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Old August 2, 2011, 08:07 PM   #1
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Choke tube for O/U

I have a Stevens 512 O/U 20ga that I won at a Quail Unlimited dinner raffle that came with a Modified choke and a Skeet choke. I was thinking about getting 2 Full chokes and leaving them in all the time for my bird hunting. Is that the best, or should I mix and match?

I'm not familiar with choke tubes much because I've always had shotguns with Full choke barrels. Little advice please?
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Old August 2, 2011, 08:19 PM   #2
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I don't know anyone who uses full chokes for upland birds. Maybe late season early flushing pheasants. Would think you would be best with Mod. or I/C chokes.You shoot a quail with that full choke and you may have only leadlaced quail Pate.
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Old August 2, 2011, 08:29 PM   #3
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It's also going to be my son's first shotgun when he gets old enough to tote it around. So he'll be hunting lots of critters of all types one day. I just want to play with it a while before then.

I usually start out with dove in Sept. Quail in early Nov. Then phesant the rest of the year.

I know what you mean about Quail and full chokes. One time I only got a foot and a rain shower of guts and feathers.
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Old August 2, 2011, 08:42 PM   #4
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I never hunted turkey but I understand that full choke on them is the way to go. Is that because they are usually 40 yards away?
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Old August 2, 2011, 08:46 PM   #5
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I personally don't use full choke for any hunting I do, which mostly includes pheasants and grouse with occasional crows or rabbits. Modified is the tightest I use. I believe a full pattern's optimum distance is around 40 yards. Statistically, most pheasants are shot inside of 30 yards and grouse closer to 20. Not sure what's normal for quail. They don't live around here.

If you really expect long shots on pheasants, maybe one barrel choked full would make sense, and leave the other modified, light modified, or improved cylinder. Another idea might be to leave the skeet and modified chokes as is, but use a 3" shell with bigger shot in the modified barrel if you think you need to extend your range.

Last edited by idek; August 2, 2011 at 08:53 PM.
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Old August 2, 2011, 08:56 PM   #6
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IC, and IM would be all you need for any upland hunting since you already have a SK and M.
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Old August 2, 2011, 09:27 PM   #7
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I can think of very few applications were full and full would be appropriate in an O/U. Some folks use stick guns with full chokes for water fowl and turkeys. As my friend, ounceounceload, mentioned: For upland shooting what you already have is ideal. For larger birds and/or longer shots you might want to go with mod and full. Seems like all you really need is a full choke screw-in and you'll have all the bases covered. Should you want to give Skeet a try, a second Skeet choke wouldn't hurt.
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Old August 3, 2011, 11:19 AM   #8
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You change the chokes - for what you think the kill range is going to be - with the idea of putting a "shot cloud" on the bird, of about 30" accross with no holes in the pattern big enough for a bird to fly thru and not get hit by enough pellets for a clean kill - assuming you do your job and center the bird in the pattern with the right lead and follow thru etc....

So we change chokes - for the approx range you expect clays and in live birds....

In general...
Cyclinder choke is for close in - 20 yds
Improved Cyclinder 20 - 30 yds
Modified 30 - 40 yds
Full 40 yds and beyond....

that's why a Full choke at 10yds gives you a beak and a foot.... its way too tight ...

conversely a Cyclinder choke at 40 yds is going to give you some 15" holes in the pattern big enough for a bird to easly fly thru.

For upland birds depends on all kinds of things the early season, birds are holding, shooting over good dogs - birds are close open up your chokes. Late season when they're running or they're flushing at a distance...tighten them up.

Shooting a Full choke all the time makes no sense - it doesn't make you a better shotgunner - it defeats the concept of shooting an effective pattern. Every terrain / every dog ...every situation makes a difference - and that's why most of us prefer changeable screw in chokes for our clays or hunting guns just makes them more versatile. Now - if you are in an area where you have to shoot Steel shot ...then you can't go any tighter than a Modified choke. It seems more and more areas require Steel - if you happen to be in any kind of a conservation zone or even adjacent to a wetland area when you're hunting upland birds.
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Old August 3, 2011, 01:51 PM   #9
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I never hunted turkey but I understand that full choke on them is the way to go. Is that because they are usually 40 yards away?
No. Shooting a turkey is totally unlike shooting any other bird. With an ordinary bird, you are using a shot size and pattern made to surround and penetrate the bird's body. Those birds are shot at while they are flying. An equavalent sized bird to a turkey would be a goose and that would be shot at with BB or #2 sized shot (i.e. relatively large pellets).

With a turkey, you use a VERY dense pattern of relatively small shot (#5 or #6) and you aim for the head. Turkeys are called in and shot while they are on the ground.
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