What Is A Shotgun Choke?

Shotgun Choke Tubes
Shotgun Choke Tubes

FieldandClays.com –-(Ammoland.com)-  A choke is simply a tapered constriction of the gun barrel’s bore at the muzzle end.

The exit end of the choke is smaller by some dimension than the actual bore of the barrel. This difference is the amount of constriction.

For example if the bore of the barrel is .730 and the exit diameter of the choke is .710 you have a constriction of .020.

The amount of constriction for a given degree of choke will also vary between manufacturers but as a general rule for standard chokes the total range will be between .000 and .045 thousandths of an inch. In the case of special purpose turkey chokes it can be as much as .100 or 1/10th of an inch.

The length of the choke can vary as well. Most, but not all chokes will have an overall length of between 1.5 and 4 inches.

They can be grouped in 3 general types:

  1.  Fixed chokes- They are made as an integral part of the barrel and cannot be readily changed except by a gunsmith and any alteration is considered permanent.
  2. Interchangeable chokes- These can be of the ‘screw on” style which is externally attached or the “screw in” which is recessed into the barrel. To change the degree of constriction you simply remove and replace with a choke of a different diameter.
  3. Adjustable chokes- This style of choke is adjustable throughout the entire range by turning a sleeve, which collapses or allows a collet to expand thus changing the exit diameter. A popular choke of this type is the Polychoke.

The internal design of chokes can also be broken down into three main groups:

  1. Conical Parallel- They have a cone that blends into a parallel section which helps to stabilize the shot charge as it leaves the choke.
  2. Straight Conical- This has a cone only. Where the cone stops is the point where the shot exits the choke.
  3. Wad Retarding-They do not have the constriction in the same manner as either of the above designs but instead use bumps or projections to alter the shot pattern.

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