Added Choke Weight

Dear Bruce,

Having read and respected your opinions for some years now, I may have “mis-remembered” one of your proclamations of wisdom. Years ago I shot a friend’s Browning BSS 12 gauge that had after market choke tubes installed in the 26″ barrels. It swung like a slug; of course, the gun is chunky in the first place. Now I am being attacked by the guys over at the Shooting Sportsman Web Site for suggesting that even the Briley Thin Wall tubes add weight where you do not want it. I suggested that spreader shells be used to open the rather tight IC/MOD chokes, if needed. I have been sternly told that after market choke tubes add nothing, as the heavy metal taken out equals that of the lighter weight tubes.

So all knowing Technoid, what is the skinny? Please know you will be quoted if you agree with me and ignored if you do not.

Thanks in advance,

Rossville, TN

Dear Neil,

Well, I’m prepared to be ignored. I know what it’s like to be ignored. My dog won’t even come when I call.

The installation of Briley “Thinwall” chokes in a previously fixed choke gun will not increase muzzle weight. The Thinwall chokes merely replace the metal removed from the fixed chokes. Sorry, but that’s the fact. The only possible exception is if you install Thinwalls with an extended collar. Obviously, the weight will be increased by the extended collars.

Not all after-market chokes are Briley Thinwalls. Briley, and everyone else, also sell standard factory replacement chokes that weigh just as much as the factory chokes or more if the replacement is an extended choke. It really all depends on whether the gun was initially a fixed choke gun or was originally a factory screw choked gun with a jugged barrel built to take “steel-proof” chokes.

Changing the subject slightly, the reason that so many of the modern screw choked guns “swing like slugs” is because the makers install the chokes in the cheapest/strongest way, not the lightest one. Companies like Miroku (Browning Japan) jug the barrels and then add huge flounderweight Invector Plus chokes suitable for steel shot or depleted uranium. If you remove these chokes and put them in your pocket, the gun will usually balance properly (but you won’t). Of course, then you are “shooting threads” and you really don’t want to do that.

At one time Remington was even worse and cheaper. Rather than jug the muzzle to accept the huge chokes, on some of the early 1100 screw choke guns they simply clapped on a thicker barrel and used conventional threading on this sewer pipe. The brute weighed a jillion tons. Waddamess. Their newer “Light Contour” barrels are nicely balanced, which shows what you can do with a conventional thick replacement choke and jugged barrel if you thin the rest of the barrel down enough.

Today, some of the companies are coming around with their screw chokes to make better balanced barrels. Beretta’s Optima Bore barrels on the 682 Gold “E” are very nicely done and have a lively feel. Their older “Mobil Choke” barrels tend to be sluggish in the longer barreled O/U models. Perazzi hasn’t caught on though. Their screw chokes are still something to be avoided. Ditto Browning Japan, SKB and anything that uses an Invector Plus choke. I’ve seen sash weights that weigh less.

Loady chokes aren’t always bad. The balance of short, whippy guns may actually benefit from them. It’s the currently popular long barreled guns that often suffer the excess avoirdupois. A lot of it is personal preference and shooting style. A guy shooting a 34″ trap gun or a ten pound skeet tube set is looking for a much different feeling gun than a hunter or sporting clays shooter. Many new shooters have recently come into the sport knowing only muzzle heavy guns, so that’s what they get used to and that’s what they want. If you don’t know different, you don’t want different.

Best regards,

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

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1 Response to Added Choke Weight

  1. Jay says:

    The last paragraph is the key to the issue. Swing weight is a matter of fit just like overall weight. The last “English game gun” I picked up was priced at $40,000 (used) and felt like a Mattel toy gun. My best fit for the field is “long welterweight” like the Beretta Black Onyx, 20 ga., 30″ bbl (Mobilchoke) sporter I am shooting these days. It is a mid weight (bit under 7 lbs) slightly front heavy gun, very pleasant feel to the swing, smoothed by inertia but not labored.


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