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The Shotgun Shop    (

 P.O. Box  212,  Arnold  MO63010



Many factory shotgun barrels are equipped with interchangeable chokes, and few guns have non-tube barrels as an option anymore. Your most important detail is proving that an acceptable pattern is hitting where you point. The best fit and handling are useless if you fail to hit the target. My first rude example shot 11” high at 19 yards. The hunter owner realized he wasn’t losing his talent after all- at least after the wrong bird fell out of a group. He had been thinking all those misses were HIS fault. The trouble he had just trying to get the factory to replace this dud was a long wait plus a barrel that was only half as far off target. That amount must be what they called “acceptable deviation” for that maker. I believe the BEST warranty is the one that needs to be used LEAST.

Every shooter realizes a rifle with iron or telescopic sight needs work if the sight can’t be adjusted onto the aiming point. BUT! How many even bother to check their shotguns?

Most excuses I hear include: “I’ve never had any problems hitting game and/or making good scores at the range”, “the factory will make it good if I have a problem”, even “I’m not that good a shot anyhow”. Does anyone refuse to believe that (regardless of ability or talent) a straight (or straighter) shooting gun will make any shooter more effective and best for the circumstance?

The fix for a crooked choke starts with a hacksaw and ends with a new straight hole. Now, some people don’t want a shorter barrel, but remember that a shorter barrel that shoots right beats a longer barrel that shoots wrong. The smart move, if possible, is to start by buying the longer barrel that can be cut to the length you want. An older gun/barrel that never had chokes, but can shoot on target now, usually makes a great performing barrel with a custom choke tube installation.

There are two main errors in choke alignment that (in a few cases) can accidentally work together to make a gun hit about straight, but the pattern will not be as smoothly spread as an aligned choke. Error one: tilt, angle (Tower of Pisa) Error two: off centerline but parallel (railroad tracks, not monorail). Usually the two errors are both present to some degree. An open choke (in such a crooked hole) would most likely impact one side of the shot stack much harder than the other, if it even bothered to hit both sides. That situation just can’t be expected to produce a good pattern. Any tube in an angled hole will exert extra force against the shot since the direction change must happen at the same instant as the choking effect. More pellet distortion makes more erratic dispersion.

One more unavoidable situation when using mass produced choke tubes is the jump factor built into the tube. If I installed a new factory-type choke hole (straight) and the shooter uses the factory tubes (to save money), the performance and choices are limited.

Mass production needs tolerance choices, and all tubes are made much bigger than any barrel bore they are likely to encounter, plus a little extra to help minimize dangerous interference from those pesky crooked holes. One example: 12 gauge .728 bore, modified tube of .710 exit diameter, 2” length tube, .746 entry end of tube. Expect the shot to jump more than 25% of the tube prior to contact (in a straight hole).

The best performance involves use of the maximum amount of the choke length, and that means you need custom fit tubes. The examples of crooked chokes show one that has the edge intruding into the bore from the point of view of the shot/wad impact. I have plenty of examples to show much more variety of problems, and I will include more pictures in the future. I hope this information will benefit each one of you.

Factory installation shows poor alignment.

Aftermarket installation with choke edge disappearing from 9 o'clock to 1 o'clock, extremely crooked and DANGEROUS!

This choke is turning inside out and has lost some pieces already. The barrel is bulged and has a split starting at the edge of the rib.




More will be added soon.