I’m exploring the possibility of getting aftermarket chokes on my new trap gun, so that I can fiddle with it some at skeet and 5-stand as well as trap.
Being a patterning fanatic, have you taken the time to do any before vs. after pattern testing of a Briley aftermarket thin-wall job? I’m particularly interested in how the fuller choke tubes pattern, versus their prior fixed-choke equivalent. If I get my gun choked, I’ll certainly do the test myself, but it would be nice to know ahead of time!
I’ve never owned a gun with Briley thin-walls, and I’ve never even seen a gun choked by Nigel Teague. Could you please give me some information on the pros and cons of each, along with any other American aftermarket job that might deserve mention? Any idea what Teague chokes cost and how long they are?
There isn’t much point in me going into how my FN Brownings patterned before or after Briley Thin-walls because your barrels may be entirely different or you may be using different loads. Also, I wasn’t trying to get the tightest chokes possible.
I have generally found that it is easier to get a better full choke pattern with solid chokes than it is with screw chokes. Most trap shooters and pigeon shooters would agree with me on this. It really depends on what you are looking for. My Briley .035″ thin walls won’t do much better than 75% with any of the standard target shells. This is just about what you would expect from .035″ and I have no complaints at all. I don’ t know if choking tighter would get me tighter patterns because 75% was what I was looking for so I stopped there. I had to go to .040″ with Briley 2X after market over the counter chokes in my Beretta 303 to get 75%, but the tolerance at the rear of the skirt is much larger than it is with the custom made thin-walls.
Teague works to considerably tighter standards than Briley thin-walls (though I heard that Teague originally did start using Briley choke tube steel stock). You almost can’t see the skirt drop off with Teague screw-ins. The applications I have seen the Teague chokes used in have been for sporting clays, so no one was trying to get an 85% or 90% pattern. So I really can’t answer the question as to whether you can get as tight a choke with screw-ins as you can with solids. My guess would still be nom, but I have been wrong once or twice before.
Does the design of the choke really matter? Well, I dunno. It depends. I am a Gaussian theorist when it comes to chokes. I believe that one 60% pattern is the same as another IF (big IF) that 60% pattern is taken in three dimensions, not just two, so as to take shot string out of the equation. Since I am not going to take the trouble to build a computer and chronograph array like the good Roger Giblin in England did to measure shot string, I sort of take it on faith. Where choke systems may be unequal is when one choke system can only throw a 75% pattern at its tightest and another may get 80% or better. That’s the difference. Much of that depends on how well the screw choke is fitted as well as the interior design of the other areas of the barrel. As far as 70% chokes or less, just about anything will produce those numbers so I don’t may much attention to the choke system used just as long as it throws the percentage I expect.
There are two schools of though on choke length. One is that the tighter chokes need longer forcing cones and parallels to ease the shot into the choke and stabilize it. If you follow this theory, then screw chokes aren’t for you because they are all the same length- relatively short.
Another choke theory is that length doesn’t matter so much and that short chokes with sharp angles and no parallels can work just as well. It’s a fact that a short, sharp choke angle requires less constriction to get the job done, but I haven’t seen anything definitive at the ultra tight choke end of things.
Teague started off making short chokes and has since gone to longer chokes because he felt that the market demanded it. He has commented that he got just as good patterns from the short tubes, but he wanted to stay current with customer’s perceptions.
Teague uses a straight taper design (TTT or Teague Tapered Technology) rather than a conical/parallel design so often used elsewhere. You can reach him at https://www.teaguechokes.com/
Bottom line: as usual I don’t really know and am waiting for someone else to do the work for me. Most of the guys I know who are fussy send their guns to Heritage Gunsmiths in Centerburg, OH and have him do the final tuning. If you are thinking about getting a gun screw choked and don’ t mind paying for the service, I would call first and ask them what they recommend. They will individually pattern test your gun to make sure that you get what you want.
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error, never in doubt.)