Magazine, Hunting

Guns chokes: what, when, how?

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It is practically impossible today to find a shotgun or trap without chokes… but do you know exactly what it is? 

What is a choke?

This part, which is removable or not depending on the model, has the function of narrowing the muzzle of the barrel in order to obtain a more or less compact shot jet at a determined distance.

This basic accessory has become a solid ally for snipers. It makes it possible to obtain better results in clay pigeon shooting and hunting.

Usage tips

When a game or a plate goes directly to a shooter and the latter is equipped with a double-barreled shotgun, the ideal for him is to fire the first shot with a tight choke – this allows to have a sheaf that remains compact at long distance – and the second with a more open choke – in order to cover a larger space and thus increase its chances of reaching the target.

Conversely, if the plate or the game is leaking, it will then be necessary to reverse this order.

In any event, in both cases, the estimation of the distance constitutes the central factor which will determine the use of a rather open or rather tight choke.

Types of chokes

The different types of chokes allow you to make the most of the effective range of pellets. When hunting, the efficiency to be achieved is, of course, that which makes it possible to kill the net game, as much as possible.

If there are more or less 7 variations of chokes at Browning, rifles are commonly delivered with these types:

Types of chokes


Distance from the target = + -35m
Thanks to a spray tightened to the maximum, the full allows reaching a distant target. It is often used for shooting in the pit, in the practice of the hut (ducks placed at a distance), or even for the shooting of certain other migrants such as the pigeon. Attention, if the full house can be very efficient at long distance, it also requires, on the part of the shooter, all the more skill; conversely, at close range, it will tend to have a “bullet effect” – which will, of course, be very bad for venison … and its cooking!


Distance from target = + -30m

Choke often used for the practice of the “hunting course” and in many types of hunting, because it embodies a good average between the extremes “open” and “tight”. It has excellent performance when shooting at conventional distances. It is commonly placed in the upper barrel of stacked rifles.


Distance from the target = + -25m
It is the choke that generally equips semi-automatic rifles. It is renowned for its versatility both in front of you and during a “hunting course” or “compact sporting”.


Distance from the target = + -20m
Often used in tandem with a ½ or 3/4 choke, the 1/4 is generally placed in the lower barrel of your bunk. Excellent for hunting small haired (rabbit) or feathered (partridge, woodcock) game. But be careful not to underestimate the shooting distance! A sheaf always loses in strength what it gains in width…


Distance from the target = + -15m
This is used in place of the other chokes when these are not applicable. It nevertheless protects the barrel thread which would be exposed if no choke was in place.

The cylindrical, also called smooth, is the choke that spreads the most. It is particularly suitable when shooting at very short distances – woodcock in the woods, for example – and a little “on the shoulder. »Given that it« sprinkles », it is necessary more than ever to take care of the orientation of its shooting when using the cylindrical… In addition, certain users consider that it is the only choke adapted for shooting with a bullet in the smooth barrel.

It seems to depend on the rifle in question. If we take the example of the new A5, we can a priori shoot with any choke without risking damage to the mouth: the real problem is to determine which of the chokes will be the most precise with such a projectile. For that, no secret, you have to try on target! (Each weapon reacts differently, and the type of bullet used is also taken into account).

Maintenance tips

Like a weapon, a choke must be regularly cleaned so that it retains its original properties and therefore it is proper functioning. Regarding the removable chokes, it is advisable after each session to dismantle them, clean them and then apply a light film of oil on their surface. This will guarantee the proper disassembly of the choke in the future. Indeed, it is not uncommon for a poorly maintained choke to remain “welded” to the barrel following the combination of hot gases, the accumulation of powder deposits and the high heat of the barrel.

If it too needs to be well maintained, after an intensive shot of 500 messy cartridges, a  Browning Invector DS choke will stay clean, because it is designed to considerably limit the spread of gases. It also has a patented sealing segment ensuring easy disassembly in all circumstances.

In terms of precautions, finally, add that most gunsmiths strongly recommend excessive use of the key when it comes to installing the choke on the barrel. It can be useful for loosening the part (be careful: delicately!), But putting it in place requires a simpler and above all less risky way to choke: you just have to slide your finger in the small cylinder and turn until you feel it perfectly blocked!


The choke is an essential accessory that will allow the shooter to increase the effectiveness of his shots significantly. If the choice of the right choke is important, it is also necessary to carefully consider the technology proposed by each manufacturer: indeed, unlike Browning, few can boast of being able to guarantee the effectiveness of their chokes at defined distances.

Happy shooting everyone!

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