Why Terminator Chokes are Different
First of all let’s look at the industry standard for choke tube constriction and patterning. The industry standard has for a long time been to pattern a shotgun at 40 yards, then count the pellets in a 30 inch circle and assign a % based off the total number of pellets in the load to begin with. The industry standard looks like this:
Choke Constriction Pattern %
Cylinder .000” 30%
Skeet .005” 35%
Improved Cyl .010” 45%
Light Mod .015” 50%
Modified .020” 55%
Improved Mod .025” 65%
Full .035” 70%
The problem with assigning a constriction to a choke size is that most choke tubes will not live up to the standard they are labeled at based on industry standards. There are many things inside a choke tube that affect the pattern size and density.
So with this in mind let’s look at patterning and clay sports in particular. If a clay flies into a full choke pattern and within the standard 30” circle at 40 yards, there is no guarantee that a single pellet will hit it. Here lies the problem with choke / pattern standards for the clay shooter in particular, there are essentially 2 patterns to concern ourselves with here, primary and secondary patterns. The primary pattern or “hot core” of the patterns is pretty clear in most pattern testing. This is the area of the pattern with a dense concentration of pellets in the center. Depending on choke constriction and distance this usually ranges from the center 1/2 to the center 2/3 of the pattern. Outside of this “hot core you will notice a ring of reasonable dense pellets we will call the secondary pattern. This secondary pattern extends out until we reach the area where pellet dispersion is so random that we have to call them fliers from the pattern.
In analyzing standard pattern testing methods you will see that if 70% of the pellets are in the 30” circle, that 30% are fliers and out of the pattern far enough that you could not count on enough density to break a clay. Our focus is on the part of the pattern that is dense enough to always break a clay and the secondary pattern where the density might be dense enough to break a clay most of the time. So our focus being what it is we started looking at ways to increase the size of the hot core and increase the density of the secondary pattern so it would break a clay with more consistency. Hits with a full bird in the hot core result in a ball of dust and few if any pieces. The concern was hits with the secondary pattern where birds (especially on edge) could fly through the pattern without a hit. So to clearly outline our goals we called the pattern where a clay on edge could not escape a hit the “clay zone” and the rest of the pattern excluding fliers the “secondary pattern”. The secondary pattern we looked at with an eye toward the number of separate holes a clay could fly through.
So to accomplish our goals we have to do one of two things, spread the hot core out into the secondary pattern or pull the flyers back into the secondary pattern to make it dense enough for our needs. We simply could not come up with a good way to spread the hot core out without destroying the rest of the pattern. We did however come up with a great way pull the flyer pellets back into the secondary pattern to make it more effective. Our Terminator choke technology puts an amazing 66% of the flier pellets back into the secondary pattern. This accomplishes a couple of things, first the wasted flier pellets are now useful, adding to the density of the secondary pattern. The secondary pattern now has no consistent holes that a bird can fly through without taking a few pellets. This same action also increases the size of the hot pattern substantially. If we consider the “clay standard” instead of the industry standard, our hot core in now 65% larger and the secondary pattern has less than 1/2 as many clay holes. The size of the secondary pattern didn’t change size but changed density greatly. The extreme size of the pattern was reduced by 28% because of the regulation of the flier pellets. We don’t believe in the magic pellet, only in solid consistently performing patterns.
What this means to the clay shooter is that if you normally would have selected a modified choke for shot “X”, you can now use a size smaller choke (light modified) with even better performance. Now that same shot where the factory choke would have had 55% of the pellets in a 30” circle, you will now have roughly 75% of the pellets in that circle with fewer spaces where a bird can fly through. The big benefit with this is that you will have better performance at distance with a more usable pattern and up close Terminator technology doesn’t affect the outside diameter of the secondary pattern. At closer distances the secondary pattern is still light mod sized just less a bunch of fliers. So now your choke is more versatile over a much longer distance with fewer “dusted” clays escaping through a hole in your pattern.
When the patterning dust settled two key points became clear about Terminator Chokes. First close range performance didn’t change at all in terms of changing usable pattern size it only became more dense. Long range performance of the same choke tube became substantially better. Long range performance equaled or bettered chokes of .005” to .010” more constriction by making a more dense and usable pattern.
Given the extended range of this choke tube technology we decided to name the chokes differently than to give a name (light mod, etc) or give a constriction (.010”, .015” etc). Below is a chart of Terminator Choke tube designations, their constrictions, short range industry standard and long range industry standard. The long range standard is what the Terminator choke hits like at distance compared to what most people are used to.
Terminator Constriction Short Range Long Range
Designation Standard Standard
T 1 .000” Cylinder Cylinder
T 2 .005” Skeet Imp Cylinder
T 3 .010” Imp Cylinder Light Mod
T 4 .015” Light Mod Modified
T 5 .020” Modified Imp Mod
T 6 .025” Imp Mod Full
T 7 .030” Full Turkey
The bottom line of all this testing is that if your favorite go to tube has always been a .015” or “Light Mod” tube, then it still is. Up close it will perform identically to a standard tube but you can use that same tube for much longer shots with better results in you pattern.
Terminator Chokes will not keep you from stopping the gun, lifting your head off the stock or starting the gun in the wrong place. They will however allow you to change tubes less often, give you a more reliable pattern and make the most of every pellet you put down range. Simply put we set out to make the very best choke tube we could from the best materials, function, fit and finish.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR OUR TERMINATOR CHOKE TUBE VIDEO HERE AND ON YouTube