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Powerstroke

Time to pattern, starting from scratch

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So, I've got a 20ga. Stoeger Condor O/U. In a couple hours of searching I've found about a dozen different choke tubes for my shotgun from a six different companies. They vary from .035 restriction to .055 restriction.

Last time (also the first time) I tried gunning for gobblers I found a plain full choke for my gun and tested 3 different loads. Picked the best one after some limited testing and never got to fire a shot. Oh well. Now its 2 years later and I'm that much smarter.....I've found all of these chokes and loads that are better than the one I used the first go around.

I'd like to get a tighter choke, but should I buy 2 for my O/U or just 1?

The brands I found so far are

Cabelas

Carlson

Comp-N-Choke

HS Strut Undertaker

Primos

Pure Gold

Lots of choices here. How important is porting?

As far as picking a load that I think is easier because its cheaper and easier to buy a couple different boxes of shells and hit the woods. Its a bit harder to buy a choke, not like it and can't return it.

So what are your opinions?

PS, thanks Borch for getting my gears turning on finding a better choke for my gun.

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One thought is to shoot one very tight one a bit more open so you have long range and shorter range options. However, most guys will have trouble switching the the barrel selector with out moving. making noise, etc. So I'd lean towards picking up either the same choke, or two simuliar chokes. As far as constriction goes it'll depend on what you want to shoot. If your planning on Shooting Hevi 13 by hevi Shoot you'll want it very tight. If your planning on shooting lead then a bit more open. Generally smaller shot likes a tighter choke and bigger shoot a more open choke for patterning purposes. There's always exceptions of course. If it were me I'd pick up a couple chokes in the .560-.570 area and you should be in good shape with several possible load options. I've had excellent results with Hastings, Primos, Com n Choke chokes. I've also had good results with HS Undertaker with the right load.

Porting has a couple of purposes in turkey chokes. One is to strip the wad so the shot separates from it quickly. The other is to reduce recoil or muzzle jump. I've had excellent results with both ported and non ported chokes. So it's up to what your gun likes I guess.

BTW,

You'll want to let it warm up a bit prior to serious patterning. It's tough to get really good patterns with this cold weather. wink.gif

Good Luck!

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I've tinkered with several gun/choke/shell combos over the years. If you have a full choke, the first thing I'd do is try some Hevi shot, think they still make it. The #5 shot out of my Rem 870 with just a full choke was sweet. The extra full was a bit much for my liking.

IMO, super tight patterns are overrated. They apply mostly to guns rigged with a scope or red dot. With just bead sights or even fiber optics, its very easy to miss a close bird with a real tight pattern. Its all about getting one close anyway.

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My daughter and I both got drawn for the first time and we each have a benelli with benelli chokes. Hers is a 20 guage nova and mine is an M1 12 guage. I use the #4 choke for upland and occasionaly the more constricted #3 for waterfowl. Since I've never turkey hunted I have two questions about chokes.

My plan was to pattern the most constricted #2 and #1 chokes with a hevi shot or a premium lead shot for turkey hunting. With all the talk of the specialized chokes, am I wrong in thinking that the benelli chokes will do a satisfactory job?

I know what to look for in terms of quality of the pattern, but how big of a diamater do we want at say 30 yards?

ccarlson

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My patterning regime is as follows:

1 shot @ 20 yards with cheap shotgun load to make sure sights are on. If not, sight in with trap load at close range. No use wasting expensive turkey load on sighting in.

Once on the paper and hitting where I'm aiming, I shoot everything in a consistent, methodical manner. I use a 10" circle from a roll of paper, taped 40 yards, which is easily compared then to other's patterns in various forums/websites. I try for the first warm day in March/early April around 50-60 degrees with little/no wind. Wind will blow out a pattern, especially for some of the hevi-loads that have a dense wad that stays with the shot string for some time (not a prob. with wad-stripping chokes).

I try to take 2-3 shots with each load, evenly spaced a few minutes apart so the barrel doesn't get too warm. I'll take 3 if comparing two types of shells or chokes, 2 at a max. if comparing multiple brands of shells with multiple chokes. I have a buddy load the gun, and sometimes not load the gun smile.gif If I flinch more than twice, I'm done for the afternoon. If I shoot more than 8-10 shots, I wait a few hours and hit it later. That is my personal limit with 10 gauge or 12 gauge 3.5" shells. I've wasted quite a few dollars in the past trying to pattern big guns, with big loads, and a flinchy sore-shoulder. It ruins the experiment, and makes your pellet counts outliers.

I'm big into counting pellets, but bigger into checking for evenness. These two things are my primary litmus tests for approving of a load for that gun/choke combo. I've given away boxes of shells in the past because of consistent holes in the pattern from shot to shot. On each target I write the brand/size-shot/type, choke type/constriction, and yardage.

Evenness is checked at the range, pellets are counted back home. I take each target, count pellets by marking the ones i've counted with the marker, then writing the total number of pellets inside the 10" circle on the target. After all counting has been complete, I compare my targets and counts to see which one has the best density and counts.

Remember that every gun/choke/load combination patterns differently, but many of the general rules Borch presented are good guidelines. Certain loads like to be choked more than others, that's why a good suggestion as mentioned is to have two chokes of varying constrictions.

Good luck patterning, it's essential to not only killing effectively, but maintaining your confidence in a turkey woods that sometimes causes it to waver.

Joel

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Quote:


My daughter and I both got drawn for the first time and we each have a benelli with benelli chokes. Hers is a 20 guage nova and mine is an M1 12 guage. I use the #4 choke for upland and occasionaly the more constricted #3 for waterfowl. Since I've never turkey hunted I have two questions about chokes.

My plan was to pattern the most constricted #2 and #1 chokes with a hevi shot or a premium lead shot for turkey hunting. With all the talk of the specialized chokes, am I wrong in thinking that the benelli chokes will do a satisfactory job?

I know what to look for in terms of quality of the pattern, but how big of a diamater do we want at say 30 yards?

ccarlson


The Benelli chokes may very well work fine for you. Only one way to find out. Try them out.

The Remington Hevishot loads liked and open choke. Since Hevishot started their own blend, (Hevi 13) they tend to actually like a tighter choke in most set ups. Why I don't know. But generally that's what people are seeing with them.

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