Aftermarket Choke Answers


Dear Bruce,

I would like to know if you have any information as to the quality and performance of the Kick’s Industries choke tubes, particularly the “Smoke” competition series.

I have a Beretta AL390 Silver Mallard with a 26″ barrel that I mainly use for skeet, and am interested in using these ported tubes which extend about 1.75″ from the muzzle, to smooth out the swing rather than buy a 28″ barrel. Their product literature looks impressive but I haven’t actually seen one and don’t know of anyone at my club that has used them.

Thanks again for your help, and as always your articles are excellent to say the least.

Joe Charlottesville, VA

Dear Joe,

Here’s the deal with all the aftermarket chokes: I have never been able to show any difference in performance as compared to factory chokes when the same measured (not just labeled) constrictions are used.

If you want to add about 1/2 ounce per choke compared to a flush mount choke, then the extended choke will do that. Guaranteed. If you like to change chokes with your fingers and not with the most excellent Royal Wrench, extended tubes will help. As far as better patterns go, no. No one has proven that to my satisfaction yet. When the constrictions are the same, I get exactly the same patterns from my Beretta factory chokes as I do from Briley over-the-counter flush chokes and Briley over-the-counter extended chokes. To be fair, I haven’t tried every brand of aftermarket choke. Perhaps Kick’s products have some magic ingredient or special rocket science engineering that no one else had. Do their chokes have any patents? That’s at least a start, though not a sure sign. Innovation does not always equate to function.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like Briley and the others. I do. They offer a couple of advantages. First, if you custom order,you can order an exact measurement. With factory or over-the-counter chokes, you simply put a pile of them on the counter and start measuring.

Also, some brands of after-market chokes are more carefully finished than factory chokes. This may be important depending on whether you believe in rough chokes to retard the wad, or smooth chokes. There are two schools of thought. Pick your favorite.

I think that the most important thing that the expensive aftermarket chokes MAY offer is the chance of superior concentricity. Trouble is that you are going to need some pretty sophisticated devices to properly measure it. One of SRs readers works for a bullet maker and has the equipment to test concentricity. He found that the batch of Seminole chokes he had were surprisingly good.

Kick chokes are ported. There is the argument that choke porting helps strip the wad. This is the same argument that people use for rough chokes and Ljutic uses when scribing a circle in his choke. I have a Dayson choke designed as a wad stripper with series of longitudinal cuts. I also use a Briley Diffusion choke, promoted as a scatter choke, but really functioning as a wad stripper too.

Does the wad stripper theory work? Do they retard the wad enough to keep it out of the shot cloud and improve patterns and shot string? I’ve never been able to see the slightest difference in any of them with the exception of the Briley Diffusion. In my tests, the Diffusion doesn’t really spread the pattern out much at all (maybe 1-2%), but it does seem to hit the birds harder, as though the shot string were shortened. I can’t prove the shot string theory, but it seems that way.

So, if you just want the extended chokes to add a bit of weight up front, you won’t be disappointed. The choke maker will be able to tell you exactly how much weight will be added with his brand. If you expect anything else in the way of improved performance, request that they send you their written data on their tests. Then send a copy to me. I’d love to see it.

We are all looking for that magic setup. If I ever find something that I can prove, I’ll be the first to let the world know. Until then, I remain a sceptic. Give me proof. Don’t give me “Smoke”.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC

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7 Responses to Aftermarket Choke Answers

  1. Gerald Elwood says:

    First thing you need to know is the inside diameter of your barrel. Then start measuring choke tubes when patterning use a big piece of paper check for flyers. Just an opinion.

    Like

  2. Alfred E Garren says:

    I’ve tried many aftermarket chokes and agree that they offer nothing regarding improved patterns or reduced muzzle jump, depending on length or material some can add or reduce weight out front slightly if you think that will be of benefit.

    Like

  3. Eli says:

    Use a Pattenmaster choke tube. Definitely worth the $. Pattern on paper isn’t any better than any other choke tube but the shot string is much shorter (distance from first pellet to last pellet) so your shot all hits the target at once.

    I have a Beretta A-391 Extrema II which comes with very good choke tubes but they don’t hold a candle to my Patternmaster when it comes to dropping ducks and geese.

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    • Roland Leong says:

      Do you have any data to to verify that the Patternmaster chokes gave shorter shot strings?

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      • Eli says:

        Actual data, no. But you can see it first hand when shooting a downed duck on the water. On a side by side comparison with factory tubes the difference is fairly obvious. With the factory tube you can watch the pellets hit the water in a “wave” as the first ones reach the target to when the last ones reach the target. It only takes about 1 second but it’s long enough to notice with the naked eye. When done with the Patternmaster there is also a wave, but It’s a split second and hardly noticeable. To the naked eye it almost seems as if every pellet gets there at the same time.

        I did a quick search on the internet (I didn’t look very hard, just a quick search) and there is a youtube video that shows this exact scenario. The video is called “Patternmaster Product Profile – Avian X TV”. Fast forward to the 1:27 mark and watch to 1:37 and you will see exactly what I’m talking about.

        I’ve patterned it on paper (this is firsthand experience) and it honestly doesn’t pattern any better than my factory tubes. What I do know is that it kills more ducks. It either works as advertised or I magically become a better shot once I put this in. With the factory tubes from time to time I get the duck or goose that you can tell was hit but keeps flying and gets away. With the Patternmaster, that rarely, if ever, happens. If I hit them, they’re down.

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  4. bob howard says:

    concerning the briley chokes, this might be of interest.

    Click to access Briley_Helix_test.pdf

    Like

  5. scott says:

    Ported chokes will not pass muster at International Trap or Skeet evvents. Porting has
    finally been banned there.

    Like

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