Chokes are some of the most useful accessories that you can add to your shooting equipment in order to increase your performance. More so, chokes allow you to aim and reach your target at a closer distance and still get a clean kill. But to enjoy all these advantages of a good choke, you have to choose one that will match your preferences as well as the type of weapon you are using.

Since one of the most common types of preys people choose to hunt are small, fast birds, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about choosing the perfect choke for this type of hunting.

What are chokes

A choke is an addition to your shotgun added at the end of the barrel. This addition comes in the shape of a tube and it can vary in size, which allows you to diversify the purposes of your weapon. Chokes are popular for shotguns but they can be used with other types of weapons such as rifles, airguns or muzzleloaders.

A good choke that is compatible with your weapon but serves the needs of your hunting as well, will direct the shooting in a way that helps you reach your target easier and with more accuracy.

The design of chokes changed a lot in the past years as they became a bit more compact and they can direct the shooting much better. The width of a choke can depend on the bore’s diameter but also on the number of pellets for the cartridge type. Chokes also add to the density of the shooting and they reduce the time that it takes to reach the prey as well.

Chokes can fall into one of the following six categories:

  • Extra full chokes. These chokes have a tight structure and a dense pattern which makes them ideal for turkey hunting. They can be used for other types of hunting such as geese but they will offer you performance when you want to take down a turkey.
  • Full chokes. The full chokes are ideal for rifles and they can improve long-range shooting of waterfowl or different other birds. Their spread is more centralized and they can help you achieve a clean kill. Full chokes are fairly easy to find in stores and they are compatible with most guns.
  • Modified chokes. These chokes are ideal for distances of 35 meters and they deliver anywhere from 55% and 65% of the pellets. They can assist you well in shooting birds but also another type of prey of more generous sizes.
  • Cylinder chokes. Cylinder chokes will offer you a pellet distribution of 40% and they tend to be more used for service shotguns rather than hunting weapons. These chokes might not be what you need if you are planning to use your shotgun for prey like birds or small animals.
  • Improved cylinder chokes. These types of chokes will help you catch different types of birds and waterfowl as well by delivering around 50% of the pellets every time you shoot.
  • Skeet shotgun chokes. These chokes are used for their even distribution of the pellet and they work great for smaller distances. They might not be ideal for all types of prey, though so make sure you use them for skeet shooting and pattern your gun if you want to rely on these chokes during hunting.

What are the best chokes for small, fast, close birds

So, what choke should you use to catch small and fast, close birds? There are two best options for this type of hunting, such as the modified chokes and the improved cylinder chokes.

Small birds require precision and a great shoot to catch them from the first try as you will most likely not get a second chance because if you miss, these birds will fly away rather fast.

Both the modified chokes and the improved cylinder chokes will help you reach your birds with a clean pattern and great precision.

If you are trying to get down medium size birds, you will appreciate the modified chokes better. On the other hand, the improved cylinder chokes will offer you a pellet spread of 50% which makes them ideal for small prey that moves or flies very fast.

It is important to measure the choke correctly after you decide which type of choke you are going to try out for your next hunt. The size of your choke will depend on the size of the bore you are using. You should also make sure to adjust the number of pellets you are using to the percentage that your choke type supports in order to have a clean kill. If you master these aspects, you will improve your performance on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that your choke should be as tight as possible on your bore.

We recommend you to try out different types of chokes and pattern your shotgun with each one of them before you make your final decision. By doing so, you will learn not only the difference that a choke makes for your shooting technique but also how to use your shotgun the best while you are adding such an accessory. The market offers a wide range of chokes on market that are from both the modified category and the improved cylinder category. You will be able to try out several ones and settle for the model that is most compatible with your skills. Keep in mind that what works for you might not necessarily work for other hunters so your level of shooting as well as your weapon is crucial details in this aspect.


Choosing the right type of choke for your shotgun as well as for the type of prey you are hunting can be a complete game-changer. You will be able to improve your shooting skills significantly and you will be amazed at how consistent your results are if you make this investment wisely.