Chokes

Dakotazeb

Well-known member
Accuracy, lead, etc. are far more important than what choke you use. We are really splitting hairs when we start comparing Mod with LM or IM. Heck, there is a greater difference in choke constriction between the various brands of guns and chokes. With lead shot if you shoot something like IC or Mod you will be just fine. As a general rule, if you shoot steel you should use a little more open choke. I'm sure that over 90% of the guys in the field have never patterned a gun and never will. Hell, when I was a kid in the 50's and 60's we were just glad to have a functioning shotgun and a few shells regardless of how the gun was choked and what size shot was in the shells. :)
 
@Dakotazeb I definitely agree with the accuracy part. If you aren't shooting well, a choke won't save you, but it can help if you are just a bit off. I feel like hunting especially on public land gets harder and harder each year with less land and less birds which means each shot opportunity becomes more critical. I would say there's a measurable difference between like ic and im or c and mod. Especially if you go and do some clays to track it.
 

haymaker

Well-known member
I know I am an antique, but I have always shot a full choke. I am still using the same model 12 Winchester 16 gauge. It has never been a problem, it just gives me a little more time. Maybe I would be a good shot if I used something else.
 
If you don't plan to do formal patterning w/ the gun/load/choke combinations you're considering, then just put in MOD & forget about it. You'll most likely be fine.
I will most likely put a few non toxic rounds thru the gun and see how it does. I hate going out into the field guessing especially after a 1500 mile drive. Thanks, I'll try the mod choke first and see how it does. I only have the browning chokes that came with the gun
 

remy3424

Well-known member
I will most likely put a few non toxic rounds thru the gun and see how it does. I hate going out into the field guessing especially after a 1500 mile drive. Thanks, I'll try the mod choke first and see how it does. I only have the browning chokes that came with the gun
I am quite sure those chokes will do fine, if you can't kills birds with them, new chokes will not change that. Pattern it using a couple of them and pick one after you see how it looks.
 

John Singer

Active member
I do think that many people over think the issue of choke.

Part of it is marketing. Prior to the marketing of boutique, specialty chokes, I am not sure that most people thought about it much.

For most all of pheasant hunting, using most any available shot, improved cylinder or modified chokes will work just fine and it will be difficult to tell the difference in performance between them.

I, myself, will probably never use full choke again for pheasants. The only time that I did, I centered a bird that was so badly shot that it was not fit to pick up in one piece.

It would be best to pattern your gun with the shotshells and chokes that you intend to use at the distance you expect to shoot. As long as the pattern is where it should be and is somewhat even without large voids, you should be good to go.
 

Joe Hunter

Active member
See John's post above!

As others have said, the only way to really know how your barrel/load/choke combo performs is to pattern it at the intended distance of your shots. Here are a few of my pattern numbers from some pheasant appropriate loads (lead and steel) to give you an idea of the kind of performance you may get with them or similar loads.

Hope this helps, good luck!

Patterning results from a 12-gauge Browning Citori with 28" Invector-plus barrels using Briley flush chokes (patterns average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, and in-shell pellet count average of five).

30 YARDS / CYL
Reload (Green Dot) 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #6 lead (267 pellets) / pattern 147 (55%)
Fed Game-Shok 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) / pattern 123 (55%)
Reload (Unique) 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (210 pellets) / pattern 125 (60%)
Win Super Pheasant 2 ¾” 1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) / pattern 118 (50%)
Win Xpert 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #3 steel (162 pellets) / pattern 88 (54%)
Rem Sportsman 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) / pattern 89 (64%)

30 YARDS / SK
Reload (Green Dot) 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #6 lead (267 pellets) / pattern 171 (64%)
Fed Game-Shok 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) / pattern 138 (62%)
Reload (Unique) 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (210 pellets) / pattern 145 (69%)
Win Super Pheasant 2 ¾” 1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) / pattern 140 (60%)
Win Xpert 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #3 steel (162 pellets) / pattern 118 (73%)
Rem Sportsman 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) / pattern 116 (83%)

30 YARDS / IC
Reload (Green Dot) 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #6 lead (267 pellets) / pattern 211 (79%)
Fed Game-Shok 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) / pattern 173 (77%)
Reload (Unique) 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (210 pellets) / pattern 177 (84%)
Win Super Pheasant 2 ¾” 1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) / pattern 186 (79%)
Win Xpert 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #3 steel (162 pellets) / pattern 132 (81%)
Rem Sportsman 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) / pattern 129 (93%)

40 YARDS / LM
Reload (Green Dot) 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #6 lead (267 pellets) / pattern 173 (65%)
Fed Game-Shok 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) / pattern 133 (59%)
Reload (Unique) 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (210 pellets) / pattern 155 (74%)
Win Super Pheasant 2 ¾” 1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) / pattern 140 (60%)
Win Xpert 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #3 steel (162 pellets) / pattern 106 (65%)
Rem Sportsman 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) / pattern 114 (82%)

40 YARDS / M
Reload (Green Dot) 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #6 lead (267 pellets) / pattern 182 (68%)
Fed Game-Shok 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) / pattern 145 (65%)
Reload (Unique) 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (210 pellets) / pattern 155 (74%)
Win Super Pheasant 2 ¾” 1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) / pattern 149 (64%)
Win Xpert 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #3 steel (162 pellets) / pattern 106 (65%)
Rem Sportsman 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) / pattern 114 (82%)

40 YARDS / IM
Reload (Green Dot) 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #6 lead (267 pellets) / pattern 195 (73%)
Fed Game-Shok 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) / pattern 149 (67%)
Reload (Unique) 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (210 pellets) / pattern 174 (83%)
Win Super Pheasant 2 ¾” 1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) / pattern 156 (67%)
Win Xpert 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #3 steel (162 pellets) / pattern 121 (75%)
Rem Sportsman 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) / pattern 114 (82%)

50 YARDS / IM
Fed Game-Shok 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) / pattern 109 (49%)
Reload (Unique) 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (210 pellets) / pattern 125 (60%)
Win Super Pheasant 2 ¾” 1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) / pattern 111 (47%)
Rem Sportsman 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) / pattern 100 (72%)

50 YARDS / LF
Fed Game-Shok 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) / pattern 113 (50%)
Reload (Unique) 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (210 pellets) / pattern 120 (57%)
Win Super Pheasant 2 ¾” 1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) / pattern 111 (47%)
Rem Sportsman 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) / pattern 100 (72%)

50 YARDS / F
Fed Game-Shok 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (224 pellets) / pattern 109 (49%)
Reload (Unique) 2 ¾” 1 ¼ oz #5 lead (210 pellets) / pattern 129 (61%)
Win Super Pheasant 2 ¾” 1 3/8 oz #5 lead (234 pellets) / pattern 113 (48%)
Rem Sportsman 2 ¾” 1 1/8 oz #2 steel (139 pellets) / pattern 106 (76%)
 
Chokes, the most over thought piece of equipment.

Run what ya brung, if you forgot what's screwed in there.

Cylinder works for me over my pointer, or any open choke. If I was in SD and assigned a blocking position, something tight with a load that has a lot of #5 shot prevents too much shaming me. But I did block a couple times with a .410 Model 42, Full, 3" #4 and amazed myself.
 
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It would be best to pattern your gun with the shotshells and chokes that you intend to use at the distance you expect to shoot. As long as the pattern is where it should be and is somewhat even without large voids, you should be good to go.

(y) Everyone should check their gun for point of impact vs point of aim. If you don't get that right, it makes for an "unlucky" gun. You'd be surprised how many guns have a point of impact that is off half a pattern, left, right, up, down. You can change it with gun fit, in most cases, simply by moving the point of where your cheek anchors, left, right, up, or down. However, I've seen a fair number of o/u and sxs guns with "curved" barrels. They can be fixed too.
 

AKSkeeter

Active member
I shoot the same load and chokes for ducks and pheasants.
1 1/8 oz #3 steel
12 gauge Citori skeet2 (tighter than improved), modified chokes.
 

Uplandhunter67

Active member
(y) Everyone should check their gun for point of impact vs point of aim. If you don't get that right, it makes for an "unlucky" gun. You'd be surprised how many guns have a point of impact that is off half a pattern, left, right, up, down. You can change it with gun fit, in most cases, simply by moving the point of where your cheek anchors, left, right, up, or down. However, I've seen a fair number of o/u and sxs guns with "curved" barrels. They can be fixed too.
I recently bought a Beretta A400. I put the shims in the stock that was suggested for my height and build. Tried it out at the skeet range and had a helluva time hitting clays. Following week went out to the patterning board and found it was shooting where I was pointing but the pattern was 40/60. So most of my pattern was below my line of sight. Switched to the lowest shim and now shoots 60/40 and breaks clays without remorse.
Patterning is very important. Select the choke that patterns the best with the loads you intend on using at various yards to check what the pattern really looks like.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I recently bought a Beretta A400. I put the shims in the stock that was suggested for my height and build. Tried it out at the skeet range and had a helluva time hitting clays. Following week went out to the patterning board and found it was shooting where I was pointing but the pattern was 40/60. So most of my pattern was below my line of sight. Switched to the lowest shim and now shoots 60/40 and breaks clays without remorse.
Patterning is very important. Select the choke that patterns the best with the loads you intend on using at various yards to check what the pattern really looks like.
This is interesting. If your 40/60 & 60/40 estimates are somewhat accurate, I'd suggest that you really didn't move your pattern very far upward, & that you're now hitting targets a little closer to the center of the pattern. Meaning you might still tend to shoot a little low at flying targets. My guess is that with the initial shim setting, you were "hitting" targets toward the edge of the pattern, where the pattern density was sparse enough to either clean miss it, or just barely hit it. Just the type of stuff I like to think about. I hope I don't cause anyone to start overthinking shotgunning & start missing. If I do, I apologize in advance. :LOL:
20220912_135600.jpg
 

Uplandhunter67

Active member
I use a computer program that analyzes the shot pattern. I like to see a bit of the bird over the barrel rather than cover it up. 1st photo is the initial pattern with a 60mm shim. The second is with a 55mm shim. As you can see my pattern has moved to 1.5” above POI from 3.5” below.
Target #1 — 1oz #8’s — IC
Target #2 — 7/8oz #7-1/2’s LM
All at 32yds from muzzle.
4C0CB805-C5C9-4851-A0F5-66B23AE9D0E2.jpegE80EC6DC-AE80-4E19-8B32-FC852128D5EF.jpeg
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I use a computer program that analyzes the shot pattern. I like to see a bit of the bird over the barrel rather than cover it up. 1st photo is the initial pattern with a 60mm shim. The second is with a 55mm shim. As you can see my pattern has moved to 1.5” above POI from 3.5” below.
Target #1 — 1oz #8’s — IC
Target #2 — 7/8oz #7-1/2’s LM
All at 32yds from muzzle.
Oooo, that's sweet!! If moving the pattern a mere 5" made a significant difference at skeet, that leads me to think that previously your clays were clear on the upper edge. I'd be super curious to see what an extra 10" would do on flying targets. I'm guessing your eye actually likes to see ALL the bird, plus maybe even a little air. Do you have shims to move it even further?
That analyzer is really cool. Do you just upload a picture of your pattern paper?
 

Uplandhunter67

Active member
I personally don’t like the barrel in my sight. My concentration is on the bird or clay. My Citori’s are 75/25. The problem I see is that live birds are generally rising not dropping so a pattern that is above the line of sight helps.
I can’t shim my A400 any higher. I think that a 10” rise would be too much and would be just as bad shooting to low.
That is a patterning program by Target Telemetrics. They sell special pattering paper and an AP to read the target. Really makes patterning a breeze.
This is one of my Citori targets. 1-1/4oz of #5’s
D773369E-C899-4D8D-9043-306FC768639B.jpeg
 
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