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How to measure your shotgun chokes

I’m sure we’ve all been in the presence of someone who is the self proclaimed expert on shooting and all things shotgun, you know the sort of chap who is like the Harry Enfield annoying father-in-law character who used to say “Now I do not believe you wanted to do that, did you?”.

Despite the fact he can’t hit a barn door himself, he imparts his knowledge upon you whether you want it or not and heaven forbid you miss a bird or target while he’s watching. He approaches with purpose and asks the question “What choke you got in that?” and regardless of whether you know or not he has to produce his latest eBay purchase, his ready reckoner choke gauge, one of his many tools in his annoying tool chest. He then proceeds to stick it in the muzzle of your gun with the sound effects only a robbing mechanic can make, he has to tell you you’ve got something wrong, he simply can’t help himself. So ok, it might not be exactly this scenario you’ve experienced but you know the sort of chap I’m waffling on about.

The ready reckoner choke gauge is only accurate if it falls inside your barrel and then you know your gun has little to no choke. The only true way of measuring your choke is using a bore micrometer as its the relationship between your bore diameter and the diameter of your muzzle that determines what choke your shotgun has. Not a given diameter at the muzzle.

I mention this as many people have started using steel shot (standard steel) in older guns amd your gun needs a maximum of half choke. The moral of the story, take your gun to someone who really knows what they are doing and avoid the ready reckoner choke gauge.

Watch the effort that goes into taking out chokes properly in a smooth bore gun.


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