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Old November 27, 2012, 09:15 PM   #1
Chris9472
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Three Shotgun questions...

1. What exactly is a "choke"?
2. Why would I want or need one?
3. Why are they mostly only used on pumps, O/U and not SXS?
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Old November 27, 2012, 09:32 PM   #2
SDC
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A choke is the constriction in the barrel that controls how fast the shot charge will expand once it exits the muzzle; generally, they go from "full choke" (the tightest) to "cylinder" (meaning the interior of the barrel is just a straight-walled tube), but there are other specialized types that can do things like spin a slug, or spread the shot charge out in a horizontal line. These are useful in some sporting or gaming shooting, where you want a tight pattern out at extended ranges (putting a large percentage of the pattern on a clay target or game bird). Generally, they are seen on ALL shotguns, but the types you normally see on SxS shotguns are "built in", with the more open choke on the first barrel fired, and the tighter choke on the second barrel fired, and you can order whatever you'd like on most modern-built guns. So, depending on the shots you're expecting to take, you can either change the choke tubes out, or use a barrel set that is choked to deliver the best pattern for the range you'll be firing at.
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Old November 27, 2012, 10:05 PM   #3
Chris9472
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Quote:
A choke is the constriction in the barrel that controls how fast the shot charge will expand once it exits the muzzle; generally, they go from "full choke" (the tightest) to "cylinder" (meaning the interior of the barrel is just a straight-walled tube), but there are other specialized types that can do things like spin a slug, or spread the shot charge out in a horizontal line. These are useful in some sporting or gaming shooting, where you want a tight pattern out at extended ranges (putting a large percentage of the pattern on a clay target or game bird). Generally, they are seen on ALL shotguns, but the types you normally see on SxS shotguns are "built in", with the more open choke on the first barrel fired, and the tighter choke on the second barrel fired, and you can order whatever you'd like on most modern-built guns. So, depending on the shots you're expecting to take, you can either change the choke tubes out, or use a barrel set that is choked to deliver the best pattern for the range you'll be firing at.
Very informative. Thank you! This is one of those things that is often just taken as common knowledge yet never explained to commoners.
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Old November 28, 2012, 10:57 AM   #4
PetahW
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There's a distinction between "choke" (which most shotgun barrels have), and "choke tubes", which are threaded/removeable tubes with various choke borings that improve the versalitility of a shotgun so equipped, especially single-barreled guns like pumps/autos.

There's some specialized shooting, however (like deer slugs), where NO "choke", aka: a straight choke (or Imp Cyl) or rifling (for saboted slugs) are preferred.


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Old November 28, 2012, 11:37 AM   #5
Husqvarna
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SxS vs O/U

you got a better line of sight with a O/U, some people prefer SxS for targets on the ground, as you swing along the ground horizontally, but for birds/clays you also swing vertically and gain more with a O/U.

o/u automatically adds weight versus a pump or s-auto due to it being two barrels, this is good for a smooth swing, at the olympics I didn't see one semi or pump
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Old November 28, 2012, 03:08 PM   #6
BigJimP
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A lot of the "tactical" shotguns with short barrels...have no choke to their barrels ...they're just an open "Cyclinder".

Prior to the 1980's ....all shotguns had barrels with choke restrictions that were fixed, or not changeable. So when I was a kid in the 50's --- we might have had a "waterfowl" gun with a Full choke. We had a "pheasant gun" with a Modified choke....etc..../ because killing a pheasant at 30 yds with a Full choke would destroy the bird vs just kill it ......and trying to shoot waterfowl with a modified choke, would just wound a lot of birds vs kill them effectively ( in general ...there are exceptions ) ...but the point is, we had several shotguns, with different fixed chokes in their respective barrels - for whatever we hunted.

In the 1980's when Browning and others developed barrels that were threaded inside the ends of the barrel ...we had the first screw in, changeable chokes. We could then buy these "choke tubes" ....one for "Cyclinder", one for "Modified, one for "Full", etc....and then use one shotgun, with 3 different steel "choke tube" inserts that threaded inside the barrels...to change the choke in the barrel...and make it a "Skeet gun", or a "Quail gun", or a "pheasant gun", or a waterfowl gun.

So today, when we talk about shotguns....we get into all kinds of stuff on barrel length, etc....on swing characteristics ...and what kinds of changeable "choke tubes" we want to have to make that gun more versatile.
All of this makes it really easy ....along with the wide variety of shells available commercially - especially in a 12ga - with a combination of different chokes and different loads....we can make that 12ga easily perform like a 16ga, or 20ga or even a 28ga....just by changing the choke and the shell we choose. Where 50 yrs ago ...we had 6 or 7 different shotguns...each with a more or less specific purpose / and there was no where near the variety of shells available commercially - that there is today.
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Old November 29, 2012, 03:30 AM   #7
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BigJimP: Even before changeable chokes were introduced, weren't you able to use one gun for several purposes by swapping barrels? For instance, a guy might have a Remington 1100 and two barrels; one a fixed modified and the other a fixed full. More expensive and cumbersome than screw in chokes but disn't it work? I imagine it could be a bitch if you had to hike back a few miles in which case you wouldn't want to lug an extra barrel or two.
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Old November 29, 2012, 08:03 AM   #8
jaguarxk120
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The classic Winchester Model 12 could be bought with extra barrels having different chokes.

Also the Ithaca Model 37 could be bought with extra barrels.

And then there were the Lyman, Cutts, and PolyChokes (adjustable).

There were several other adjustable choke systems that I can not recall right now.
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Old November 29, 2012, 09:43 AM   #9
boattale
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I still have my old 870 wingmaster with a 26" IC barrel and a 28" Modified barrel. And its still the nicest shotgun I own.
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Old November 29, 2012, 12:42 PM   #10
ChasingWhitetail91
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I was in dicks sporting goods the other day and they had a sxs (-12 inches of barrel) with diesel looking choke tubes on them. Why not just keep the barrel intact you dopes.
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Old November 29, 2012, 02:20 PM   #11
BigJimP
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yes, some people did have 2nd barrels for some guns.....if they had the money. But in a lot of blue collar families, at least mine, back in the day ...spending more than $50 on any gun, would have been considered just plain stupid -----many shotguns, etc were acquired as a trade - for meat, firewood, etc ....or passed down in the family if someone passed away.

My grandfather went duck hunting a lot on sunday mornings...( to get away from grandma probably...) ...but also to provide for sunday dinner...( and maybe the season was open, maybe not..don't really know what the game laws were then...) and from the time I was 5 or 6, I went along often....but I don't think he ever took more than 10 shells in his hunting coat...because he only wanted 2 ducks for dinner../ and while we ate a lot of duck ....I'm pretty sure he only fired 50 or so shells a year....and he'd be absolutely shocked to hear today, that I fire 200 or more shells a week..../ it was a different time....and he was a "meat hunter".

and I realize there were cutts compensators, poly chokes, etc ....and even back in the day, there were some sub-gague tube sets being made for guys that had the money - as competition skeet shooters...

...but I was trying to give a new shooter a perspective, on what is most common these days, and why we use them ...vs what was common in the 50's and 60's ...

I hear this question come up quite a bit in gunshops...because guys don't really know what chokes are for....or that some guns, especially on the used market, still have barrels with fixed chokes. Its a common question -- why do I need chokes, what chokes should I buy, what shells to use, etc....at gun shops and my clay target club..../ a lot of new shooters just haven't been around this stuff....
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Old November 29, 2012, 07:19 PM   #12
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Life's about choices, and back in the days before choke tubes (or polychokes), a hunter (whatever) usually just bought a shotgun with a barrel that was choked to suit the bulk of his activities, and made it "do" for the others.

Even the shooters with extra barrels made their choice before leaving for the hunt, and left the extra bbl home.(there was already almost too much to carry, anyway)


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Old November 29, 2012, 09:40 PM   #13
boattale
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I don't take choke tubes with me hunting today. It's no more or less of a deal actually to change barrels than to change chokes tubes. And a second barrel was then and is now a lot less jack than a second shotgun with a different choke.
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