Screw in choke tubes – how to maintain them
The screw-in choke tube is a very common option on most shotguns and it is important to maintain them properly. If you leave them in place for too long, you could well end up needing a gunsmith to extract them.
If you leave them loose, you could ruin the end of your barrels.
Here’s our step-by-step guide.
Can I get a stuck choke tube out with a hammer?
Q: One of the choke tubes in my B425 has got stuck. How do I get it out? Would I damage the threads if I put the barrels in a vice, inserted the choke key and hit them with a hammer?
A: Don’t even think about it! Whacking it like that can easily generate several tons of pressure in an ordinary engineer’s vice, and even a light grip is likely to force one or both barrels out of round, not to mention scuff the blacking as well.
Hitting a choke key with a hammer is likely to cause further damage.
So, rather than take any extreme measures, begin by giving the muzzles a really good soak in either penetrating oil or diesel; and I mean a good soak over several days.
You can buy penetrating oil from car accessory shops like Halfords, Plus-Gas being a familiar brand.
Then try again with the key. If the choke tube still won’t come out, take the gun to a gunsmith and get him to remove it.
I have heard of choke tubes being stuck in so tightly that they have had to be split internally with a chisel. This is a job which requires a lot of experience.
Once the tube is out, you can stop this happening again by taking the tubes out every time you clean the gun, carefully cleaning the threads, and re-inserting them with a smear of grease.
I own a Browning 425 12-bore multichoke.
I have not changed the chokes for six months and now cannot move them. How can I release them?Screw-in chokes must be removed and cleaned on a regular basis or they will stick in the bore. A few drops of releasing fluid may help break the seal.
Allow the fluid to penetrate and then warm the muzzles with a hairdryer. This causes the barrels to expand slightly and may allow the choke tube to be withdrawn.
Be careful when you apply pressure to the choke tubes, as it is very easy to distort the barrel – this is particularly so if you have a large choke key which allows a lot of leverage. If you are unable to remove the choke tubes, I suggest you take them to a gunsmith.
Clean choke tubes in a solvent – meths or petrol – and pay particular attention to the threads to ensure that any grit or other matter is not caught in them.
The threads should be slightly greased before reinstallation. It is vital to ensure that the choke tube is always screwed fully home, otherwise your gun will be badly damaged when you fire it.