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which choke for slugs and buckshot?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Wayne G., Aug 16, 2009.

  1. Wayne G.

    Wayne G. Well-Known Member

    In an 18.5" smoothbore barrel, which fixed choke would be best for shooting buckshot up to 25 yds and rifled slugs up to 100 yds--Cylinder, Improved, or Modified?

    Unfortunately, I can't try before I buy, so patterning all 3 isn't an option for me.

    ...For 3-gun games, hence needing one barrel for shot and slugs.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your insights!
  2. Youngster

    Youngster Well-Known Member

    IC is the best bet, Modified *can* make for tighter patterns but sometimes "blows" patterns with larger shot, depending on the gun and load.
  3. huntershooter

    huntershooter Well-Known Member

    Of your coices I'd go with IC.
  4. gego

    gego Well-Known Member

    I use IC for both rifled slugs and 00 buckshot.

    Interestingly, if you look at the box of Remington Express 00 buckshot, it says use full choke.
  5. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    These days your choice of buckshot loads is likely to have more influence on patterns than your choice of choke. The less expensive loads like Rio Royal or S&B, with soft lead pellets which are unprotected in the bore, will most often yield wide open patterns. Major manufacturers' standard loads, with harder lead pellets, grex or plastic buffering material, and shot cups, generally produce somewhat tighter patterns. Premium or LE loads that feature hard alloy, plated pellets and wads like the FLITECONTROL, found in some Federal loads and Hornady TAP, are likely to give the tightest patterns.

    My current favorite 870 has an old Police gun barrel (18", CYL bore) that throws 4" patterns at 25 yards (75') with Federal LE 127-00 9 pellet standard velocity 00 buckshot (1325 fps). Tighter chokes may help produce better patterns out of less expensive buckshot loads, depending on the load and the barrel. My old standby, pre-Federal buyout Estate SWAT low recoil 00 buck, would do that well out of a modified choke. The current production with that same label won't even come close to that though.

    The long and short of it is that it will take some experimentation to discover what load and choke will produce the sort of patterns you want. Patterning will be necessary with your gun/barrel to answer those questions.

    As for slugs, I've always gotten satisfactory performance out of Brenneke KOs in any choke up to MOD.



    ( http://le.atk.com/general/federalproducts/shotshell/tacticalbuckshot.aspx )
    ( http://www.brennekeusa.com/start.html and see "K.O Slug 12/2 3/4" under Products )
  6. Wayne G.

    Wayne G. Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the feedback to all so far. Sounds like slugs would be ok in Cyl, I/C, and/or Mod, with most favoring I/C.

    Lee, if I read you correctly, the pattern has more to do with the load (both buckshot AND slug) than the bore--a CYL may pattern tighter than an I/C in a particular load or vice versa.

    Am I tracking with you here?
  7. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    I would probably opt for the Cylinder bore for the best compromise for both slugs and buckshot.
  8. Improved Cylinder.
  9. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus


    Yep, you're tracking.

    Only patterning paper will tell what does what. When I talk about shotgun barrels/chokes/loads and their effect on patterns, the words "might, often, generally, likely" etc. get repeated a whole lot. Shotgun patterning is an unpredictable thing, often enough that it's dangerous to make too many broad sweeping generalities about it. Best way to know what a given load will do in your gun at a given range is to go shoot it into a clean patch of paper, and then have a looksee.


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