Any ideas about really open chokes for 12-gauge skeet?!! I was reading in Bob Bristers book about shotgun patterns that a Russian fellow used some extremely open chokes to run 200 straight in International Skeet. He mentioned that the actual muzzle diameter on this gun was approx. .830, or nearly .100 larger than the actual bore.
In my own experience, I have found that my .001 and .002 constrictions hit targets quite hard. Do you think that chokes more open than cylinder would help scores in the 12-gauge event.
I competed seriously in International Skeet for over a dozen years. We were allowed to use 32 gram (1-1/8 oz) loads then and I always shot with cylinder bore and a slight machined flare at the muzzle of my 1100 barrels. Beretta and Perazzi skeet chokes of the time were also either cylinder bore to a flare (Beretta) or a slight jug choke to a flare (Perazzi). My Russian Baikal MU-8 had a Tula choke (named after the Russian arsenal at Tula). This is what Petrov used to shoot that first 200×200. It was sort of like a built in Cutts compensator without the slots: cylinder to jug, to slight overbore choke to flare. Krieghoff and Perazzi copied the idea. The theory was that they would work better with the fiber wad loads. My jugged Baikal and Perazzi Comp One patterned better with standard Federal plastic wad loads than they did with the master blaster Winchester fiber wad International Skeet loads. They were both a pain to clean. My cut-off 1100s (cylinder to flare) also preferred the plastic wads. I had a couple of Krieghoffs (M-32s) also. One had the Krieghoff jug choke and one had a standard skeet choke. The standard skeet choke patterned better with the shells I was using, though I don’t remember what it miked. Today, Olympic loads are down to 24 grams (7/8 oz) and IntSk shooters have to choke up a bit.
In American-style skeet, where 1-1/8 oz is still permitted, standard skeet chokes run from cylinder bore to about .007″ on the tight side. Many domestic skeet shooters use the tighter end of the spectrum because they are really thinking about the doubles only shoot-offs that come after the automatic 100 straights. The tighter chokes let you “read” your breaks better, but cylinder bore gives a very slightly larger effective pattern (read the exhaustive article in SR archives on skeet patterns).
How important are big patterns at American-style skeet? I just don’t know. Many of the very best skeet shooters in the country win major twelve gauge events using 7/8 oz loads and 20 gauge tubes in their O/Us. .005″ to .007″ is a very popular constriction range for those 20 gauge tubes. They giving up pattern size in order to get gauge to gauge gun consistency. It sure works for some of them. Bigger patterns aren’t always the answer.
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(Often in error, never in doubt.)