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That's How It's Made

Random Thoughts

“That’s how it’s made.” There are few words that draw me in as quickly as those. I am fascinated by the processes that are used to manufacture everyday products from automobiles to shotshells. I will accept any invitation to tour a factory and see first-hand just how it’s done. I will also record and watch hours of television that allow me to see the way things are made.

I have been very fortunate over the years to be able to spend time with some very innovative folks in various fields. Of course, of most interest to me are the ones who design and develop products that we use to shoot and hunt.

I have learned to listen closely when new ideas have been presented to me because they are always learning experiences. I really value the trust that has been placed in me by these innovators in the fields of guns and ammunition. To be able to take a new gun or new ammunition to the range or field and evaluate its performance is always a thrill.

The same holds true for other products that we use for shooting and hunting. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work with designers and developers of many of those products. Perhaps none more so than shotgun chokes.

Like many of you, I remember when shotgun chokes were fixed. If you wanted to change chokes, you either changed guns or changed barrels. For many of us, we just used what we had available. If you had a tightly choked gun and were quail hunting, you just waited a bit until the quail got further away before you shot. We adapted to the conditions.

When Winchester introduced it’s “Win-Choke” system, those short little interchangeable chokes became the rage and I accumulated a bunch of them. I still have some in their original containers with the price tag affixed. The were $7.00 back then.

While the Win-Choke pattern is still available and used in many guns, there are many other thread patterns today. Not only are there many other thread types but the “internal geometry” of chokes may be quite different in different brands. Each designer believes that he has the best ideas of course and that has led us to so many great chokes that we may choose for our guns.

Many of the producers of chokes today also allow us to see how they are made. You may be able to go to their site and click on a link that takes you to their factory and the step by step process by which long bars of steel become chokes for our guns. If you visit those folks, they may even allow you see the process in person.

Whether you spend some time on the Internet viewing the manufacturing process, watching one or more of the television programs that feature manufacturing or are able to personally visit a shop that will give you a tour, I’d encourage you to spend some time watching just how some of our shooting products are created. Then, maybe like me, “That’s how it’s made”, will also become some of your favorite words.


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