In our continuing series about what you can’t buy on Amazon, we take a look at a somewhat surprising item: chokes and choke tubes. These simple devices are an extremely important part of any hunter and sport shooter’s shotgun setup, and you won’t find a shotgun owner on the planet that doesn’t have at least a few choke tubes in their safe. A choke performs a simple but vital job when screwed into a shotgun: it constricts or holds together the shot pattern longer and gives any shotgun an increased range and improved pattern.
Before the advent of choke tubes, all shotguns had the same range, about 30 yards if the conditions were right. Now all modern shotguns accommodate choke tubes and can be customized based upon the choke tube fitted into the barrel. Pairing the right choke tube with the right shotgun shell can make all the difference in a proper pattern, and it’s important for any shotgun owner to experiment with different choke sizes to find the right choke and ammo combination.
Let’s quickly touch on the basics of choke tubes and take a look at some choke brands you won’t find on Amazon.
Chokes are categorized based upon the amount or degree of constriction that they provide. The terms aren’t always self-explanatory, so it’s important to see them listed out from no constriction to very tight constriction:
- Cylinder – .000
- Skeet – .005
- Improved Cylinder – .010
- Light Modified – .015
- Modified – .020
- Improved Modified – .025
- Light Full – .030
- Full – .035
- Extra Full – .045
- Super Full – .055
The tighter the constriction is in your choke tube, the tighter your shot pattern will be at a greater distance. As the pellets travel they naturally spread out, which is why it’s important to constrict them tightly when they first leave the barrel. Of course, every shotgun shell has a finite range, and a choke can only do so much to modify it.
Are you going to need every choke tube from the list above? Chances are you probably won’t, and most shotgun owners find it best to hit the major variations in Improved Cylinder, Modified, and Full. However, if you need to fine tune your pattern for a specific purpose, it’s helpful to have the secondary variations to turn to when you need to get exact.
Specialty / Extended Choke Tubes
In addition to the standard range of choke tubes, there are also some specialty chokes and extended choke tubes available. Specialty chokes are generally designed for a specific game or type of shot. For example, waterfowl users have to use steel shot, and this can be hard to pattern as well as hard on a shotgun barrel. In response, choke manufacturers have developed steel shot specific chokes for the challenges waterfowl hunters face. You can also find specialty turkey, predator and skeet and trap chokes on the market.
Traditional chokes need to be screwed in with a wrench, which makes their replacement easy, but a little time consuming. In addition, chokes are generally short and can only constrict shot so much given their size. Extended chokes address these two drawbacks by extending the choke tube past the end of the barrel. This design creates greater surface area so users can screw them in by hand. The additional length has also been shown to impact constriction, and extended chokes can have a greater effect on a pattern when compared to the shorter internal chokes. Extended chokes aren’t for every situation, but they are a worthwhile upgrade in some circumstances.
Choke Tubes For Sale
Franchi Choke Tubes
Franchi makes both standard flush (Pattern Plus Chokes) and extended choke tubes (Precision Hunter Chokes) in 12, 20 and 28 gauge sizes. The chokes are made in conjunction with premier choke manufacturer Trulock, and certain varieties of the extended chokes are ported. Franchi / Trulock also makes a specialty Sporting Clays Extended Choke recognizable by a light finish and extended choke design.
Note: Modern users of Franchi Shotguns will want the Franchi-Mobil current production chokes. In the past, Franchi shotguns used an older Franchoke setup not present in modern Franchi shotguns. Always check the manufacturer’s manual for choke compatibility before purchasing or fitting a choke.
Franchi Precision Hunter 12 Gauge Full Extended Choke.- Price $45 at 1800GunsAndAmmo.
Franchi 12 Gauge Turkey Specialty Choke. – Price $45 at 1800GunsAndAmmo.
Mossberg is one of the most popular shotgun manufacturers in America, and their Accu-Choke system is a great way to fine tune your Mossberg Shotgun. Accu-Chokes come in both flush and specialty X-Factor extended chokes.
Flush Mossberg 12 Gauge Improved Accu-Choke. – Price $15.67 at 1800GunsAndAmmo.
Mossberg X Factor 12 Gauge Modified Choke. – Price $34.80 at 1800GunsAndAmmo.
Don’t forget the Mossberg Choke Tube Wrench. Chances are you won’t find one of these on Amazon either. Wrench fits 10, 12, 16 and 20 gauge shotguns. – Price $5.60 at 1800GunsAndAmmo.
Prices and availability on 1800GunsAndAmmo subject to change.