View Full Version : Full choke in a short barrel?

01-20-2005, 08:01 AM
For some time now I've been considered a full or even extra-full choke in an 18.5" 12 gauge barrel.As I see it while I would lose the option of slugs I'd gain range with buckshot (I prefer #4).Opinions please?

01-20-2005, 07:48 PM
Hey earthworm,
I have thought about the same thing for my mossy 590. I would stick with the cylinder bore. Buck shot is not intended for a "long distance round". 50 yards is all my super-full 3 1/2'' mossy 835 is good for with 00 buck. While that aint exactly close range, it is by far long range. My 590 with cylinder bore choke will throw a 18-24 inch pattern at 30 yards with federal 3 inch copper plated 00 buck. I can keep foster slugs in a 4 inch group at 50 yards, and at 100 I can keep them on a man sized target. If you have to have a full choked SBS, take it to a smith and have him thread the barrel to accept different choke tubes so you can have your x-tra full choke for buckshot and cylinder bore for when you want to shoot slugs. I hope this helps, and sorry for the long post!


01-21-2005, 10:46 AM
An "extra full" choke may not have the desired effect with buckshot, especially large buckshot like OO or OOO. The choke would seriously deform the pellets when they tried to
fit through. This could actually cause patterns to open up instead of being tighter.

Lee P. Lapin
01-23-2005, 06:38 PM
What Smokeater said. There IS such a thing as 'too much choke' at some point which will effectively open patterns wider. Usually the larger the pellets fired, the less choke needed for tighter patterns. It is dangerous to make too many generalizations about shotguns though, each barrel is pretty much a law unto itself. Only patterning with the gun and load in question will really tell the tale.

You didn't mention _how much_ range you were trying to gain with buckshot. Pattern density is one consideration in the effective range of buckshot, true, but in my experience external ballistics becomes a problem before pattern density does. Buckshot pellets have very poor sectional density, and are usually launched at relatively low velocities, and can therefore loose effectiveness fairly quickly.

This is particularly true of smaller pellets- the bigger the pellet the more it weighs and the better its sectional density. I use 000 buck for longer range (75- 100 yards).

You should find that improved cylinder or at most modified chokes will be about as tight as you want to go with buckshot. And were I you, I would start my experimentation with #1 buck. It gives the most 'bang for the buck' in 12 ga., and sacrifices little in pellet size/weight compared to 00, for the considerable advantage of a much higher pellet count per load.

Other factors in extending the useful range of buckshot are the hardness and initial roundness of the pellets used by the manufacturer, and construction of the shell so that the pellets are not deformed in their trip down the bore. The internal configuration of the bore may make some difference, gentle transitions from chamber through forcing cone to bore and choke seem to me to deliver better patterns. Take a look at

http://www.jtk3.com/laissezfirearm/870full.htm and

for more.

And by all means keep your slug option open.


01-23-2005, 07:59 PM
Yes, the tighter the choke, the greater the potential for wider patterns at longer ranges. I believe tighter chokes extend a tighter pattern for a while and then the pattern blows open as explained earlier due to pellet deformation.
If you have the money consider a Vang Comp modification. Vang backbores the barrel effectively creating an internal choke. The bore is opened up until the end where it returns to cylinder bore and the result is like having a tighter choke only without the pellet deformation.
Feedback is that his conversions can give fist size patterns at 35yds. But consider this carefully. Some 3-gunners I've talked to say you end up with a large caliber pre-fragmented projectile rifle and feel that a shotgun by nature should open up some.
You might also consider the new Federal or Hornady tactical loads, aka Choke loads. These are very tight patterned rounds with extended range, but I think they are only available in 00.

01-25-2005, 08:30 AM
Thank you gentlemen.Shows what I get for thinkin'*G*.

01-26-2005, 03:48 PM
With 00 buck in 12ga., modified or full chokes give tight, even patterns. These chokes also give decent accuracy with Foster and Brenneke slugs.
If you want very tight patterns try a full choke and the new Federal Flite Control buckshot or the Winchester reduced velocity load.

02-20-2005, 06:38 AM
An 18.5" cylinder barrel.

03-15-2005, 01:46 PM
I have an 870 with a deer hunting barrel...smooth bore, iron rifle sights. I put a Wad Wizard choke(unique design full choke) in it. It shoots OO buck very accurately into 4" groups at 15 yards...nice head sized groups. This is one full choke that works well with OO buck shot!!!

Randy Harris
03-16-2005, 03:51 PM
I'm going to agree. I have a couple of 18" shotguns(1187 and 870) w/ modified chokes, a 14" 870 w/ cylinder and a 12" AOW 870 w/ full(intended to be used w/ birdshot only). The cylinder bore 14" shoots slugs as well as the longer modified choke guns do and the buckshot patterns are nearly as tight(could be less pellet deformation due to shorter barrel-but thats just a theory).The full choke 12" gun leaves nasty looking silver dollar sized holes in ipsc targets at 5 yards(probably the outside realistic range for these guns-remember these 12" pistol gripped guns are intended as a very close quarters specialty use weapon, not a general use shotgun). You can "overchoke" the gun. A full choke will not work well with slugs and it will deform the buck and actually WIDEN the patterns. Stick with the cylinder bore or modified at the most.This isn't turkey hunting it's gunfighting.