How to Choose the Right Choke for Clay Target Shooting

Written by keith dooley
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How to Choose the Right Choke for Clay Target Shooting
Select the choke tube that matches your clay target shooting. (Aimed shotgun, with depth of field image by cdbdi from

Clay target shooting involves shooting various sized clay discs with a shotgun. The clay discs are launched through the air at different levels; the goal is to challenge shooters to track and break the discs under different field situations. Shotguns often feature internal threads in the end of the barrel for installing a choke. Chokes control the spread of the shot when fired from the end of the shotgun barrel.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Shotgun with threaded barrel for chokes
  • Improved choke tube
  • Modified choke tube
  • Full choke tube
  • Choke tube lubricant
  • Choke tube wrench
  • Rag

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  1. 1

    Wipe any dirt, excess choke tube lubricant or powder deposits from the choke tube threads in the end of the shotgun barrel. Use an old rag to remove any deposits.

  2. 2

    Apply a thin film of choke tube lubricant to the threads of an improved choke tube designed for the shotgun being used. Thread the tube carefully into the end of the shotgun and finger tighten. Finish tightening the tube in place with a choke tube wrench.

  3. 3

    Choose an improved choke tube when a wide dispersal of the lead or steel shot exiting the barrel is desired. Select the improved choke when shooting clay targets at a shorter range; the energy of the pellets will be more widely dispersed and may not travel as far.

  4. 4

    Insert a modified choke in the end of the shotgun barrel for general clay target shooting situations. Select the modified choke for a shot pattern that is tighter than the improved choke but stil tight enough to reach medium to long clay targets. Consider using the modified choke as an all purpose go-to choke.

  5. 5

    Select a full choke tube for the shotgun when shooting clay targets at longer distances; a longer distance is achieved by a tighter grouping of the shot. A tight grouping means a smaller area of impact.

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