The Column, No. 31:

A Few Words about Trulock Chokes

By Randy Wakeman

Trulock chokes
Randy Wakeman with pheasants taken using Trulock choke tubes.

I�m impressed with both George Trulock and the choke tubes he makes available to us, and have been for some time; that much should be reasonably clear from my testing of, writing about, and continued use of Trulock chokes. The performance improvement they can provide can be no less astonishing.

I can�t say that patterning shotguns, tubes, and shotshells is my favorite pastime at all. It can be boring, redundant work. It is part and parcel of professional shotgun reviewing, however. In order to achieve excellent performance in the hunting field or on the clays courses, it is not an elective procedure. It is mandatory.

My father is 79 years young; turning 80 years old next spring. He has been my best, and my favorite hunting partner since I first starting hunting with a shotgun at age five. He has been a fabulous, very patient, always safety-minded teacher. Growing up in Illinois farm country, �the� hunting shotgun was the Browning Automatic-Five. My great-grandfather, a commercial hunter and farmer used a Remington Model 11, my grandfather used an A-5, and Dad (who started with a Winchester Model 97, used, that he bought with paper-route money) soon graduated to an A-5 12 gauge standardweight and never looked back. Naturally, being heavily involved in the shotgunning, Dad has seen a long stream of new models being tested. Finally, shortly after its introduction, Dad went to a 26 inch barreled Browning Gold 20 gauge, and enjoyed the fast handling, and more fun to carry qualities that instantly melted away 20 years off of his shooting speed. That was over a dozen years ago.

I�m always interested in the most effective 20 gauge pheasant load, and there have been several shells that have produced �my kind of patterns.� One of the best is the Federal 1-5/16 oz. Grand Slam Turkey three inch shell, loaded with #5 shot. It has ranked with the best in B-80�s, A303�s, A-5 20 Mags, and other 20 gauges including several Golds. Dad �borrowed� some of these loads that I stocked up on from Graf & Sons, and every once in a while he gives me a hull back.

I suppose it does look a bit peculiar to have stacks of posterboard strewn about the landscape peppered with shot, labeled, and numbered. My Dad seems to think so, anyway. I�ve has enough birthdays to know that my ideas aren�t always the best; not nearly as good as when Dad comes up with them. Well, this year, it finally happened. Dad wanted to know how I thought his gun patterned. Naturally, I explained that I had no particular idea, but we can sure find out. My Dad still walks the fencerows and waterways, but seems to opt for �blocking duty� a bit more these days. Naturally, blocking can mean some longer shots on wily, wild pheasants. I asked my Dad how far he felt he wanted to have a pheasant drop dead out of the sky these days. �Forty-seven yards� was the reply. We set up pattern boards at 47 yards, verified by laser rangefinder, and went at it.

Using the mentioned Federal #5 loads, we analyzed the patterns using factory Browning Invector Plus Chokes. They were decidedly dismal. Even the �Full� factory Invector tube not only failed to give usable pattern percentages, the few pellets that did make it had huge, splotchy gaps. They were, and are, horribly blown patterns.

Now, my Dad got a bit animated, �Those patterns are lousy! Good grief, those are certain cripplers! I�m not sure I want to hunt with something that throws patterns like this thing!� Of course, Dad was right, as right as can be.

I took a bit of an educated guess, and offered to let Dad �borrow� a Trulock Precision Hunter Improved Modified extended choke tube which I screwed in. It was the same Browning Gold 20, same shells, and the same 79 year old father pulling the trigger.

Dad offered his own commentary after the patterns had been fired, �That�s unbelievable! Holy cow, those patterns are like night and day, at least two or three times better tan the factory chokes could do. No pheasant could possibly make though a pattern as dense as even as these. This is one of the craziest things I�ve ever seen!� The improvement was, and is startling good. Dad continued, �You mean a choke tube can do all that? Well, I�ll be. This sure beats �By Gosh and By Golly�.�

A choke can do all that, of course, and just did for my Dad. If you want to try a Trulock Precision Hunter choke tube, I can tell you that you won�t have much luck getting one from my Dad, the one he has �borrowed.� I�ll never see it again. You�ll have to ring Trulock to get your own.

I like to kid George Trulock about all those �Half Days� he puts in. After all, 12 hours is half a days, isn�t it? I know how hard George works at making his choke tubes, and buying expensive CNC machining centers so he can turn solid bar stock into extremely high quality choke tubes like the one that just pleased my Dad so well. George acts like choke tubes are not just an accessory, but his primary business. That�s exactly what they are. I also appreciate the friendly team that George has assembled in Whigham, Georgia, the type of folks that make you feel not just like you are a customer, but like you are their only customer. I�m delighted to see the Trulock name advertised on Guns and Shooting Online; almost as delighted as seeing what they have done for my shotguns. With that, I�d like to welcome Trulock Chokes as an official sponsor of G & S Online. It sure is nice when sponsors make some of the products you value the most; Trulock certainly qualifies.

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Copyright 2007 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.