Fitting a “choke” to the competitive shooter
One day at the Melbourne Gun Club pigeon shoot, a particular chap was competing and shooting quite well. After his shot an old friend who had been watching remarked on his success. “My God, that gun must be well choked. Every bird that you have shot is stone dead. What type of chokes do you use?”
His friend replied: “I don’t know, let’s go around to the patter plates and find out.”
After firing at the plates, you could see the chokes were very similar and in the top right corner of both barrels there was a small space with no pellet marks. With that knowledge both shooters returned to the clubhouse.
When the successful shooter was called for his next shot his friend sat on the fence to watch.
When the trap was released the bird took off, both barrels were fired and both missed.
When he returned off mark his friend commented that it was a “top target” to which the shooter replied: “Although it was a very good bird, I still should have shot it. Do you know what I believe? “He escaped through the two holes in the chokes!”
After this revelation, the shooter, who was usually a good reliable shot, went downhill. The ‘escape holes’ in his pellet spread worried the shooter so much he ended up selling the shotgun. Every time he raised the gun to shoot a pigeon he wouldn’t see the target, he would only see the holes in his choke patterns. This is a true story and the lesson is that perhaps sometimes it is better not to know.
It worries me today that target shooters have such a wide range of chokes and are often more concerned with the type they should be using than the target they should be hitting.