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All choked up?

DJ Dan

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Here's a topic bound to spark discussion: I have shot somewhere between 4-5 hundred ringneck pheasants and jumped cottontain rabbits since 1957 with every configuration shotgun made from a Savage break open .410 to a Remington SP 10 guage semi auto taking geese plus several hundred rounds of clay target games and have come to the conclusion the best choke for any shotgunner, even on geese, is....."none". I've done about a hundred hours on pattern boards at the distance most people actually take game, 25-37 yards, and copper plated or nickel plated 7 1/2's such as Fiochi's Golden Pheasant or Federal Copper 6's or Winchester Ultimate Pheasant hard shot plated loads pattern DEVASTATINGLY even up to 37 measured yards putting 4-6 pellets in a ringneck pheasant silhoutte consistently. Of the 300 or so wild & preserve ringnecks I've shot, not 4 have been at over 37 yards measured off. Why is everyone so hung up on patterning a shotgun at 40 yards when 99.9% of game birds and animals like the cottontail and dove are taken at 20-35 yards, where improved cylinder is the TIGHTEST you'd ever need or want? And since 7 1/2's penetrate about halfway through a medium city PHONE BOOK at 35 measured yards with copper 7 1/2's, why would you want bigger shot?? I think most bird hunters use too big a shot size & too much choke. Any takers or believers? Let's hear your thoughts..DJ Dan the Benelli Montefeltro Man, Flint MI

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Looks like you've become quite the expert in a relatively short period of time.



At first glance, I'd have to say that your presumptions are pretty narrow-minded and belie your lack of experiences outside of your comfort zone.


Varying terrains and conditions take many hunters out your quoted average ranges on a regular basis.

With slower moving, larger target game like turkeys, it's perfectly reasonable to desire a tighter pattern at extended ranges.

Why limit oneself to 25-37 yards when you don't have to?

I wouldn't dare shoot geese or turkey with 7.5's, and phone books are bland table fare.


If averages ruled, we'd all be the same size, have the same skill sets, shoot the same non-trophy game, with same equipment all of the time.

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