A Shooting Times reader is concerned he was using too much choke for wildfowling last season which affected his shooting performance. Tony Jackson had some advice.
Q: Last season was my first foray into wildfowling. I had been told by fowling friends, whom I assumed were knowledgeable, that a fully choked 12-bore was essential. I therefore acquired a 12-bore boxlock with fully choked left barrel and three-quarters choke with the right barrel.
However, the results were extremely disappointing and frustrating. This may well have been due to my poor shooting, but I have been told by another old-time wildfowler, now retired, that excessive choke is a snare and delusion. Is he right?
Game Shot, keen stalker and former editor of Shooting Times, Tony Jackson, had this advice regarding choke for wildfowling: Your friend is absolutely correct. Full choke, which has the effect of constricting the shot column, demands extreme accuracy and if you hit a relatively close bird it may be smashed. I learnt this lesson one morning in Chichester Harbour when I expended more than 30 cartridges at an extended flight of low-ying teal and picked only two. The birds were well within range but my heavily choked BSA 12-bore severely reduced my chances. A gun choked cylinder and half, or quarter and half, would have made all the difference. Novice shooters should forget excessive choke and concentrate on ensuring that patterns are adequate at 40 yards and not over-tight.