After getting to the duck blind and waiting for first light, you and your buddies finally see the first group of ducks come in. A split second after you say “take ‘em!” a volley of shotgun blasts erupts. You miss one, then another, and on your last shot you finally hit one, but it only appears to be crippled and gets away.
What happened? You might think. You practiced on the clay range and bought the best ammo you could find, yet you still missed ducks and only crippled one. Your hunting buddies didn’t seem to have the same problem, so what’s going on?
Well, there’s always room for improvement with shooting mechanics, but believe it or not, it may be your shotgun choke that’s causing you to miss or cripple birds.
Why Should You Use an Aftermarket Choke Tube for Duck Hunting?
A quality aftermarket shotgun choke designed specifically for duck hunting can make a huge difference in your overall success in the field. In addition, not all factory chokes that come with a new shotgun are ideal for steel shot and other non-lead alternatives that are required for waterfowl hunting.
The right shotgun choke will extend your range and deliver a more consistent and tight shot pattern, and ported chokes can help reduce recoil. All this adds up to more accurate shooting and more stopping power, which will lessen the chances of a missed or crippled bird.
While every shotgun, choke, and ammo type combination will differ in performance, it’s important to test out different chokes to see which ones work best for your shotgun and the type of shotshells you use.
With that being said, here are the top 5 best choke tubes for duck hunting, in no particular order. If you have no idea where to start, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices.
Best Choke Tubes
Jeb’s High Voltage
At around $100 per choke tube, Jeb’s is a premium option, but with the consistent shot pattern and shorter shot stream these chokes deliver, it may just be more than worth it. Ported tubes are also available to help with recoil reduction.
Many seasoned duck hunters especially love Jeb’s High Voltage chokes for their long-range capabilities, so if you’re looking for a choke to help you make those long pokes, they’re a great option.
Perhaps one of the most popular brands for aftermarket chokes, Carlson’s has led the way with innovative choke tubes for many years.
The flagship waterfowl choke, the Cremator, is beloved by waterfowl hunters all over the country. At around $62-$70 per tube and great deals on 3 packs, the Carlson’s Cremator is an exceptional value that’s hard to beat.
What makes the cremator unique is its Triple Shot Technology (TST) in the mid and long-range chokes. TST is a series of three graduated rings in the taper section of the tube that allows for a more gradual transition from the shotgun bore to the choke tube itself. This creates reduced pellet deformation and more dense patterns according to Carlson’s.
Mojo Fatal Shot
Most of us waterfowl hunters know Mojo for revolutionizing how we hunt with their electronic decoys. As a matter of fact, Mojo also makes some pretty great choke tubes as well.
Fatal Shot chokes can handle any type of load or shot material, and are available in short, mid, and long-range versions.
Pattern Master Classic
If you’ve met enough duck hunters, odds are you’ve met more than a few that swear by Pattern Master. They have over 60 years of research under their belt for how to make great chokes.
The Pattern Master Classic is available as ported or non-ported, and comes in short, mid, long, and extra long-range options. What makes the Pattern master Classic stand out from the crowd is its patented stud ring that stops the wad and allows the shot to exit the tube without the disturbance of the wad. This ultimately results in more consistent and tight shot patterns.
Kick’s High Flyer
What the Kick’s High Flyer has that no other choke does is a unique conical/parallel internal design and outward-angled diagonal ports. These features are known to reduce recoil, separate the wad from the shot pattern, and improve pattern density, all things that will help you bring home more ducks.
There are a lot of aftermarket choke tubes for duck hunting on the market, and many experienced hunters may even argue that factory chokes will work just fine.
However, if you want to maximize your and your shotgun’s potential, give one or two of these exceptional choke tubes a try. If it will help you bring home a few more ducks, why not give it a try?
Most importantly, make sure to do your own testing with your shotgun for different choke tubes and types of ammunition. That’s the best way to find a combination that you can depend on in the field!