Choke measurements


July 17, 2007, 12:17 AM
I just got a Montgomery Ward Western Field, and the barrels are not marked with guage, length, or chokes. I want to measure the chokes, but the nearest gunsmith is a 40 minute drive and only open 3 days a week. The gun is a 12 guage, and it is 80 years old so its a 2-3/4 inch chamber I would imagine. I want to measure the chokes. If I just measure the end of the barrels will it be close enough to tell? All I have is a dial caliper. I just want to know so I know what my options are for non-toxic shot, as this is what all the ranges near me require, steel being the cheapest and not good for full chokes. I would also like to take it out to the duck blind once or twice.
I searched old posts and found the dimensions of what it should be, I want to know if measuring the end of the barrels will be accurate enough to know.

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July 17, 2007, 07:17 AM
you should be able to do it with a dial caliper. The standard bore size of a 12ga is 0.729", on modern guns I believe.
More important than the actually measurement will be how it patterns at various distances.
More knowledgable folks will like chime in as to your shotgun's compatability with steel.

Good luck.

Steve C
July 17, 2007, 01:28 PM
A US dime will not fit in the muzzle end of the barrel of a full choke, just barely in a modified and has plenty of room in a cylinder or improved cylinder.

Old 112
July 18, 2007, 12:05 AM
Steve C,
Thanks for bringing up the DIME. I have not thought about that "low tech " measuring tool for decades. I will pass that on to some younger ones. Also, it is handy for scope adjustments. Old 112

July 18, 2007, 03:19 AM
Theres no way a dime is going in either barrel. We already tried. 32 inch tubes with full chokes, wow. Well no steel through there anyways. The tree huggers got lead outlawed at my local ranges, and I would like to use the gun duck hunting just for nostalgia. I think the long barrels (and the weight of 2) will help me with my swing. I will probably change the gun to be able to shoot steel at some point though, my gunsmithing classes start next month, and I'm sure we'll go over it.

July 18, 2007, 12:51 PM
Hows its pattern?

As Brister says, The dime test tells you two things:
1. You have a dime.
2. You have a shotgun.

USMC - Retired
July 18, 2007, 01:51 PM
If you want to use it for waterfowl hunting buy either Bismuth shells or Matrix (tungston polymer by Kent) shells. Both work fine in older, tight choked, guns. I prefer the Matrix shells myself because they have better performance but they do cost a bit more too and can be dificult to find.

July 19, 2007, 05:01 PM
It's a nice trick, but do not let someone sell you a used gun if they check the choke with a dime: make them unscrew it. The only time I ever had someone confirm that a used Remington 870 had the original Modified choke in it using a dime, I bought the gun but had a lot of trouble getting the choke tube out. It had been overtightened or had never been removed and rarely cleaned.
Richard (

July 19, 2007, 05:19 PM
the dime trick is an old one used for fixe chokes. always pull the choke tube to confirm if in question if the gun is set up for removeable choke tubes.

July 20, 2007, 01:33 AM
This gun has fixed chokes, I haven't gotten around to measuring them yet.

I've seen screw in chokes that became fixed chokes, its not fun. If I do anything after duck hunting, I oil the choke threads on my 870. The gun sits in the rain all day, the stock swelled, its starting to crack, I don't clean it, Sometimes I lean it up against the wall with the barrel pointing down to drain the water, but those choke threads are oiled after every trip.

Owen Sparks
July 20, 2007, 10:38 PM
If this is a double barrel, often they have different chokes. Try the dime test again.

July 21, 2007, 10:56 AM
Any model number. Western field could be anything from Colt thru Noble with most American made guns wearing that brand. An 80 yr Iver Johnson may not be too safe with smokeless. From what I've read you shouldn't shoot steel in a older 12 ga bore smaller than .709 and for your purpose a caliper is the safest way. Actually your suppose to measure behind the choke constriction for true bore diameter then subtract .010 for imp, .020 for mod,.035 for full

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