Small, fast, close birds (SFCC) can refer to a variety of species. Most SFCC birds include dove, quail, pigeon, and pheasant. These birds are known for being hard to hit because of their speed and close proximity to the ground.
Quail are very hard to hit due to their quick movements and low profile. Doves can be hard to see against the sky due to their coloration. All of these birds can be hunted with a shotgun, which makes it even more challenging!
Knowing which two shotgun choke tubes are best for SFCC hunting is important. The first choke tube that should be mentioned is the cylinder barrel. This barrel has no choke and should not be used when hunting SFCC. This is because it does not restrict any shot ball pellets from spreading out or going straight!
The second choke tube mentioned is the improved modified barrel. This slightly restricts the shot ball pellets from spreading out, but not enough to where it does not hit more than one bird.
Trueshot rifled choke
When it comes to shotgun chokes, more is typically better. More choke means a tighter pattern, which is what you want when shooting birds.
Many hunters stick with the factory-installed cylinder bore on their shotguns and find success, but the best way to go is with a trued shotgun barrel and a Trueshot Rifled Choke.
What is the Trueshot Rifled Choke? It is a compatible replacement for the cylinder bore that has grooves inside of it to help disperse the shot as it leaves the barrel. This helps prevent damaging hits on birds when hunting.
How do you know if you have a true shot barrel? Look inside of the barrel and see if there are grooves in the metal.
Long-range rifled choke
Long-range shooting is a skill that takes time and practice to master. With shotguns, you can use special cartridges called slugs that replace the pellets with a single projectile.
These are best used when there is longer range between you and your target, like when you are hunting larger animals.
However, slugs do not have any wadding like the shot does, so they are less protective if you miss your target. For this reason, many experts recommend using both in combination for the best protection if you misfire.
Specialized chokes for shotguns can help with accuracy at shorter distances as well. The tighter the choke, the less spread of the pellets at short distances.
Frictionless rifled choke
If you are looking for the best shotgun choke for hunting, consider a frictionless rifled choke. These chokes have grooves that are cut into the inner wall of the barrel.
The difference in the grooves make the shot go wider or tighter as it passes through the barrel. A wider shot will hit its target sooner, but a tighter shot will hit its target sooner when hunting!
Because these chokes are made with a rifled inner barrel, they are more expensive than standard chokes. However, they are worth the money if you plan to use your gun often and for different types of hunting.
On average, a frictionless rifled choke is one price point higher than equivalent standard chokes. For example, a standard full bore choke is equivalent to an ideal precision (IP) choke.
Improved Modified choke
If you are going after fast, close birds like ducks or geese, an improved modified choke is the way to go. This shell type has a tighter pellet spread at a given distance than full or modified.
That means if you are shooting at a bird flying in your direction, you will have a better chance of hitting it with an improved modified shell than with a full or modified shell.
Improved modified shells are also useful when there is wind as the slightly tighter pellet spread can help keep your shot on target. Wind can be a problem when shooting birds as they fly up and down in flight.
Trueshot open choke
A open choke allows the most amount of pellets to pass through the barrel and out the end. This is not a good feature when shooting birds that are very close, fast, and small.
Because a large number of pellets are passing through the tighter group, it will take away from smaller, closer birds. It will also put more pressure on the pellet spread, making it harder to hit a bird.
Open chokes are great for long range shooting and bigger birds that do not move as quickly. The increased spread of pellets will hit a larger bird.
Close birds and fast moving birds require a more precise choke. A modified or restricted cylinder choke is the closest option that still lets some pellets out. A full cylinder choke does not let any pellets out past the end of the barrel.
Long-range open choke
A long-range open choke allows the most amount of pellets to pass through the barrel, which makes it the least effective choke for close birds.
Because none of the pellets are restricted, this shotgun choke style allows for a wider spread at longer distances. This is great for birds like turkeys or waterfowl, where you want to have as wide of a spread as possible.
Long-range open chokes are not recommended for close birds due to the lack of pellet restriction. This makes it easy for a goose or duck to just fly over the shot and not be harmed. For small, fast birds like quail or grouse, there is a chance that none of the pellets will hit them due to the wide spread.
Intermediate chokes are recommended instead for close birds because they have some pellet restriction which makes them more effective at shorter ranges.
) Frictionless open choke
A frictionless open choke is best for hunting fast, close birds such as pigeons and doves. This type of choke allows pellets to pass through the barrel without any interference.
Because the pellets pass through the open section of the barrel without friction, they will not spread as much. This makes it so only one pellet will hit a single bird, which is what you want when hunting close birds!
The problem with using a full choke when hunting close birds is that the pellets will spread too much. Some birds may end up getting injured because of this, and you may not get a good quality feather down. By using an open choke instead, you can ensure that only one pellet hits each bird.
Skeet chokes are also useful for shooting small, fast, close birds. Because the skeet chokes have a very tight pattern, only a few pellets will miss the bird! This is very helpful when trying to shoot many birds in a short amount of time.
Improved Cylinder barrel attachment
The first choke you should have in your arsenal is an improved cylinder barrel attachment. This barrel attachment allows more shot to pass through the barrel, making it less likely to target small, fast birds.
Improvement cylinder barrels are best for situations where you need a wide spread of shot, such as when shooting at waterfowl or other large birds.
The wider spread of shot makes it more likely that one or more will be hit and wounded, which is the goal. When hunting small, fast birds like quail or pigeons, a tighter pattern of shot is what you want.
A tight pattern of shot will ensure that one or more of the bird is hit and wounded. Having both types of barrels allows for different types of hunting scenarios and birds to be targeted.