Choke tubes reduce the diameter of a shotgun’s barrel, which decreases the spread of the fired pellets, thus increasing the effective range of the weapon. Manufacturers produce choke tubes in several different sizes, which allows hunters and sport shooters to select the perfect amount of restriction for the circumstances. By using an assortment of choke tubes, shooters can use a single shotgun for hunting different types of game.
Although manufacturers produce a wide variety of choke tubes, most fall into one of four categories. Full chokes constrict the barrel significantly, enabling 70 percent of the fired pellets to fall within a 30-inch circle at 40 yards. Modified choke tubes are not as restrictive, as they cause only 60 percent of the pellets to fall within that 30-inch circle at the same distance. Improved cylinder chokes reduce the size of the barrel even less, causing a mere 50 percent of the pellets to hit a 30-inch circle at 40 yards. Skeet choke tubes are the least restrictive chokes commonly used. Primarily used for shooting clay targets at close range, they only cause 50 percent of the pellets to fall within a 30-inch circle at 25 yards.
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