What can be done with a Cylinder Choke bbl?...


Dave McCracken
December 29, 2002, 08:23 PM
There's been a query or two on this off line, so here's some suggestions on what can be done with and to an unchoked shotgun.

And,there's lots of these around,from Police style pumps to the newer SxS shotguns for the CAS folks. Smoothbore slug barrels qualify also.

Some here may recall me mentioning that a riot barreled 870 can do a great job as a quail gun. That can be expanded to grouse, woodcock and anything else with shot opportunities within 25 yards or so. Suitable ammo, of course.In fact, with proper loads, just about any upland game short of turkey can be humanely taken with no choke, provided ranges are fairly close. This requires good ammo selection, shotgun skills, etc, but the choke is not the biggest limiting factor.

Other things that can be done chokeless include skeet,of course,some sporting clays presentations, slug use and defense.

Short barreled repeaters are lighter than optimum for a skeet gun oft fired 100 times a day or more. But for an occasional round to tighten up shooting skills with your bird gun, it'll do well.

Sporting clays oft has many close range shots where cylinder shines.My best guess is 40% of the shots on most courses can be shot with a cylinder bore. Using a top quality load and a long forcing cone might bump that up to 60% on some courses.

That last deserves explanation. A forcing cone of about 1 1/2" instead of the standard 3/4-7/8" will deform less shot, and aid pattern density about as much as up to .0005" constriction,or one increment of choke.There's a slight reduction in kick, though I defy anyone to tell just by feel.

Most cylinder bores shoot very even patterns at 20 yards, even with cheap ammo containing soft, unround shot. That pattern's full of holes at 30 yards,though. ALL patterns are more dense in the center than on the fringes, regardless of choke. Cylinder tends to be less dense in the center than tighter constrictions, though the difference isn't great.

Doing the cone is the least controversial barrel modification there is, and the only downside is the cost, about $50-75. On a chokeless shotgun, it nicely rounds out the patterns. Fewer flyers means more pellets in the pattern.

Here's a couple things to do with your ammo and shotgun to squeeze good performance out of that cylinder bore.

You're getting a beautiful 20 yard pattern with an oz of 8s. But a lot of your shot opportunities come between 30 and 40 yards.So how to make a good pattern out there?

First, upgrade your load quality. Instead of using whatever's on sale at Guns R Us as field loads, go for a trap load with first class components like hard, round shot.

Second, up the pellet size. Instead of 8s, use 7 1/2s. All else equal, larger pellets make tighter patterns. Or, if it's larger birds, go to #5 pellets instead of 6s.

Third, up the payload. Instead of an oz, go for 1 1/8 oz. You can even bump it up to 1 1/4 oz, just remember kick goes up too.

Adding 1/8 oz of shot kinda duplicates going up one increment of choke just going on density. Pattern fails well before speed does.

This should give the owners of chokeless shotguns some food for thought. Sing out if there's questions....

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December 29, 2002, 08:33 PM
Thanks, good info.:)

December 30, 2002, 11:16 PM
My fave choke's modified, sans that, give me cylinder bore.

Wholeheartedly agree = use next size weight, and/or go up in hardness for better pattern.

Too, steel (much as I hate it) or someof the newer PC-shot tend to shoot tighter patterns. True, you won't get the expected down range punch of lead (although they're coming around), but to extend your pattern another 10 yards for quail & the like, steel, etc. has its place. Pricey though.

December 30, 2002, 11:26 PM
Dave, Excellent Info.

Tailor loads, ...and pattern board.

Whom said "matter of bore-not choke"? Brister?

December 30, 2002, 11:58 PM
What can be done? Bout anything! :)

Dave McCracken
December 31, 2002, 05:40 AM
Thanks, guys....

I think it was Brister, 1973, but my copy's lent out.

One note,some 870s and probably other police style shotguns marked Cylinder, or Police Cylinder, actually have a few thousandths of constriction. This was to produce a reasonable pattern with older ammo. Pre plastic wad,buck patterns were often wildncrazy.

In fact, modern ammo gives more or less the same type of pattern in Cylinder bores that IC did back in the goodolds.

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