Choke Chooser™

Choke Chooser™ now available.

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Garrison Golden Again & Brosseau Shines at Junior Olympic Trap Championships | USA Shooting

Source: Garrison Golden Again & Brosseau Shines at Junior Olympic Trap Championships | USA Shooting

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Dear Technoid,

I would be grateful for your opinion on aftermarket chokes. I have a Franchi Affinity with Mobil chokes and a Benelli with Optima Plus chokes. I shoot sporting clays here in the UK and generally leave an IC choke in and only occasionally use a Skeet or Mod choke depending on target presentation or whether I am doing a couple of rounds of skeet.

A few questions:

1. The Beretta chokes all seem to leak carbon quite badly up from the bottom seal, do aftermarket chokes seal better?

2. I have assumed the chokes I use are accurate measurements but I don’t have the facility to check. So I am assuming the Beretta SK is .005, IC .010 etc. I have put a laser Arrow in the barrel and it does show that POA and POI are the same, so both shoot where I am looking! Do you think aftermarket chokes are better machined and more accurately dimensioned?

3. Would you recommend flush or extended chokes?

4. Do you have any recommendations on make of choke, here in the UK we usually can get hold of Briley, Carlsons and obviously Teague.


Andy Wilson

Dear Andy,

Different guns respond to different chokes differently. No one brand of choke is perfect with everything, though custom Teagues and custom Brileys are first rate. Factory gun barrels will differ barrel to barrel and gun to gun due to production variances. Just because it is the same brand of gun doesn’t mean that the next iteration of the same model will have exactly the same barrel dimensions. Close maybe, but sometimes not. I’ve seen factory screw chokes which were packaged with the gun all over in constrictions. Others are spot on. Briley has a nice chart showing choke constrictions and pattern designations here:

While it would be very convenient to just order a certain size of choke and know that it will deliver the pattern required, that just isn’t the way it works in the real world. The shell you select has as much, or more, influence on the pattern as the choke does. The idea that a choke marked “Modified” will give you a 40 yard 50% pattern with every shell just isn’t reality. Just by switching a shell, you can easily go up or down a full pattern designation.

The ONLY way to really know what you have is to pattern a particular choke with a particular shell. And not just one pattern. That is statistically irrelevant. Averaging five or six patterns of the same combination would be far more reliable. That’s a lot of work and very few shooters will do it. Most shooters just buy a choke marked with a designation and assume that is what they will get. Well, you know what “assume” means. If you really care, you have to do the patterning. If you don’t really care and close enough is close enough, then life is far more simple and you can concentrate on learning to hit targets instead of fussing with patterns.

Some chokes may well work better in your gun than others, but I have no way of knowing which ones. The Beretta Mobile chokes I use in my Berettas do not carbon up badly at all. Just as much depends on your gun’s barrels as on the choke brand being used.

As to extended chokes vs flush ones, I don’t think that there is really a worthwhile pattern difference. But there is a weight and visual difference. That should be your deciding factor. A pair of steel extended chokes will add a bit of weight to your muzzle. Do you want that? Up to you. Theoretically, one disadvantage to screw chokes is that they are all the same length within a product line. That means that the skeet choke and the full choke both have the same length. In fixed chokes, the more open chokes are considerably shorter than the tighter chokes. This allows the fixed choke to slowly squeeze the shot down for less pellet distortion than a more abrupt short taper. Screw chokes don’t have this advantage.

One “advantage” to extended chokes is that they can be inserted and removed by hand. Flush chokes need a wrench. A wrench is less convenient, but MUCH safer. A wrenched choke will not come loose. A hand-tightened choke is far more likely to come loose and you definitely don’t want that. Extended or flush, I wrench all my chokes in place and advise you to do the same.

I wish that there were an easier answer to selecting a choke, but that’s just the way it is. The only way to really know how a particular choke works in your gun with a particular shell is to pattern the combination. No easy way out.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Source: Sights

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MEC Charge Bar Info

Dear Readers,

One of the nice things about being a know-it-all is knowing when someone knows more about something than I do. Some people have had trouble with their MEC reloaders hanging up on sheared pellets. This has never been a real problem on any of my six MECs (with both the standard and adjustable bars), but I may just be lucky as it has plagued others. Maybe I have just been too thick-headed to notice it. If you are having a pellet shearing and jamming problem with your MEC, read John’s letter. He may have some answers for you.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

Dear Bruce,

I have had considerable experience with both the “original” and “new” micrometer charge bars.

The original design, which you appear to have, did not have a milled cutout on the shot side. After about two years of using that device, I became frustrated with the number of sheared off #7 1/2 pellets produced when the bar passes over the shot drop tube. (The original MEC charge bars had the same problem.)

I called the people in Ontario and was advised that their design had changed – they incorporated the same scheme MEC adopted, the addition of a soft rubber insert which makes the leading edge of the charge chamber in the bar rubber, not metal. I got one.

MultiCharge provides two rubber inserts and one zinc insert with their current charge bars. Their instructions state that the rubber inserts be used with STEEL shot, and the zinc insert with LEAD. I believe this is in error and possible a printing/doc error. I have used the zinc insert with lead shot and experienced the same shearing of #7 1/2 shot as with the old, non-insert charge bar.

However, over time and too many hours in the reloading room, the rubber inserts also fail, due to wearing the leading edge of the insert to a rounded, tapered shape. This condition allows the large pellets to ride up between the MEC charge bar guide and the charge bar, resulting in a charge bar hangup.

Before a large shoot awhile ago that required specialized ammunition, the above conditions required desperate action. I flipped the old, rubber insert – only to find that the sides are not symmetric. The opposite side has a large cavity resulting from the injection moulding, I guess. I filled this cavity with quick drying epoxy and ground it smooth – sure enough, I loaded exactly 75 shells before the shot cracked and destroyed my clever epoxy fix.

The fix is to order a bag of rubber inserts from the MultiCharge folks. They responded with a bag of ten for a nominal, credit card transaction, over the phone. All is well.

Fellow reader, based upon my experience the zinc insert will not work well with the larger lead pellets.

Hope this helps!



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Ask the Instructor: Consistency

Source: Ask the Instructor: Consistency

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Spare Gas Gun Parts

Spare Gas Gun Parts

Dear Technoid,

I’ve decided to make the switch from an O/U to a gas gun, specifically a Remington 1100 with 30 inch barrels. I’m also planning to take the gun to Uruguay next year for a dove/pigeon shoot.

If you were to put together an emergency kit for this gun, which spare parts would you include? I’d hate to have a breakdown 4,000 miles from home.



Dear Kerry,

If I were you, I would take a complete second 1100 plus an extra set of rings, link, complete bolt and complete trigger assembly. The trip will cost many times what a spare gun will cost. If you can borrow a second gun, you may never need to use it, but having an entire spare gun along could save the day. I have had a number of my older 1100s break at the receiver (split the side or blow off the magazine tube). Spare parts won’t fix that. Gas guns are like sheep. They know when they are alone and don’t like it.

My magazine is sending me down to Argentina to cover a dove, duck, and perdiz shoot. I’ll probably use the the outfitter’s guns, but if I don’t, I will take two Beretta autos and some extra parts. I simply refuse to sit in a plane for 12 hours overnight and have something major happen to my gun when I get down there. I take two guns and I take two cameras. You never know. I have been to Colombia and Honduras a few times each and have never needed my second gun or any spare parts, but I loaned that stuff to a bunch of people who did. Years ago, Colombia wouldn’t let you bring a second gun- just the one. I just stripped my backup gun and carried every part that didn’t have a serial number.

If you absolutely insist on bringing only one 1100, then borrow a second one and remove every possible interior part to take along with you. I have owned six 1100s when I was shooting International Skeet. I shot four of them into destruction (until the receivers went), but have seen virtually every part on that gun break. I have seen bolts crack, barrel extensions break, magazine tubes snap at the receiver plus all the other little things that we know happen to them every day.

By the way, you are VERY wise to consider taking a gas gun to Uruguay rather than an O/U. If you really get into the dove, it will be possible to shoot four cases (not flats, cases) per day. I have seen it done in Colombia. If you do that with an O/U, they will bring you home in a box.

A short one.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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Broski, Reynolds & Garrison Enjoy Big Days to Conclude Trap Competition at USA Shooting National Championships | USA Shooting

Source: Broski, Reynolds & Garrison Enjoy Big Days to Conclude Trap Competition at USA Shooting National Championships | USA Shooting

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