BlackBore Shotgun Choke Articles
There is a strong body of evidence that validates the advantages of using an extended choke over the flush choke that comes from the gun manufacturer. The flush choke is commonly referred to as a “conical” design and the extended choke is of the “conical/parallel” design. In the case of the flush choke, the conical section eases the transition of the shot/wad from the bore of the shotgun through a tapering cone to the final constriction. The conical/parallel sections of the extended chokes not only eases the transition from bore size to the final constriction, but also gives the shot/wad a "moment" of stability before exiting the choke.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of a flush choke? Let’s take a look:
- The flush choke tapers down to the final measured constriction at the very end of the choke/muzzle of the gun. The shot/wad exits the choke with no dwell time for the shot to conform or “settle in” to the final constriction.
- The combustion gases pushing the shot/wad column out of the choke creates turbulence at the end of the muzzle as the gases abruptly expand. This can cause turbulence on the shot/wad as they leave the choke which creates “fliers” of some of the individual pellets.
- I really don’t see any advantage to the flush choke in my opinion! They are relatively low cost and the gun manufacturers have to supply something to protect the choke threads of the barrel.
Extended chokes have been with us almost as long as flush chokes. They incorporate a “conical” section that gradually tapers down to a separate “parallel” section. This is a section of the choke of some length that extends beyond the muzzle of the shotgun. In this case, the parallel section is the constriction of the choke itself. One can find extended chokes supplied by the shotgun manufacturers and the aftermarket. The lengths of the extensions can be as small as one half inch to as much as two inches.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of the extended choke? Let’s take a look:
- In the extended choke, the conical section gradually tapers the shot/wad to the parallel section keeping pellet deformation to a minimum. But, once the parallel section is reached, the shot/wad then has some amount of dwell time for the shot to redistribute in the choke before exiting. This again minimizes the possibility of pellet damage.
- This slight redistribution of the pellets into a more conformal but stable mass of shot in the shot/wad column, in essence, “tightens” up the pellets which results in “tighter” patterns. Many times a shooter can come back a constriction as most shotgunners tend to choke too much! The only way to find out is to pattern with the shotshell load you intend to use.
- There is less turbulence at the end of the parallel section. It would be like spraying water through a pipe attached to the end of your garden hose, i.e., a straight stream!
- The extension itself also enables the manufacturer to more easily “mark” the choke with the constriction. This is a definite plus for the shooter looking to replace the choke with another constriction in a hurry.
- The extension acts as a handy way of tightening the choke after a shooting session without the need for getting out the choke wrench.
If you are looking for an extended choke, BlackBore chokes are the ones to consider. They also have some distinct advantages to the shooter that others do not offer!
As soon as the shotgun owner purchases a new shotgun, he (or she) knows that it will usually come with at least one or more choke tubes. The chokes may be of the flush type (when seated, it is even with the muzzle) or one with an extension past the muzzle of some length when properly installed. You will also notice that the choke will have a set of threads located at a certain location on the choke that will mate with threads in the barrel.
So, how tight should I tighten the choke when installing the choke in the barrel of the shotgun? Do you use the choke wrench supplied with the gun or just hand tighten? Is there a rule of thumb that one can fall back on? Just so we understand what is involved, we need to take a moment to consider what happens when we tighten a choke into the barrel.
The most important dimension from the choke/barrel point of view is the distance from the muzzle to the "shoulder" inside the barrel that the choke seals against when the choke is screwed into the barrel. This dimension is the shotgun manufacturers choke length that is very important to the proper seating of the choke! If the choke is screwed into the barrel, but it doesn't quite make it to the shoulder, there is a high probably of combustion gas blowing into the space between the choke body and the barrel itself. In extreme cases, there is the possibility of damaging the choke and the barrel.
But what happens when the opposite occurs? That is, the choke is screwed in so tight that the thin edge at the bottom end of the choke is jammed into the shoulder. This stresses the threads of the choke and barrel and may even contribute to stripping the threads over time. When the choke is screwed in too tight, the shooter will have a hard time removing the "dirty" choke at the end of a shooting session.
So, how tight is too tight? A little common sense goes a long way here. Be SURE you clean the threads on the choke and the threads in the barrel before you install the choke. Use a good gun oil or choke oil/grease to lube the threads. You will be pleasantly surprised how easy they go in and easily removed (make sure that the gun is unloaded and not pointed at you or anyone/anything else).
For flush chokes, the only safe way to install and remove the choke is with a choke wrench that fits the notch pattern in the choke (they are not all the same). With extended chokes, slowly, but firmly screw the choke into the barrel and make sure you continue to do so until the sealing shoulder in the barrel is reached. Be sure the choke is SNUG against the shoulder, but not so tight it would take a gorilla to get it loose. Be aware of the length of the inside portion of your choke so that you know how far it needs to go into the barrel to be snug and tight.
Are there chokes out there that won't shoot loose during a shooting session? If there are, I have never used one. Most shooters use a lull in shooting to reach up to the end of the barrel and check the tightness of the choke (again, be sure the gun is unloaded and safe). I would rather hand tighten the choke every so often then have it jammed in there so tight that the choke is hard to remove or becomes damaged.
Sorry, there just is not any hard and fast rule on how much is too much! And speaking of chokes, if you are looking for "the cutting edge in choke design", please take a look at BlackBore Chokes for those that want a choke that will give the shooter the utmost in performance!