Choking On Chokes


Technoid,

I have a Winchester Super X2 Magnum. It came with an invector x full turkey choke. I am considering buying an after market choke. Could you tell me what the constriction is of the X full that comes with the x2?

I am also looking at Carlson Chokes, are there any chokes better than the other?

Jon

Dear Jon,

I don’t have a clue what Winchester/Browning is calling Full in those overbore barrels. Normal .729″ nominal 12 gauge bore Full is .035″ to .040″. Generally Winchester/Browning has used less constriction than normal in its overbore barrels. Any of the major choke makers ought to know what Winchester calls Full in that gun. Of course, you could always mike your XF choke and then just subtract some….

Choke constriction really isn’t the name of the game. It’s choke performance. Normally Full choke should deliver something around 70% patterns in 30″ at 40 yards. What ever constriction it takes to do that with what ever particular shell you are using is what should be called Full. The idea of labeling one particular choke Full or some other designation, even though common, is fraught with danger. I can absolutely guarantee you that I can take three different shells and get Light Mod, Mod and Improved Mod from the same choke.

I only have one Carlson- an Imp Mod Beretta choke. It seems fine and is very similar to the original Mobil chokes. “Better” is a loaded word. I’m sure that there are more carefully machined chokes than what comes with your SX2. Rhino chokes are well known for excellent concentricity. So are Trulocks and Brileys and Seminoles. The factory stuff is often made with a little less quality control. But that doesn’t mean it shoots poorly. Just that there is less consistency choke to choke.

The only real way to deal with chokes is to buy one and test it. If it gives you what you want with the shells you normally use, then keep it. If not, send it back and try another. There simply isn’t a short cut way. You have to test. If you don’t you are just going to have to take things on faith.

And don’t think that spending more always gets you more. Choke makers know that very, very few shooters will ever bother to test their chokes properly (10 patterns of each choke/shell combination). One pattern tells you nothing.

And don’t get me started on choke design. Screw chokes are one compromise piled on another, especially in the tighter constrictions. It’s harder (but not impossible) to get tight choke performance from a fixed length screw choke because you have to compromise the length of the taper and parallel. That’s why it’s far easier to get really good tight performance from a fixed choke barrel where they can run proper length tapers and parallels of any length they wish, not limited to the length of the “one size fits all” screw choke.

Heck, that all testing sounds like a lot of work. Sometimes it’s best to take things on faith and leave the work to someone else. Choke is only a tiny contributor to a missed bird. Gun handling, gun balance, gun fit and shooting technique are all far, far more important.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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