A choke on a shotgun refers to the tapered constriction at the muzzle end of the gun’s barrel. It’s designed to control how shots fired by the user spread and hit the target directly as intended. As this is placed in the bore of the barrel, the choke tightens the shooting pattern and enables the user to shoot with better accuracy.
There are two main ways in which a choke is installed in the shotgun – either by screwing it to the barrel or by permanently integrating it into the bore of the shotgun barrel. Both types serve their purpose in the same way, and the only difference is that the screw-in type can be replaced if needed. Lots of calculations go into creating the ideal choke for a shotgun. Factors like the length of the gun barrel, the material and geometry of the choke, the finish of the bore and choke, etc., are carefully analyzed by manufacturers to come up with the right type of shotgun choke.
Generally, shotgun chokes can be classified into four categories: cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, and full choke. Note that different chokes serve different purposes. For instance, a cylinder choke is more of an open-type one which allows the user to shoot over a greater diameter without much precision. For more accurate shots, the choke should be more restrictive, like you see in full choke models. Therefore, the choke you choose must depend on your specific needs. Below is a quick look at the different types of chokes we available for shotguns on the market today.
- Cylinder Choke: These chokes are meant to shoot targets at a shorter range such as when hunting with a buckshot or birdshot which usually require distances of up to 30 yards. When the user pulls the trigger, a cylinder-choke shotgun lets out a widespread shot which increases chances of hitting the target. This lowers the threshold required for perfect aim.
- Improved Cylinder Choke: These chokes allow you to shoot up to a farther range than regular cylinder chokes. Technically, they increase the distance by around 10% due to the added constriction of the improved cylinder choke. This means that if you’re hunting at short distances, choosing either a cylinder choke or improved cylinder choke will work fine for your purposes. However, the latter gives you some extra firepower and has the capability of dealing more specified damage to the target.