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Joined: Jan 2014
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Sidelock
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F/F, F/M, M/IC, SK/SK

I have the chance to pick up a 20ga Sterlingworth with 26" barrels and F/F chokes. The gun is priced well, but I usually see shorter barrels having more open chokes. I guess you don't really know what the chokes mean until you actually pattern the gun, but I haven't seen many F/F barreled guns pattern well for upland brush hunting.

This has left me in a bit of a buying conundrum. Do spreader loads make a F/F gun more versatile and therefore desirable, or do you buy a gun for a specific purpose with the chokes you prefer? Closed chokes for turkey hunting and more open chokes for upland hunting, or do you even worry about it?

Last edited by Jawjadawg; 09/10/14 09:45 PM.
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I just bought an Elsie 16 gauge that is full/ extra full.
Chokes that tight don 't bother me, if I don't like the way it patterns , I'll open it up.
Davide


Of course I have shot all my vintage guns - what do you think they are called SHOT guns for??!!
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I hunt upland birds over pointing dogs in the hills of Kansas using a Sterlingworth 16 gauge with 26 inch barrels choked Improved Cylinder and Modified. I have guns with longer barrels and tighter chokes but they only come out late in the season when the bird are few, wily and tough.

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A very complicated question that depends considerably on the shooter's style and capabilities. A 26" 20 bore suggests a low swing effort gun with low swing stability. Tight (full) choke suggests long range shooting which generally requires high swing stability to achieve low aiming angle error. But, some shooters have the capability to shoot low swing effort guns well at long range. Shoot some 27 yard trap and see how you do. If you do well, then leaving it tightly choked is a reasonable option. Then, shoot a few rounds of skeet and see how well you do. That will tell you if you (you yourself) shoot well enough to use tight chokes at short range.

You might consider one open and leave one tight.

DDA

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I don't understand the conundrum.

Starting with full & full, the chokes can become any combination one desires for another $150.

Yes, spreader loads could give the option of, say, a pair of IC chokes. Those would be helpful for clay targets, but I wouldn't use them for hunting.

Compared to all the other things to consider when buying a 26" Sterlingworth, the present chokes would be a non-issue for me.


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What will you be using it for, Jd? That really qualifies the answer.

Full chokes in a 26" gun really is odd, but not a deal breaker, at all. I shoot several vintage doubles with tight chokes for hunting and clays. I tend to err on the side of tight as opposed to open. I use nothing more open than I/C for quail, here or in AZ, nothing more open than LM for doves (and I shoot, and eat, lots of doves), nothing more open than M for ducks and seldom anything more open than M for sporting clays. Spreaders will usually open up your pattern only one constriction, i.e., M to IC, or F to M, and are perfectly acceptable for hunting if they pattern well in your particular gun.

SRH


"With one foot in the grave ..........and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel" T.P.
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What will you be using it for, Jd? That really qualifies the answer.

Full chokes in a 26" gun really is odd, but not a deal breaker, at all. I shoot several vintage doubles with tight chokes for hunting and clays. I tend to err on the side of tight as opposed to open. I use nothing more open than I/C for quail, here or in AZ, nothing more open than LM for doves (and I shoot, and eat, lots of doves), nothing more open than M for ducks and seldom anything more open than M for sporting clays. Spreaders will usually open up your pattern only one constriction, i.e., M to IC, or F to M, and are perfectly acceptable for hunting if they pattern well in your particular gun.

SRH


"With one foot in the grave ..........and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel" T.P.
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Every time this topic comes up in one form or another, I think back to a day a few years ago.

A guest who joined us for a pheasant hunt brought several rather nice vintage guns with him. Being a sucker for a side lever, a Grant caught my eye.

He offered to let me shoot it and I accepted his invitation because he was trying to sell the gun.

I shot the gun well, even though the comb was too sharp for comfort against my face when I tapped the triggers. I shot her for four days, taking nine roosters, six huns and two sharpies with nearly the same number of shells.

I would have bought her if she hadn't beat my cheek bone up so bad.

She was choked none and quarter and those open barrels worked just find for birds over good dogs and spitting modern munitions.

The last entry in my journal concerning that hunt was MM might just be right on the money concerning chokes and present day ammunition.


bc
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I recently acquired a very nice early 20ga Savage SW (with Philly characteristics--smaller, pointed forend and PG cap), 28" barrels. Original constrictions were a tight Mod and well beyond Full. I had them opened to about skeet and LM. In my case, it will be my main grouse and woodcock gun, and from my experience with early season prairie grouse (leaving for ND in a little over a week), it will work fine on them as well. If I were a dove hunter, I might have left it tighter. But I'm not, so I didn't.

Some folks forget that while open chokes do give you more margin for error when you shoot, if you're doing a lot of close range shooting (like grouse and woodcock, especially early season), they also reduce the chances that you're going to destroy birds shot in the 10-15 yard range. And shots that close can be more the rule than the exception, if you're hunting woods birds while most of the leaves are still on the trees.

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I am interested in a choke range but not specific choking. I don't want anything tighter in the right barrel than what falls within the modified range and nothing in the left barrel more open than that. I shoot equally as well on birds with guns choked IC/Mod, IC/Full, and Mod/Full. I see no differnce when they are hit or when they are cleaned.

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