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
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”.
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC