View Full Version : target shooters, what are your three basic choke tubes...

May 28, 2012, 05:15 AM
mine are; Skeet SK, Improved Cylinder IC, and Light Modified LM. There isn't anything I can't do with that trio. International trap or Handicapped trap would be difficult without an Improved Modified IM, or Full choke, but I rarely shoot those specialized games. 90% of the time I use the IC/LM combination, mostly sporting clays.

How about the rest of you...

Dave McC
May 28, 2012, 07:31 AM
IC/LM here too. I use Cylinder instead of Skeet, and Mod on occasion.

For the Beretta, the tightest choke I have in the Seminole set is 30 POC, AKA IM.

When I break out an 870, it's LM most of the time.

May 28, 2012, 09:16 AM
I start with IC/LM in my O/U, but I carry 2 SK, another IC, a M, IM, and F in my bag. I have a few courses where the IM has been used, especially on a FITASC field - which, if you have never done it, is a humbling experience - no multiple pairs over and over again at each station, and the targets tens to be faster and further

May 28, 2012, 10:25 AM
Skeet and Modified more than anything else.

I read an intersting article by Gil and Vicky Ash on the subject of chokes stating those were the two most useful on sporting course. With my loads out of my gun it has proven to be the case.
If I shoot trap, its 16's and I shoot Modified. No problem breaking targets with my 7/8 oz skeet loads.

May 28, 2012, 11:34 AM
My primary comp guns have fixed chokes. Screw-ins are just something else to go wrong and complicate maintenance.

Deja vu
May 28, 2012, 11:45 AM
I like improved and Skeet but there are lots of options out there. Find what you and your gun likes best.

May 28, 2012, 12:01 PM
Skeet, Light Modified, Improved Modifed.

May 28, 2012, 02:47 PM
My primary 3 chokes ....are Skeet, Improved Cyclinder and Modified. I will carry an Improved Mod and a Full ( but I rarely shoot either one ).

In general ....if I were shooting Handicapped Trap singles...At 21 yd line - 25 yd line I'd shoot an Improved Mod / and a Full choke at 26 and 27 yds.

For Sporting Clays...I've rarely seen a target that I wanted an Imp Mod or a Full choke for ...except in State Tournaments ...where the target setters are putting a target out there to separate the shooters in Master class...and torture the rest of us mere mortals. Now for sporting I will carry 2 chokes in the gun ....and a box of chokes in my vest or on my handcart ...with a total of 2 skeet, 2 IC, 2 Mod, 1 Imp Mod , 1 Full.....

Same thing if I hunt upland birds....never tighter than a Mod.

Unlike my buddy Zippy ....I like the idea of a gun with changeable chokes...in my opinion, it makes the gun more versatile / and if I wanted to, I could shoot just one gun for most everything. When I travel by air -with a shotgun - I typically take a 12ga Benelli super sport...and 5 extended crio chokes...Cyclinder, Imp Cyclinder, a Mod, an Imp Mod and a Full ( and I'll shoot Skeet with the Cyclinder on that gun ).

May 28, 2012, 03:57 PM
...if I wanted to, I could shoot just one gun for most everything.
Why would you want to do that when you've got a safe full of Brownings stacked like cord wood? ;)

I prefer a specific tool for each job. Like a jack-of-all-trades, a gun that is good for everything is master of none.

May 28, 2012, 04:21 PM
I prefer a specific tool for each job. Like a jack-of-all-trades, a gun that is good for everything is master of none.


A dedicated Skeet gun, like Zippy uses, choked, balanced and stocked for the game will always have that edge a comp shooter is looking for to get that one extra bird which can mean winning or losing. The same holds true for those who shoot trap, flyers, bunker, etc.

Even for my favorite, sporting clays, where the chokes can have the most versatility, many folks stick a certain combo in their O/U or a LM in their semi and don't change

May 29, 2012, 08:31 AM
Sporting clays shooters can be guilty of over-thinking their choke selection. I change chokes sparingly and only do so to avoid situations where I might not have enough choke for a specific target. I don't mind being slightly overchoked for a close target but if I don't think my choke is sufficient I will shoot faster and not as smoothly.

I don't often change my light mods. If the target is close then perhaps I have a little too much choke but certainly not so much that it interferes with my thinking. But when I reach for the improved mod it's because I genuinely believe I need it.

Time spent twirling chokes when it doesn't matter is time spent not learning about what the target is doing. Not having exactly the right choke is far less of a problem than not understanding the line of the target.

May 29, 2012, 09:06 AM
a good shooter almost never changes choke tubes. SK/IC work on any presentation, even long ones. Do not over-think, relax and shoot. Your scores will increase...

May 29, 2012, 09:44 AM
a good shooter almost never changes choke tubes. SK/IC work on any presentation, even long ones. Do not over-think, relax and shoot. Your scores will increase...

SK/IC may work on the skeet field, and for about 50% of the sporting clays targets, but I shot Sunday where three stations were M and IM and four others were LM and M - not because they were necessarily that far away, but a few were edge-on and you want to keep your pattern as tight as possible for those

May 29, 2012, 09:53 AM
Skeet, I/C and LM

May 29, 2012, 10:37 AM
Not changing chokes is not your best choice, in my opinion...when you can change them / and the target presentation almost requires that you change them ( like an outbound / Trap style target at 50 + yds ...no way an IC choke is going to give you enough to make a decent shot at that target )...now you might hit it with an IC choke and 7 1/2's ....but that's not shooting to your fullest potential or giving yourself the best chance vs using that load of 7 1/2's with an ImpMod or a Full choke...

I used to change chokes a lot more than I do now on most sporting courses...today 80% of the time I shoot Mod / Mod in both barrels and 1 oz of 8's in a 12ga for targets that are in that 20 - 40 yd kill range. But I still carry a box of chokes with me...no reason not to have them....in my opinion.
I like specific guns for specific target games...and I won't shoot my best scores with a Skeet / sporting clays gun on a Trap range ( although it can be done )...and I will sure not do very well on a Skeet range or sporting range ...with a big heavy Trap gun...../ but on days when my shoulder, elbow and hands hurt...going to a semi-auto that is a pretty good all around gun ...is not a bad plan / not for serious competition - because I don't shoot at that level anymore (never did really).

A semi-auto is not my primary gun for any game ...but down the road, as I get into my 70's...it may allow me to keep shooting every week ...and still be reasonably competitive ( because I'm not good enough - or confident enough - to shoot a 28ga O/U at most sporting clays courses...and give myself a decent chance ) ...so I might rely on that one 12ga semi-auto to get me a few more targets....and its a full pound lighter than my 28ga O/U and that helps my shoulder and elbow as well. Right now that gun is a Benelli super sport ...and I have one in 20ga as well .../ or maybe one of the Beretta UGB's down the road...but my body will tell me when its time to hang up the 8 1/2 lb - 10 lb O/U's...(maybe it is telling me now ..)...

I won't quit shooting ...but adapting to a 1 gun philosophy ...not for a serious competition shooter like Zippy was.../ but just so you can get out and compete a little at a local club level is not all bad either.

May 29, 2012, 11:25 AM
I use skeet for skeet, and IC and LM for 5-stand and sporting clays.

May 29, 2012, 11:55 AM
Remember guys....

every 5 stand set up ......and every sporting clays course....can be light years different....terrain, range of targets, size of targets, report, true pairs ...make even one station on the same course, very different...depending on the setup.

and at least at my club....they change the 5 stand cards ....and vary the machines on the sporting course most every week. Most of the stations have 6 machines on the sporting course....and from week to week ..the degree of difficulty ....and the hold point, kill points - ( and chokes you could use ) ...can vary a lot !

The best courses...on 5 stand and Sporting...in my view, are set up for class C shooters to be able to break about 70 out of 100 targets....throw a few nasty ones in there/ make the shooters really think on 2 or 3 stations...but make at least 70% of the course very shootable - for a decent average shooter. Not every setup ---has to be as if its the US Open championships...and that we're all Master Class shooters...( I'm not anyway ).

May 29, 2012, 12:30 PM
SK/SK for skeet and IC/LM for sporting, all ya need, really... :)

I hate standing around waiting for guys to finish a station, but spend more time flipping around choke tubes. The ones who do that usually stink... :rolleyes:

May 29, 2012, 08:31 PM
I usually use IM and Full for Sporting Clays. Yes, makes it tougher for some of those close targets, but when I hit them I smoke them!

Nick S.
May 29, 2012, 09:16 PM
I did a course using SK, M, & F, and only scored 45 hits. Then I did the whole course using only IC & scored a 61. It also depends on the course. They also change some of the stations from time to time. The only constant- it's always fun.

May 29, 2012, 09:34 PM
Imp, Mod, Full

I have a semi auto.

Imp for skeet

Full for Trap

Mod for sporting or hand tossing.

But most of the time it is mod for everything... lol

Chokes are not my handy cap

Nick S.
June 3, 2012, 05:50 PM
Thanks guys. I now own SKT, IC, MOD, & FULL. Guess I should buy a IM next. Do you guys work for Carlsons Choke Tubes? LOL.

June 3, 2012, 06:35 PM
Skip the IM and get the LM and don't worry about it

June 3, 2012, 07:07 PM
1ozL, completely agree. LM is one of the best constrictions for sporting clays. IM is almost Full and pretty much useless IMO, if you already have a full choke in your package...

Creek Henry
June 6, 2012, 02:31 PM
I agree about full not being worth much anymore. I got my brother an 870 and it only had a mod choke so I got a skeet and IC also. I told him that if he needed a full choke that he should spend $50 and get a high end one for his specific purpose (IE: tungsten shot or turkey or whatever). The out of the box full is the one I almost never use in the field and NEVER at the range.