Cleaning Choke Tubes

Dear Technoid,

As I have recently ventured into the realm of Sporting Clays, I find I am now using a variety of choke tubes as opposed to the fixed bores of my previous guns. In the routine cleaning ritual, I am finding significant “plastic” buildup on the entry ID of my chokes. I have tried to clean this with Hoppes #9, but am finding it very difficult to get all the deposit removed.

Is there a secret to keeping choke tubes clean? Are there any other solvents that I should use? One of the guys at the gun club told me to use brake fluid, but to make sure I keep it away from the gun’s wood. My real concern is that with an irregular ID of the choke, my patterns could be adversely affected (at least that could be an effective excuse on the range).

Your words of wisdom have been very much appreciated. Keep up the great work!


Dear Jck,

Cleaning techniques are pretty individualistic. I am afraid that I am not as good about scrubbing my choke tubes as I should be. I sort of “shoot ’em clean” if you know what I mean.

If I can help it, I never let anything near my gun that cannot be slobbered all over it. You would be amazed at how stuff applied on the front bead can end up in the butt plate after a while. That is one of the reasons that I always store my shotguns muzzle down in the safe. If a product is going to melt your finish, I would try not to use it. It would probably melt your lungs too. Brake cleaner is commonly used as a gun solvent, but I think that it is a little too risky so I don’t mess with it. Chlorinated solvents are not the ideal gun cleaning product.

I have had good luck with Shooters Choice solvent. It is sort of like a strong Hoppe’s, but it doesn’t smell as good. Put all your chokes in a mayonnaise jar, pour in enough Shooters Choice to cover, put the top on and let sit over night. In the morning, chuck a bronze 12 gauge bore brush (for 12 gauge chokes) in an electric drill and have at it. Wear glasses in case the stuff splatters. I sort of cover everything with a paper towel when I do it. It is messy, but it sure works and is quick. Then just wipe off with a cloth and you are done. Someone even sells a little hand clamp type gizmo to help you hold the choke while you do this. Don’t use Vise-grips unless you want an oval pattern.

By the way, if you clean your chokes every time you use them, you should be able to do it with a toothbrush. You only get into trouble when that plastic really builds up. If your chokes are rough finished they may build up more plastic than they should. Get them polished out or replace them with ones of better quality.

If you don’t clean your chokes often, plastic might build up enough to affect pattern, but I doubt it. Frankly, as far as chokes are concerned, a couple of thou one way or another really makes no practical difference. Of course, sloth and indolence enters into my opinion as much as anything else.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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2 Responses to Cleaning Choke Tubes

  1. blackwellopt says:

    I remove my Briley Series 1 Flush Chokes out of my MX-8 every time after shooting. Deposit same in a Mason jar with low deodorant mineral spirits. Soak for 24 hrs, clean with chamber & barrel brushes. If it says Marine or Gun products, it is more expensive. Use the mineral spirits for cleaning gun. Post cleaning, CLP or Tri Flow, Super Lube Grease, & Rusteprufe.


  2. Robert O. SHEMELD says:

    I concur. Shooters Choice does not have the wonderful aroma of Hoppe’s, but unfortunately Hoppe’s won’t touch the plastic. I shoot ‘tons’ of sporting clays and wobble trap and find eventually there is a considerable buildup of plastic in the forcing cones of my Beretta’s.

    Soak a patch in Shooters Choice, keeping away from the stock or any wood, run the patch through the barrels several times until everything inside is wet then let the barrels sit for about 10 minutes, turning them once to insure even saturation. Then affix your bronze brush to the end of a cleaning rod and electric drill and run it through the barrels until clean. Finish off with dry patches.

    Don’t leave your pretty bright chokes in the stuff too long, I found it tends to ‘blue’ or stain the metal.

    Bob Shemeld


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