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The 5 Best Waterfowl Chokes for Duck Season

Luke Cuenco   09.27.21

Making the Shot Count: The 5 Best Waterfowl Chokes for Duck Season

Waterfowl hunting is a fun and challenging activity and really takes a lot of time and investment to get down pat. While much can be said for getting a good boat, blind, duck calls, and a retriever dog; a good set of chokes can really take you a long way. Basically shotgun chokes allow you to adapt the spread and pattern of your shot to adapt it specifically to your particular situation. Most shotguns come standard with what is called a cylinder choke which is an entirely unobstructed bore. Other chokes include the popular, improved cylinder choke, the modified choke, and of course the full choke. Each of these types of chokes creates an increasingly smaller pattern and not only allows your shot group to be tighter but also extends the effective range of your shot. So let’s dive into what I consider to be the 5 best waterfowl chokes for this year’s fall duck hunting season.

 

1. MOJO Outdoors Fatal Shot Custom Waterfowl 12 Gauge Choke Tube

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MOJO Outdoors Fatal Shot Custom Waterfowl 12 Gauge Choke Tube

The MOJO Outdoors Fatal Shot choke tube is compatible with a wide variety of shotguns and has been developed from years of analyzing shot patterns and will even run all factory loads and wad types. This makes it ideal for a “grab and go” choke tube and is ideal for wing shooting and target sports like shooting sporting clays. The choke two comes in three different ranges spreading from short to long and its non-ported tubes mean that you’ll get a consistent point of impact with all loads. Finally, the MOJO Outdoors Fatal Shot features a toolless installation meaning you can swap them out in the field as needed.

Pros/Full range of short to medium chokes and toolless installation

Cons/Won’t fit certain shotgun models

Bottom Line/Based on reviews this is one of the best all around waterfowl shotgun chokes on the market

2. Carlsons Non-Ported Long Range Choke Tubes

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Carlsons Non-Ported Long Range Choke Tubes

If you want consistent patterns then look no further. The Carlsons Long Range choke tube is well known to have some of the best and most consistent patternings on the market when it comes to waterfowl choke tubes. Ducks and other birds don’t always fly in the most predictable patterns and also don’t stay close so the extended range that the Carlson’s long-range choke tube offers you is essential when out in the field. With a stainless steel construction and a black oxide finish, this can withstand even the most miserable conditions you’ll face during duck season.

Pros/Stainless Steel Construction and Black Oxide finish for good durability

Cons/Very limited shotgun compatibility

Bottom Line/Great for extending your range in wider open hunting areas.

3. Hevi-shot Waterfowl Choke Tube

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Hevi-shot Waterfowl Choke Tube

Hevi-Shot is probably more well known for their ammunition selection rather than their choke tubes. However, Hevi-Shot’s lineup of waterfowl chokes is awesome because they come in both ported and non-ported versions and the ported versions feature grooves to allow for gradual wad expansion from the shot column meaning more consistency despite the porting. The hevi-Shot lineup of waterfowl choke tubes are available in mid-range and extended range configurations and are also sold in a two-pack if you need them both.

Pros/Ported and Grooved Choke that allows for gradual wad expansion causing the shot to leave the barrel before the wad

Cons/Questionable corrosion resistance

Bottom Line/An affordable and reliable choke tube that allows for shots out to beyond 40-yards

4. Kick’s High Flyer Choke Tube

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Kick’s High Flyer Choke Tube

Made with performance 17-4 PH grade stainless steel, the High Flyer extended ported choke tube is available for not only 12-gauge shotguns but also 20 and 10-gauge shotguns. These chokes are supposed to improve your pattern density by up to 20% And with very tight tolerances this should turn out to be true. The ported end allows for faster follow-up shots and can handle any type of shot type you happen to have on hand.

Pros/Great with semi-auto shotguns

Cons/None

Bottom Line/Another great all-around shotgun choke tube

5. The Patternmaster Code Black Choke Tube

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The Patternmaster Code Black Choke Tube

One of the most widely known and respected brands of chokes on the market, the Patternmaster series of choke tubes is great for not only duck hunting but also goose hunting. The Code black features internal rings that strip the wad away as it enters the choke and this allows your shot to leave the barrel before the wad does. This also has a secondary effect of reducing the number of flyers which will lead to increased pattern density and a greater chance of a kill. If you’re looking for the tightest patterns at the longest range, then look no further – the Patternmaster is good up to 60-yards.

 

Pros/Internal rings to separate the wad from the shot before it leaves the barrel to improve pattern density

Cons/Cancels out the effects of any “flite-control” type wad

Bottom Line/The king of long range bird engagements

Matching the choke to the shot is important

One of those easy-to-make mistakes with waterfowl hunting is not matching the choke tube to the type of shot being used. There are a couple of things to keep in mind and know exactly before you head out in the morning.

Waterfowl shot types come in two basic varieties – Steel and Lead Alternative (Bismuth, Tungsten, etc). If you’re going to shoot steel, you MUST have a choke tube rated for steel, or you risk damage to your barrel, or worse. The “worse” part is something we really don’t want to have to discuss, but it’s that serious. Steel is going to be hard and it can be brutal on a choke tube. Unlike lead, it has no give so the choke must be harder than the shot, and always think of the shot as a solid mass, not a collection of BBs of various sizes. When it is hurtled down your barrel inside the cup of the wad, it’s a solid mass. Never use a choke tube rated solely for lead or lead alternative when using steel shot. If you want a full, or extra full choke tube for use with steel shot, get one specifically designed for it.

Barrel oops
Can the wrong choke do this to your barrel? Yes, it can happen. Be careful and use the right choke.

Lead alternatives are legal and even encouraged for waterfowl hunting. These non-toxic shot types include popular choices like bismuth and tungsten. They are far softer than steel and can even be softer than lead, making them a great choice if you want to take Grandpa’s old double-barrel out for a spin. These types of shot materials are safe for lead-only choke tubes and for those safe with steel shot. Always – and we do mean always – check the choke tube’s specifications stamped onto the side to see if the choke is safe for steel shot. We want you to come back from each hunt safe and sound, and if you can do so with your shotgun intact, that’s even better.

 

What type of shot should you shoot through your choke tube?

This is entirely dependent on what your choke tube is rated for. A few of the choke tubes above are suitable to use with nearly any type of shot including Hevi-Shot and Steel shot. Other choke tubes will limit you to a lead-only shot. It’s best to carefully read the packaging on your choke tube before patterning your shotgun with a specific type of shot.

What type of choke is best for hunting ducks?

While this again will be entirely subjective for the most part based on your environment, a lot of people tend to gravitate towards the improved cylinder choke since the most accepted engagement distance for ducks is 40-yards or less. If you’re planning on shooting ducks out to further distances then a modified choke is more suitable.

There are notches on my choke tube, what do they mean?

The notches found on most choke tubes actually aren’t random at all. The number of notches on your choke tube actually indicates the amount of restriction that the choke offers with a higher number of notches the more restriction that is offered and this will increase the effective range of your shot pattern. Not all chokes are created equally however and won’t always react the same using different ammo so its always best to pattern your shotgun before you go out and hunt with it.

About the Author

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Luke Cuenco

Luke is currently a full-time writer for TheFirearmBlog.com, OvertDefense.com, AllOutdoor.com, and of course, OutdoorHub.com. Luke is a competitive shooter, firearms enthusiast, reloader, outdoorsman, and generally takes an interest in anything that has to do with the great outdoors.
Luke is also a private certified pilot and is currently pursuing his commercial pilot’s license in the hopes of becoming a professional pilot. Some of Luke’s other interests include anything to do with aviation, aerospace and military technology, and American Conservancy efforts.
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