Choke Switching


Dear Mr. Buck:

I have a question regarding choke tubes. What do you think about screwing chokes into different barrels. For example, I have a Browning Citori with Invector-Plus tubes. Is it safe to take a tube that has been fired extensively in the upper barrel and then to put it in the lower barrel. So far, I have been keeping track of which tube has been in which barrel so this has not been an issue but this is something of a pain and I would like to know if it is really necessary.

Also, I am in the market for a pump-gun and if it is safe to put the chokes that I already own and have fired in my gun into a different barrel I think I will spend the extra money and get a BPS otherwise, I might just get an 870.

My thinking behind this concern is all the stresses that a barrel undergoes upon firing. I would think all of the vibrations, etc. would somehow “fingerprint” the choke tubes for that barrel.

Thank you for your time,

Yours truly,
Richard

Dear Richard,

Good question. I don’t recall it having been asked before and I don’t think that many people give it a thought.

In theory (note weasel words), it shouldn’t make the slightest difference which barrel you put a particular choke in. In theory, both bores are identical (or roughly so) in size. In theory, each choke tube has an ample relief at the skirt so account for normal production ganging of tolerances between bore diameters and choke skirts. Nowhere that I have seen does Browning warn against switching chokes from one barrel to another in the same gun.

So much for theory. In practice I have never noticed a problem in Brownings swapping a choke from one barrel to another. That doesn’t mean that a slight difference in bore diameters won’t produce a slightly different pattern when barrels are switched. Only miking out your barrels and chokes will answer that question, but most people don’t even give it a second thought.

One point I do want to make is that you must keep your choke tubes clean and free of carbon buildup. It is possible to have extremely heavy carbon buildup push the skirt of the choke into the bore with disastrous results. This happened on one of the early screwchoke Italian guns with depressing regularity. Keep everything clean.

As to switching chokes to an new gun, it ought to be OK just as long as the new gun is set up to take the same series of chokes. Any gun that comes with Invector Plus chokes, ought to be able to take any Invector Plus choke. If that weren’t the case, then aftermarket choke makers couldn’t sell their product. Barrels built for the same series of chokes should have the same barrel IDs, or close enough within production standards.

As to buying a BPS over an 870 just so you can use the chokes from your Citori, it ought to work if the BPS comes with Invector Plus chokes rather than the earlier series Invectors. All current production Citoris come with the Invector Plus chokes so if the new BPS is current production, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Whether it is worthwhile to get a BPS over an 870 is your decision. I prefer the 870 Wingmaster with the Light Contour barrel to the BPS, but that’s up to you.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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