View Full Version : Choke -- A Dime and a Shotgun

October 23, 2000, 05:35 PM
In another post, it was mentioned that a dime will tell you whether your choke is full or not. If the dime goes in the choke it is less than full, if it doesn't the opposite is true. Or at least that's the theory.

So I measured 5 American dimes and the average width is .704 inches -- ranging from .702 to .705. If the standard bore diameter of a 12 gauge shotgun is .729 inches the difference or "constriction" is .25 inches which is between modified and improved modified. The standard full choke constriction is .35 to .40 inches.

But the measurement of the choke at the end of the barrel is only relevant if you know the interior barrel diameter. On a backbored shotgun of say .755, you could drop the dime down a barrel that has an extra full choke.

On the other hand, Italian shotguns are often very tightly bored. My Beretta 682 has barrels that measure .723, therfore at .704 the dime represents a modified choke.

Now for the practical test. I dropped the dime, so to speak, on 3 of my guns. The Krieghoff Model 32 marked IM and F allowed the dime to pass. The Beretta 682 would not allow the dime to go through either the IM or Full tube (remember the tight chambers, the chokes are a little tighter to make up the difference). A live pigeon sxs choked .29" and .43" allowed the dime through the more open barrel but not the tighter tube.

However, barrel constriction is not a true measure of choke, performance is. Full choke is 70 percent of the pellets into a 30 inch circle at 40 yards. But with judicious reloading, I can change choke performance at least one designation in either direction. Lower velocity, harder shot and larger shot all generally contribute to tighter patterns. There are also special wads available that will open up shot patterns for guns that are tightly choked. The aforementioned live pigeon gun would have been an aerial meat grinder on grouse hunts were it not for spreader wads.

It doesn't matter what the barrels say or even what the constriction is. What matters is whether your gun meets the standards of choke performance.

This little exercise has taught me two things: The first is that trying to measure chokes with a dime only proves that you have a dime and a shotgun. The second thing is that I didn't have enough to do today.

[This message has been edited by PJR (edited October 23, 2000).]

Dave McC
October 24, 2000, 06:05 AM
Thanks, PJR. Heard this Rural Myth since childhood, have always better things to do with my dimes(and time). Have also heard it with nickels.

Next, we'll try patterning dimes loaded into shotgun shells and confirm or deny THAT myth(G)...

October 24, 2000, 07:45 AM
Allright you two, I said it was unscientific!

It worked on my remchokes and Briley K80 chokes. I don't know about those spaghetti guns. So there!

Geoff Ross

Dave McC
October 24, 2000, 07:54 AM
Hey, Geoff, we can agree to disagree.

One wonders about Karma, been on this BB about a year(my,how time flies) and this AM was the first posts about the Dime thing I recall.

October 24, 2000, 08:02 AM
Dave ...Nickels???

I got this idea from an old duck hunter who can't read the choke markings on his rem chokes in the dark. Swears it helps him install the right choke.

I checked it again on my K 80 brileys, it will fit into all the chokes up to IM, it will not fit into LF on up. Works on the Remchokes too.

The gentleman was asking about markings on his Miroku, I doubt that the gun is backbored and the dime method would work if he doesn't have any measuring devices. Anyone want to try it on their citori to see if it works.

Geez...next you guys are going to tell me you can't measure proper fit by placing the butt in the crook of your arm...... :)

Geoff Ross

October 24, 2000, 08:33 AM

Have a busier day in store so I won't do the "butt in the crook of your arm" review. :D

I can't explain why the dime trick works in your Krieghoff and my older model lets them slide right through. The chokes pattern correctly on my Model 32 so it must have a larger interior diameter.

[This message has been edited by PJR (edited October 24, 2000).]

Dave McC
October 24, 2000, 12:38 PM
Yup, nickels. T'was the other end of the choke spectrum, a nickel supposedly will go through true cylinder but not IC. Still have better uses for my money.

A couple of other suspected shotgun myths you might want to check out....

Ansley Fox shotguns are nigh infinitely adjustable for wear.

Melted tallow poured in shotgun shells keep buckshot patterning much tighter.

The reason that the 12 ga is the most popular is there were 12 Apostles. (But what about us Jewish shotgunners?)...

One of those above is true,BTW.

As for pure BS, one of my old hunting buddies could do well with his antique and well worn A-5 w/ Full choke on woodcock. He explains he could just use the edge of the pattern so it wouldn't tear up the bird at the dinky ranges we got shots at.

In fact, he loaded his own with dead soft shot, no cup, with a thin wad or two in the shot column, a classic spreader load. Since Homie was an excellent shot anyway, he got away with it until everyone else took up reloading and figured out his secret..

October 24, 2000, 03:13 PM
If anybody else wants to do the nickle test be my guest. I'm off pheasant hunting tomorrow morning for the rest of the week.

As to the rest of the questions:

The Fox isn't not infinitely adjustable but according to my references the Lefever comes closest to that goal.

Tallow poured into the shells should make buckshot patterns tighter but I haven't tried it. I guess it would serve to keep the pellets together.

As for the 12 gauge and the 12 apostles that's a new one on me. How does this explain the popularity of the 16 gauge in Europe? Why not the ten gauge? That would be one for each commandmant.

Inquiring minds want to know.

October 24, 2000, 03:24 PM
A nickel will fit in cylinder chokes???
Lemme go check this out......

Huff Puff wheeze...
I tried it, doesn't work, nickel won't even fit into the barrels sans choke tubes. No wonder the old duck hunter didn't know that. But he swears the butt in the crook of the arm works, and he is too stubborn to argue with.

I know that Fox guns can be adjusted, so that must be the correct one right???

Geoff Ross

(Rural Myth?)

I may not be an expert, but I do have an opinion!

Dave McC
October 24, 2000, 08:34 PM
Ok, in a fit of exasperation, I grabbed a couple of dimes and a nickel from the change jar and hied myself downstairs just now to what the rest of the family calls,"Daddy's store". Taking a bunch of choke tubes out, I started dropping the coins into them.

Nickels, forget it.

The dimes went easily through IC and Mod tubes from two different makers, but hung up in the two extra full turkey tubes. So, this myth has some basis in fact. Sorry, no full chokes tubes here.

As for those other myths....

Fox made his shotgun for posterity. All his shotguns were greatly adjustable for wear. Mike McIntosh lauds the design in one of his books,and says that no Fox was ever shot out by the original owner, to his knowledge.

Elmer Keith talks about the tallow thing in his shotgun book . He says it works. I'm not inclined to test it and I do NOT recommend anyone trying. Russell Annabel mentioned the same thing in one of his stories about Alaska.

The 12 apostles thing was told to me by the only certified nutcase I ever met at a turkey shoot. He also said the Devil loved the smell of gunpowder, and it took prayer to make the shells evil free.