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Choosing the Best Choke for Your Game

With screw-in chokes and multi-barrel over/unders or even side-by-side shotguns, bird hunters have an opportunity to choose the best constriction for the shot they are shooting and game they are hunting.

For close shots on birds such as released quail or other tight sitting upland game that present close shots, a more open choke such as skeet, cylinder bore or most likely, improved cylinder are best. For late in the season ducks and geese, where birds are reluctant to decoy and will likely flare at the edge of range, a much tighter full choke is better.

Choosing the Best Choke for Your Game

For dove and easily decoying waterfowl, a modified is ideal. Below is a list of popular chokes and their optimal ranges for the best patterns.

Choke Ideal Range
Skeet 15-25 yards
Improved Cylinder 20-30 yards
Modified 30-40 yards
Improved Modified 40-55 yards
Full  50-65 yards

Remember to always test the shot you plan to use with different chokes sizes and at different distances to determine precisely how well your shotgun patterns the load. Look for nice, even patterns without ragged holes that can cause game to be wounded or outright missed. And then practice, practice, practice. It’s the only way to improve your wing shooting success!

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