The Wrong Chokes for Quail

In 2008 I shot exceptionally badly. I was using a Fabarm Lion that was very light, about 6 ½ lb after reading you need light guns for shooting quail. This is absolute bullshit, and especially the case if you are six foot two and two hundred and twenty pounds.

The Fabarm didn’t work for me, so I traded in my dud girlfriend for a Remington 1100 G3 for the 2009 season. Unfortunately the G3 didn’t arrive until about four weeks into the season, and I had discovered that the Fabarm shot pretty well having traded in the girlfriend.

When the Remington arrived it shot unbelievably well. I hit the first eight things I shot at, which included a pheasant, quail, ducks, pukekos and hares. The Remington is a big heavy gun, about 8 ½ lb, and fits me perfectly.

I shot pretty well that season, and was hitting a lot of tough quail, and short range quail too. Later in the season my armourer mate James Mabin came back from a tour of Timor, and we hunted together for a few days.

James had a look at my 1100 and asked me about the choke. I hadn’t paid much attention to the choke, just putting in the choke with the same number of notches as I had in the bottom barrel of my Beretta 686 E. What I hadn’t realised was that Beretta and Remington have opposite markings, so I had spent the season shooting quail with a tight choke rather than the open one I thought I had shot with.

This lesson has meant I have always read the manuals for my guns before changing chokes or setting up a new gun. Open chokes are my choice for quail shooting and even though I was shooting well I probably missed close birds due to the wrong choke.