A shotgun choke is found inside the bore of a shotgun barrel. It basically has a series of markings that helps shape the spread of the shot that is fired as it is coming out of the barrel. The specific choke you use determines the range and accuracy of the shot. Many choke models available have identification markings on the rim of each choke tube. That way the gun owner will know what type of choke is installed in the barrel without having to take it out.

Choke Installed

Choke Installed

There are generally five choke types that people use in their shotguns: full, improved modified, modified, imp cylinder and cylinder. The cylinder will have five notches on the end of the choke that will indicate it’s a cylinder. The improved cylinder will have four notches, the modified has three notches, the improved modified has two notches and the full has one notch. If you are not an experienced shotgun user then you probably won’t recognize these notches, but the manufacturer’s manual should tell you about them.

The importance of recognizing choke markings is so you’ll know what range and accuracy to expect from your shots. If you want to use slugs and have great accuracy then you’ll use a cylinder or improved cylinder. As for the modified and improved modified chokes for example, they are used for targets 60 to 65 yards away. Those are better for birdshot or buckshot type ammunition. The full choke will give you the farthest range, but the accuracy won’t be as good. All of this is important to know when you go hunting because the choke will determine the outcome of the target that you want to shoot.

Remember, there are different types of chokes out there that may not have the same markings on them. That is why you should always look at the manufacturer’s manual so that you know what the markings are supposed to mean on the choke that you purchased. Usually the number of notches mentioned previously determines what choke it is. Overall, you just need to spend some time using the different chokes and getting familiar with how they shoot. Go out target practicing in a wide open area with nobody around and test the range and accuracy of each choke. Pay attention to the markings of the choke before shooting so you can memorize the performance it gives you with the shots fired.

Read more: Shotgun Chokes Explained (Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Full)