What is a Choke Tube?
Choke tubes are stainless steel cylindrical pipes that are inserted at the end of a shotgun barrel in order to constrict the shot column traveling out of the barrel. Choke tubes vary in length but can extend 2-inches past the end of the shotgun barrel.
Purpose of Choke Tubes
The purpose of a choke tube is to constrict the shot column as it leaves the barrel in order to adjust pattern density for intended ranges. There are two types of choke tubes, fixed and interchangeable choke systems. Fixed choke tubes are cut into the barrel and cannot be changed unless done with machinery.
Interchangeable choke systems on the other hand are designed to be removed and installed quickly for changing conditions. Choke systems are threaded into the barrel and simply require unscrewing the choke tube from the end of the barrel.
How to Use Choke Tubes
Choke tubes are simple to use and require very little maintenance. To use a choke tube, simply screw it into the end of your shotgun barrel and tighten it down with a choke wrench so that it is snug and won’t back out.
Repeat this process for removing a choke tube and replacing it with another. Once a choke tube is securely installed, the shotgun can be fired and the choke tube can be used.
How to Choose the Right Choke Tube
Choosing the right choke tube is a game of trial and error. Choke tubes pattern differently depending on many factors, which can include the firearm, choke tube, ammunition, and conditions. Each of these factors can affect the results of how a choke tube patterns.
Because of this, you should pattern your shotgun with as many choke and ammo combinations as possible to find out what works best.
What Type of Choke for Duck Hunting?
The best chokes for duck hunting are those that are less constrictive. Most duck hunting takes place over decoys and that means shots within 40 yards. Modified and Light Modified are two choke tubes that tend to be the most popular for duck hunting.
Less constrictive chokes also work better with smaller shot that is typically used for duck hunting. Steel shot, such as #6, #3, and #4, are popular shot sizes for ducks and usually pattern great at 30-40 yards with enough knock down power to harvest birds cleanly.
To see a chart of the common choke tube sizes and their diameters, click here.
What Type of Choke for Goose Hunting?
The best chokes for goose hunting tend to be those that are more constrictive since shot ranges are typically longer. Modified, Improved Modified, and Full chokes are all widely used for goose hunting.
Chokes with tighter constrictions tend to hold the shot column together for long range shots, whereas more open chokes spread the shot out sooner giving it less range and fewer pellets on target.
About Choke Tubes
Choke tubes offer a way to increase ballistics over a standard cylinder barrel shotgun. The constriction of the shot column exiting the barrel compresses the pellets so that they hold together longer. Choke tubes come in many different constriction sizes that allow you to customize them for the situations that you’ll be using them in.
Choke tubes are easily screwed into the end of shotgun barrels with choke systems installed and are interchangeable. Open chokes such as improved and modified are top choices for decoying ducks in close. Tighter chokes like the modified and full choke work better for long range shots on geese.
Need a new choke tube? Click here to see our top picks for the best choke tubes for waterfowl.