View Full Version : Purpose of Chokes?

June 6, 2000, 02:10 PM
I just got a Benelli M1 Super 90 Field with a 24" barrel as a first shotgun. I plan to use it for trap in the beginning. It comes with a set of 5 chokes. Could anyone explain to me what chokes do exactly? Do they help compensate for a short barrel, making a 24" group like a non-choked 28"? Any info or links explaining this concept is much appreciated. Thanks!

Jeff, CA
June 6, 2000, 04:33 PM
They enable you to choose the degree of spread of your pattern. An "open" choke, like improved cylinder or skeet, will give you lots of spread - this is good for short range work, since it's more forgiving of aiming error, plus the shot won't be so concentrated, so it won't mangle a small bird you were planning on eating. Toward the other end, the full or extra full choke keeps the shot in a tighter group, so it's more concentrated downrange. This might be useful for larger birds and/or longer ranges.

Shorter barrels do have more inherent spread than a longer barrel with the same choke, but there's a lot of overlap in their pattern size. I'm guessing here, but your short barrel might give you one step more spread than a long one (a full choke in yours might pattern like a modified choke in the longer).

You should consider taking some large (30x30") sheets of blank paper, like butcher paper, and shoot them with the different chokes at different ranges. This will give you an idea of the size of the pattern for different conditions, and also show you where the center of the pattern is hitting relative to your point of aim.

*zipping up fireproof longjohns for the inevitable flames*

Bam Bam
June 6, 2000, 07:10 PM
Please find out if the club where you shoot trap will also let you pattern the gun and chokes as Jeff described. Since you seem to be a newbie to shotguns I recommend reading Bob Brister's book 'Shotgunning, the art and the science' or Michael McIntosh's 'Shotguns and Shotgunning.' Both are a good start on having a lot of enjoyment with your new firearm.

June 6, 2000, 07:49 PM
Both books mentioned by Bam Bam are excellent . If you want a web reference go to:

www.shotgunreport.com (http://www.shotgunreport.com)

Use the search engine to inquire about chokes. Bruce Buck (The Technoid) has written tomes on chokes, what they do and how they work. Including a lot of theory about shot diffusion etc. If you can stand to sift through all of the verbage you may get an answer to your question.

Geoff Ross

BTW I own a bagful of chokes and constantly change them.

June 6, 2000, 10:26 PM
Is a 24" barrel acceptable for trap, as a base length, however choked?

Dave McC
June 6, 2000, 11:10 PM
Gaz, yes, but...

A 21" bbled 870 is the same length as a 28" bbled double. Most trap shooters tend to use longer bbls, for sight radius and to move the balance point forward for a steadier,smoother swing.

Whether that bbl is acceptable is dependent on how far you want to take your shooting. For fun, occasional matches, and so on, it's quite acceptable IF you can hit with it. For folks who want to break 100 straight, it might be a little short.

June 7, 2000, 04:18 PM
Shotgunreport.com is a good reference. I read that the choke is designed to slow down the wad too. I hear different wads can change your patterns too.


June 9, 2000, 11:07 AM
I regularly shoot ATA competitions, so I'm a fanatic. If you get hooked, the next thing you'll want is a longer bbl, porting, adjustable comb and buttpad. There's also sporting clays with that bbl length. Most clubs in my area have open-trap nights. If you live near Phila. PA area, I can give more info on clubs. Good luck