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What choke should you use when shooting slugs?

The Question

Dear Ken,

I have a question about shooting slugs. I have a Remington 12-gauge pump shotgun, with a screw-in choke and a 26-inch barrel, and I use it primarily for turkey hunting. I was wondering: Is it possible to shoot slugs through this barrel when the choke is removed? And if so, would it damage the threads for the choke?

Thanks,

Dave Hoover, North Bay, Ontario

The Answer

I’m glad you asked this question. You should not shoot slugs—or any other shot—through your barrel without a choke in place, since there is a very real possibility that you will damage the threading.

I assume that you’ll be shooting a Foster-style slug—one that has rifling. The conventional wisdom has long been that these slugs perform best with an Improved Cylinder choke. Though ammunition is highly variable, and all guns digest ammunition a little differently than one another, I’d be inclined to start with an IC choke. If your accuracy with this choke is acceptable, stick with it. If it doesn’t, experiment with other chokes until you find the one that performs best.

Regards,

Ken Bailey

Ken Bailey

Ken Bailey

An all-around hunter, Ken Bailey enjoys pursuing waterfowl the most. Based in Edmonton, Outdoor Canada's longtime hunting editor Ken Bailey has hunted every major Canadian game animal, in every corner of the country. For many years, he’s shared his deep knowledge of game behaviour, and wide expertise with all manner of firearms with OC's readers. His work has been recognized numerous times by both the Outdoor Writers of Canada and the National Magazine Awards. Ken is a committed conservationist, dedicated to habitat preservation, sustainable harvests, and passing along our hunting heritage to the next generation. He's also an avid fly fisherman, and a pretty darn good game chef.

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