Choking in Shotguns | What is the purpose of Choking?

Chocking refers to constriction of barrel towards the muzzle end of the firearms, particularly speaking, shotgun. Through choking, the diameter of the barrel


Shubham Kumar

1/29/20244 min read

Shotguns are generally used for hunting animals. When an individual is hunting a large animal like deer, shotguns are recognized as the prime choice, however, not for hunting small animals. Small animals like rabbits, are very tough to take down by a shot guns. This is because the slug when fired by a shotgun, leads to spreading of multiple sots over a wide area, since rabbit is small in size, the shots often misses its target. Therefore, to resolve this issue, choking was devised in shotguns.

In this article we are going to understand about the choking in shotguns and the type of choking in shotguns.

What do you mean by Choking?

Chocking refers to constriction of barrel towards the muzzle end of the firearms, particularly speaking, shotgun. Through choking, the diameter of the barrel towards the muzzle end is smaller that that of the rest part of the barrel.

The projectile which is fired form the shotgun is different than that of projectiles fired from other firearms like rifles and handguns. The projectile of shotgun is called slugs. Though slugs are very powerful projectiles, however, do less damage. Nevertheless, they impact on wide area but with less damage. This is because, slugs are the mixture of various small shots compiled in one cartridge care.

When the slug is fired, all the shots spread over a wide area just after they leaves the muzzle end, therefore, causing wide impact with less damage. Therefore, to solve this problem, the elongated barrel of the shotguns are constricted towards its muzzle end, controlling the spreading of shots to an extent. Through choking, the shots moves together for more distance, leading to cause serious damage.

Purpose of Choking

The sole purpose of chocking is to decrease the spread of the shots, fired by the shotguns. In a normal barrel, that is not choked, the shots/pellets usually travel as a single mass up to one yard after they are fired/propelled, after that they start to spread out. The shots will spread in more wide areas as soon as they proceed or disperse. Since, the range of 1 yard is very less, due to which targeting a small object would became difficult. Therefore, choking controls the dispersion of shots to some extent, and allows sots/pellets to travel more distance as a single mass.

Several Type of Chokings

Choking is done to extend the range of shots/pellets to travel as a single mass, therefore, multiples types of choking can be done in order to achieve determined range. For example, the choking done to hunt a rabbit will be different from the choking done hunt a squirrel.

Cylinder Choking: The cylinder choking referred to as zero choking or zero constriction or unconstricted barrel. Cylinder choking involves a smooth bored barrel, therefore, the shots will quickly gets dispersed.

Improved Cylinder Choking: The improved cylinder choking involves a slight constriction in the barrel towards the muzzle end of the firearm. This small constriction leads to slight increase in the range of shots/pellets to travel as single mass. Therefore, it allows the shot string to spread fairly quickly. This is a good choice for quail, rabbits, and other upland game at relatively close ranges.

Modified Choking: The modified choking involves a moderate constriction in the barrel towards the muzzle end of the barrel. The moderate constriction increases the range of single mass to large extent. Therefore, pellets stay together longer, making the shot string denser and more useful at longer ranges. This choke is used often when dove hunting and when using steel shot to hunt for ducks or geese. There is also an Improved Modified choke that is slightly tighter than Modified.

Full Choking: The Full choking has involves a tight constriction in the barrel towards the muzzle end of the barrel. Therefore, the shot holds together even longer, making this choke good for squirrels,
turkey, and other game shot at 40-yard and longer ranges. Turkey hunters sometimes use Extra Full or Turkey choke for even denser patterns at long range.

Other common types of Choking

Standard choke- Here the diameter of barrel near the muzzle end is narrower in comparison to rest part. They have tapered diameter.

Cone choke- Whole choke of the barrel is tapered to form cone. Also called as tapered choke and American choke since highly used in America.

Reverse Choke- Diameter at muzzle is wider than rest of the barrel. Give more greater pellet charge spreading than cylindrical barrel.

Jug Choke- Diameter of barrel at muzzle end and rest are same. Recess at about 2cm from muzzle end which spread in the barrel to about 15cm. This system give better spreading pattern at various ranges.

Variable choke- Have screw at the muzzle end which change diameter of the barrel in different size. Also
called “poly choke”. Used in pump action and repeater shotguns for continuous firing and screw can change the diameter at any degree of the choke-from reverse to full choke.


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