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Which Shotgun Choke Is The Most Open?

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Which Shotgun Choke Is The Most Open?

A common question for those just starting with a shotgun is, “Which shotgun choke is the most open?” The answer is no choke at all or, as some call it, the “cylinder” choke. 

However, some can argue that the skeet choke is the most open out of the common chokes seen on shotguns. Let us explain below. 

Our Methods 

We grew up on shotguns, and one of our favorite events is our families’ annual skeet throwing competition. Just like every good competitor, we did our research on how to become a better shot.  

One of the areas we studied heavily was the choke of the shotgun. What we found can answer the following three questions and is no choke! 

  • Which Shotgun Choke Is The Most Open? 
  • What Is A Shotgun Choke?
  • What Are Some Different Common Types of Shotgun Chokes? 

Really Which Shotgun Choke Is The Most Open? 

Many would tell you the cylinder choke, but others say the skeet choke. Why is this? We will define “most open” as which choke allows the pellets to spread from the shotgun the fastest once fired. 

 So what is a “choke” for a shotgun, then? We are happy you asked. We are getting all choked up (okay, we will stop).  

What is a Shotgun Choke? 

We will define a”choke” as a part of a shotgun that narrows the muzzle to control the rate of pellets spreading once discharged from the gun. This is called the shot stream. Different chokes give you a different shot pattern density at a target at a certain distance.  

The purpose of a shotgun choke is not to make your shot go further.  

Using this definition of a choke, some argue a cylinder choke is not a choke. A skeet choke slightly narrows the muzzle of a shotgun and can be considered the most “open” choke as well. Clear as mud? Yeah, we thought so.  

What other types of choke are there, though?  

What Are Some Different Common Types Of Shotgun Chokes? 

The pattern each choke produces is one of the major differences between them.

  • Cylinder Choke- No constriction from the breach to the muzzle of the shotgun. Approximately 40% of the pellets or shots hit inside a 30-inch target at 40 yards and are used mainly by law enforcement. 
  • Skeet Choke- This choke has around 0.13 mm constriction of the muzzle. About 45% of the pellets or shots hit inside a 30-inch target at 40 yards and are used mainly for skeet shooting (shocker, we know) 
  • Improved Cylinder Choke- You see around 0.24 mm constriction of the muzzle with this choke. Around 50% of the pellets or shots hit inside a 30-inch target at 40 yards. If you are hunting upland birds at a short distance or waterfowl close up over decoys, use this choke.
  • Modified- This choke has around 0.51mm constriction of the muzzle. Approximately 60% of the pellets or shots hit inside the 30-inch target at 40 yards. This choke is good for hunting small game like rabbits, distance upland birds, and waterfowl. 
  • Full- A full choke has around 0.76mm constriction of the muzzle—roughly 70% of the pellets or shots hit inside the 30-inch target at 40 yards. This is a good choke for buckshot, trap shooting, and turkey hunting. 
  • Turkey- The turkey choke has a roughly 1.145 mm constriction of the shotgun’s muzzle. Typically > 75% of pellets of shots hit inside the 30-inch target at 40 yards with this choke. People use this choke for, you guessed it, turkey hunting. 

 Conclusion 

The shotgun choke is an area that many new and experienced gun owners overlook. Yet, as they say, the devil is in the details. 

Knowing different chokes for shotgun will significantly improve your knowledge and help you be a better shot. Naturally, when researching shotgun chokes, many have one question: which shotgun choke is the most open? 

The answer depends on what you consider a choke. The cylinder choke is the most open if you feel it is a choke. However, if you do not think the cylinder is a choke, the skeet choke is the most open choke for a shotgun. 

We challenge you to look at your shotgun’s chokes and let us know which chokes you use and what you use the choke for below. 

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