It's something you ought to know. Plus more tips on cleaning and caring for your chokes.
Help! My choke is stuck in my shotgun barrel
Q: One of the choke tubes in my Browning B425 has got stuck. I’m not sure how to remove shotgun choke. I was thinking about putting the barrels in a vice, inserting the choke key and hitting it with a hammer. Would that damage the threads? What do you reckon?
A: That is exactly what you MUST NOT DO. Hit the choke key with a hammer and you will cause further damage. You are generating several tons of pressure by holding the barrels in an odinary engineer’s vice. Even if you gripped the barrels lightly you’d almost certainly force one or both of the barrels out of round. You’d probably scuff the blacking too.
This is what to do instead. Start off by giving the muzzles of your shotgun a good soak over several days in either penetrating oil or diesel. You can buy this from Halfords. Plus-Gas is a well-known brand. Don’t be impatient, leave the muzzles in the oil for a few days or even a week.
Then take the gun out and try the choke key again gently. If the choke tube is still stuck and won’t come out easily then you have no option but to take the gun to a gunsmith and get him to remove it.
I have heard of choke tubes being stuck in so tightly that they have had to be split internally with a chisel. Don’t even think about it. This is a job for an expert which requires a lot of experience.
Once the tube is out, you can stop the choke getting stuck in the shotgun barrels again by taking the tubes out every time you clean the gun, carefully cleaning the threads, and re-inserting them with a smear of grease.
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What happens when you leave chokes in a shotgun?
Q: I own a Browning 425 12-bore multichoke. I have not changed the chokes for six months and they seem to be stuck fast. How can I release them?
A: See above. Choke tubes should be taken out every time you clean the gun. Screw-in chokes must be removed and cleaned on a regular basis or they will stick in the bore, as you have discovered. A few drops of releasing fluid may help break the seal. Allow the fluid to penetrate and then warm the muzzles with a hairdryer. This causes the barrels to expand slightly and may allow the choke tube to be withdrawn.
Be careful when you apply pressure to the choke tubes, as it is very easy to distort the barrel – this is particularly so if you have a large choke key which allows a lot of leverage. If you are unable to remove the choke tubes, as above, take the gun to a gunsmith.
Clean choke tubes in a solvent – meths or petrol – and pay particular attention to the threads to ensure that any grit or other matter is not caught in them. The threads should be slightly greased before reinstallation. It is vital to ensure that the choke tube is always screwed fully home, otherwise your gun will be badly damaged when you fire it.
There are a number of accessible working parts on a shotgun that need lubrication.
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How to maintain screw-in choke tubes
Screw-in choke tubes are a very common option on most shotguns and it is important to maintain them properly. Leave them in place too long and you’ll have a problem like the readers above.
Here’s our step-by-step guide.
To avoid problems remember to remove shotgun choke from the barrels after each outing.