Welcome to the forum!
Improved cylender is wide open, no choke at all, it will shoot anything, but is best at shooting slugs, and Buck shot. Think about a home defence shootgun, short barrel, IC. It won't hold bird shot to a tight pattern for anything past 35 yds.
Modified choke is between IC, and Full. It's also good with just about anything, but has a tendency to squeeze slugs, and that causes them to not shoot so straight. Works well with bird shot at longer ranges, out to around 45yards, and better, but won't hold the pattern that full will give you. It's good for dove, quail, squirrels, and other things.
Full choke is considered the best for bird hunting, like ducks, and geese, where you will probably be shooting the longest distances. You can shoot slugs, and buck shot thru a full choke, but it is not recomended.
Good link, it does a much better job of explaining chokes than I did! However, it does not show what shot to use with which choke. Maybe this link is a little better. http://www.shotgunworld.com/amm.html
Thanks guys. I am going to be using my shotgun for deer this year and have many suggestions. Get a rifled barrel and use sabots, keep my smooth barrel and use rifled slugs with an imp. cylinder. I would like to be able to hit a target probably with a max range of 100 yards (usually 50-60) and take it down easily. I would use a rifle but the area Im in is shotgun only.
My experience with factory chokes is that they are (usually) a suggestion more than reality. To determine what a particular choke will do with a particular load you have to actually pattern the gun. IC is choked down below cylinder--about .006" in my 391 and in that gun is a good choice for overall bird hunting. A full choke would be used to get the tightest pattern in a lead load but would be inappropriate for use in steel shot loads for duck and geese. A modified choke is about all I would use for that.
My advice would be to get a rifled barrel and find a sabot that shoots the best in that barrel. A good barrel/sabot combination will easily give you 100 yard one shot kills on deer. You also have the advantage of having actual sights to use rather than a bead, or with a cantilever scope mount barrel to actually have optics on it.
A smooth bore shotgun with rifled slugs is good out to 75 - 100 yards, and that's max for most guns. Go buy you a few boxes of slugs from different makers, like Federal, Remington, and Winchester. Then set up a target and see what you can do. With my Remington 1100 I'm good out to about 75 yards. I can hit a gallon jug with every shot at that distance. Any further, and I start to have misses.
So would the concensus be to get an improved cylinder choke, and use slugs? What type shot would you suggest? I know to try many and find which one I like best but for a good shot with good distance, what would be ideal? Thanks again!
As all shotguns pattern differently ans fit each shooter differently, to find the best combination you will need to spend a bit of time at the range with sheets of paper seeing what works best for you. There is no "absolute" bore on a shotgun, size can vary a few thousandths and the shot size and charge size can affect what constriction your choke actually produces.
Shotguns fit different shooters unequally and the point of aim can vary between shooters of the same gun.
Confusing? Sorta, but your best bet is still to try it yourself and find what you feel works best.