Can a Shotgun Slug Be Fired Through a Barrel with a Choke?

Remington Buckhammer shotgun slug.


A choke barrel on a shotgun is a configuration in which the far end of the barrel's bore has a constriction designed to change the shape of the spread of the shot as it comes out of the muzzle. Narrowing the pattern of the shot as it leaves the gun generally tightens the pattern of the pellets and improves the accuracy of the shot, although there are some chokes shaped in a manner that actually broadens the pattern of the shot--a configuration that may be called for when the goal is defensive.


The choke can either be a permanent feature of the barrel bore, or it can be a screw-in temporary choke that can be inserted or removed as the need arises. Several different configurations are available, including a full choke in which the constriction is fairly extreme, or a modified choke, with a less dramatic constriction. The various choke configurations of standard American shotguns are as follows:

Choke (American):              Constriction (inches):

Cylinder                                   0.000

Skeet 1                                    0.005

Improved Cylinder                  0.010

Skeet 2                                   0.015

Modified                                 0.020

Improved Modified                0.025

Full                                         0.030

Extra Full                                0.040

Turkey                                    0.045

Is It Safe?

If you have a gun with a permanent choke, you might well wonder if it is safe to shoot a shotgun slug through the tube.

After all, a choke bore is designed to alter the pattern of pellet shot, not slugs. So what happens if you fire a shotgun slug through a barrel with a choke bore?

The answer depends on the type of choke tube that's screwed into the barrel. A rifled choke tube is actually designed to spin the slug (these are intended to be used with sabot slugs), or your gun may have "cylinder" or "improved cylinder" tube; these are generally fine for firing rifled slugs.

Shooting slugs through a gun with a rifled or cylinder choke is perfectly safe if you have a shotgun that's in good repair and are using proper ammo for that gun's chamber length. It is not a good idea to shoot many slugs through a barrel with a tighter, full choke or extra full bore, but some modified chokes will handle rifled slugs without a problem. 

The tighter you go with the bore choke, the more pressure there will be on the barrel and action when your fire a slug through it, and the more stress will be placed on the muzzle , which is already thinner than the rest of the barrel. This is especially true of newer guns, since their muzzles are already threaded to accept temporary choke tubes; the threading process removes metal from the barrel, which makes it more susceptible to stress. 

But with the right choke in the gun--one that is rifled, cylinder, improved cylinder, or possibly a modified choke--you should have no problem.  


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Your Citation
Chastain, Russ. "Can a Shotgun Slug Be Fired Through a Barrel with a Choke?" ThoughtCo, Jun. 12, 2017, Chastain, Russ. (2017, June 12). Can a Shotgun Slug Be Fired Through a Barrel with a Choke? Retrieved from Chastain, Russ. "Can a Shotgun Slug Be Fired Through a Barrel with a Choke?" ThoughtCo. (accessed November 20, 2017).