Teague is considered to be the Rolls-Royce of chokes - and its founder used to work there, notes Patrick Galbraith
Nigel Teague worked in the Rolls-Royce factory in Chichester in the 1960s and was quickly identified as a perfectionist.
Every Friday however, his mind turned from the internal workings of the combustion engine and towards the shooting he took part in at weekends. A thoughtful chap, he looked at the guns in his gun cabinet and inspired by Rolls Royce, decided he could do things better. (You might also like to read chokes for gameshooting and clays – what’s best?)
The invention of Teague chokes
It’s said that Nigel invented the multichoke but that isn’t quite true. Winchester had been making its Winchokes since the 1970s. However Nigel considered them “really chunky things and the barrels flared out”. (Read shotgun choke explained.)
In 1980, Nigel set up Teague Precision Chokes, which is now recognised as the Rolls-Royce of the shotgun choke world. In Nigel’s Malmesbury factory I asked him about his secret to success. “People love nice things,” he answered, “and I keep the quality right at the top.”
I also suspect that people are willing to part with money for things they believe will make them a better Shot. Nigel said that some of his American clients have as many as 36 pairs of Teague chokes.
If you were to invest in just one set of Teague chokes …
At some £200 a pair that would be a considerable investment — well beyond most people’s reach. I asked Nigel what he would recommend if a Shooting Times reader were going to invest in one set.
“If you had to decide on one for game shooting, you’d go for a half-choke,” he replies. “If it were for clay shooting you’d probably go a little bit less because the cartridges are a vast improvement on what they used to be; something like three-eighths.”
However Nigel believes cartridge choice and gun fit come before choke in terms of being a good Shot. “Choke is the cherry on top,” he said.
It is often said that Britain doesn’t manufacture anything any more. The decline of our industrial output in the past few decades might be stark but shooting is an industry that provides 74,000 jobs and a good number of those are at places just like Teague.
On a shoot today you may find Japanese cars, Italian guns and Scandinavian jackets. But in the barrels of discerning Shots, you almost always find a set of Teagues. This is a testament to the fact that, when it comes to engineering, we Brits still have it.
Should I get Teague multichokes fitted to my gun?
Q: I have a Breda Vega Special Trap gun, 29.5-inch barrels, choked 3/4 and full. I’m shooting clays mostly going away (trap style) but eventually I want to be able to shoot anything from skeet to sporting, so I am thinking of having Teague multichokes fitted. What do you think?
A: Getting the gun converted would make it more versatile. Breda Vegas seem to change hands at anywhere between about £450 and £750 – in other words they are not expensive guns, so it could be a mistake in the long term to spend a lot of money on the conversion.
It could be better to sell the gun and buy a multichoke Sporter. Also, as it is a trap gun you probably won’t shoot skeet or sporting very well with it, unless you spend more money on getting the stock altered.
A cheaper alternative to the Teague option would be to have the chokes bored out to quarter and half, and have the stock altered. But the recommendation is to get the best price you can for it and invest in a multichoke Sporter.
You might also like to read how to remove a stuck shotgun choke.
This article was originally written in 2019 and has been updated.