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Q:
When duck hunting, is there a specific choke that I should be using in my 12 ga?

Question by mbuching. Uploaded on September 21, 2011

Answers (19)

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from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I use a modified when shooting from a blind and full if I'm pass shooting ducks or geese.

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from Ga hunter wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Just what Outdoor Envy said either a modified or a full

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Full choke at all times unless you have a place where you can jump shoot the ducks close, like a cattle dugout or a meandering creek. For those I'd use modified. I cannot see how shooting from a blind over water is any different than pass shooting. As often as not the shots I take over my decoys are pass shots. Target size is going to be about the same size and distance in both cases. I guess if you are shooting from a layout blind and expect the birds to land on top of you (and sometimes they do) then go with a more open choke. But again, you're going to get just as many shots in the forty yard range which would require full choke. When the birds are coming in you can't decide to change chokes. Go with the odds and use the tightest choke. You can always let the birds close in get out there a ways before you shoot. Or just shoot at them when they are still out there on the way in rather than waiting till they are on the ground or water in front of you (sluicing them on the water/ground is soooo challenging!).

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Make sure that it is marked 'Steel Full' and not lead Full. A Modified lead will shoot like a full with steel. I have found that the majority of people will fare better using a lead IC with steel simply they are not good enough shots to hit the really long ones and cripple too many up close because they are hitting them with the fringe of that tight pattern.
However, if you are an accomplished wingshot, have at them those tight chokes.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I use a modified and IC in my over-under most of the time, but have had best success with a modified steel choke and a mid-range Black Cloud tube in my autoloader. For my Remington's, I have too many choke tubes to count, but the Mod is the go-to most of the time. Pattern it a 40 yards and see what gives.

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from labrador12 wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I shoot a Herter's vari-choke on my Model 12 set at sub-modifiied. I shoot most of my ducks over decoys. I only shoot at ducks and geese in my killing zone. I have the self control to wait for them to make another pass rather than to take a iffy shot. My dog thanks me for not having to chase cripples. I hate that look Glock and my other labs have given me over the years after a miss or a poorly shot duck.

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from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I always use a full choke because I can't plan the distance to the ducks. Sometimes when I jump, they are settling farther out than I would like and other times the first two are in pretty nice range but that last one is further than ideal. You do have to shoot a little more accurately with a full choke but I think that is always a good idea anyway.

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from Christian Emter wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

A big one

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

modified

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I have a modified barrel on my Browning 12 gauge auto 2 3/4" and really haven't done that well with it on geese even though I'm shooting the same size shot and same velocity as my 3" mag Remington 870 full choke (but less pellets of course). Believe it or not, I actually switched back to the goose gun for pheasants last year and it made a big difference. However, that could be due to several other factors such as stock drop and weight. It can be difficult to make the adjustment to swinging a lightweight gun after years of shooting one that's much heavier.

I have been having an awful time this year goose hunting and absolutely cannot figure out what is going wrong (though watching others out there, I'm still shooting a heck of a lot better than "average"). To compensate for my long arms and turkey neck I have usually shoot with a slip-on recoil pad over my factory Remington plastic stock. I took it off yesterday to see if that would make a difference. Maybe it did but not enough shots today to tell for sure. Hundreds of birds in the air but only one pair came into the decoys this morning. I hammered them with all three shots. Clearly never missed once. Unfortunately, one of them got back up and flew away when the dogs got to them. The goose they brought in was HUGE and dead but not really shot up that bad. I thought those geese were pretty close when I opened up however they were both extraordinarily large birds so perhaps further out than I thought. No wind this morning and that has probably been a big factor in my problems over the past couple of weeks. A strong wind will play havoc with steel shot pattern.

I just got permission to hunt another field where about a thousand honkers were stacked up this morning. It is almost a given that I will limit tomorrow morning. If I want to. Possession limit is 24 (go figure on that, the daily limit is five - must be a typo in the regs) and I have a ways to go before filling up. I'm eating goose every day now to compensate but may have to take fewer birds if I want to keep hunting till I go West for pheasants later next month. Fortunately I never get tired of eating goose meat BBQed with that special marinade recipe. Anyway, I have half a box of 2 3/4 #1 shot and I'm seriouosly thinking about taking both guns out tomorrow. This thread has made me rethink my choke preferences. Tomorrow would be a good day to do some expirementing. There could be a whole lot of shooting going on (but hopefully not!) My shells for both guns are all the same color so I'll have to be careful if I take the Browning. Look here for a report tomorrow evening!

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from mbuching wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Thanks guys, I've been using a full choke for jump shooting and I just wanted to make sure I was making the right choice. I will have to give the modified choke a shot or two. Has anyone used the new type of steel shot that was written about in the July subscription?

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Almost forgot to mention, my dogs kicked up a rooster pheasant on the edge of my goose field yesterday. I couldn't believe my eyes! Didn't know we even had any around here. The farmers are reporting seeing a few as well. I guess someone in the neighborhood is an ameteur bucket biologist. I really doubt pheasants will survive our minus fifty winters or vast array of predators. But I secretly hope so. We'll see. At any rate I'm not going to shoot them (nor do I condone illegal planting). Also heard today from MNR that someone dumped turkeys northeast of here. Many folks are reporting sightings. Damn idiots! If people want to shoot something exotic, they should buy a video game.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I think an O/U or double with modified/full chokes would be absolutely ideal for jump shooting ducks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I gave up jump shooting ducks when steelshot came in. Steel is way better today than when it was mandated in the US, But then, I'm a few decades older now too!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Labrador12, I think the mistake most of us made when we switched over to steel back in the old days was thinking we could still shoot the same heavyweight loads that we did with lead. Uh-uh! Have to go light and fast with larger size shot and just be more careful with our shooting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Check the kamakaze thread for a report on today's hunting.

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from thughes1133 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Modified if hunting over decoys in a blind, and full to extra full if pass shooting.

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from milsky24 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

modified

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from mhclayton wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

Higher kill percentages with IC and LModified Briley chokes in my FN/Winchester 101. This works great hunting over decoys for me. With the way modern steel patterns, the challenge is often opening the pattern up enough for an effective percentage at realistic ranges. You have to pattern your gun at usual ranges to know. Expect very different results with different shell and choke combos, often dramatically different results by switching to different brands-- e.g. hard to open the Federal Black Cloud loads up at all for me, even with IC choke.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Make sure that it is marked 'Steel Full' and not lead Full. A Modified lead will shoot like a full with steel. I have found that the majority of people will fare better using a lead IC with steel simply they are not good enough shots to hit the really long ones and cripple too many up close because they are hitting them with the fringe of that tight pattern.
However, if you are an accomplished wingshot, have at them those tight chokes.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I use a modified when shooting from a blind and full if I'm pass shooting ducks or geese.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Full choke at all times unless you have a place where you can jump shoot the ducks close, like a cattle dugout or a meandering creek. For those I'd use modified. I cannot see how shooting from a blind over water is any different than pass shooting. As often as not the shots I take over my decoys are pass shots. Target size is going to be about the same size and distance in both cases. I guess if you are shooting from a layout blind and expect the birds to land on top of you (and sometimes they do) then go with a more open choke. But again, you're going to get just as many shots in the forty yard range which would require full choke. When the birds are coming in you can't decide to change chokes. Go with the odds and use the tightest choke. You can always let the birds close in get out there a ways before you shoot. Or just shoot at them when they are still out there on the way in rather than waiting till they are on the ground or water in front of you (sluicing them on the water/ground is soooo challenging!).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I use a modified and IC in my over-under most of the time, but have had best success with a modified steel choke and a mid-range Black Cloud tube in my autoloader. For my Remington's, I have too many choke tubes to count, but the Mod is the go-to most of the time. Pattern it a 40 yards and see what gives.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I shoot a Herter's vari-choke on my Model 12 set at sub-modifiied. I shoot most of my ducks over decoys. I only shoot at ducks and geese in my killing zone. I have the self control to wait for them to make another pass rather than to take a iffy shot. My dog thanks me for not having to chase cripples. I hate that look Glock and my other labs have given me over the years after a miss or a poorly shot duck.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I always use a full choke because I can't plan the distance to the ducks. Sometimes when I jump, they are settling farther out than I would like and other times the first two are in pretty nice range but that last one is further than ideal. You do have to shoot a little more accurately with a full choke but I think that is always a good idea anyway.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

modified

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I have a modified barrel on my Browning 12 gauge auto 2 3/4" and really haven't done that well with it on geese even though I'm shooting the same size shot and same velocity as my 3" mag Remington 870 full choke (but less pellets of course). Believe it or not, I actually switched back to the goose gun for pheasants last year and it made a big difference. However, that could be due to several other factors such as stock drop and weight. It can be difficult to make the adjustment to swinging a lightweight gun after years of shooting one that's much heavier.

I have been having an awful time this year goose hunting and absolutely cannot figure out what is going wrong (though watching others out there, I'm still shooting a heck of a lot better than "average"). To compensate for my long arms and turkey neck I have usually shoot with a slip-on recoil pad over my factory Remington plastic stock. I took it off yesterday to see if that would make a difference. Maybe it did but not enough shots today to tell for sure. Hundreds of birds in the air but only one pair came into the decoys this morning. I hammered them with all three shots. Clearly never missed once. Unfortunately, one of them got back up and flew away when the dogs got to them. The goose they brought in was HUGE and dead but not really shot up that bad. I thought those geese were pretty close when I opened up however they were both extraordinarily large birds so perhaps further out than I thought. No wind this morning and that has probably been a big factor in my problems over the past couple of weeks. A strong wind will play havoc with steel shot pattern.

I just got permission to hunt another field where about a thousand honkers were stacked up this morning. It is almost a given that I will limit tomorrow morning. If I want to. Possession limit is 24 (go figure on that, the daily limit is five - must be a typo in the regs) and I have a ways to go before filling up. I'm eating goose every day now to compensate but may have to take fewer birds if I want to keep hunting till I go West for pheasants later next month. Fortunately I never get tired of eating goose meat BBQed with that special marinade recipe. Anyway, I have half a box of 2 3/4 #1 shot and I'm seriouosly thinking about taking both guns out tomorrow. This thread has made me rethink my choke preferences. Tomorrow would be a good day to do some expirementing. There could be a whole lot of shooting going on (but hopefully not!) My shells for both guns are all the same color so I'll have to be careful if I take the Browning. Look here for a report tomorrow evening!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Almost forgot to mention, my dogs kicked up a rooster pheasant on the edge of my goose field yesterday. I couldn't believe my eyes! Didn't know we even had any around here. The farmers are reporting seeing a few as well. I guess someone in the neighborhood is an ameteur bucket biologist. I really doubt pheasants will survive our minus fifty winters or vast array of predators. But I secretly hope so. We'll see. At any rate I'm not going to shoot them (nor do I condone illegal planting). Also heard today from MNR that someone dumped turkeys northeast of here. Many folks are reporting sightings. Damn idiots! If people want to shoot something exotic, they should buy a video game.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ga hunter wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Just what Outdoor Envy said either a modified or a full

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Christian Emter wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

A big one

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mbuching wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Thanks guys, I've been using a full choke for jump shooting and I just wanted to make sure I was making the right choice. I will have to give the modified choke a shot or two. Has anyone used the new type of steel shot that was written about in the July subscription?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I think an O/U or double with modified/full chokes would be absolutely ideal for jump shooting ducks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

I gave up jump shooting ducks when steelshot came in. Steel is way better today than when it was mandated in the US, But then, I'm a few decades older now too!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Labrador12, I think the mistake most of us made when we switched over to steel back in the old days was thinking we could still shoot the same heavyweight loads that we did with lead. Uh-uh! Have to go light and fast with larger size shot and just be more careful with our shooting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Check the kamakaze thread for a report on today's hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from thughes1133 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Modified if hunting over decoys in a blind, and full to extra full if pass shooting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from milsky24 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

modified

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mhclayton wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

Higher kill percentages with IC and LModified Briley chokes in my FN/Winchester 101. This works great hunting over decoys for me. With the way modern steel patterns, the challenge is often opening the pattern up enough for an effective percentage at realistic ranges. You have to pattern your gun at usual ranges to know. Expect very different results with different shell and choke combos, often dramatically different results by switching to different brands-- e.g. hard to open the Federal Black Cloud loads up at all for me, even with IC choke.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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