only way to know for sure is to put up big sheets of paper and shoot patterns.

Shooting without a choke tube in place will give you a very wide (short range) pattern and fill the barrel threads with plastic which will make putting a choke tube back in very difficult. Never shoot a shotgun without a choke tube in place. Just a really bad idea.
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Old September 5, 2009, 01:28 AM   #3
Nnobby45
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Quote:
The typical chokes are:

Cylinder = 0 constriction (ie, the muzzle diameter is the same as the barrel diameter).
Improved Cylinder = .010" constriction
Modified = .020" constriction
Improved Modified = .030" constriction
Full = .040" constriction
..............................
True

Quote:
The more constriction you have the smaller the muzzle diameter and the tighter the shot cloud.
Not exactly. In order to understand points of contstriction as listed above, you have to know that the constriction isn't determined by the choke diameter. It's determined by the DIFFERENCE between the INSIDE bore diameter and the constriction at the muzzle.

Obviously, as the choke diameter gets smaller, the bigger the difference, and the tighter the pattern.

If that difference is 40 pts. of constriction or .040, the choke is full, and so on.

Two barrels with the exact same constriction at the muzzle can have different patterns, simply because of variations in the inside bore diameter.

Also, know the true test is patterning the shotgun at 40 yds. in a 30 in. circle. The % of shot in that 30" circle will tell you what your pattern is with a given load.

TIP: Shoot first, then draw the circle

Expect smaller shot to have bigger patterns than larger.

Expect chokes set up for lead shot to pattern much tighter with steel shot.

Know that the figures listed are for 12ga. For determining 20 ga. chokes, we're working with fewer points of constriction having the same effect on patterns.

The gunstore I frequent has a gage that can be inserted into the bore to determine it's inside diameter. Then by measuring the choke at the muzzle, and subtracting that from the inside bore diameter, I have a good idea what to expect from a barrel. Still--patterning on paper as described is how to really know your shotgun.

Gauge is determined by the number of lead balls the diameter of the bore that equal about a lb.

Except for .410, which is a reference to bore diameter.

It's true that the barrel length has nothing to do with tightness of pattern, except that longer barrels tend to be choked modified and full. Longer barrels for long range waterfowl hunting, for example.

Open pattern chokes tend to be shorter. Quail and grouse hunting at closer range, for example, need to be faster handling than a barrel used for pass shooting geese.

With modern screw- in, interchangeable choke systems, barrels tend to be shorter than fixed choke barrels.

Last edited by Nnobby45; September 5, 2009 at 01:41 AM.
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Old September 5, 2009, 01:38 AM   #4
RNB65
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Quote:
Also, know the true test is patterning the shotgun at 40 yds. in a 30 in. circle. The % of shot in that 30" circle will tell you what your pattern is with a given load.
I always pattern at 25yds because that's around an average shot distance for the sporting clays ranges I use. Knowing what the gun is doing at a real world distance is more useful to me than knowing what it's doing at 40 yards. Besides, I can't hit anything at 40yds. My shotgun shooting talent ends rather quickly somewhere just beyond 30yds.
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Old September 5, 2009, 09:34 AM   #5
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Let's not forget the typical constrictions mentioned are for 12-ga guns. Where 0.040" is a superfull choke in a 12-ga gun, it takes only 0.020" to do the same job in a .410-bore barrel. Here are somelinks to Briley's useful choke data:
  1. Sporting Clays Choke Chart.
  2. Choke Constriction Chart.
  3. Hunting Choke Recommendations.
  4. American to European Conversion Chart (12-ga).
  5. Star Markings.
  6. Lead to Steel Shot Conversion (12-ga).
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Old September 5, 2009, 07:42 PM   #6
Nnobby45
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Quote:
I always pattern at 25yds because that's around an average shot distance for the sporting clays ranges I use. Knowing what the gun is doing at a real world distance is more useful to me than knowing what it's doing at 40 yards.
I agee with patterning at real world distances to see how things work.

However, if you're interested in knowing the true choke of your shotgun, it's done by figuring the number of pellets in the load, and counting the number that are within the circle at 40 yds, then figuring pattern %.

That's how it's done, not my invention. When you stop to think about it, 40yds. is a pretty good distance to see which chokes start thinning out, and which are still going strong.

Once you know what choke you have, THEN pattern at 25 yds. to see what it looks like there. Sorta like sighting in high at 100 yds with a rifle to be on at a certain distance.

For example, I've discovered that my 12 Ga. IC actually shoots within IC specs, and that I still have consistent tight enough patterns out to 35 to 37 yds. using # 6 shot. Then I can see what it looks like at 15, 20, 25 yds, etc.

If you've got time and plenty of rolls of heavy butcher paper (that's best) you can learn a lot about all your bbls. with different loads. Now days, you can take pics and store them on pc. for future reference.

Quote:
Besides, I can't hit anything at 40yds. My shotgun shooting talent ends rather quickly somewhere just beyond 30yds.
It can be learned. Don't forget the pattern is bigger out there. That's why you'd benefit by knowing what your bbl. is doing at longer ranges.

The field is full of shotgun shooters who severely handicap themselves by shooting too tight a choke. Giving up some range for more open pattern can work wonders. Went to IC with #6's in my 12 ga. for chukar and never looked back. When I use 20ga., I need modified to make up for the less shot.

Last edited by Nnobby45; September 5, 2009 at 07:59 PM.
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Old September 6, 2009, 01:06 AM   #7
koolminx
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You guy's are awsome! Thank you all very much.

I shoot a $70 dollar Pardner, that kicks the poopy stuff out of me because there's no butt rubber, and it only weighs about 4 lbs... OUCH

No choke on it. I polished my barrel up to look like chrome because I hated the 1989 blued look on a blond stock...

Cheap, hurts like oh my golly, but only for fun shootin, I still take my birds with a Bow and Arrow.

Last edited by koolminx; September 6, 2009 at 10:06 AM.
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Old September 6, 2009, 09:10 AM   #8
LanceOregon
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Quote:

I shoot a $70 dollar Pardner, that kicks the schitt out of me because there's no butt rubber, and it only weighs about 4 lbs... OUCH

No choke on it. I polished my barrel up to look like chrome because I hated the 1989 blued look on a blond stock...

Cheap, hurts like hell, but only for fun shootin, I still take my birds with a Bow and Arrow.

I've never heard of a Pardner shotgun with no choke on the barrel. Most likely your shotgun either has a full or modified choked barrel.


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Old September 6, 2009, 10:05 AM   #9
koolminx
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My Pardner has a thin straight non threaded barrel... It cost $70 bucks I think...
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Old September 6, 2009, 11:04 AM   #10
LanceOregon
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If you don't know the specs of your gun, you might want to call Harrington and Richardson at their toll free number and see if someone in their customer service department can identify for you which specific Pardner model you have: (866) 776-9292

If it has a full choke then it is sort of useless for any bird hunting except for turkey hunting.

If it has a modified choke, then you should be able to get by using it.

Full choke is pretty much un-useable now for waterfowl hunting since the ban on lead shot. And for upland game hunting, it is too tight a choke for most shooting situations.

What type of bird hunting do you do??

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Old September 12, 2009, 05:04 PM   #11
cjvine
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pardner

Hi, I'm new to the firing line forum not a technical hunter but i would like to chip in, single barrelled shot guns where oringinaly made for game keepers in the u.k. for pest control, they were light weight, so they kicked like a bastard, sometimes refered to as a knock about gun they usually came with full choke in order to give maximun range, these guns loaded with a number 5 shot cartridge were capable of stopping a fox and bringing down a high rook or crow. As a young man these were usually the first gun as they were inexpensive and if you dropped to a 1 oz load you will reduce the kick.
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Old September 12, 2009, 05:17 PM   #12
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To your other question about 3/4 choke - Many Europeans mention chokes as Cylinder, Quarter (IC), Half (M), Three Quarter (IM), and Full. If you buy Beretta or Geurini or similar that come with 5 different chokes, odds are that is what you'll get. Now Perazzi is different in that they measure chokes in .004 increments, so a Perazzi choke labeled "4", actually measures .016 (.004 x 4), so if you see a pigeon gun marked 7 and 10, it will be a tight IM and an extra full

Here's yet another chart I like to add to the ones Zippy gave you:

http://www.hallowellco.com/choke_chart.htm
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Old September 12, 2009, 06:20 PM   #13
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Quote: "No choke on it. "

Some chokes are screwed onto the outside/end of shotgun barrel and some chokes are built into the inside. Your gun probably has the latter. You can't tell by looking that the internal choke is there. Very few shotguns are sold without some kind of choke, either built-in or external, except for short range defense guns intended for slugs and/or buckshot.
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Old September 12, 2009, 07:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Some chokes are screwed onto the outside/end of shotgun barrel and some chokes are built into the inside. Your gun probably has the latter. You can't tell by looking that the internal choke is there. Very few shotguns are sold without some kind of choke, either built-in or external, except for short range defense guns intended for slugs and/or buckshot.
ACTUALLY, most of your higher-end shotguns ARE fixed choke - that is no removable choke tubes, the choke is designed into the barrel when it is bored out...Spanish guns like AyA, Arrietta, Grulla among others, English guns like H&H, Purdey, Boss and others, even some fine Italian SxS's and O/U's can come with fixed chokes. Personally, if I could, I would get a very nice sporter with fixed chokes - one less thing to fuss with
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Old September 15, 2009, 02:02 PM   #15
LanceOregon
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Personally, if I could, I would get a very nice sporter with fixed chokes - one less thing to fuss with
I'm doubtful that few, if any, would agree with you about this.

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Old September 15, 2009, 02:23 PM   #16
hogdogs
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Lance, I am one of those few...
I have owned one gun with tube threads... it came with a mod and it left with a mod and I never bought a tube for it... For less than specialty clay sports I see no reason for tubes. For wing shooting a fixed choke in mod or imp. mod has dropped me plenty of supper. For a deer gun I like a short barrel and learned to do fine with a cyl. and slugs or 00 buck. Never even fired a gun with full choke as far as I can remember...
Brent
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Old September 15, 2009, 02:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Quote:
Personally, if I could, I would get a very nice sporter with fixed chokes - one less thing to fuss with
I'm doubtful that few, if any, would agree with you about this.
Maybe yes or maybe no, but I see more and more of the shooters here who NEVER change their chokes - these are M class , AA, and A class shooters. If you're constantly changing chokes at each station, then you're NOT focusing on the target. For sporting AND FITASC, I'd go LM/IM. For sporting only, I'd go IC/M or IC/IM - all assuming I did have a selectable trigger.
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Old September 15, 2009, 05:02 PM   #18
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A gun without screw in chokes - makes no sense to me.

The idea of a shotgun - is to deliver a 30" pattern at the "kill range" or break point of the target. To intentionally shoot a choke where you don't get a 30" pattern - defeats the purpose of a shotgun / for no reason, when you can easily change the choke, if the gun has the option.

Do guys obsess too much over chokes - sure / but it makes no sense to shoot a Modified choke at 15 yards / or at 70 yards ..... in the field, if you have a IC / Mod barrel ........and a bird comes up at 15 yards, you can wait for it to move out, then take your shot / while I suppose you could do that in sporting clays, there is no reason to ... just change the choke.

Many of us are old enough to remember when shotguns had only fixed chokes / and we had a "duck gun", a "pheasant gun" and a "grouse gun" ...but why go back there ! If I wanted a custom made SXS / I would insist they put screw in chokes in it - just like Kolar, Krieghoff, etc do... ( its an improvement over where we were in the 50's ). But then again I like 1911 handguns made in 9mm, and a GPS installed in my car too ......
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Old September 15, 2009, 05:47 PM   #19
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Jim - on initial analysis, 99% are gonna agree with you and not with me - that's OK, I'm used to being a contrarian.....the folks I mentioned that have chokes but do not change them do one thing - they change shells....they carry 8-1/2 and 7-1/2.....and use them accordingly - 8-1/2 for close targets and 7-1/2 for rabbits and far targets....again, these folks are top shooters, including one in the NSCA HOF.....can't argue too much with that.....most sporting targets are best shot with a IC or M choke, so why NOT have fixed chokes - less worry about blow-by, no need to figure out chokes in .005 increments....instead you focus on the target.....if you're on the bird, you're on the bird......

JMO, and I know it isn't the most popular..........
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Old September 15, 2009, 06:19 PM   #20
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It's ok OneOunce, I have the same discussion a lot with a friend that insists on shooting Mod/Mod chokes on a Skeet field. He thinks it makes him better ... / and there are a lot of guys that feel the same way / and you're right, they vary their shells to help compensate.

I think it defeats the concept of the pattern / and when my buddy and I were shooting sporting clays a lot / he rarely beat me in our class but to each his own .....as long as shooters make the choice based on the understanding of the issues / they're making informed decisions .... and that's all either one of us is trying to do.
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Old September 16, 2009, 09:41 AM   #21
Dave McC
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Lots pf us that started shotgunning before the common availability of choke tubes(Note the first US patent issued for same was in the 1860s) learned to change loads for different shot opps.

Out of tightly choked repeaters like we all had then, cheap 8s worked for quail, hard 7 1/2s for longer shots there and dove,even the first shot on ringnecks over dogs. Squirrels, pheasants and rabbits got 4s,5s, or 6s, ducks got 4s and geese 2s. Most of us bought ammo one box at a time then, so we always had plenty of variety. Those who reloaded oft tailored ammo for a mission and barrel.

Choke tubes have changed that, though I note that I can still do a decent job with an 870 and a fixed choke.
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Old September 16, 2009, 09:59 AM   #22
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Quote:
Cheap, hurts like oh my golly, but only for fun shootin, I still take my birds with a Bow and Arrow.
Koolminx - you da man! LOL, maybe I'm moving in your direction, though I can't shoot a bow worth snot. Over time, I've moved from an autoloader, to a pump, to a SxS, and have lately been bird hunting with a single-shot which is only one step up from a bow and arrow, I guess. I do carry an extra shell in my off-hand fingers but it only makes me look like I know what I'm doing. I'll get faster in time. I figure if I get the bird, good day for me. If I don't, good day for the bird.

I've watched guys bird hunting with bow and arrow and they seem to have more fun than is legal in most states. It's the only time I see people giggling and high-fiving over an "almost" hit.
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Old September 16, 2009, 10:49 PM   #23
LanceOregon
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Lance, I am one of those few...
I have owned one gun with tube threads... it came with a mod and it left with a mod and I never bought a tube for it...
I'm sorry that you don't understand how choke can be such an extremely useful tool in hunting situations.

Just switching between lead and steel when going from upland to waterfowl hunting requires a much different choke in order to get a similar pattern.

I can remember as a young teenager reading Jack O'Connor's famous Outdoor Life book on shooting, and the section he had in it all about how chokes work. Heck, my first shotgun was a Browning Auto-5, and I had to swap out the entire barrel in order to change the choke on it!!

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Old September 16, 2009, 11:04 PM   #24
LanceOregon
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Quote:
...most sporting targets are best shot with a IC or M choke, so why NOT have fixed chokes - less worry about blow-by, no need to figure out chokes in .005 increments....instead you focus on the target.....if you're on the bird, you're on the bird......

You are over simplifying things here greatly. This all depends on the individual course that you are shooting at. I mainly shoot sporting clays with LM, which is a choke I've never even seen offered in a fixed choke shotgun. We typically do have a couple of real close targets, and a couple of distant ones too. Although our local operator is constantly changing the course. In any event, I only change chokes for those stations that are at the extremes.

If a person is so weak-minded that changing a choke tube between stations is going to ruin their concentration while on the course, well, then they have much bigger problems affecting their shooting that they clearly need to address.

Changing shot size has no significant effect on your pattern. 7 1/2 is more effective at longer ranges because the pellets retain more energy at those ranges than 8's do. 8's are not as reliable in breaking birds at long range.

That is the reason for varying your shot size.

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Old September 16, 2009, 11:04 PM   #25
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I will never be loading non-lead ammo I am strictly a meat hunter to aquire meat for less cash than it can be bought for.
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