A Short History of a Shotgun Choke
The first patent for a shotgun choke was granted in 1866, but it wasn't until 1969, more than a century later, that Winchester introduced the WinChoke on its Model 1200 and Model 1400 shotguns. The company's Versalite choke had appeared on its Model 59 autoloader eight years earlier, but the WinChoke was the first widely popular, interchangeable choke-tube system. In 1978, Mossberg introduced its new Accuchoke tube system on its Model 500, followed in 1982 by the Multichoke on Weatherby's Model 82. By the early 1980s, all shotgun manufacturers were working on and releasing their own versions of the successful screw-in choke tube we're all familiar with today.
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Although decades passed before the choke-tube idea became universally accepted by hunters, the eventual adoption of this interchangeable system by shotgun manufacturers increased the scattergun's versatility by leaps and bounds and saved shotgunners lots of money as well. No longer is it necessary to buy extra barrels to have different choices in chokes. Many of today's shotguns come equipped with a variety of screw-in chokes that can be quickly changed with the twist of a wrench. And many specialist companies offer retrofitting of fixed-choked guns, as well as custom-design replacement choke tubes for factory-threaded barrels.
Types of Choke Tubes
A choke tube constricts a gun's shot charge to hold it together longer before the shot spreads, thus giving a denser shot pattern at longer range than an open choke or no choke at all. In some ways, it's comparable to the nozzle at the end of a garden hose, controlling the spread of shot like the nozzle controls the spray of water, making it narrower or wider as needed.