High Quality Chokes

Dear Bruce,

Just another short query on screw chokes. In your recent Technoid tract (30/12/97) you stated that you don’t think there is any real difference between the differing brands. That is obviously your view but, I was wondering if you have had any personal experience with the Teague chokes in comparison to others. I have seen them and they do look great but I haven’t had them “under the microscope”, or any others for that matter.

I have thin wall Briley’s in my Miroku and no complaints. Gun goes bang and if a clay breaks I’m happy. But out of junior Technoid type curiosity, can you tell me is it correct that most screw in tubes only start the choke taper about halfway up the tube whereas Teague’s are a full length taper, and therefore “better”? Less stress on shot and all that, similar to long forcing cones..? Do any other or even most choke tubes have full length tapers?

I await your enlightened reply. Thanks.

Ignorantly yours,

Dear Peter,

I don’t exactly know about the word “enlightened”. There is nothing light about my advice. There are even those who refer to it as a “load”. Confusion to the enemy!

Nigel Teague does a marvelous job machining his chokes. The installation work is the best that I have seen and the drop off at skirt is kept to an absolute minimum. One of the British pros over here said that Teague used Briley choke blanks for a while and recut them to his own specifications. This makes sense as he has to start with some kind of raw material. Teague’s finished choke installation shows better work than Briley’s though. That said, no one has ever proven to me that his chokes provide better patterns than anyone else’s.

A choke should consist of two sections: the forcing cone of the choke and the parallel section. Ideally, the length of each section varies with the constriction involved. The same lengths that work for Full don’t work with Skeet. The problem with ALL screw chokes is that chokes of all constrictions are made to the same length. Better guns with solid chokes show chokes of different lengths. That is the big advantage to solid chokes and one of the reasons why serious money pigeon shooters and long yardage trap pros don’t mess with screw chokes. They are always a compromise.

Since shotgun patterns are Gaussian by nature, that means that there is no statistical difference between a modified pattern from a Purdey and a modified pattern from a Mossberg. Over a test of 100s of patterns, all 60% Modified patterns test out the same with the same patchiness. Oberfell and Thompson tried to prove that there was a statistical difference in patterns of the same percentages, but current theory is that there is not.

If that is the case (and my mathematician friends assure me that the Gaussian nature of patterns can be proven), then the only place that a “high quality” pattern can show up is at the Full choke end of the spectrum. A poor quality choke simply cannot achieve as tight a pattern as a high quality choke because the poor one treats the shot rougher due to excessive skirt drop off, poor finish, incorrect taper and the like. Other than achieving the tightest chokes possible, the high quality and low quality choke produce identical patterns at more open constrictions. A 60% pattern is a 60% pattern and it doesn’t care what kind of choke produced it.

If you are curious, try asking some of the major choke makers for statistical proof that their chokes are “better” and exactly how they define better. Don’t stand by the mail box waiting.

The maker of a high quality custom choke may be able to prove that he can get a 60% pattern out of .015″, while it takes .025″ to make a 60% pattern in a cheap choke, but the high end guy can’t statistically show that his 60% is any better. Where the high end guy wins is that his chokes may be able to produce an 80% pattern with enough constriction, while the cheap choke guy can’t get 80% no matter what he screws in. That’s the difference.

Confused yet? Me too.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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1 Response to High Quality Chokes

  1. No confusion at all Bruce……………put two chokes in you feel confident with, and TAKE THEM OUT ONLY TO CLEAN THEM. End of story.


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