f someone told you a man had come up with a choke (I’m talking screw–in choke systems, now) that is extended beyond the muzzle so you don’t have to use a wrench, lightweight, holds securely in the threads of your barrel shot after shot, is tough enough to resist scoring from the shot column and easy to clean, you’d probably say, “Yeah, right.” And what if the geometrical design was based on your gun’s unique bore diameters to provide optimum patterns from your favorite loads shot after shot? You would probably say something like, “Yeah, nice thought. Like that’s ever going to happen.”
Well, guess what? A brilliant young man who is not only a NSCA Master Class competitor but also a hugely experienced aerospace and defense engineer/manufacturer, a man who has always had a deep appreciation and love for the clay–target sports and bird hunting, has come up with just such a choke system.
Jim Muller long had the dream of being able to shoot a choke system that provided the shooter with patterns that were superior to any other available, patterns that were similar in performance to what had been available from fixed–choke guns but the system did not encumber the shooter with excessive weight or disturb the swing and balance of the gun. Jim spent years of research, countless hours designing and redesigning, shooting tests and re–testing to eventually produce the Muller Choke System. Using the knowledge he gathered from years of hands–on experience with precision–machined aircraft materials and parts, Jim believes he has succeeded in fulfilling his dream.
Jim originally began his choke quest as a personal advantage he wanted for himself as a Master Class shooter. He was certain an immensely vast selection of choke tubes was not necessary for optimum scores, so he decided to build his own chokes, sort of a secret weapon only he would have. Based upon what he learned about exotic materials and heat treatments and coatings from a classified government project he once worked on, Jim knew what material and coating he would use for his special chokes. The Muller Choke System was starting to take shape.
I first became aware of Muller Chokes when shooting with my friend Rick Collin at the Dallas Gun Club earlier this year. I noticed Rick had a handsome pair of extended choke tubes in the muzzles of his Perazzi over & under. The chokes were black and extended noticeably beyond the muzzle. Additionally, the identification markings were unique: a large “U” with two small circles over the vertical limbs of the Ü, numbers below the Ü, and the name Perazzi under those. All markings were well contrasted against the black finish of the choke, as they were white, making for an attractive look.
I asked Rick what brand of chokes were sticking out the end of his barrels, as I did not recognize them. He said, “These are Muller Chokes. Ever heard of them?”
I admitted I had heard the name in passing but had never had the opportunity to see them in the flesh. When we got to my truck, Rick let me inspect one of the chokes out of the gun. The first thing that grabs you about holding a Muller Choke in your hand is how unbelievably lightweight it is. “There’s nothing there!” I exclaimed. “What’s it made of?”
“Aluminum,” explained Rick. We continued to discuss the features of the Muller Chokes and it hit me, these should be brought to the attention of our readership!
After a call and an e–mail or two to Stephanie Thomas, Jim Muller’s business partner, I received two sets of beautiful Muller Chokes that fit my Blaser F3 and my Zoli Z Gun. I have to say, even after having held the chokes before, when picking them up in my office, I was still stunned at the amazingly light weight. My Blaser/Zoli Muller Chokes have an average weight of a mere 17 grams, compared to competitor’s chokes that can weigh as much as 65 grams or more. Very impressive!
This amazing weight reduction is achieved through the use of what Jim Muller refers to as “aerospace/ballistic aluminum.” It is then “infused” with a proprietary ceramic that gives the choke its superior wear resistance and surface hardness. That surface hardness, Jim said, “Exceeds that of a high–speed steel drill bit. You can’t even cut it with a file. This has never been achieved before. It will virtually never wear out.” Once again, impressive.
Yet another feature of a Muller Choke is the ease of cleaning. Jim told me, “This is achieved by blending a material similar to but harder than the non–stick coating on your frying pans with my proprietary ceramic. The result is a surface with an extremely high lubricity factor that does not allow plastic–wad or powder residue to build up. It’s simply the cleanest choke tube there is.” I had to use only a couple passes with a handheld brass brush to clean my Muller Choke samples after firing them for more than 300 rounds. These chokes are tough and easy to maintain, as well as super lightweight.
It should be mentioned here Muller Chokes are made primarily in only four constrictions. These are generally a U1 that, depending on your bore’s interior diameter (I.D.), will produce .005 constriction; U2 equaling .012 constriction; U3 which gives .022 constriction; and U4 which gives .035. (My Blaser set did have a U0 choke which, according to my examination, produced .002 constriction in both my top and bottom bores.)
Why only four chokes? Jim explained, “My chokes consistently produce extremely even pellet distribution, shot after shot. My U1 choke provides a Skeet–diameter outer fringe but will break targets as hard and far as an Improved Cylinder (IC) choke. My U2 choke gives the results of an IC and a Light Modified (Lt. Mod.) in the same barrel. Our U3 will hit targets like a Lt. Mod. and Modified (Mod.), and our U4 crushes targets like both an Improved Modified (IM) and Extra Full (XF). It’s like having two traditional–sized chokes in your gun but less expensive and much more convenient.” Simplicity, less confusion, less time evaluating your choke choice, less stress and better scores. Isn’t that what you want from a choke after all?
Another aspect of the Muller Chokes that impressed me was how well they screwed in and out of the muzzles of my guns. To provide a fair playing field, so to speak, I performed a thorough cleaning of the threaded area within the muzzle of each barrel and then inserted the Muller Chokes. All of the chokes screwed in and back out with little effort and only needed finger strength to spin in or out. By the way, Muller Chokes do not have wrench notches in them. You don’t need a wrench.
I have the habit, like most shooters who use extended chokes, of occasionally checking the tightness of the choke in the barrel. Never did any of the Muller Chokes I used show any signs of loosening or backing out.
Jim explained why you don’t have to check his chokes for tightness while shooting: “Because my chokes dissipate heat very rapidly, they never get hot. If they don’t get hot, they never expand and contract at a different rate than your gun’s barrel. Muller Chokes ‘become one with the barrel’.” A very cool feature I’m sure will please all who use them.
I noticed the Muller Chokes I received had differences in the length of the extended section beyond the muzzle. The extended sections on the Muller Chokes for my Zoli were a little longer than the extended sections for the Blaser chokes. Jim told me, “Although I originally began making my chokes just for me to have an advantage in competition, I soon realized if I liked the way my chokes crushed targets, so would lots of other shooters. So, in order to provide everybody who uses a Muller Choke the most consistent and optimum patterns from their gun, I had to find out what their specific internal geometry was all about. Each type of gun requires a different geometrical design based on its unique bore diameter. I’ve tested hundreds of configurations of barrel bores, factory choke geometries and aftermarket choke geometries. I’ve shot hundreds of patterns, and every time I found something that worked, I re–cut my chokes to see if I could make them work better. The results you see using my chokes are the end product of many, many long, hard hours of research, design, testing, redesign and re–testing.”
So, whether you shoot a Beretta, Guerini, Blaser, whatever, Muller Chokes are designed to provide the most efficient, consistent and optimum patterns in your gun based upon its bore diameters. Some of the extended sections will be longer or shorter than others without any detriment to your patterns. You can shoot the same, identical load in your Perazzi with a Muller U3 as you would in your Krieghoff with a Muller U3, and you will get the same results.
Testing of the Muller Chokes on targets was performed at the Coon Creek Trap & Skeet Range in Lincoln, California, and the Auburn Trap Range in Auburn, California. My choices for test ammo were NobelSport’s Skeet Gold load with 1–1/8 ounces of hard 8½s (2¾–drams equivalent), B&P’s F2 Mach load with 24 grams of hard 7½s and NobelSport’s Sporting Clays load with 1 ounce of 7½s driven at approximately 1,300 f.p.s.
Test firing was first conducted at Coon Creek on the skeet field with the Muller Chokes in my Blaser. U1 and U2 were set in my bottom and top barrels, respectively. One round of standard skeet targets were boiled very well. The U1 in the bottom barrel provided a firm .008 constriction out of my .733 bore, and the U2 gave me .015 choke in the Blaser. Yes, indeed, those skeet targets didn’t stand much chance with all those 8½s coming at them in that concentration!
The next round with the U2 and U3 in place was Doubles from Stations 3, 4 and 5. I did drop one bird, but the devastation of birds was still on. The Muller Chokes gave great hits.
Next up was a round of single birds from back behind the skeet pads, low–gun position. The U2 and U3 Muller Chokes really came into their own here. Standing several yards behind Station 2, I fired on incoming low–house targets. The idea was to shoot the bird and then one of the pieces. I play this game a lot, and the Muller Chokes did not change their tune regarding how hard they hit the birds or the smaller chips of the birds. A few shots at Doubles, with the low house being taken first from this position, tested the effectiveness of the 8½s on the far–dropping high house, but when I did my part, the Muller Chokes did, too. A few pairs taken with some B&P 24–gram International loads with 7½s and a Muller U4 choke took care of the pesky, hard–dropping high–house targets.
Testing continued with more rounds of skeet and an eventual round of sporting clays at Coon Creek. For sporting clays I was placed with a squad of virtual newbies and the round took a bit longer than it would have with experienced shooters, but I had the opportunity to provide a few tips and show off the hitting power of the Muller Chokes.
This time my Zoli was at bat. The bores in it are .729 for the top barrel and .728 for the bottom. My choke choices for the sporting clays targets were the Muller U3 and U4, bottom and top, respectively. I shot well for the round and my squadmates were asking about the chokes I was using, even though they were barely aware what a screw–in choke was. One of them commented, “Those are the type of chokes you use when you’re serious about the game.” Indeed. The Muller Chokes made mincemeat out of almost every target.
One Rabbit target in particular that emerged from its house and became immediately, albeit briefly, airborne took a load of 1,300–f.p.s. 7½s through the tall grass. The Muller U4 choke forced the load to drive hard through the grass that almost completely obscured and protected the target. I took the target intentionally late to see if I could make the shot with the Rabbit rolling along the ground. I underestimated the height of the groundcover but smashed the bunny all the same.
The next day, I made a trip to the Auburn Trap Range for more clay–bird testing and paper patterning. After a few rounds of 5–stand primarily using the Muller U3 and U4 chokes, I felt I was now very familiar with how these chokes worked. The longest targets were hit with absolute authority, and the close–range birds were boiled, hard. I shot some patterns on paper at about 35 yards and, with the exception of a couple shots pulled off–hand by me to the upper left, all resulting patterns were very uniform, with cores and fringes that were deemed a total no–fly zone.
With a huge reduction in weight compared to other maker’s chokes, ease of cleaning, an increase in wear resistance (you can shoot steel and Hevi–Shot up to No. 6s through the U1, U2 and U3), great strength and simplicity of selection, as well as consistent, efficient pattern performance from one gun to the next, shot after shot, you would have a hard time finding a more complete choke system for your shotgun. Muller Chokes retail for about $75 each. Visit the Muller website to shop for Muller Chokes online.
Some might be wondering if Jim Muller will eventually produce sub–gauge choke tubes or perhaps even chokes in other colors. The answer to both is yes. Jim is also working on a high–performance waterfowl choke. So stay tuned.