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Elite Hunter Shorts: Which 2 Shotgun Chokes are Best for Hunting Small, Fast, Close birds?

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There are a lot of shotgun chokes on the market, so let’s find the two that work the best for you! Hunting small, fast, and close birds can be a challenging, but incredibly fun experience for many of us, depending on which kind of hunter you are.

To ensure success, it is of course very important that you choose the correct choke. In this article, we will explore the two best shotgun chokes for hunting small, fast, and close birds, and what not to do when selecting your choke.

Wondering what other questions to ask yourself when choosing a firearm? Check out our firearm purchasing guide here!

Shotgun shells and shot on black background. Loaded with bullets hunter rifle. Chokes not seen in photo

Improved Cylinder Vs. Modified Chokes

Improved Cylinder (IC) and Modified (M) chokes are the two best shotgun chokes for hunting small, fast, close birds. The IC choke has a constriction of around 0.010 inches, while the M choke has a constriction of around 0.020 inches. Both chokes provide a good balance between spread and density, making them perfect for close-range shots.

The IC choke is ideal for shooting birds that are within 20 to 25 yards. It provides enough spread to hit your target while still maintaining a dense enough pattern to ensure a clean kill. The M choke is best for shooting slightly farther away birds, we’d say up to 35 yards. Since it provides a tighter pattern, it’s a little easier to hit slightly further away targets.

Brown northern pintail (Anas acuta) flying on a blurred background in closeup

Try to think of which sort of bird you’ll be hunting when choosing a choke. For example, if you are hunting quail or doves, an IC or M choke will work well. However, if you are hunting larger game, such as pheasants, you might need to go even tighter, such as a Full (F) or Extra Full (EF) choke.

Deciding how tight to go on the choke can be the most challenging part to figure out, but analyze your hunting pattern and experience, as well as your accuracy when deciding. Tighter chokes will lead to a higher rate of missed shots, and might also damage the meat of the bird. If you go too open on your choke, it can result in a pattern that is too wide, making it difficult to hit your target at close range.

To ensure success when hunting small, fast and closer birds, it is essential to practice shooting with your chosen choke. Get familiar with the spread and pattern of the shotgun, and practice accuracy – whichever choke you decide to go with. Check out our article on shotgun patterning here!

A Wood Duck in Autumn

In conclusion, the Improved Cylinder (IC) and Modified (M) chokes are the two best shotgun chokes for hunting small, fast, close birds. They provide a good balance between spread and density which makes them perfect for close-range shots.

If you’re more of a visual learner, here’s a really great and informative video we found about the Improved Cylinder Vs. Modified Chokes!

Looking for other general tips and tricks, check out our library of hunting guides here!

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