View Full Version : Tight shotgun chokes

May 3, 2011, 01:55 AM
Hi all,
I've asked a similar question before but never really got the answer i'm looking for.

I have a huge problem with rabbit and possum shooting with my shotgun, I uses and 870 with a modified choke and have trouble killing animals at more than 30 yards even with no2 lead shot, I even brought some buckshot to try use but with the large pattern I would never know if id actually hit my target. I love using my shotgun put its almost a waste of time.

I would like to be able to shoot out to about 50 or 60 yards, is this possible? And what kind of choke will give me a tight enough pattern.

Deja vu
May 3, 2011, 06:37 AM
I may be off here so take what I say with a grain of salt. There are 3 factors that will help.

1. a tighter choke will get more pellets in a smaller area.
2. Improve the velocity of the pellets. This will improve your effective range.
3. Size of the pellets. Bigger pellets have more power.

the problem you run in to is that some of the really tight chokes are not meant for larger pellets like buck shot.

I would go with a high brass round of some thing like 4 shot and a improved or better choke.

All that said I think that you may be happier with a 22lr (or another plinking round like a 17hmr or even a 223).

May 3, 2011, 12:19 PM
In a 12ga some of the heavier loads like 1.5oz travel slower then 1.25oz loads so actually have less power. The only way you will know about your pattern is to pattern the gun, see, where it hits in comparison to where you aim, and how thight the choke is in a 30 inch circle, and how the shot is dispersed in that circle.

Old Grump
May 3, 2011, 02:52 PM
IM or full choke, #6 or #4 shot. Get some butcher paper and put a small target in the middle of it, go back 30 yards and shoot at it. You might not be anywhere near your target if your stock doesn't fit or your technique is bad. I use 2 3/4" shells and an IM choke for turkey at 35 yards with both a 20 gauge and a 12 gauge. No complaints from a customer yet.

Just a note, with my 10 gauge, 3 1/2" shells, buckshot and full choke I shoot a donut pattern at 30 yards and the hole in the middle of the pattern is big enough for a rabbit to be completely untouched. Any shot from #6 all the way up to #3 shot out of the same gun makes a nice even spread. Save the #2 for something really close that you are really mad at.

May 3, 2011, 08:18 PM
+1 on the pattern process, but when you set up your target and range, don't shoot like you would when shooting a rifle. Shooting a shotgun for pattern is best from a stable position, for fit, mount the gun and fire.
Start from a low shotgun position and then throw the gun up and shoot, just like you would when the rabbit appears. Mark your shot and repeat a few times, this will tell you how the gun fits you and help let you know why you are missing.
After you find out where the gun is shooting you can adjust the stock slightly and improve your shots.

May 6, 2011, 01:56 AM
Killing game, particularly furry type critters like rabbits and possum, at 50-60 yards with a shotgun is using the wrong tool for the job. As you have learned, increasing shot size will not help, and a tighter choke won't help much either.

Further, as you have also seemed to have learned, 30 yds is ideal shotgun range and much beyond that is a roll of the dice. Shotguns (with shot) are essentially short range weapons.

If you want to kill pests and small game at 50 -60 yds you need a scoped .22.

October 20, 2011, 08:24 AM
Hi Folks: You can call me an expert in tight shooting shotguns. I am a wv native who knows the value of a "tight shooting shotgun". First lets talk about how you obtain one. I own 31 shotguns. All 12-gauges 30" Full Chokes Model 12's (Winchesters), BAR (Brownings), and 1100 Remington & 870 Remington. I also have many barrels (30" FC) for each. OK, the reason(s) for so many shotgun was I was buying "tight" shooting shotguns. But found out that most of them shot the same. Some a little tighter, some not! Being a "Turkey Shoot" person, I soon found out the best "gunsmiths" who will make any shotgun barrel shoot a "wad" of shot at your distance and shell. I used a gunsmith in Richmond, Va, "shotguns unlimited" who "long ranged" my browning A-5, 3" Mag to shoot out to 50-60 yds. He simply went back behind the choke (FC) and reamed the barrel out bigger. He states he has a remington long range machine he purchased from Remington Arms. Back many years ago, Remington made shotguns stamped "Long Range", The back bores were bigger. They were (model 10's, 29's & 31's). Mostly 31's! They did shoot excellent! L.C. Smith made a double barrel stamped Long Range in a 3"magnum! These guns are for the dead eyes for the world. Meaning, you better be a dead eye dick and know how to shoot. I heard Fox & Ithaca made a barrel that was "custom" made for your sporting use but they are now longer in business as well as LC Smith. But you still can find them for sale. I know I have been long in my writing but buying many shotguns is not the answer to get a "tight" barrel. Simple take it to a good gunsmith. (Shotguns Unlimited) or ask turkey shoot people in your area who makes the best shooting barrels. You must research who does the best; hunting barrel or turkey shoot barrel..there is a differience in choke and length and bores. You can send just your barrel without any FFL (it is a repair). But believe me, you will see a remarkable differience. You can send a IC or Modified choke and it will be returned back to you a super shooter. Remember its not cheap but not that expensive. Abner

TX Hunter
October 20, 2011, 09:12 AM
I get really tight patterns out of an old Mossberg 835 ulti Mag i have it has a 28 inch barrel and i use an extended .675 choke. The barrel is already back bored. I killed a Gobler with it at 56 yards a few years back. Good luck

October 20, 2011, 09:21 AM
Welcome Abner. Its always great to have a new person here. Do you do any card shooting by chance?

October 20, 2011, 11:04 AM
trg42wraglefragle: Don't pretend to know squat about NZ firearms laws - but maybe at 60 yards on rabbit and possum you might want a .22? Otherwise - full or extra full choke MIGHT get about a third of your pellets (1-1/8 oz of #2 shot standard 1100 fps - about ~30 out of ~100) in a 30" area. But the velocity drops way down at 50 feet so your pellets are probably only going 300-400 fps at 60 yards. If you are wounding the animals you are after because the distance is as far as you say - stop - go pattern your gun with some heavier loads (duck or goose loads running 1500 fps) and install full, extra full, even turkey chokes. Or go get a rifle...

October 20, 2011, 11:55 AM
Abner, let me join my friend, olddrum1, in welcoming you aboard.

Thanks for your remarks. I suspect you're one of the guys who'd be know as a pot shooter, or boomer boy, at my club. You're probably well acquainted with the use Blue Dot powder.

October 20, 2011, 01:06 PM
Having watched a video of George Digweed, world sporting clays champion, breaking clay targets at 130 yards with target loads and his target gun, 50-60 killing shots on game is possible. However, unless you have the eyes and skill of George, a wounded runaway will be more than likely

The jug choking that abner is talking about can just as easily be replicated with a tight choke and the proper load

October 20, 2011, 02:01 PM
I'm right up in Richmond aswell. Welcome, I have to say I'm a bit more of a clays shooter as far as shotguns go.

As for the OP, I would use #4 3" rounds and a LF/F choke.

October 26, 2011, 08:15 PM
I don't see why a shotgun can't take furry critters out to 50+ yards. I do it all the time. I've shot squirrels, rabbits, grouse and other critters well past 50 yards with my shotguns. They do have 30 inch barrels with fixed full chokes. Wouldn't have them any other way. Card/turkey shoots turned me against screw in choke tubes. Don't get me wrong, they will shoot good patterns for a few shots then they fall on their face after they begin to heat. The fixed choke barrel's pattern will also change when it heats but no where close to the way the screw in choke tubes do. No offense to those that like the screw in choke tubes but personally a person couldn't give me one of them. I guess I'm just too old school but i just go with what preforms best for my needs.

October 26, 2011, 09:37 PM
Interesting comment classicshotgunner. I noticed that my screw-in chokes come loose somewhere during my 25 shots during Trap Shooting. Never thought it would be affecting my shooting.

I can say this: I shoot better with my fixed-barrel Rem 1100 and my wifes fixed-barrel Rem 870.

Always thought it was just taking me time go get used to the new gun. Maybe not...........

I bought the gun for Sporting Clays where I wanted to have two different chokes, thought I could do better with that setup. Wasn't worried about the chokes doing that since I only take six shots at a stand and can then check them while going to the next stand.

October 26, 2011, 11:26 PM
I'm not knocking the screw in chokes because I've never tried them, I have. The screw in choke tubes coming loose was aggravating I have to say. But my main problem with them is that they just do not shoot as good as the old fixed choked barreled shotguns. If a person doesn't believe it, they are more than welcome to come with me to a card/turkey shooting match and see for themselves. And honestly, changing the barrels on a shotgun only takes a few moments more than changing screw in choke tubes. I do it with Win. model 12's, Remington model 31's, Remington model 870's all the time. Again, no disrespect to those that love the screw in choke tubes. They just aint for me.

Dave McC
October 27, 2011, 11:29 AM
The advantage of screwins is versatility.

Ye Olde Downsyde is that few screwins are as long as a choke needs to be to optimize the patterns. Extended chokes are a step in the right direction, but the playing field is far from level.

Mike the bores on an old Superposed. These chokes ran up to 8" or so, and the gradual tapers were gentle to soft, unprotected shot. With modern ammo, you see less center stacking, more even spread and fewer flyers with well done fixed chokes.

Few of us need that edge, though.