The shotgun choke is a crucial factor to consider when choosing between the shotguns. It affects the width and size that the bullets travel and determines the shooting accuracy after all.

So, which shotgun choke has the tightest shot pattern? Which type of chokes is the most suitable for you? How to test the choke of a shogun?

This post will discuss this issue in detail and provide you with helpful information. If you want to understand more about shotgun chokes, continue reading to find out!

Which Shotgun Choke Has The Tightest Shot Pattern?

What Is The Bullet Pattern Of Shotguns?

Shotguns use a special cartridge called the shotshell that ejects out of the barrel muzzle when the guns recoil. For this reason, the bullets will randomly spread out in different shots at long distances.

Unlike rifles or pistols, you cannot aim and shoot at an exact spot repetitively. Therefore it may be annoying when you don’t get the highest shooting accuracy at a long distance.

So if you want the bullets to get less spread out or more focused on one spot, the shotgun chokes can help. They help tighten the dots and increase shooting accuracy at some specific distances.

Which Shotgun Choke Has The Tightest Shot Pattern? 1
The Pellets

What Is Shotgun Choke?

Shotgun chokes are the muzzle end’s constriction that determines the tightness of the pellet patterns. There are around 300 pellets in a typical cartridge, so the constriction makes a considerable difference in its pattern.

You will determine the choke base on the shooting distance. The shotgun chokes don’t affect the pellet’s speed and penetration, and it only makes your shot pattern more tightened or spread out.

The chokes are simply restrictions or controlled obstruction. This component is very essential for your shooting performance and safety. So, it is important to check the choke on your shotgun regularly.

The shotguns already come with a choke inserted at the muzzle end of the barrel. However, you should always check the choke before shooting to ensure your safety and avoid serious accidents.

Which Shotgun Choke Has The Tightest Shot Pattern 2
An Example Of The Shotgun Choke

Why Is Shotgun Choke Important?

When the guns recoil, the chokes can get loosened and eventually back out. As a result, the gas can get inside the barrel and damage this component.

If a shotgun doesn’t have a choke in the barrel, the threads can mess up or blow out of the barrel in many directions. This failure can lead to serious damage to our bodies or even death.

The chokes also make your shooting smoother by extending the shooting range. These components make the pellet patterns more spread out and compact.

The chokes can also increase the pellet penetration at short distances by improving the spread’s density. They give the users more flexibility for many hunting situations.

Due to these reasons, most gunsmiths nowadays equip the chokes on the shotgun to increase the performance of their weapon.

Which Shotgun Choke Has The Tightest Shot Pattern? 

If you want the tightest shot pattern on a shotgun, go for the full choke. 

At the shooting distance of 40 yards, it will tighten the shot pattern and place around 70% of the pellets inside a 30-inch circle.

Full choke provides the highest shot density at further distances than the other choke types. 

There are even extra full chokes with a shot density of 73%. The constriction level of a choke is determined by the barrel’s diameter. Full chokes have a constriction level of 0,04 inches.

Higher constriction levels mean higher shot density. The other common types of shotgun chokes have significantly lower constriction and shot density. They are also ideal for shorter shooting distances.

Why don’t the gunsmith make even higher constriction levels? The fact is that improving the constriction beyond 0,04 doesn’t give you more density. Therefore the full choke provides the highest constriction possible.

However, the highest constriction and pellet density are not always the best. You must choose a choke base on the distance from the barrels to the targets when going hunting.

The Other Types Of Shotgun Chokes To Consider

The chokes on the old shotgun models are usually fixed, and you cannot change their constriction levels. However, the more advanced shotguns allow users to adjust the chokes and change the bullet pattern more flexibly.

There are five basic choke types: cylinder, modified,  improved modified, and full chokes. They come with different constriction levels and densities.

There are also some new categories like the extra full, turkey, or Accu chokes. But I will cover the basic ones only.

Each type works best for a specific shooting distance, which is measured in yards. Therefore it is important to understand the basics of each category to select the most suitable choke for your needs.

Cylinder Chokes

If a shotgun comes with a cylinder choke, it means that the gun doesn’t have any restrictions at all. So, the shots will get spread out quickly. This category doesn’t provide the best shooting accuracy and is only suitable for close distances.

Improved Cylinder Chokes

The improved cylinders have slightly higher constriction compared to cylinder chokes, but it is not so significant. They have a constriction level of 0,01 and a shot density of 50%. Their ideal shooting distance is between 20 to 50 yards.

Modified Chokes

The modified chokes provide decent constriction for mid-range shooting.

The pellets will take longer to spread out and increase the shot density. This category is ideal for duck hunting.

Improved Modified Chokes

Which Shotgun Choke Has The Tightest Shot Pattern 3
The Skeet Choke

Similarly, the improved modified chokes provide slightly higher constriction and density than the regularly modified chokes. They are also suitable for hunting at a mid-range distance but give a little higher accuracy.

Here are the comparison tables regarding constriction levels and density to help you understand the core differences between the choke types.

Types Constriction  Shot Density
Cylinder 0 inches 40 to 45%
Skeet 1 0,005 inches 45 to 48%
Improved Cylinder 0,01 inches 50%
Skeet 2 0,015 inches 55%
Modified 0.020 inches 60%
Improved Modified 0.025 inches 65%
Full 0.030 inches 70%
Extra Full 0.040 inches 73%
Turkey 0.045 inches or more 75%

If you want in-depth information, consider watching the video below to find out.


Is A Full Choke Different From A Modified Choke?

Full chokes have a tighter constriction of 0,03 inches compared to 0,02 inches on the modified ones. Therefore it is ideal if you want higher shot density at a longer distance.

What Is the Best Choke For Sporting Clays?

The improved cylinder chokes are the ideal option if you participate in clay shooting games. They provide the highest accuracy and density at a distance of 16 yards.

Which Shotgun Choke Has The Tightest Shot Pattern 4
Sporting Clay Game

What Is Accu Choke On Shotguns?

The Accu chokes are designed for steel or lead pellets and some other non-toxic bullet materials. Nowadays, this category is prevalent for turkey hunters.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, the full, extra full, or turkey chokes provide the highest constriction and tightest shot patterns. 

They can focus more than 70% of the shot in a 30-inch circle when shooting at a distance of 30 yards. These options are ideal for hunting at long distances, around 30 to 50 yards.

However, how tight the shot patterns get also depends on your shooting skills and the type of pellets you use. You should also change the choke types to suit different situations and needs.

You can practice with all the choke types to figure out which is the most ideal while simultaneously increasing your skills. I hope that the answer and information provided can satisfy you.

Thank you for reading!

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