Vang Comp vs Chokes? Am I Missing Something about Cat-Skinning?


January 12, 2004, 12:57 AM
I've been studying (theory, not practice) the claims and effects of different technologies in shaping the pattern of shot. Now, I must preface further elaboration in this post by the fact that I am a baby when it comes to shotguns, not having shot very much, and that little is a good 20 years behind me. As I said, a baby.
I read claims touted by Vang Comp and followers of tightened patterns by masterful tuning of the forcing cone (plus the barrel jump tonic and recoil calming effects of porting). On the other hand, I read of tightened patterns effected by the use of a differently choked barrel and by replaceable and/or adjustable chokes.
The claims of the Vang Comp'ers are often couched in superlatives ... while OTOH a shotgunner using a choke system seems nonplussed with their choked patterns. So what exctly IS the difference between Vang Comp'ing and using a different Choke? Are they opposite sides of the same outcome arrived by different means? Does one system have shortcomings not found in the other or visa versa?

Does the patterning of an interchangable choke system (ex., Accu Choke) suffer in any way over a fixed barrel of similiar choke? Are slugs less accurate passing through a replacable choke system than a fixed choke barrel? Is there any downside to using replacable chokes....maintanance, reliability, ability to eat all types of loads?

On to an application. In a HD & Social shotgun is there any benefit to the use of a choke other than cylinder bore (or the latter's equivalant in an Accu Choke type system) .... there any benefit to the Vang Comp system over and above the two previous configurations, for similar applications?

The question isn't entirely theoretical. I'm about to buy a shotgun and among the contenders (all are variations of the same base model) are an Accu Choked version and also a Vang Comped (full barrel modifications & porting) version. Let price not be an the guns are perfectly arrayed to confound the ruminations of the wallet.

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January 12, 2004, 01:50 AM
First, Welcome to THR.

By admission you are new to shotguns, also we do not know what purpose you seek a shotgun.

I recommend at the top of this forum the "101" threads, these are chocked full of information for the shotgunner, with no experience...or those with many years of experience.

A search for most subjects under our moderator's name - Dave McCracken -will be of help as well.

I also recommend Shotgunning: The Art and Science by Bob Brister. Though an older publication, this also is choked full of timeless info. Available thru

Having said all that...

To answer your question, Pattern is more a matter of bore not choke. Fact: a 12 ga and a .410 will throw the same pattern ! I'm dead serious, if you measure they will be the same...pattern density will not be the same however.

I never recommend anyone buy a shotgun that has little or no experience before they at least, visit a range, go shoot with someone with experience if at all possible. GUN FIT, fundamentals, stance...blah blah is the KEY.

It is ALWAYS the shooter NOT the equipment. Me, I shoot stock guns with 2 3/4" chambers ( only thing I have a 3" chamber in is a .410). I never felt undergunned -never! I shoot wood guns and blued finishes.

Yes I'm one of the resident fuddy-duddy's...If I can see it - it's dead, If it flies it dies...I put my money into ammo instead of the gun itself. Many of us have spent more on ammo, than guns.

Any of the Big 4 ( Rem. ,Win. ,Ithaca, or Mossy) works fine. Police trade-ins are great buys. If all I had was a fixed choke cyl or imp cyl in 2 3/4" chamber...I'd be fine, may limit me on turkey, high flying a way to fanagle that too. ;)

It does not matter what a bbl or choke is marked, really does not mean squat, just a marking with a "supposed" starting point. What the bbl/choke actually does with the ammo at the distance of task as tested upon a pattern board is what really matters.

The ONLY absolute in shotgunning : There ain't no absolutes.

Welcome aboard, check the links, get the book, beg/borrow and try guns before you buy. Ask any question - any time.


January 12, 2004, 02:40 AM
Thanks for the welcome & replies. I've been lurking here and on other shotgun forums for several months and I've read through most of the 101 archives and also a large segment of Dave McCracken's (and other's) posts. All very good.

I've done searches on this forum (and others) and I understand that many variables (ammo, nominal vs actual specs, technique, weather, etc) affect patterning. Assuming all other variables being similiar, and removing the shooter from the equation....just what is the difference between the aforementioned systems? Irrespective if they are of any utility to me personally, I'm assuming that there is some distinction between the various systems and they offer some utility....or the technologies would have faded from use (or maybe not...just clinging to hype & tradition?). Part of my interest is practical, but another is theoretical...i.e., an interest in the technology.

As far as for my personal shotgun needs, I've read much good advice about starting simple and finding your personal needs, and gaining exposure to a a variety of firearms. Good advice. OTOH, buying a shotgun in NYC is a different animal than doing so elsewhere. The gun stores (or excuse for them) have little selection, nothing used and are priced at high gouge rates. Even buying out of state incurrs high FFL transfer fees in the city ($75). Shooting ranges are pricey and most outdoor ranges are a substantial drive, or not at all convenient via public transport. I've several desireable pump SG's on considertion (i.e. more metal, sight upgrades,etc) offered at good prices and WELL below prices obtainable in NYC. I'll likely end up with one soon without having shoot a large selection at a range...

January 12, 2004, 03:21 AM
OH , NYC...I better understand the concerns.

Ok , I'm sure you have been to the Vang Comp site, :

This is not really a new concept or unique to Vang. Modern shotshells improved in hulls, powder, hard shot, and primers. [see the thread in regard to Overbored and Backbored bbls].

What happened is better patterns/pentrations/performance was sought. With the new improvments on shotshells , we also discovered by "lengthing the forcing cone" [ the steep angle reduced if you will] less shot deformity occured, aided in less felt recoil in some cases as well. Understand a lot was being researched in the target sports. These guys fire an easy 100 rds in a tourney, recoil causes fatique, which causes flinch...not good.

THEN we had screw in chokes, so that was researched to make guns more verstaile.

Porting was incorporated ( as in other firearms) to reduce muzzle flip and recoil. ( get back on target quicker)

Vang is well known, there are many others Ballistic Technologies is another, Briley yet one more. I had my forcing cone lengthened and screw in chokes put in my '74 model, I competed, with I shot 25k rds a year in that gun - Nu-Line did the work, I did not put in ports, I do not want them.

If it were me, especially being in NYC...I'd get an 870 Express or spend a bit more and get the Wingmaster 870 version. This is a classic "PC " acceptable old workhorse. I'd get a used bbl in a shorter length for HD.

I hate politics, PC crap, and who know what your "jurisdiction"
may do in the future. "Maybe" a non synthetic black stocked, no semi auto, with factory magazine capacity, will escape any future get the idea. Pisses me off, but, a basic pump is an awesome tool, just as is. I do not know your laws,or game hunted - but the shorter bbl, for woodcock, slugs in brush for deer ...and I'll be.."just happens to fit in with HD" That longer bbl will be useful for target shooting, and other hunting needs.

I don't normally suggest as I did, ( being the thumb the nose at the jerks, non-conformist, civil dis-obediant person I am ) a person has a right to own any darn thing they want...even if I personally would not choose it, it is the principle of the darn thing, arrghh.

Basically Vang and others have a package deal that is compatabile and done all at once. In the old days, we learned, we waited, and did one thing at a time. Many folks find the Forcing Cone work is all they need, and is all they should do. Pattern a new gun, get it fitted to shooter, pattern for POA/ POI, test loads for task at ranges needed...forcing cone work and repeat...most find this is the ticket. The other trick is Big Green's chokes havehad concentricty problems...Hastings, Nu-Line. Tru-Choke, Colonial...more true, and offer .5 increments.


Dave McCracken
January 12, 2004, 05:28 AM
Friend sm pretty much covered it.

Addons and mods are for down the road with few exceptions. All the choke tubes and overboring in the world will not improve your effectiveness as much as patterning to find a good load and then shooting plenty of that.

Badger Arms
January 12, 2004, 12:30 PM
Shotgunning and shot patterns are a mystery to many, including those 'in the know' because of the many variables. An abismal pattern out of a shotgun might be the load and how it 'likes' the bore, choke, forcing cone, or any other part of the gun. A perfect pattern for one load might not guarantee same for a similar load.

It's interesting that Ithaca introduced an amazing new shotgun that maintained the same diameter throughout the length of the bore. It was considered revolutionary and Ithaca remains king of the slug-barrel realm because of it. Not rocket science, but shotgun barrels all have their own temper. Drilling of shotgun barrels is an art more than a science. Short forcing cones tend to hammer and deform the shot as well as create a 'pressure spike' which increases recoil velocity and does other nasty things. Most shotgun manufactures don't have long forcing cones because they are difficult and expensive to cut and polish and the gains are minimal to the sportsman. Similar situation with 'freebore' on a rifle.

The only place you are going to see significant benefit from any of these techniques vs. a factory barrel are if you shoot competition and are unsatisfied with your gun's performance. In that case, I'd say that you'd likely improve your scores only if your gun was the reason... if you're a darn good shot and you happen to have a lemon shotgun you might break one or two more perds per hundred you shoot at.

My opinion on porting is that it makes the gun louder indoors by a significnat enough margin that you should seriously considering NOT porting it.

January 13, 2004, 01:30 AM
Thanks guys for all the history and technical details. I also read the 'overbore' thread with great interest. Lotsa good info.

Cooter Brown
January 16, 2004, 04:14 PM
Ya gotta check out

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