However, there is no free lunch. To accommodate the screw-in choke, the profile of the barrel has to be a bit wider. That means the barrel is generally heavier with ‘screw-in chokes’ vs a ‘fixed choke’. This is especially true with an O/U (or even Side x Sides). When you have twice the added weight, and this addition weight is out on the end of the barrels, it’s easy to end up with a nose heavy gun. Another issue is spending time assessing which choke to use when you walk up to a station. A shooter can become easily distracted on the course by constantly accessing, and potentially second guessing, choke selection. Many potential good rounds of clays have been ruined by spending too much time twiddling chokes and not enough time planning for the presentation. I think we may have all been guilty of this a time or two.
As a result, many shooters, generally experienced sporting competitors, have come full circle and are seeking out O/U’s with fixed chokes. This can give the shooter a nimble handling gun, and lets the user to pay more attention to their plan when they don’t have their nose in their choke tube box! Since you have to have enough choke for the long/edgy presentations, most folks that shoot fixed, generally have their chokes set around modified/improved modified or even full choke.
This is perfect for those 35-45 yard crossers, but admittedly, a bit much for 20 yard rabbits and short window birds. Since you can’t change your chokes in your new fixed choke gun, what can you do? Well the first answer is to just bear down and make smoke balls, and that is exactly what most folks do, most of the time. BUT, if you need a bit of help, you can also change shells. Since I started shooting my K80 Parcours, with fixed Improved Modified chokes in both barrels, I decided to do a bit of pattern testing, experimenting with different shells.
My standard shell is the FIOCCHI Nickel Plated Crusher, which is a one ounce of high quality nickel plated 7.5’s at 1300 fps. This load is a high performance long range target killer proven to perform well in my barrels. What I was looking for was a load that would help be with close and fast presentations. If its close and slow (meaning I have plenty of time), I have no problem using my regular shells and tight chokes...but if I have little time, and the target is close, it would be nice to have a big, evenly distributed pattern, like you normally get with a cylinder or skeet choke.
So by keeping some FIOCCHI Interceptors in my range bag, I can get cylinder choke performance out of my improved modified choked gun, by simply changing shells. I get the tight
patterning, dynamic handling shotgun I want, but can easily employ a wide pattern for
close-fast-short window birds by changing shells.
That folks is why we suggest if you have a fixed choke gun, go out and test some FIOCCHI Spreaders for yourself and you might just like what you see, garnish some confidence in the performance of these spreader loads on your next outing or competition and really smoke some close clays!
Good luck and great shooting to you!
**NOTE: Testing was done at 20 yards on our white lithium grease covered steel pattern plate
SPONSORS: FIOCCHI Ammunition
Lucas Oil Outdoor Line