With all the variables in shotshells today choke tube selection has become almost as an important issue as shotgun fit which is quite critical when trying to hit something with your shotgun. Having the right choke tube for the right situation is a critical part to shotgun shooting.
Whether you are hunting waterfowl with steel shot or turkeys with lead shot, choke tube selection is very critical.
When you look at all the different materials that shot is made from it only stands to reason or common sense says that not all shot is going to react to the same choke tube the exact same way.
Angle of choke is somewhat different and the lead or parallel section of the choke tube may need to be longer or shorter to accomplish a good pattern for the shotshell and shot material you’re shooting.
For the average person who has purchased a new shotgun who realizes that his or her new shotgun came with several choke tubes, they will work for almost all shotshell and shot combinations to a certain degree.
However to someone who shoots their new shotgun a lot or starts to pattern test it, soon realizes that better performance from the choke tubes would be advantageous for their shooting skill.
Also understand that the reason for your shotgun will also dictate the type of choke. Your home defense shotgun should be set up totally different than your skeet gun is.
Current Choke Tube Choices, Constrictions:
.000″ Constriction = Cylinder Bore.
.005″ Constriction = Skeet Choke.
.010″ Constriction = Improved Cylinder Choke.
.015″ Constriction = Light Modified Choke.
.020″ Constriction = Modified Choke.
.025″ Constriction = Improved Modified Choke.
.030″ Constriction = Light Full Choke.
.035″ Constriction = Full Choke.
.040″ Constriction = Extra Full Choke.
Current Choke Tube Choices, Various Performance:
1. Standard Performance.
2. Improved Performance.
3. Special Purpose.
Now lets look at the line up of choke tubes from one of the best known choke tube manufacturers here in the U.S.A.
1. Standard Performance: Carlsons Factory-Style choke tubes; These factory-style flush mount replacement choke tubes feature corrosion-resistant, 17-4 hardened stainless steel.
Lead shot, Steel Shot, Copperplated Shot, Nickel Shot, Hevi-Shotshells™, and Buck Shot can be used in these shotgun Choke Tubes.
For use with lead shot in all constrictions.
Warning – Steel shot larger than #BB should not be used in any choke tighter than modified, BB and smaller size steel shot may be used through full choke constriction.
2. Improved Performance: Carlsons Extended sporting clays choke tubes; These Sporting Clays Choke Tubes are made from 17-4 hardened stainless steel and precision machined to produce a choke tube that patterns better than standard choke tubes.
These choke tubes feature a 25% larger parallel section in the choke thus throwing more consistent patterns than conventional choke tubes.
Each choke tube is knurled on the end to allow for quick and easy removal. Each choke tube has the constriction laser marked on the end for easy reference.
Lead shot, Steel Shot, Copperplated Shot, Nickel Shot, Hevi-Shotshells™, and Buck Shot can be used in these Sporting Clay Choke Tubes.
Actual Performance Improvement: These Sporting Clays Choke Tubes will throw tighter/denser patterns than Flush Mount Choke Tubes due to a longer parallel section in the choke tube.
Warning – Steel shot larger than BB should not be used in any Sporting Clays Choke Tube tighter than Full Constriction.
3. Special Purpose; Steel Shot: Carlson’s Extended steel shot choke tubes; These choke tubes feature a longer parallel section allowing for less flyers, denser patterns and extend 3/4 ” outside the shotgun barrel eliminating damage to your barrel caused by prolonged steel shot use. The longer parallel section allows for use of larger steel shot in tighter choke constrictions. They are made of 17-4 stainless with a knurled extension and a blue finish.
All steel shot sizes may be used in the close and mid-range shotgun choke tube.
Close Range Extended Steel Shot Choke Tubes – for hunting over decoys, throws tightest pattern up to 35 yards.
Mid Range Extended Steel Shot Choke Tubes – for those situations where you are shooting 25 to 40 yards.
Extended Range Steel Shot Choke Tubes – for taking shots 40 yards and up.
Warning – Do not use steel faster than 1550 FPS or steel shot sizes larger than BBB through the Long Range choke tube.
3. Special Purpose; Lead Shot: Carlsons Ported turkey choke tubes; These super-full choke tubes have been specifically bored to deliver dense, full patterns at both short and long ranges.
Knurled for easy installation and removal.
These Extended Turkey Choke Tubes feature a long 1.050″ parallel section to produce the optimum pattern with your shotgun.
These choke tubes are ported to let gases vent quickly, greatly reducing recoil and muzzle jump. Crafted of blued aircraft stainless steel.
3. Special Purpose; Hevi-Shot: Carlsons Hevi-Shot dead coyote choke tubes; For use with Hevi-Shot, Bismuth or lead, this high performance choke tube has been specifically designed for the coyote hunter to deliver devastating downrange patterns upwards of 70 yards when shooting larger shot sizes.
Produces very dense patterns when utilizing T and Buckshot loads.
Great for waterfowl and predator hunting.
Warning – Not for use with steel shot!
3. Special Purpose; Flite Control Wad: Carlsons Black Cloud shotgun choke tube; This Extended choke tube is constructed of a Titanium-coated steel, the titanium coating helps the uniquely designed FliteControl Wad in the Black CloudT ammunition perform downrange with less build-up in the choke and allows the Flitestopper shot to do its job.
While these choke tubes are specifically designed to get the most performance from Federal’s new Black CloudT ammunition, they perform extremely well with other steel shotshells.
The Mid Range model can be used with all steel shot sizes, and with ammunition that exceeds 1500 fps.
Note: Black CloudT ammunition has been designed to be used with choke tubes that do not use porting or wad stopping devices.
Warning – The Long Range model can be used with all steel shot sizes, except T & F, and with ammunition performing at velocities below 1550 fps.
Read Travis’ Federal Flight Control Review, here.
Which shotgun choke tube is your go to, and for what purpose? Let us know in the comments below.