Three of the most important components of turkey hunting are shotguns, shells and choke tubes, of which George Trulock knows a great deal.
By Paul Rackley
In addition to advancements in shotguns and loads, turkey chokes have changed greatly over the past few decades.
While chokes were once part of the barrel and designed for all-around use, most shotguns today have removable chokes specifically designed for certain types of shots — even turkeys.
George Trulock has been creating high-end shotgun chokes since 1981, with an excellent reputation in the industry, providing a lifetime warranty on all of its chokes built on CNC machines in Whigham, Ga.
Q: How have turkey chokes changed over the last few decades?
"Higher strength steels are being used, primarily heat-treated 17/4 stainless steel. Also, overall length of chokes has increased to allow design changes that deform less shot. Tighter constrictions are being used more as the improvements in turkey loads have allowed. I would venture to say that 99.99 percent of all turkey chokes sold today are of the extended type. When I first started this business, it was 100 percent flush chokes."
Q: What made you realize that there was a place for an aftermarket choke company?
"While screw-in chokes were not nearly as popular in 1981 as they are today, there seemed to be a growing interest in this style of choke. I thought that there would be a big demand for existing fixed-choke barrels to be retrofitted with this type of choke tube. This turned out to be true."
Q: How do turkey chokes work?
"As the shot column is passing through the choke's forcing cone, it is elongated and becomes smaller in diameter. The force that is exerted on the shot column as it is being altered happens in a few thousandths of a second and is more of an instant impact. The force that alters the column tends to keep it in that state and it takes longer to expand than it would if fired through a barrel with no constriction. Do I know for a fact this is true? No but it is my theory. All I can say for a fact is that choked guns give a tighter pattern than shotguns with no choke.
"Keep in mind that the really big improvements in turkey choke patterns over the last several years have come from improvements to the shotshells intended for turkey hunting. This includes the use of tungsten shot and Winchester's solid buffer used in their new turkey shells."
Q: Where did your experience in chokes come from?
"It comes mostly from the school of hard knocks. I had a background in machining prior to starting this company and have bird hunted all my life. However, the experience I have gained over the years has come from generating new ideas, making the chokes, trying them on the patterning board and then analyzing why it did or did not work. Many thousands of hours have been invested in this."
Q: What should turkey hunters look for in turkey chokes?
"Tight tolerances and smooth interiors; 1-inch parallel, as this handles heavy loads better than shorter versions. Very close concentricity between threads, body and the choke bore, as this helps point of aim versus point of impact problems. An adequate overall length, which allows longer forcing cones for less shot deformation. A choice of exit diameters, as each choke style as all shotguns, even those of the same make and model and using the exact same shell, do not always pattern the same."