Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Double barrel, side by side, over-under, semi-automatic, straight-pull and lever action shotguns.

Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by CAVEMAN » 04 Aug 2019, 6:37 pm

Evening Gents.

Doing some research on chokes, and seeing if anyone can give me there point of view on barrel length and chokes. In regards to it does anyone see any difference in barrel length and the effectiveness of choke's.

I'm looking to pick up a 20 inch barrel shot gun and thinking is there any point to anything other than a cylinder bore at this perceived length. Or doe's choke make good effect regardless of barrel length. For arguments sake would you see a vast difference with an improved choke on a 20 inch vs a 28 or 30 inch barrel.

Hope its clear as mud as the whole choke thing is quite perplexing to myself.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 04 Aug 2019, 7:45 pm

CAVEMAN wrote:Evening Gents.

Doing some research on chokes, and seeing if anyone can give me there point of view on barrel length and chokes. In regards to it does anyone see any difference in barrel length and the effectiveness of choke's.

I'm looking to pick up a 20 inch barrel shot gun and thinking is there any point to anything other than a cylinder bore at this perceived length. Or doe's choke make good effect regardless of barrel length. For arguments sake would you see a vast difference with an improved choke on a 20 inch vs a 28 or 30 inch barrel.

Hope its clear as mud as the whole choke thing is quite perplexing to myself.


I bought a 20" barrel for my 28" Dickinson to experiment for precisely those answers.
Unfortunately I haven't managed to do any significant testing as yet, but I'm getting closer...I hope.

What do you want to use the gun for exactly?
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by CAVEMAN » 04 Aug 2019, 8:05 pm

Just a play thing at the moment, but hopeful more so for pigs or similar. I got offered a deal i couldn't refuse but unsure whether to splash the extra cash for a choke set. Id ultimate like to get a decent pattern at 50m that would be suitable with buckshot or smaller depending on target.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by TassieTiger » 04 Aug 2019, 8:52 pm

I’ve got 3 shotties - 2 x 28’s and a 30.
Each one of these guns shoots a different pattern at 40-50m with similar chokes and matching cartridges...
My 30” U/O is set up for DTL and secondary barrel is choked harder than first due to the fact the bird is slightly further away for 2nd shot - however, when i have patterned the two barrels at 40m - they almost look the bloody same regardless...
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 04 Aug 2019, 11:53 pm

CAVEMAN wrote:Just a play thing at the moment, but hopeful more so for pigs or similar. I got offered a deal i couldn't refuse but unsure whether to splash the extra cash for a choke set. Id ultimate like to get a decent pattern at 50m that would be suitable with buckshot or smaller depending on target.


I don't have any buck larger than BB's, but I can try patterning it in both barrels and see if I get significant results.
Actually, I lied, I do have a handful of 000 buck I bought for slugging bores, perhaps not enough for patterning but I'll check.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by rookie » 04 Aug 2019, 11:55 pm

CAVEMAN wrote:20 inch vs a 28 or 30 inch

I’m not sure with game loads as I shoot trap mainly but most using 20” barrels at the range need to get their shot away within 30 metres of the clay target to break them .. (to be accurate with them)

With a 30” barrel, its common to hit targets flying away more than 50 metres away ..

TassieTiger wrote: they almost look the bloody same regardless...

I reckon the same .. mainly because I think the wad holds the shot/pellets in a cup until the wind resistance out of the barrel separates them.

See slow motion here:
https://youtu.be/URFI-FUGD1g

As (I believe) the wad holds the pellets as they travel within the barrel, I reckon chokes make very little difference ... for plastic wad shells anyway :unknown:
Last edited by rookie on 05 Aug 2019, 8:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by hunting99 » 05 Aug 2019, 7:07 pm

Yes.
Chokes will make a difference.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by CAVEMAN » 07 Aug 2019, 7:16 pm

bladeracer wrote:
CAVEMAN wrote:Just a play thing at the moment, but hopeful more so for pigs or similar. I got offered a deal i couldn't refuse but unsure whether to splash the extra cash for a choke set. Id ultimate like to get a decent pattern at 50m that would be suitable with buckshot or smaller depending on target.


I don't have any buck larger than BB's, but I can try patterning it in both barrels and see if I get significant results.
Actually, I lied, I do have a handful of 000 buck I bought for slugging bores, perhaps not enough for patterning but I'll check.



It would be interesting to see the difference with the same choke and gun. I cant seem to find anything too specific in my research.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 07 Aug 2019, 7:25 pm

CAVEMAN wrote:
bladeracer wrote:
CAVEMAN wrote:Just a play thing at the moment, but hopeful more so for pigs or similar. I got offered a deal i couldn't refuse but unsure whether to splash the extra cash for a choke set. Id ultimate like to get a decent pattern at 50m that would be suitable with buckshot or smaller depending on target.


I don't have any buck larger than BB's, but I can try patterning it in both barrels and see if I get significant results.
Actually, I lied, I do have a handful of 000 buck I bought for slugging bores, perhaps not enough for patterning but I'll check.



It would be interesting to see the difference with the same choke and gun. I cant seem to find anything too specific in my research.


Both my barrels use the same five-choke set. I had hoped to get a chance today but it didn't happen. One of my neighbors had a fun afternoon though, sounded like he was shooting Clay's.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by albat » 08 Aug 2019, 9:33 am

This might be a help to you https://youtu.be/FXBvAdvoAKs
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by RoginaJack » 08 Aug 2019, 1:06 pm

Imo, a 20" barrel with cylinder choke at 60 yards is stretching it a bit. I reckon the pattern would be too spread, pig would charge right through at you. I wouldn't use a smaller buckshot size, think big!
I'd look at a tighter choke, 3/4 maybe(?) but I thought a set of chokes usually came with the shotgun.
The advantage of a 20" barrel is quicker onto target, especially at close quarters and in thick cover.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by CAVEMAN » 08 Aug 2019, 5:27 pm

RoginaJack wrote:Imo, a 20" barrel with cylinder choke at 60 yards is stretching it a bit. I reckon the pattern would be too spread, pig would charge right through at you. I wouldn't use a smaller buckshot size, think big!
I'd look at a tighter choke, 3/4 maybe(?) but I thought a set of chokes usually came with the shotgun.
The advantage of a 20" barrel is quicker onto target, especially at close quarters and in thick cover.


The Pardus I'm picking up in 20" only comes with the cylinder bore, so picking the brains trust before I go buy a set of chokes.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 08 Aug 2019, 6:21 pm

CAVEMAN wrote:
RoginaJack wrote:Imo, a 20" barrel with cylinder choke at 60 yards is stretching it a bit. I reckon the pattern would be too spread, pig would charge right through at you. I wouldn't use a smaller buckshot size, think big!
I'd look at a tighter choke, 3/4 maybe(?) but I thought a set of chokes usually came with the shotgun.
The advantage of a 20" barrel is quicker onto target, especially at close quarters and in thick cover.


The Pardus I'm picking up in 20" only comes with the cylinder bore, so picking the brains trust before I go buy a set of chokes.


20" cylinder is going to spread I reckon. I'd get full-choke or even extra-full or turkey-choke if they do it.
The Federal Flight-Control wad might be worth a look as well for longer-range shooting.
At 50m I reckon you pretty much want the pattern to be as rifle-like as you can, or just buy a rifle.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by CAVEMAN » 08 Aug 2019, 9:23 pm

Yeah got a nice 308, I'm just intrigued by shotguns and there place in the world and there capabilities. Far more complex than squeezing the bang button and having 150gn of multipurpose projectile going roughly where you intended.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by duncan61 » 09 Aug 2019, 12:53 pm

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I was in my LGS 10 years ago and was looking for something different in a shotgun as I did not have one at the time and the store owner bought one of these out.36 inch full choke.It had tremendous reach if I used 3 inch Magnums
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 09 Aug 2019, 5:08 pm

CAVEMAN wrote:Yeah got a nice 308, I'm just intrigued by shotguns and there place in the world and there capabilities. Far more complex than squeezing the bang button and having 150gn of multipurpose projectile going roughly where you intended.


Fairy-nuff.
I don't hold shotguns in much regard for hunting, their entire premise is about increasing your ability to hit (not necessarily kill) a moving target, but doing so by greatly compromising your ability to cleanly kill that target. For me it's like "hunting" with handgrenades :-)

If you want to shoot at moving targets you just need lots of practice with a rifle.
A one-ounce load of shot (438gn) sounds devastating, until you realise that a one-ounce eight-pellet load of "00" buck consists of eight 55gn balls doing about 1300fps, with little more energy than a .22LR bullet. If all eight hit the target somewhere around vital organs you'll do decent damage (as you would peppering the target with .22LR bullets), but getting all the pellets to hit is unlikely at any decent range. An ounce of BB's is basically a handful of pellets, half the weight of .177" air-rifle pellets.

Also, a shot column is several meters long at extended ranges, and your target is moving sideways, so only a part of the shot column will intersect the target's course, most of the shot will pass ahead of, and behind the target, plus that which passes above and below due to the height of the pattern.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun#Pattern_and_choke
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The chart shows how they label the different chokes, but the numbers are nominal only. Even a full choke should only put 70% of its pellets into a 30" circle at 40yds (my full-choked T1000 20" barrel is around 14" at 18yds with BB and 7-1/2), 38" circle at 50yds, 55" circle at 60yds, and so on, although the pattern will open up further, it doesn't follow a true cone - but at 50m you're probably looking at a "pattern" of well over a meter diameter, making an effective hit with even one 00 pellet unlikely. Consider that a cylinder choke puts less than half its load into the same circle, and that only applies to stationary targets or head-on/tail-on targets. You can fill in the gaps in the pattern by using much heavier shot loads, like 2oz loads, but you generally have either a lot less velocity (and energy), or a lot more recoil. And it is possible to keep the pattern tighter using different wads to extend the range.

Basically, with a shotgun, the closer you can get before pulling the trigger, the more effective your shot will be.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by rookie » 10 Aug 2019, 7:59 pm

Good info bladeracer :thumbsup:
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by CAVEMAN » 10 Aug 2019, 9:06 pm

For me it's like "hunting" with handgrenades :-)


Everyone knows a claymore is far more effective than a hand grenade, there instantaneous.

Thank you all for the thoughtful and thought provoking input definitely helped expand my knowledge on the concept of the smooth barrel boom stick.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 11 Aug 2019, 2:16 pm

CAVEMAN wrote:
For me it's like "hunting" with handgrenades :-)


Everyone knows a claymore is far more effective than a hand grenade, there instantaneous.

Thank you all for the thoughtful and thought provoking input definitely helped expand my knowledge on the concept of the smooth barrel boom stick.


Claymores would've been ideal for taking galahs and starlings coming in over the fenceline en-masse :-)

Don't get me wrong, shotguns can be good fun, but you need to accept their limitations as part of their challenge.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by RoginaJack » 11 Aug 2019, 2:46 pm

"...don't hold shotguns in much regard for hunting, their entire premise is about increasing your ability to hit (not necessarily kill) a moving target..."
Hey Bladeracer, please keep that theory to yourself 'cause the foxes, rabbits, ducks, snakes, pigeons and feral dogs I've shot haven't heard about it yet. They just fell over dead.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 11 Aug 2019, 3:06 pm

RoginaJack wrote:"...don't hold shotguns in much regard for hunting, their entire premise is about increasing your ability to hit (not necessarily kill) a moving target..."
Hey Bladeracer, please keep that theory to yourself 'cause the foxes, rabbits, ducks, snakes, pigeons and feral dogs I've shot haven't heard about it yet. They just fell over dead.


I think I was fairly clear that it's my opinion, not theory :-)
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by cracker » 11 Aug 2019, 11:46 pm

bladeracer wrote:
CAVEMAN wrote:
For me it's like "hunting" with handgrenades :-)


Everyone knows a claymore is far more effective than a hand grenade, there instantaneous.

Thank you all for the thoughtful and thought provoking input definitely helped expand my knowledge on the concept of the smooth barrel boom stick.


Claymores would've been ideal for taking galahs and starlings coming in over the fenceline en-masse :-)

Don't get me wrong, shotguns can be good fun, but you need to accept their limitations as part of their challenge.


155mm howitzer, galahs are tough man, im taking no chances
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by CAVEMAN » 12 Aug 2019, 9:26 pm

Well here's a bit of official guideline from the QLD Government. In regards to shotguns and there use for hunting/culling.

Each model code has specific requirements for the types of firearms and ammunition
considered suitable for specific animals.

PIG003 Ground Shooting Feral Pigs - Large calibre, high-powered rifles (at
least equal to .243 performance), fitted with a telescopic sight are
recommended. Hollow-point or soft-nosed (minimum 80 grain) ammunition
should be used.12-gauge shotguns with heavy shot sizes of SG or SSG, may
be effective, but only up to a distance of 20 metres from the target animal.


DOG003: Ground Shooting Wild Dogs - Small bore, high velocity, centre fire
rifles fitted with a telescopic sight are preferred e.g. .22-250, .22 Hornet, .222
Remington, .223 or .243 Winchester. Hollow-point or soft nosed ammunition
should always be used. • Rimfire weapons with lower muzzle energy are not
recommended because of the greater risk of non-lethal wounding. • 12-gauge
shotguns with heavy shot sizes of No. 2, SSG, BB or AAA may be effective,
but only up to a distance of 20 metres from the target animal
.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 13 Aug 2019, 8:42 am

CAVEMAN wrote:Well here's a bit of official guideline from the QLD Government. In regards to shotguns and there use for hunting/culling.

Each model code has specific requirements for the types of firearms and ammunition
considered suitable for specific animals.

PIG003 Ground Shooting Feral Pigs - Large calibre, high-powered rifles (at
least equal to .243 performance), fitted with a telescopic sight are
recommended. Hollow-point or soft-nosed (minimum 80 grain) ammunition
should be used.12-gauge shotguns with heavy shot sizes of SG or SSG, may
be effective, but only up to a distance of 20 metres from the target animal.


DOG003: Ground Shooting Wild Dogs - Small bore, high velocity, centre fire
rifles fitted with a telescopic sight are preferred e.g. .22-250, .22 Hornet, .222
Remington, .223 or .243 Winchester. Hollow-point or soft nosed ammunition
should always be used. • Rimfire weapons with lower muzzle energy are not
recommended because of the greater risk of non-lethal wounding. • 12-gauge
shotguns with heavy shot sizes of No. 2, SSG, BB or AAA may be effective,
but only up to a distance of 20 metres from the target animal
.


Nice find. Interesting that don't mention slugs though.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by CAVEMAN » 13 Aug 2019, 8:45 pm

Might get put down to an assumption that 1oz of hot fast lead equals no more bark or oink.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 17 Aug 2019, 12:03 pm

Might be a little bit educational - 21" and 26" barreled Remington 1187's.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMqM-Ef5oBw
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by CAVEMAN » 18 Aug 2019, 1:29 pm

That definitely give's validity to a 50m range for a shotgun with the right ammo and choke setup.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by bladeracer » 18 Aug 2019, 3:37 pm

CAVEMAN wrote:That definitely give's validity to a 50m range for a shotgun with the right ammo and choke setup.


I agree, the choke is crucial for range, but you still need to find or develop a load that works with the choke. Paul Harrell has also done some videos looking at distances possible for hunting deer with buckshot that would be worth a look.

I would order the tightest choke you can find, and start patterning.

But I still think any number of rifles are going to do a far better job at any distance.
In Victoria it is illegal to hunt deer with buckshot, you can only use slugs in a shotgun.
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by TheLoff02 » 18 Sep 2021, 8:31 pm

So let me ask then … for my first shotgun, initially for club practical Comps - would an 18” be suitable?

And would be appropriate for hunting, suitably loaded, at about 20m (as per the Qld rules, although I’m in Vic. )…?

Thanks in advance
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Re: Shotgun barrel length and chokes.

Post by Diamond Jim » 21 Sep 2021, 12:20 am

A lot of very clever people have done a lot of work into barrel length and there was a bit of a craze in the 1930's (?) where they shortened barrels to (gasp) 25 inches. That was chosen as the length where optimum efficiancy (i.e. all the powder was burned) and and acceptable pattern could be achieved. The idea was to achieve a quick handling gun but most found it unsuitable. Churchill XXV's are highly sought after collectors items but not many gunmakers offer a 25 inch option now. Try and find a 25" on the clay circuit now except for novelty value - they have all gone back to 30 or 32" barrels.
20 inch barrels are popular on coach guns and in Cowboy Action and are often cylinder/IC bored. Fine as a scrub gun at 20-25m but pushing it past that. Chokes would extend that but likely still unburnt powder so not developing full velocity. I can't imagine why someone would opt for 18" or 16" unless they were masochists and enjoyed getting beaten up.
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