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Thread: shotgun choke

  1. #1

    Default shotgun choke

    Question, does a after market choke, such as carlson ect., make that much difference over factory choke?

  2. #2


    Here is an article by Phil Bourjaily that tests aftermarket tubes against factory tubes.

  3. #3


    Interesting article John, thanks for posting the link.

    As you can see from his data, there was little difference in choke performance when the chokes used had identical internal diameters. With all the choke marketing terminology out there and factory internal diameter barrel and choke tolerances, it is difficult for most hunters to determine the true choke constriction of their choke, so the only way to really know how your load/choke combo will perform is to pattern it!

    It would’ve been good if he had included a little more data in the article. The average in-shell pellet count of the load, actual pattern numbers, and or a photo of the average pattern from the 20-shot test run would have been helpful in determination differences in performance.

    Using his 20-shot average pattern percentages, lets estimate the average 30-inch pattern pellet counts. He didn’t give us the true in-shell pellet count, but if we assume there are about 120 No. 2 steel pellets per ounce then the 1 1/8-ounce load tested should have about 135 No. 2 steel pellets in it. Using this estimate, lets see what the 30-inch pattern pellet counts would be in the No. 2 steel patterns.

    1 1/8 oz #2 steel (~135 pellets)


    PP / 73.5% / 99

    KHF-P / 72.2% / 98

    REM-NP / 65.25% / 88

    KV-NP / 65.17% / 88

    “Worth it, especially with smaller shot sizes. Ported tubes showed a 7 to 8 percent pattern advantage with No. 2 shot.” – Okay, the two ported tubes with the No. 2 steel load did put more pellets in the pattern, but they all reached the minimum pattern density for mallards (85-90) as established by Tom Roster’s 2016 Nontoxic Shot Lethality table, so chances are there will be little if any difference in killin’ ability on mallards!

    “If you shoot close decoying birds, the factory Modified is all you need…” -- Yes. The numbers show that if you shoot your birds (mallards) out to 40 yards you won’t be able to tell the difference in killin’ ability.

    “…an aftermarket choke can indeed help.” -- Maybe and maybe not!

    Here are some pros and cons of extended choke tubes including:

    1) extended tubes are usually easier/faster to change (usually no wrench needed),

    2) most extended tubes have the choke/constriction printed on the exposed portion (visible when installed) while some flush tubes don’t have notches to indicate choke constrictions when installed,

    3) extended tubes provide muzzle protection from possible muzzle damage (dint) that could make choke removal or instillation difficult,

    4) extended tubes provide additional length which allows for the possibility of different choke geometry and design (ramp angle and length, choke angle and length, parallel section length, porting and endless marketing gimmicks) which may or may not provide improved performance,

    5) extended tubes usually weigh more than flush tubes which may or may not be a good thing for your gun’s balance,

    6) some shooters think the extended tubes look cool and some like the traditional uncluttered look of flush tubes, and

    7) extended tubes are generally more expensive (the choke makers like that).

    None of this means extended choke tubes work/perform "better" (whatever that means) than flush chokes. It really depends on the kind of performance you need/want from your chokes and loads for your type of hunting/shooting. However, if you aren't going to take the time to pattern them properly (with the ammo you use) to find out how they really perform then it doesn't really matter, just use what you like.

    Here are a few of my pattern numbers comparing a modified Rem-choke factory flush choke with Carlson’s modified extended choke using 12-gauge 3-inch No. 2 steel Winchester Xpert load. Yes, they basically averaged the same 106 pellet strikes in the 30-inch circle at 40 yards!

    Pattern results from a 12-gauge 3" Remington 870 Special Purpose with a 28" barrel and factory flush Rem-chokes and Carlson extended chokes (pattern average of five, 30" post-shot scribed circle, yardage taped muzzle to target, in-shell pellet count average of five, and true choke constriction from bore gauge).

    1 1/4 oz #2 steel (146 pellets) @ 1400 fps
    40 YARDS w/ Factory Flush Rem-chokes
    Rem-choke Mod (.018" const.) / pattern 105.8 (72.46%)

    40 YARDS w/ Carlson Extended Chokes
    Carlson Ext Mod / Mid-Range (.017” const.) / pattern 106.0 (72.60%)

    Hope this helps, good luck!
    Last edited by Joe Hunter; 03-24-2019 at 09:07 PM.

  4. #4


    Thanks for the input.I'm not sure which way is better but I appreciate the help.

  5. #5


    You know, if you are upland hunting* and unless you are routinely shooting beyond 40 yards, I find it difficult to believe that your factory chokes will not do the job they were intended for.

    *Most of my shots on pheasants are probably 20 to 35 yards.
    Last edited by John Singer; 03-25-2019 at 03:32 PM. Reason: Error

  6. #6


    Your comment makes sense, thanks for the advice.

  7. #7


    The biggest advantage to the aftermarket chokes is getting extended chokes. Most aftermarket chokes will throw tighter patterns than equivalent factory chokes but I also appreciate the convenience factor of being able to chokes quickly without a wrench.

  8. #8


    I agree that extended choke tubes are convenient.

    But be honest, does anybody really need to change their choke tubes...quickly?


    I know a lot of shooters that never change a choke tube.
    Last edited by John Singer; 03-29-2019 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Error


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