Finding the Correct Choke

I probably get asked about a dozen times a year as to what choke is best for 16 yard trap.  While there is no one right answer, I am happy to share what I know about finding the right choke.

To begin lets discuss what a choke is and what it does.  A choke is the cylinder that threads into the muzzle of a shotgun.  Generally chokes are made of hardened steel (mostly stainless) and are designed to control the spread of the shot to the target.  While not all shotguns have the option of removable chokes, it is common to see them in most standard trap and skeet guns.  Chokes come in a number of different sizes including cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified, and full.  Cylinder will be the most open pattern continuing on up to full which offers the tightest pattern.

What choke should I be using for 16 yard trap?

Always start with modified.  Studies have been done and tests prove that a modified choke gives you ample opportunity to break the clay target.  If you find that you are only chipping the target then I recommend moving up to an improved modified choke.  This will constrict the pattern and offer you a more condensed shot grouping.  Keep in mind that not all chokes are alike and some have varying tolerances so don’t be afraid to try many different chokes before you settle on the one for you.

What choke should I use for skeet shooting?

Skeet is unique to trap in that you want to increase your shot pattern and therefore you should be using a cylinder or skeet choke.  Skeet shooting requires you to take shots crossing in front of and away from you so increasing your pattern while reducing shot size will be to your advantage.  I recommend using 9 shot with a skeet choke for skeet shooting.

If your shotgun does not offer removable chokes I recommend you demo one and give it a try.  Shotguns have come along way over the years and having the option to control your pattern ultimately gives you the edge when it comes to breaking targets!

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