With more and more of our ladies getting into clay shooting and purchasing their own guns, there is plenty of talk and questions about chokes.

When I first started out chokes confused me too and it all went straight over my head.

So to start with when we talk about choking we’re referring to the tapering/constricting at the end of our barrels, and how this influences the shot pattern and therefore can influence the distance our shot pattern can travel.

Most guns nowadays are multi-choke meaning we can change our chokes to suit different targets or disciplines. Whereas fixed choke guns need to be physically altered.

If you ask different shooters their opinion on chokes it will vary massively. Some people never change their chokes some people do so religiously, although changing chokes can benefit us within our shooting, it can still vary massively through personal preference. People will always use different combinations for different disciplines and targets.

The two types of chokes you’ll find are flush and extended, flush chokes sit flush in your barrel whereas extended stick out slightly.

So let’s talk about choke sizes, the most common ones you will see are:

3/4 or Improved Modified
1/2 or Modified
1/4 or Improved Cylinder
Skeet or Cylinder

The best way to tell them apart is either by letters on the chokes or notches/banding. This can differ between manufacturers just to confuse us even more!

Full choke is the tightest choke, it can be used for distances of 40 yards plus, 3/4 or modified is next and these are for up to 40yards, 1/2 or modified up to 35yards, 1/4 or improved Cylinder up to 30 yards with skeet being our most open choke used for targets less than 25 yards, there doesn’t sound like there’s a massive amount of difference between them, but there is.

For example, I shoot skeet with Cylinder and Improved Cylinder, but I’ve also shot with people who use full and 3/4 and have shot it better than me.

Chokes can be very daunting and a great deal to get our heads around, but my biggest tip is just to find what works for you, focus on having fun and getting out there shooting and work hard!

Although I’ve mainly spoken about chokes within clay shooting I think it’s important to mention finally that when shooting steel, (unless your chokes state otherwise) cannot be shot through chokes tighter than 1/2.

I’m always happy to answer any questions or go into more detail regarding anything to do with clay shooting so please do get in touch.

Written by Alix Jade