Beretta Chokes

Dear Technoid,

In one of your many musings, you stated that the true meaning of life could be found in the selection of chokes (or something to that effect.) In my own quest, I stumbled across a little tidbit in the latest Beretta catalog. It seems that a Beretta skeet choke, called a “Skeet Beretta,” actually has a negative constriction. (Is that an oxymoron?)

Given that you are the proud owner of a Beretta gun and have all of the appropriate Technoid measuring tools, is this really the case? And does this mean I need to talk to Briley about getting not only a Light Modified but also a Skeet to fill out the “Technoid Choke Trio”? (Full after 35, Skeet at less than 20, and Light Modified for everything in between.) One the otherhand, given the chokes that came with the Beretta, is it possible to define a “Beretta Bunch?”

Logan

Dear Logan,

Rule #1 in chokes: Measure! As I have said ad infinitem (ad nauseum?), just because some choke tube is stamped with something doesn’t mean that’s what it is. True, Beretta is slightly more accurate than the generally grossly mislabled Browning Invector screw chokes, but only slightly.

Naturally, choke depends on resultant pattern, not on constriction (more Technoid archives), but let’s just pretend that everyone follows Briley’s lead on screw choke constrictions and has:

Cyl = .000″
Sk (or Sk 1) = .005″
IC = .010″
L. Mod (or Sk 2) = .015″
Mod = .020″
I. Mod = .025″
L. Full = .030″
Full = .035″
X Full = .040″

The Beretta sporters come with Sk, IC, Mod and Full. No, they don’t necessarily measure .005″, .010″, .020″ and .035″ constriction, but they do make a try at it. If you mike enough Beretta chokes at the gun shop, I am sure that you can find some that will measure out. Briley is sometimes even closer than Beretta, sometimes not. I have two Briley L. Mods. One an ID of .711″ for .011″ constriction in my .722″ bore 390 and the other is dead on at .015″ constriction.

In one of my 303s, I also had two Cyl chokes, one a Beretta factory and one a Briley 2X extended. The Beretta factory Cylinder Bore choke threw the usual pattern. The Briley 2X Cylinder Bore choke threw the most open pattern I have ever seen from a shotgun. It was like a spreader. I have never seen anything like it.

There are a number of approaches you can take. One is to just shoot what you have, not measure anything and have faith. It makes life simple. Second is to actually borrow a bore mike (Baker’s is the best) and find out what you have. Briley can fill in any gaps. Just measure the exact bore size and then tell them how many points of constriction you want. They will send you back something just about dead on.

Thirdly, you can actually do the patterning with the shell that you are going to use in competition. At 40 yards, using a 30″ circle, you will want your skeet choke to put 45% of its pattern of #9s into the circle. Your L. Mod should put 55% of its load of #8s into the ring. Your Full should put at least 75% of its # 7 1/2s into the circle.

As an aside, there is no such a thing as too full a full choke. An edge on bird at 35-40 yards cannot be broken “reliably” with anything less. The trap shooters have understood this from the beginning. Sporting clays shooters shouldn’t have to relearn it.

Now, as to the Beretta “negative” skeet choke: I have fooled around with Beretta skeet guns on and off since the 680 some 20 years ago. Beretta solid skeet chokes are all over the place. I have seen them with up to .010″ constriction and I have seen them with none. Generally, most of the Beretta solid choke skeet guns that I measured back in the ’80s when I was doing a lot of that had cylinder bore barrels right out to a flare at the muzzle. The muzzles weren’t jugged as they do for screw chokes or Tula chokes, they were just beveled to a flare on the inside last 1/4″ of the barrel. I haven’t tested the “cylinder to a flair” skeet choke with the new tiny ISU 24 gram loads, but they worked really well with the old 32 gram 4 dram stompers we used to use. Ennio Falco seemed to like those chokes when he used a Beretta to take the Olympic skeet Gold at Atlanta last go around, but you never know what he really had in the front of his gun.

Still, if I only wanted to use three chokes for sporting to match with the three shells and three distances, I would go with .005″, .015″ and .035″. If you decided on .000″, .015″ and .040″ I couldn’t argue too much either. You may have to get the L.Mod .015″ and the XFull .040″ from Briley as Beretta doesn’t make chokes of those designations (though you can’t tell what you will get until you measure).

One final note before the coffee runs out- Just because you CAN shoot sporting with only three chokes and three shells at three distances, doesn’t mean that I personally always do it. In a single barrel auto like the 303 or 390, I do most of my FITASC shooting with a .020″ Modified, and I did save that wall-covering Briley 2X Cylinder bore for those stupid 5 yard shots you get every now and then. As the Technoid, it is my duty to do things that are unnecesarily complicated. You are permitted to be smarter.

Best regards,

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

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