Shotshell Velocity: Speed DOESN'T Kill

Here is my experience regarding shot shell velocity in a nutshell: the faster you push the payload the more you and your accuracy will suffer.

With today’s marketing propaganda being all about “Hyper Sonic Velocity” and “Speed Kills” slogans, target shooters and especially waterfowl hunters are being sold a bill of goods, resulting in a situation that is not only negatively effecting their shooting capabilities, but is also hurting our health and longevity for the sports we love.

Here’s what’s happening: The best patterning loads are between 1145 - 1250 feet per second (FPS). The worst are ones that exceed 1350, and the new hunting loads that exceed 1400 are outright worthless.

The slower the payload leaves the muzzle the better, because you get fewer damaged pellets which means you have fewer “flyers,” the damaged pellets that leave the effective pattern due to wind, G-forces, and gravity. (Flyers and blown patterns are also caused by over choking, especially in hunting loads, which we will discuss later in the article.) Less velocity also means less felt recoil, less perceived recoil, less muzzle flip, faster recovery of equilibrium for follow- up shots, fewer blown rotator cuffs, fewer neck problems—not to mention lower ammunition costs.

There is a second reason that faster loads are not always better. The faster the load starts out, the faster it spreads out.   When you have a really fast target and a small window of shooting opportunity--such as a clay target screaming thru trees or a rabbit target bouncing between hay bales within 25 yards---and all you want to do is point and shoot almost right at it, then by all means go shoot a 1500 FPS shell at it because it will get there instantaneously while spreading out your pattern as quickly and violently as possible. But if you want to shoot a 60+ yard crosser on edge you had better opt for the 1145 - 1250 FPS. With the slower load, almost 100% of your pellets will reach the target at 60+ yards due to less deformation on ignition and fewer G-forces upon exiting the muzzle. The pattern of the slower load will also remain tighter for greater distances. To clarify, if you shoot a high velocity shell at a 60+ yard crosser you may end up with only 50% of your original payload getting to the target and of that 50% the pattern is opened up to the point where you may only hit that target with 1 or 2 pellets which will probably not be sufficient to break it.   But if you were shooting a slower payload, that target would get hit by 4 or more pellets, giving you a very solid, consistent break every time.

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Muller Chokes Questions Part II

The second question I address frequently in regards to Muller Chokes is, "Why/how do your chokes stay so clean?"  Here's why:

Staying Clean: Conventional 17-4ph stainless choke tubes and especially titanium choke tubes get dirty with carbon build up and plastic from wad buildup because they are malleable materials. The build-up is compounded by the fact that most choke tube manufacturers bore their tubes at an extremely fast feed rate in their turning centers, screw machines and CNC lathes.  They do this to increase their production but the process results in a rougher surface finish than what is optimal.  Carbon and plastic adhere easily to the rough surface and once they do, they continue to build onto themselves creating a filthy mess. This is why ported chokes such as Comp-N-Choke, Extreme Chokes, Briley, Kicks, Rhino and Pure Gold become dirty so easily.  Muller Chokes uses a ceramic with teflon to create a surface that is like your non-stick frying pan.  Not only is it harder than any other choke tube in the World at 60+ RC (Rockwell hardness "C" scale, competitors are usually around 40 or less) but it is very slick so nothing can adhere to it.

Most conventional chokes start to build carbon and plastic after only 50 rounds.  Pretty soon, the build up causes pattern inconsistencies, point of impact variations and velocity deviation amongst other things.  These are things that I could not tolerate and it is one of the reasons I created Muller Chokes.  Every few hundred rounds, you may wipe the dust off of one of my chokes but you can say good-bye to scraping and brushing and spend your time shooting instead of cleaning your choke tubes.

Stay tuned for my next post which will answer the question, why do Muller Chokes produce consistently hard breaks at unbelievable distances? In the meantime, start practicing, warmer weather is around the corner!

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Your questions about Muller Chokes answered Part I

After shooters use Muller Chokes for some time I always get asked the same three questions:  Why do your chokes never work their way loose between stations?  How do they stay so clean?  How is it possible to be able to get such hard, consistent breaks at extreme ranges for the amount of constriction?

These questions are being asked because shooters are not used to having these benefits from the conventional choke manufacturers such as Briley, Comp-N-Choke, Extreme Chokes, Rhino, Kicks, Seminole, Teague and Pure Gold just to name a few.

I will answer these three questions over the course of my next three posts.  Let's start with the first one which is why Muller Chokes stay firmly screwed into the gun barrel.

Loosening/not loosening:  All conventional chokes made by companies above are made of the old 17-4 ph stainless steel concept, while most shotgun barrels are made of 4140 steel.  Both the choke and the barrel heat up during shooting.  Because they are both "steels" per se, they heat up at approx the same rate.  However, this is not true of the cooling process.  The two materials have different contraction rates. When steel gets hot, it grows, when it cools, it shrinks.  Although it may only be a few thousandths of an inch, the two materials shrink at different rates, which in turn, causes a gap between choke tube and barrel.  Then, another shot is fired and more loosening occurs.  Before you know it, the choke is loosened several turns or more.  Muller Chokes will not do that because they dissipate heat so rapidly--it is almost as if they remain cool at all times thereby remaining as ONE with your barrel.

Tomorrow, I will address the second of the three most commonly asked questions listed above.

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Muller Chokes...YouTube video testimonial

Share this post TFUPM Posted January 25, 2011

I wish I could share every single positive comment I receive from my customers with the world.  It is a great motivation for me when my efforts are recognized by those in the shooting community.  Cliff Slaughter was so satisfied that he went the extra mile to share his experience on YouTube.  Here is the link.

Thanks, Cliff.

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Should I pattern my gun? Heck YES!!!!!

If you are a shooting competitor or a hunter, you should pattern your chokes.

I hear so many competitors say they have never patterned a gun on paper.  So here is what is mind boggling--these are the same people that are changing chokes at every station?!?!?  How could you put a choke in your barrel for a specific target presentation, at a specific distance to obtain the greatest margin of error to hit that target if you do not know what your pattern is???  It makes absolutely no sense at all!

Here is why I am adamant about this topic.   In the quest to become a top competitor,  I knew I would have to get technical in every aspect to have the slightest chance to compete with the top shooters. (Truth is....I sort of like getting "technical" too.  That is why I've made a business out of aerospace parts manufacturing.  I like precision.) And when it comes to shotgun performance, I've always been fascinated with shot PATTERNS and POI (Point Of Impact).

In 1996 I started patterning chokes and different ammo on paper.  What an eye opener.  The first thing I learned was that my Browning 325 factory chokes did NOT pattern the way they were designated nor did they pattern the way they measured?! Nor did they all have the same POI??  How weird I thought,  how could my Full choke give a larger pattern than my I.C. at 25 yards??  Why was my Modified splotchy with big voids all over the pattern?  Why did my Skeet choke have a more effective pattern at 45 yards than my I.M.??  Why did my L.M shoot 6 inches high and to the left??  It totally blew me away.  Luckily, I was an Aerospace/Defense manufacturer working with exotic alloys, tool steels, stainless steels, etc.  I had knowledge in metallurgy and heat treating as well as very tight tolerance machining.

So after these horrible testing results, I ran to the shop and made my own choke tubes,  holding geometric tolerances in the Millionths of an inch.  Yes, I was obsessed in doing it not only right, but better than anyone had ever done it before.  My thought was that if geometries and tolerances were held to specific ranges, there had to be a "Sweet Spot" for a choke tube to perform amazingly well.  I was correct!!

I made myself a beautiful set of three ( close, medium and far) that patterned so well,  I did not need to make any more, that is until I bought a different gun to compete with and the obsession started all over again, and here is the kicker.....  what worked for my Browning did NOT work for my Beretta 391 Mobile Choke, so, it was back to my drafting table, onto the CNC Lathe, Honing machine, Cylindrical Grinder, Surface grinder, Lapping Machine, you name it...I did it!!  Yes,  I found the sweet combination for my 391 Mobile Choke gun with a bore diameter of .7214"  and I shot those two chokes, Yes, two (One for everything normal and the other for everything beyond normal) for many years and many HOA wins.  As years of competition and thousands of competitors passed, I was amazed at how many shooters (the ones that actually checked their patterns) complained about inconsistent patterns, hot cores, voids, scraping plastic out of gas skirts, carbon build up and choke tubes being too heavy.

Because these were all problems I experienced and corrected for myself,  I knew something had to be done so my fellow shooters could experience the superior ballistics of my chokes.  This is why I created my own "Secret Blend Choke Tubes" in 2005 and tested them until 2010 and I came to realize that undoubtedly these were the cure all of every choke tube problem that has plagued us as shooters from the beginning of time.  I knew after 12,000 pattern results thru 20 gun manufacturers and 13 different bore diameters and numerous HOA wins with over 40,000 targets thru my chokes that were still looking, measuring and patterning like the day I made them, these were the best chokes in the World, so I patented them and Muller Chokes was born in December 2009.

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Ammo velocity, should I choose fast or slow?

The process of developing Muller Chokes included years of testing.  I did ALOT of shooting.  Some on targets, some on game, some on patterning boards, moving patterning boards, on water,  etc, etc.  I have tested many different ammo's ranging in velocities from 1145 FPS to 1550 FPS.  And, I've tested my competitors chokes alongside my own.  Much of what I write about on this blog is a result of what I've learned.

Among other things, I developed a first hand knowledge that RECOIL IS NOT YOUR FRIEND and if you choose to shoot a fast load,  well, you are going to be dealing with MORE RECOIL.

Here is the good news.  The only benefit a fast load has over a slow load is when shooting a target that is close, fast,  and for which you have a very small window.  The farther a target is, the slower you want the load leaving the muzzle.  I know it sounds backwards but let me explain.

When you shoot a high velocity load (which I consider to be anything 1300 FPS or faster), more pellets are damaged and deformed leaving the shotgun hull. BB's in the back get all beat up more than a softer load. And if thats not bad enough, when these high velocity loads exit the muzzle, the resulting forces are so much greater than a slower load that the pellets start to spread out faster and more inconsistently than a slow load.  So, on a close target, faster loads may result in a slight advantage.  But if the target is not very close, then a slow load is better for two major reasons:

  • more undamaged pellets make it to the target giving you better chances of actually breaking it
  • at a distance of approximately 40 to 50 yards, the slow load actually catches up to the fast load!!  (The reason I say approx 40 -50 yards is because wind speed, direction and air temperatures and humidity can effect this distance).

I would much rather have less recoil, less muzzle flip, faster equilibrium recovery time and more pellets to the target by shooting a slower, less punishing load.  It is a win/ win situation.   Oh, and they are less expensive than the faster loads...go figure.

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How important are round pellets vs. non round?

While developing and testing Muller Chokes I learned more than I could have ever imagined.  Some things that had little or nothing to do with choke tubes, some had everything to do with choke tubes.  Ammo is one thing I tested extensively.  I was amazed at what I learned.

I found that ammo selection is not as important as many shooters think especially when shooting Muller Chokes.  Here are things I found that are factual and evidential...short, sweet and to the point!

Factory ammo pellets come in the following shapes:   round, square, teardrop, dumbell, figure eight, pins, etc.  Don't believe me, go buy a box of Winchester AA Super Sporting, Remington STS, Remington Gun Club, Federal Gold Paper, Federal target loads (100 pack), B&P, Gamebore, Kent, etc.  Cut the crimp off and empty the pellets out onto a plate and take a gander.  I did.  You'll be amazed at what you're shooting!  I actually measured thousands of BB's with a micrometer, did crush tests on them, checked weight, antimony content, antimony weight (which, incidentally, is lighter than lead, but harder).  Nickel plated, non plated, you name it,  I tested it...and shot it!

Here's the good news.  Are you sitting down?  Inside 35 yards it does NOT matter!  35 - 45  it starts to matter, beyond 45 it matters big time and here's why!

I found that Because Muller Chokes provide such even pattern distribution, there is almost no difference in between these types of pellet shapes.  However,  with competitor's hot core chokes, there is a much bigger negative effect when shooting non round pellets. If you ask me, patterning should be mandatory when you buy a shotgun or a choke tube!!

Inside 35 yards the difference in perfectly round and the other shapes listed above are almost unnoticeable, the target will certainly not know the difference and neither will you!

Interestingly, when you start pushing the envelope shooting greater distances, things start to deteriorate rapidly.  All those non- round pellets become "flyers" and you lose many of them from your effective pattern, ultimately giving you a much smaller usable pattern for that more difficult 50 yard crosser.  So if your shooting far targets, its best to choose a high quality ammo that uses round shot.  If you primarily shoot targets inside 35 yards, save your money and buy anything that fits your budget.

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For those who think chokes don't really matter...think again.

For years I've heard so many people talk about how chokes matter and how they don't.  I would like to clarify to everyone what the difference is in chokes and patterns and what makes them advantageous or not for shotgun sports.  The main reason I want to talk about this topic is because so many people regardless of age, gender or skill level truly feel that if you put the muzzle in the correct place the clay will break no matter what choke is in your barrel!  This is by far the most misunderstood and false statement a shooter could make.  Let me explain why.

Lets start by looking at it in a simple way,  When you go to a big registered event, lets say your State Championships, US Open, Nationals, etc.  Would you be comfortable competing in the main Sporting Clays event or FITASC event using a .410 or 28 gauge??  Probably NOT,  I imagine most competitors would choose their old reliable big bore 12 gauge....right??  WHY??  Because it produces a bigger pattern which allows a larger margin of error for the shooter!!!  Ahhhh....so pattern does matter!!  NOW that I have your attention,  lets look at what I mean here exactly.

Lets say you are not shooting Muller Chokes yet, but are still shooting one of the "well known" chokes tubes out there on the market such as a Comp-n-Choke, Kicks, Rhino, Pure Gold, Briley, etc.  IF you have ever patterned your chokes (which by the way is another very important topic I will be discussing in my next post) you will notice that many of these chokes produce whats referred to as a "HOT CORE" pattern which is where you have a very dense inner core where no target would ever have a chance of surviving,  then, there is the "OUTER FRINGE"  this is where things matter when it comes to patterns and chokes.  You see,  if you do not mind shooting a hot cored choke then so be it, but be forewarned, your "EFFECTIVE" pattern is basically no larger than a good 28 gauge pattern at most distances, some very hot cored chokes are no more effective than a .410 pattern.  The reason for this is because if your on the target you smoke it because there are so many pellets in the hot core, which is usually only approx 20 - 24 inches in diameter at its most effective distance for that given choke, if the target is closer than the optimal distance for that given constriction then it will be even smaller, maybe only 12 inches, which by the way is less than a good .410 pattern my friends!

Now lets touch on what this hot core means to the outer fringe.  The reason a hot core developes is because many pellets shot thru conventional chokes are damaged and deformed before they leave the muzzle. Among other things, the causes can be due to inferior choke geometry, inconsistent geometry,  material, surface finish, etc.  for the specific bore diameter of your shotgun. Therefore you lose many pellets that never stay in the pattern.  These are called "Flyers."  These pellets that were damaged and flew irregularly when exposed to the extreme forces of friction when hitting the air upon exiting your muzzle, were SUPPOSED to make up the outer fringe of your big 12 gauge pattern. You NEED them because they provide you with a larger margin of error on your lead to help you break the target more consistently.

So basically, there you have it, in a nut shell the effective diameter of a hot cored choke is no better than shooting a sub gauge gun.  THIS is something that I, as a serious competitor and hunter could not deal with. I knew there had to be a way to obtain a serious big bore 12 gauge pattern with an effective, consistent and predictable outer fringe pattern. This larger margin of error produces an advantage over other competitors,  and that is how Muller Chokes was born.

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U0, U1, U2, U3 and U4 explained.....its simple.

Muller Chokes has simplified things for you.  We produce 4 different constrictions (and you can special order a cylinder choke--if you really must have one).  Our 4 regular constrictions are referred to as:  U1, U2, U3, U4 (for close, medium, far and farther). If you pattern them at the distances they were created for, you will immediately see how they shine.

Lets take the U4 for example. In my Beretta 303 with Fed 1-1/8 oz 7.5's at 32 yards the pattern, though impressive, is still underdeveloped. When I repeat the shot at 40 yards, this is what the patterning paper showed:

  • Inside the 30" circle which I drew 8 quadrants on. The inside being 20" with 4 quadrants. The outside at 30" with 4 Quadrants.
  • The inside four quadrants had a total pellet count of 188. Top left quarter had 45 pellets, top right 46, bottom left 50, bottom right 47.
  • The outside had a total of 135. Top left quarter 33, top right 34, bottom left 35 bottom right 33.

In summary, 188 + 135 = 323 total hits in 30" circle at 40 yards out of a total of 389 pellets (avg count from 10 shells). 323/ 389 = 83% pattern.

So, the U4 even though it had not developed fully yet at 40 yards produced a very even and impressive pattern considering that the definition of a Full Choke is 70% at 40 yards in a 30" circle.

IF you take the U3 at the same 40 yard distance you will see it absolutely shines with the numbers of pellets to the outer  fringe evengreater than the U4.  Why? Because I developed the U3 to be optimal at 40 yards!! The U4 is made to be optimal at 60 yards. The reason I am posting it this way is to help people understand that the even pellet distribution that Muller chokes provide is not hype and they do exactly as advertised PROVIDED they are tested the way they are meant to be used.

Up to now, all the good chokes out there offered a hot core with a very open fringe and that fringe was hardly consistent hence your golden BB breaks or clean misses when only off slight amounts.  Well, that is no longer the case. You are no longer are stricken with hot cores and sparse outer fringes, so here is my closing statement: Please don't confuse more open patterns with even pellet distribution, because folks...it is far more advanced than that.

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The TRUTH...from the horses mouth.....!

When I was developing Muller Chokes, I wanted a choke tube that would give me a more even usable outer fringe pattern than what other choke manufacturers offered.  As a serious competitor myself, I wanted the advantage of getting all the pellets from the shot shell to the target.   After shooting many thousands of rounds on paper and tens of thousands of targets through 20 different guns and 13 different bore diameters varying from .7190 - .7510, I collected data and made blueprints for each and every one of them.  Every choke tube I produce is based on this data.  And, unlike every other choke tube manufacturer out there, the geometry of my chokes varies based on the barrel diameters they are made for.

I'm not interested in patterns that deliver a hot core so that when you're "on" you smoke the target and when your "off" a little you get either the golden BB break or a clean miss. With Muller Chokes, you get solid consistent breaks even with the outer fringe of the pattern and this is the reason Muller Chokes will help put more X's on your score card and actually increase your average (which, by the way, many shooters are thanking me for on a daily basis, so its not BS in any way). Because the "usable" pattern is now larger than ever before and all the pellets in the shotshell are getting to the target rather than being lost by damaged flyers we now have a pattern that is both big and dense so we can break targets farther with a bigger pattern....THAT is what I am claiming. It is truth based on compiled data and it is not called changing physics...it is called a better pattern.

Read more: http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=222629&p=1864123#p1864123#ixzz1AafW0tba

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