Which choke is which?


April 18, 2003, 02:30 PM
Relatively new to shotguns…have been mostly a pistol guy up to now. I bought a used Beretta O/U for sporting clays that came with with 4 chokes, but none of them are marked. So…How do I tell which one is, say, skeet versus modified, versus IM, etc? Can I just measure the inside diameter with my calipers? And if so, what is the sequence smallest to largest? Thanks in advance.

Semper Fi

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April 18, 2003, 03:23 PM
Well here goes. In order of increased constriction:

- Cylinder bore
- Skeet
- Improved
- Modified
- Light Modified
- Full
- Xtra Full

There are variations in between, but the ones above are the most popular. You may be able to measure, but its probably better to go by relative constriction since different companies may have different specs to achieve the desired results. All of the chokes are designed to put a certain 5 of pellets on a certain size target at a specified distance, but I have no idea what the details are. Happy shooting dude!!


April 18, 2003, 03:24 PM
that's % of pellets above, not "5" Sorry.

April 18, 2003, 05:46 PM

Light modified would be between Improved Cylinder and Modified. Also called Skeet 2.


There are several markings for Beretta chokes.

The markings are:

- Cylinder bore C0000, (C****), CL, 5 notches
- Skeet SK, No notches
- Improved Cylinder 0000, (****), IC, 4 notches
- Modified 000, (***), M, 3 notches
- Improved Modified 00, (**), IM, 2 notches
- Full 0, (*), F, 1 notch

Beretta has marked chokesd in a variety of ways. The easiest way is to look at the mouth of the choke. There will be four notches for the wrench at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. Don't count them. Look for the other notches.

The letter will usually be faintly etched on the side of the choke. Good light helps to see it.


April 18, 2003, 05:51 PM
Generally there are little notches on the top of the chokes. Or there are stars on the side of the choke.

5 notches - cylinder
4 notches - improved cylinder
3 notches - modified
2 notches - improved modified
1 notches - full


April 18, 2003, 05:52 PM
Trevman's list is not quite accurate. Light modified (also known as Skeet 2) is tighter that improved cylinder but not as tight as modified. Between modified and full is improved modified and if you have Briley chokes Light Full falls between improved modified and full.

Are there markings on these chokes that look like asterisks or stars or notches in the end of the choke? If so these are the choke markings:

**** improved cylinder
*** modified
** improved modified
* full

Where this system gets tricky is cylinder. I've seen Beretta chokes marked with 5 asterisks however they are sometimes marked with a C. Skeet chokes are usually marked SK1 or SK2. SK1 falls between cylinder and improved modified. SK2 is between improved cylinder and modified -- the same as light modified.

Chokes without markings are usually Xtra Full.

Dave McCracken
April 18, 2003, 07:50 PM
There's a whole can of worms here, folks. One maker may call a .015 constriction Light Modified, another Skeet II, another Modified, and so ad nauseam. Basically the names run in the same order,so relative choke's easy to figure out.

Start with the bore diameter, 12 gauges these days run from .720 or so to the way overbored .750". Stan Baker even made an .800" Big Bore barrel.

A choke with no constriction would be bore diameter and called Cylinder choke. A skeet choke might be .004 or .005 tighter or it might be bore diameter. Then Improved Cylinder at another .004 or .005" and so on to maybe 40 Points of Constriction, AKA .001" each.

Actually, the chokes were classified by the percentage of pellets hitting inside a 30" circle at a predetermined distance, traditionally 40 yards for all but the teeny 410, which gets patterned at 25 yards. 50% was considered Improved, Cylinder, 75% Modified, etc. We use the constrictions as an easy way to distinguish various percentages.

I wouldn't trust ANY markings without shooting patterns with the ammo of choice. Loads can vary those percentages by more than an increment of choke, and a long forcing cone can mimic a tighter constriction.Sometimes it seems like the phase of the moon, stage of the tide and if I'm getting enough fiber affect the pattern also. There's NEVER been two identical patterns shot in all the long history of scatterguns.

Here's an emperical test to see if the
load/choke/cone combination can do a given mission. Having the right sized shot is a given here.

If the patterning board shows at least one pellet in every two square inches of target, with few holes, the setup oughta work if we do our part. Or, use a clay target, and if it cannot fit over less than three holes in the target, good. Some folks have cut 4" discs from plexiglass to do this.

Here's a guideline for how much choke to use on a particular shot in SC or trap, dial it in by repeatedly shooting the same flight path,changing chokes tubes, and stopping when you're getting smoke frequently. Then back off one increment. Smoke is wasted density, so the next choke more open should bust the clay nicely and still have a good spread. Needless to say, this works best for fairtomiddlin' shooters.

A variant on this is done by some top clay shooters. they practice with tight chokes and compete with more open ones.

Skeet needs no choke,near as I can tell. While there used to be Skeet I and II chokes, modern ammo patterns tighter from a cylinder bore than 1960s stuff does from a Skeet choke. Some skeet guns have negative constriction at the muzzle, and work well.

HTH, ask if there's still foggy places....

PS, may G*d Bless all Jarheads...

April 21, 2003, 02:04 PM
Thanks guys… Exactly what I was looking for. I just checked and the chokes do have notches. Never thought to look for that, I was lloking for actual writing on the side of the choke. I think I see the reason for the notches, so you can tell which chokes are in the shotgun without taking them out. I have one with 1 notch (full), one with 3 notches (modified), one with 5 notches (cylinder) and one with no notches, which according to TaxPhd, is Skeet? Thanks again for the help.

Semper Fi

April 21, 2003, 02:08 PM

Thanks for the quick reply! Lots of good info. Hopefully it translates to more broken birds! :D

Dave McCracken
April 21, 2003, 03:29 PM
You're welcome. As for broken birds, they'll come. Centering them in the pattern is what counts.

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