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The monolit 28’s are safe to use in any choke, but slugs are generally more accurate when shot out of an improved cylinder or modified choke.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
The monolit 28’s are safe to use in any choke, but slugs are generally more accurate when shot out of an improved cylinder or modified choke.
That's a relief. I'm glad I have a better understanding of how the interchangeable barrels work and which chokes are where and when they are best used.
 

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To take Mark204’s comment to the next level, read all the instructions and warnings on ammo and guns as far as recommendations, do’s/dont’s etc. For instance on your steel slugs, if shooting them through a full choke would potentially damage a firearm, that warning should have been printed on the package.


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Viceroy 🟩🟩🟩
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Disgustipated,

Hi. I sometimes feel like the odd man out around here, because 99% of my shooting is shotguns. Most people here seem to be handgun and rifle experts and aficionados. I only go through a few hundred rounds of pistol and .22 ammo a year, but literally order shotshells by the pallet. I just bought another 30 cases of shotshells for my kids' school trap shooting season. (Unfortunately it may be canceled due to the cornonavirus, but that's another thread.:()

Start by reading Iowegan's excellent .pdf primer on chokes and shot size. That will answer much.

Your shotgun setup seems perfect as a do-all configuration. :) You have a tried-and-true pump-action with a short, "cylinder" (no choke constriction) barrel. That is an ideal defense setup with slugs and buckshot. A barrel that short is not something you would typically use for hunting and sporting purposes where you want the smooth swing of a balanced gun.

You also have a nice, long barrel with a fixed full choke constriction and chambered for 2 3/4" and 3" shells. That's perfect for trap shooting, turkey hunting, pheasants, and many other game birds. I personally would not shoot slugs or steel shot through an old fixed-full barrel, no matter how many people say it's "OK".

If you only shoot a handful of ducks and geese a year, you're much better off shooting Kent's outstanding bismuth shells at waterfowl. Cabela's/Bass Pro will ship them to your door or your nearest store. Yes they are expensive at $37 for a box of 25 3" magnum loads, but bismuth hits nearly as hard as lead, and patterns the same as lead, which means you'll get a useful pattern out of that full choke. A goose that falls dead to a single bismuth shot is better than the one you have to shoot a couple+ times with steel -- or the one that gets away wounded because you were using steel shot.

If you wanted to truly complete your setup, you could look online for a slightly shorter (26" or 28") barrel with a less constricted choke of, say, Improved Cylinder. That would give you a few more options for closer-flushing birds, steel shot, and close-range clay games such as sporting clays and skeet. (Yes, you will handicap yourself trying to shoot pairs of skeet targets with a pump, but it is a load of fun to try and do it!) People nowadays are weirded out by fixed choke barrels so sometimes used ones can be picked up at a bargain.

Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with a fixed choke barrel! Don't go trying to make the barrel "better" by having someone install a screw-in choke.

First of all, the 'full' stamp on the barrel doesn't mean anything until you pattern test it. Many barrels and chokes marked in a certain way will actually shoot a constriction or two tighter, or wider, than what the markings mean.

Second of all, you can make huge changes in the way your gun patterns simply by trying different shells. There are big differences in the way bird / sporting shells pattern simply because of differences in the wad (harder vs. softer plastic, stitched vs. un-stitched wad petals), differences in the shot (low versus high antimony content), and probably a dozen other factors. You can even buy "spreader" loads with wads that are designed to open up quickly. When I'm hunting early season pheasants, I usually keep a spreader load of #7 shot in the chamber, then 1.25 ounces of #5 or 6 thereafter.

To really know how your barrel/choke patterns, you need to shoot several patterning shots at the ranges you're going to shoot, and with the shells you intend to use. A couple years ago I spent considerable time testing a variety of loads, and found huge variations in the way shells performed. I also found huge variations in the quality (consistency and sphericity) of the shot pellets.

As a general rule, you get what you pay for. Winchester AA trap shells at ~$7.95 a box are much better dove loads than the cheap Wally World bulk packs. With hard (high antimony), consistent and spherical shot, they throw a dense pattern with no "holes" that tiny doves can fly through.

Here are the copious results of my testing, for your reading pleasure, once you have finished Iowegan's primer.

https://rugerforum.net/range-reports/278433-feralcatkillr-s-shotshell-tests.html

https://rugerforum.net/range-reports/279665-feralcatkillr-s-shotshell-tests-part-2-patterning.html

Addendum... I was going to ask you what you plan to use the gun for, but then I re-read one of your responses where you say, "I do want to get back into small game and spring and fall Turkey hunting rather than just deer." There's nothing wrong at all with that full choke barrel for those purposes. Full is a great choke for turkeys. And it can do very well for small game with a light, 1 oz #6 shot load.
 

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That's a relief. I'm glad I have a better understanding of how the interchangeable barrels work and which chokes are where and when they are best used.
And just to be clear, I am speaking specifically about the use of monolit 28’s in a full choke, no other brand. As brnwlms stated read the warnings, do your due diligence before sending anything down the tube.
 

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For my whole life the shotguns I had did not have any screw in chokes. My first was a double barrel 20 gage with no screw in tubes the chokes on that one was full and modified my second was a 12 gage automatic and it had a full choke. So yes the short barrel is for personal protection and the long barrel is for hunting. Do not use the long barrel with slugs. I have 2 other shotguns with short barrels to be used with slugs and buck shot.
 

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shotgun barrel lenghts fo a Mossberg 500 shotgun

First off, if there are no threads for a choke, the previous owner either trimmed the barrels lengths or it has fixed chokes. Check the barrels for a stamping like Cyl, Skeet, or Full. the standard length for home defense is 18 1/2 inches, and 24-inch barrels are for deer hunting. Modern skeet guns have 28 or more likely 30 inch barrels, and trap barrels are 30, 32, or 34 inches long. Briley in Texas can probably cut threads for use with their chokes. Depends on how much metal there is at the end of the barrels. For home defense you want cylinder so you can use rifled slugs in addition to #3/0 buckshot.

I might have a compent gunsmith check the constriction at the barrel ends.
 

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Nothing odd about your shotgun. Some of us older folks remember when you had to buy a different barrel if you wanted to change chokes. And a short cylinder bore is either for defense or slugs. I have a Remington from the '80s that has similar barrels.
 

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Ruger shotguns

The short barrel is probably an open cylinder for deer slugs. The long barren is likely a modified choke or full choke. There should be markings on each barrel. Measure the muzzle diameter and then look up the choke.
Gauge 10 12 16 20 28 410
True Bore Dia. .775 .729 .662 .615 .550 .410

Cylinder Bore .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
Skeet I .005 .005 .004 .004 .003 .002
Improved Cyl. .010 .009 .007 .006 .005 .004
Skeet II .015 0.12 .010 .009 .007 .006
Modified .020 0.19 .015 .014 .012 .008
Improved Mod. .025 .025 .020 .019 .016 .011
Full Choke .035 .035 .028 .025 .022 .015
Extra Full .040 .040 .035 .027 .024 .021
 

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Rifling in a shotgun barrel????

The barrels should be marked. Typically, the shorter barrels are slug barrels. Does it have rifling? A slug barrel has rifling in it. Your other barrel could be an improved cylinder, modified choke, or full choke. Not all shotguns have screw in chokes.
FWIW, Every Mossberg 500 slug barrel (rifle sights on barrel) I have ever seen has NO rifling inside the barrel. They have been (as marked) "cylinder bore" smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
Disgustipated,

Hi. I sometimes feel like the odd man out around here, because 99% of my shooting is shotguns. Most people here seem to be handgun and rifle experts and aficionados. I only go through a few hundred rounds of pistol and .22 ammo a year, but literally order shotshells by the pallet. I just bought another 30 cases of shotshells for my kids' school trap shooting season. (Unfortunately it may be canceled due to the cornonavirus, but that's another thread.
)

Start by reading Iowegan's excellent .pdf primer on chokes and shot size. That will answer much.

Your shotgun setup seems perfect as a do-all configuration.
You have a tried-and-true pump-action with a short, "cylinder" (no choke constriction) barrel. That is an ideal defense setup with slugs and buckshot. A barrel that short is not something you would typically use for hunting and sporting purposes where you want the smooth swing of a balanced gun.

You also have a nice, long barrel with a fixed full choke constriction and chambered for 2 3/4" and 3" shells. That's perfect for trap shooting, turkey hunting, pheasants, and many other game birds. I personally would not shoot slugs or steel shot through an old fixed-full barrel, no matter how many people say it's "OK".

If you only shoot a handful of ducks and geese a year, you're much better off shooting Kent's outstanding bismuth shells at waterfowl. Cabela's/Bass Pro will ship them to your door or your nearest store. Yes they are expensive at $37 for a box of 25 3" magnum loads, but bismuth hits nearly as hard as lead, and patterns the same as lead, which means you'll get a useful pattern out of that full choke. A goose that falls dead to a single bismuth shot is better than the one you have to shoot a couple+ times with steel -- or the one that gets away wounded because you were using steel shot.

If you wanted to truly complete your setup, you could look online for a slightly shorter (26" or 28") barrel with a less constricted choke of, say, Improved Cylinder. That would give you a few more options for closer-flushing birds, steel shot, and close-range clay games such as sporting clays and skeet. (Yes, you will handicap yourself trying to shoot pairs of skeet targets with a pump, but it is a load of fun to try and do it!) People nowadays are weirded out by fixed choke barrels so sometimes used ones can be picked up at a bargain.

Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with a fixed choke barrel! Don't go trying to make the barrel "better" by having someone install a screw-in choke.

First of all, the 'full' stamp on the barrel doesn't mean anything until you pattern test it. Many barrels and chokes marked in a certain way will actually shoot a constriction or two tighter, or wider, than what the markings mean.

Second of all, you can make huge changes in the way your gun patterns simply by trying different shells. There are big differences in the way bird / sporting shells pattern simply because of differences in the wad (harder vs. softer plastic, stitched vs. un-stitched wad petals), differences in the shot (low versus high antimony content), and probably a dozen other factors. You can even buy "spreader" loads with wads that are designed to open up quickly. When I'm hunting early season pheasants, I usually keep a spreader load of #7 shot in the chamber, then 1.25 ounces of #5 or 6 thereafter.

To really know how your barrel/choke patterns, you need to shoot several patterning shots at the ranges you're going to shoot, and with the shells you intend to use. A couple years ago I spent considerable time testing a variety of loads, and found huge variations in the way shells performed. I also found huge variations in the quality (consistency and sphericity) of the shot pellets.

As a general rule, you get what you pay for. Winchester AA trap shells at ~$7.95 a box are much better dove loads than the cheap Wally World bulk packs. With hard (high antimony), consistent and spherical shot, they throw a dense pattern with no "holes" that tiny doves can fly through.

Here are the copious results of my testing, for your reading pleasure, once you have finished Iowegan's primer.

https://rugerforum.net/range-reports/278433-feralcatkillr-s-shotshell-tests.html

https://rugerforum.net/range-reports/279665-feralcatkillr-s-shotshell-tests-part-2-patterning.html

Addendum... I was going to ask you what you plan to use the gun for, but then I re-read one of your responses where you say, "I do want to get back into small game and spring and fall Turkey hunting rather than just deer." There's nothing wrong at all with that full choke barrel for those purposes. Full is a great choke for turkeys. And it can do very well for small game with a light,
Thanks for the response! I knew a little about chokes and how they worked and whatnot, but you guys have really helped me understand it to the point I'm comfortable with ammo selection and whatnot. Your post in particular was very informative and thorough. I'm glad you got to have your "moment to shine" as the shotgun guy haha. So yeah, I'll keep the short, smooth bore barrel on at home with 00 Buck for home defense and when I'm hunting Turkey or grouse or other small game, I'll throw on the long barrel with the full choke and throw in some of my 2 3/4 inch shells with the 7 1/2 shot and pick up some 4, 5, and 6. As of now I only have the 7 1/2 shot in the 2 3/4 inch shells, 3 inch shells of 00 Buck, 3 inch shells of #4 Buck, some of those steel slugs I mentioned, another box of the 7 1/2 but they are the orange wad-tracker shells Winchester makes meant more for practicing your shot, and a few tracer shells. Most of the ammo I have on hand is Winchester except the #4 Buck which is Federal Premium. I fired a couple 00 Buck and a couple 7 1/2 out of the smooth bore the other day at the range just to give her a little action and keep the rust off since I took all my other guns and she still shoots great for what I paid and I could definitely tell how much more spread and less dense the pattern is vs full choke after becoming more educated in chokes.

Another thing I wonder though and maybe you can answer this (honestly I'm just curious), is does the longer barrel also help with keeping a pattern tighter and more dense? My logic for wondering is since the shot is traveling down a much longer barrel (as opposed to the 18 1/2 barrel) in a compact group for a longer period of time and longer length gathering speed in compacted like that until it leaves the barrel...whereas the shorter barrel (lack of choke aside), the shot is released when fired and does not have far to go before it's out of the barrel and can spread out. So, would the 28 or 30 inch barrel (I forgot what I measured it at) keep a tighter and more dense bird shot pattern than the 18 inch barrel if we removed chokes from the discussion altogether and assumed they were both just smooth bore? I was always just curious about that as i have an interest in physics as well. So I guess to simplify, if you shot a round of birdshot from the 18 inch barrel from say 20 yards, then removed the 18 inch barrel and put a 30 inch barrel on, and fired the exact same round of ammo from the same box and from the exact same distance (and both barrels being just smooth bore with no choke), would there be any noticable difference in shot pattern or nah?

Thanks again for the awesome reply and info!
 

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Discussion Starter #33
To take Mark204’s comment to the next level, read all the instructions and warnings on ammo and guns as far as recommendations, do’s/dont’s etc. For instance on your steel slugs, if shooting them through a full choke would potentially damage a firearm, that warning should have been printed on the package.


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I usually do make sure to read all the details regarding ammo if I'm not real familiar with it. The 12 Guage was used so I was out of luck there. But during the time I purchased the steelheads, I was under the impression that both of my barrels were just smooth bore and barely even knew chokes existed and thought they were always purchased (and added as opposed to built in) until my buddy stopped by on his way cayote hunting and explained chokes to me more. As a kid, I mostly deer hunted but if we would go Turkey, grouse, or squirrel hunting, my dad always just handed me the 20 guage that he would let me use and probably always had it set up for me. But yeah, definitely now I know to really pay close attention as to what the rounds are recommended for choke-wise and whatnot before making the purchase. I always thought shotguns were very cut and dry but it turns out theres a good bit more to them than I thought. It's kind of funny that I built my own AR15, did a trigger job on my GP100 by myself, and field strip and clean every firearm I own after using it, and yet i barely understood what a choke was. I guess it really shows we dont always know as much as we think we do...especially in my case. But I'm always trying to learn more and it's nice to have good folks willing to help with that. Take care!
 

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In a nutshell, here's the concept for shotguns: except for buckshot, the distance to the target determines the size of the shot …. larger pellets for longer distances. Chokes are also dependent on the distance to the target where an open choke (cylinder) is for closer shots and a full choke is intended for longer distances. Chokes will make the pattern size larger with cylinder chokes and smaller with full chokes. So …. marry up the size of shot with the choke and you will get an optimum shooting distance with a higher probability of a kill.

These concepts are detailed in the reference from post #20. Here it is again just in case you missed it: https://rugerforum.net/e-library/838...ed-issues.html
 

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... when I'm hunting Turkey or grouse or other small game, I'll throw on the long barrel with the full choke and throw in some of my 2 3/4 inch shells with the 7 1/2 shot and pick up some 4, 5, and 6. As of now I only have the 7 1/2 shot in the 2 3/4 inch shells
...

Another thing I wonder though and maybe you can answer this (honestly I'm just curious), is does the longer barrel also help with keeping a pattern tighter and more dense?

...

Thanks again for the awesome reply and info!
Your welcome.

Short answer is "no", the length of the barrel has no significant impact on your pattern density. After the shot in the wad cup goes from the chamber to the barrel, it's a SAAMI spec (.725 inch +/- .020) trip down the barrel until it gets constricted by the choke, if there is one.

The big players in your pattern are your choke, the quality (hardness and spericity) of your shot, the design of the wad and how well it plays with your particular choke (you have to test it), and how fast you've tried to launch it down the barrel.

The length of the chamber may also play a role. In the past, Browning has even published data showing how much denser the pattern of a 2 3/4" shell is in a 2 3/4" chamber, compared to the same shell fired in a 3" chamber. It's not enough to stress out about having a 3" chamber hunting gun, but it is enough (perhaps up to 10% more density) that most dedicated clay target guns come only with 2 3/4" chambers.

By the time the shot and wad gets halfway down even the shortest of barrels, all the damage has been done to your lead shot which will result in a bad pattern. By this I mean that the worst thing that happens to your shot is when you fire it, and it's propelled quickly forward. The "set back" of the lead at the front of the shot column presses on and deforms the lead further back. This is why higher antimony loads pattern better. The set back causes more damage to tiny shot than it does to huge shot, so nobody really worries about the antimony content of buckshot, but for bird or especially target shells it's a bigger deal.

This is also why super-fast lead shells are super-stupid. When steel shot came out and was mandated for waterfowl, it didn't kill well because it lacks the density of lead. The solution was to speed it up with ear splitting charges at 1400+ feet per second. Then some marketing morons came along and convinced upland game hunters that speed also kills with lead shot as well. In reality, the faster you go, the more you crush your lead shot. What you get with ultra-fast pheasant loads is a blown pattern and damaged hearing. Yes, you can try and use a tighter choke to try and constrict the pattern down, but when you realize the pattern is blown because of deformed pellets, you realize the folly of this. All the choke constriction in the world won't make flattened pellets fly straight, or penetrate deeply.

Next, the marketing guys tell you that you need more shot like a 1.5+ ounces magnum shell to kill a pheasant, probably because they've blown your pattern with hyper-velocity. Any guess what more shot gives you? You get more set-back of more lead crushing the lead behind it, so even a higher percentage of aspherical pellets zooming all over the place.

For all of these reasons, I prescribe a classic, mild 12 gauge load for pheasants and grouse and the like. You can't go wrong with 1 1/4 oz of 5 shot at 1220 fps. In all likelihood, you're getting as much shot on the pheasant as you are from a load that tries to blast more shot at higher velocities. I have confirmed this with my pattern testing of 3" magnum 20 gauge loads which put less shot on target than the same brand of shell in a non-magnum 2 3/4" load.

This is an interesting report. You cannot go wrong reading anything by Neil Winston.

http://www.claytargettesting.com/Bore_Diameter/Bore_Diameter.pdf

This is also a good visual by Beretta, but note that they, too, say that there are many variables that actually determine your pattern density.

https://www.gmk.co.uk/pdf/choke-constriction-chart.pdf
 

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Viceroy 🟩🟩🟩
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In a nutshell, here's the concept for shotguns: except for buckshot, the distance to the target determines the size of the shot …. larger pellets for longer distances.
Iowegan makes a good point here. It's easy to mistakenly think that a long-distance target calls for smaller shot size, which -- you think -- would get you a denser pattern and more pellets on the target even after they spread out. But that would be wrong. A far target calls for a tighter choke and bigger shot (but still at sane speeds that don't blow your pattern.) The bigger pellets will retain velocity and energy much farther out.

So for early-season pheasants I use 5 or 6 shot out of a light modified choke. By winter when they have been shot at several times and are flushing way out there, I use #4 shot and a full choke.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Awesome. Thanks again everyone for the info. I have saved all of the links ya'll were kind enough to share so that if I ever have any questions that I cant figure out myself, i will be able to find an answer fairly quickly...as well as have refresher course material anytime I feel its needed. I feel like I got the concept down pretty well. I may not be a wealth of information, but I do tend to learn and catch on pretty quickly.

I'll attach a picture of the 12 guage that was in question for anyone wondering. It is a Mossberg 600AT New Haven and I was able to find that it was made in the mid 80's. The 600AT was basically the Mossberg 500 model but made specifically for distribution to the large retail stores. You'll have to excuse all the bright colors and toys...I have a 2 year old daughter who stays with me a few days a week. Again, thanks to everyone for the input.
 

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Viceroy 🟩🟩🟩
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By the way, you don't need to go crazy (like I do) pattern testing dozens of different loads. If your only hunting will be turkey and small game, just a couple types of shells will cover it all.

I don’t find turkeys hard to kill. Just shoot them in the head with 4 shot from either a standard or magnum load. Most of the effort with turkeys is calling them in and/or stalking them up and down canyons. I’ve killed more turkeys than I can count with a lowly 20 gauge and a fixed full choke.

Trap and sporting clays call for a basic light trap load of 1 1/8 oz of either 7.5 or 8 shot at 1145 fps. At close range like 16 yard trap, cheap low-antimony shells like Federal Top Guns, Remington Gun Clubs, and Winchester Super Speeds are sufficient. For longer range handicap trap I splurge on high antimony 7.5 shot like Winchester AA or Federal Gold Medals, and I bump the velocity to 1200.

In my opinion, the best "do-all" upland / small game lead load is the classic 1 1/4 oz of shot at 1220 fps., either 4, 5 or 6 shot. With the “faster is better” trend, places like Walmart may only carry the faster 1330 fps nowadays, but you can find 1220 fps if you look around in stores or order online. I prefer Winchester's Super X High Brass "upland and small game" 1220 fps load, hyperlink below. I have cut apart and patterned a lot of Winchesters, and have measured a lot of their pellets. Winchester Super X appear to be very consistent in terms of the pellets being the size they are supposed to be, and being nice and spherical. Winchester’s wads are softer plastic with petals that are not stitched together, which is probably why my pattern testing always shows that they shoot bigger (more open) patterns than other brands’ comparable loads. Federal loads, on the other hand, generally shoot tighter patterns (in my barrels and my chokes.) For your full choke, a shell that shoots a little more open pattern might be useful.

The good news is that, if you can’t find Winchester 1220 fps, Cabella’s newly re-branded “Herters” line of “Pheasant” shotgun shells are actually just re-packaged Winchesters, and are the correct 1220 speed. See second hyperlink below. At $10.99 a box, they’re a good deal.

It may seem counterintuitive, but for small game like rabbits and squirrel with your fixed full choke, you may want to use bigger 4 shot as opposed to smaller. See the third hyperlink below. A shell with 1 1/4 oz 3% antimony #6 shot will have 66% more pellets in the shot cloud than the same weight of #4 shot. If you’re using a full choke on a bunny and hitting him with perhaps seven #4 pellets, he’s already going to die right there. There’s no need to tear up the meat even more with twelve #6 pellets. But again… test the shells you intend to use at the ranges you think you’ll likely shoot, then see how many pellets would hit a rabbit or squirrel size target, if you do your part and put the pattern on the target.

A large roll of craft paper from Walmart and an hour at the patterning board will tell you much, and also let you know if there are issues with how your gun fits you.


https://winchester.com/Products/Ammunition/Shotshell?filters={"ids":["#g-1","#b-5","#u-h-2"]}#page-1


https://www.cabelas.com/product/shooting/ammunition/shotgun-ammunition/pc/104792580/c/104691780/sc/104567580/herters-pheasant-shotshells-box/3383488.uts?slotId=3


AVERAGE PELLET COUNT FOR SHOTSHELLS
 

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I was just going over my experience with purchasing my first guns and specifically when it comes to my 12 guage, I've had a puzzling question on my mind for awhile now and need some of the wisdom and knowledge some of you have of you dont mind sharing it. So can any of you shotgun aficionados can shed some light on if it makes sense that my 1980's Mossberg 600AT New Haven (basically Mossberg 500 pump) seems to have no threads for a choke? Thanks
Coming late to this thread, but lately I've been modifying my old New Haven, the first firearm I ever purchased. My gun came with a long "bird" barrel and a select-a-choke. I removed this barrel after hunting season and put on an 18" 500 barrel from Corson's. Off season it's a home-defense / snake gun.

If you are concerned about choke, I'd ask Corson if he has the select-a-chokes in stock. I've used mine for all these years, deer hunting, trap-shooting, and duck hunting. You just dial in the choke you want.

My gun is flawless. Not fancy, but in goose blinds in subzero weather, it worked when fancier guns froze up.
 
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