Best Choke For Slugs Explained

Shooting slugs from a shotgun needs to be done properly to avoid both damage to the gun and injury to the user.

Generally speaking, a cylinder or improved cylinder choke will be the best option for shooting slugs.

Smoothbore or rifled barrel

Smoothbore and rifled will be your two choices of gun barrel. You will find older shotguns with smoothbore barrels with no rifling.

With a smoothbore shotgun barrel, when shot the slug can wobble through the air like a knuckleball towards its target. They have still put down a deer or two from 50 yards out. 

Rifled barrels contain spiraling grooves that begin a few inches from the end of the barrel and spin out and away towards the muzzle. The rifling provides spin on the round allowing it to cut through the air on a smoother trajectory.

The rifling and spin it causes on the round provides a consistent movement for the slug. In the end, you will get a tighter grouping at further distances more consistently. 

Just be sure to not use a rifled slug in a rifled barrel or choke. This combination leads to fouling of the barrel’s rifling and may cause poor shooting if not properly cleaned and maintained. 

What is a Foster slug?

Best Choke For Slugs

As you dive more into slugs and the best options for your gun and chokes you’ll frequently hear the term Foster slug as well as a sabot slug. 

A foster slug is a rifled slug that was invented and patented by Karl M. Forster in the 1930’s. They were invented to improve hunter abilities with a more accurate shotgun during the Great Depression.

The unique feature of a Foster slug is the large hollow dimple in the rear of the slug. This sets the center of gravity of the slug closer to the front. 

The hollowing improved the effect of drag on the slug and could be shot accurately out to nearly 75 yards through a smoothbore barrel. 

What is a sabot slug?

A sabot slug is a slug round designed for barrels with rifling. A sabot round has the slug in a small casing. The entire round is within the plastic sleeve of the round.

The sabot does not interact with the barrel of the shotgun. Instead, the plastic sleeving interacts with the rifling and falls off upon the exiting of the barrel. 

Due to its bullet-like shape and the rotational forces applied from the rifling, a sabot slug is more accurate than smoothbore slug options. 

Your best option would be to use a Foster slug in a smoothbore shotgun and a sabot slug in a rifled bore shotgun.

Choke Options For Slugs

Best Choke For Slugs

When it comes to chokes for slugs, there are a number of options out in the market. Thankfully, there is a clear favorite and recommendation.

We can review each of the different chokes on their effect on a slug. 

This table gives the choke constriction and choke diameter.

Choke12 gauge constriction12 gauge diameter20 gauge constriction20 gauge diameter
Full0.0350.6950.025 0.592
Improved Modified0.025.7050.0190.598
Cylinder0.0000.730 0.0000.617

Full Choke

A full choke has one notch and will create the narrowest opening in the barrel. This will greatly affect the travel of the slug as it squeezes through the choke.

The choke will even begin to flatten the grooving of the slug. The slug may become slightly elongated as it drags through the choke.

In the end, this combination will result in poor accuracy, with damage to the slug and possibly even to the choke itself over time.

Improved Modified

The improved modified choke has two notches and opens up a bit from the full choke. The slug shot through this choke will still experience rubbing as it passes through the choke and impacts its trajectory. 

The patterning of slugs shot through this choke will be improved from the full choke but the results will still not be desirable. Continuing to use this choke will impact the choke size and the slug performance in the long run.

Just like the full choke, we recommend avoiding this choke for shooting slugs.

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Modified Choke

This choke will have three notches on the rim. A modified choke will be a further improvement from the previous two chokes.

Its effects on sending the slug flying through this choke won’t have as dramatic an impact on the shot’s accuracy. 

The grouping will be improved but will still be inaccurate as the range or shot distance increases. 

Improved Cylinder

This choke can be identified by the four notches on the rim. 

The improved cylinder is the recommendation given by Remington on their box of Slugger Rifled Slugs. This choke provides a good balance between accuracy and grouping. 

A slug fired through the improved cylinder choke is going to do exactly what you want a choke to do.

It is going to provide consistent accuracy and narrow spread. Its balanced constriction sends the slug flying on a clean and true line. 

The improved cylinder will also not physically damage the slug as it smoothly passes on through.


The cylinder choke has the smallest physical impact on the slugs. The cylinder choke is the least restrictive and will result in a wider shot pattern. 

A cylinder choke has five notches. 

Despite the lack of constriction, the accuracy results will be similar to that of the modified choke. 

This choke will work well if you are in pinch and won’t damage the slug as well as not be damaged by the slug itself.


After all this information, it will still come down to your gun and the slugs you decide to use. We highly recommend patterning your shotgun for 50 yards with the different choke options.

Begin with a cylinder choke followed by the improved cylinder then finally the modified cylinder. Going beyond that, your accuracy and grouping will begin to spread.

If you have the option to use an interchangeable choke, you may wish to do that should the situation call for it. Be sure to practice gun safety as you swap chokes.

Our recommendation and best choke for shooting slugs is an improved cylinder. 

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