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For example, someone hunting small, fast birds would generally use an improved cylinder or modified choke, which creates a broad shot pattern that spreads quickly at close ranges. Conversely, someone hunting a larger, less mobile bird, such as a turkey, would select a full choke, which concentrates the shot in a tighter pattern. Pellet size also varies based on the size of the game. The chart below suggests choke and shot sizes for a variety of game. It is intended only as a guide—choice of choke and shot size may vary depending on ammunition, target distance, and hunting conditions.

Quarry Suggested Choke Suggested Shot Size
Goose Modified or Full Steel 2, 1, BB (over decoys)
Steel BB, BBB, T (pass shooting)
Duck Modified or Full Steel 6, 4, 3 (over decoys)
Steel 3, 2 (pass shooting)
Turkey Full or Extra Full Lead 4, 5, 6
Pheasant Improved Cylinder or Modified Lead 6, 7½
(over dogs or in heavy cover)
Modified or Full Lead 4, 5, 6
(in corn fields, long range)
Grouse Improved Cylinder or Modified Lead 7½ or 8
Woodcock, rail, or snipe Improved Cylinder or Modified Lead 8 (in heavy cover)
Lead 7½ (open areas)
Dove Improved Cylinder or Modified Lead 7½ or 8
Steel 6 (in waterfowl areas)
Quail Improved Cylinder or Modified Lead 7½ or 8
Rabbit Improved Cylinder or Modified Lead 5 or 6
Squirrel Modified or Full Lead 5 or 6