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i've seen a few different sub gauge tube options out there and I am curious if there is a performance difference between fitted tubes and companion (drop in) tubes? if there isn't what is the benefit of having them fitted? wouldn't that be worse because you could only then use them in one gun instead of being able to use them in any gun with the same bore diameter?
 

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Fitted sub-gauge tube set for a dedicated skeet shooter is a must have item. If you have lengthened forcing cones or have Briley perform this service on your 12 ga. barrels, you can have fitted Ultimate Ultralight tubes made for your 12 ga barrels; the very best. As for performance difference, look at the equipment used by any active NSSA competitor, where Companion tubes are rarely seen. It's always financially prudent to initially invest in the best equipment.
 

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i've seen a few different sub gauge tube options out there and I am curious if there is a performance difference between fitted tubes and companion (drop in) tubes? if there isn't what is the benefit of having them fitted? wouldn't that be worse because you could only then use them in one gun instead of being able to use them in any gun with the same bore diameter?
I've had both. Fitted tubes go in easier and only get tight toward the last 1/2" or so. They tend to fit very well at the muzzle.

Companion tubes can be very tight for the last 1.5" or so. They can be looser at the muzzle, since they're designed to be used in different barrels. One way to combat this is to buy chokes that provide a very close fit at the muzzle and/or use a couple wraps of plumbers tape around the end of the Companion tube to take out any extra play at the muzzle.

I've taken the play out at the muzzle end of my Companions and haven't noticed any difference in performance while shooting skeet nor in the annual 28ga sporting clays event I shoot. I prefer the Companions for the flexibility, but I'll also admit I'm not a AAA class skeet shooter either.
 

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Earlier Companion tubes were very loose at the muzzle as mpolans said. Now they are matched to the brand of gun and bore so that skeet chokes are used for a tight fit. I have 20 ga Companions in my .725 Perazzi and they were made to fit perfectly with .720 chokes. Companions are much more customized than before and while generally are a half inch shorter than the barrels the 20s I ordered were made to fit exactly my 31.5" barrels. Don't have any concern if you order directly from Briley. If you are buying used, caveat emptor.

I have fitted .410 and 28 tubes and as mpolans said, they do not require as much force to seat as the Companions with the plastic button.
 

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Fitted sub-gauge tube set for a dedicated skeet shooter is a must have item. If you have lengthened forcing cones or have Briley perform this service on your 12 ga. barrels, you can have fitted Ultimate Ultralight tubes made for your 12 ga barrels; the very best. As for performance difference, look at the equipment used by any active NSSA competitor, where Companion tubes are rarely seen. It's always financially prudent to initially invest in the best equipment.
+1 - 100% dead on assessment
 

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If you love skeet (and you kind of have to if you want to buy sub gauge tubes) then I’d recommend the fitted style, particularly if you have a nice gun you plan to keep for a while. If you were just trying thing out and found a used set of companion style for cheap, then sure, why not?

I have found that resell on sub gauge fitted tube sets and barrel aren’t great. You’ll probably only get $.20 on the dollar for your investment in the tube set, most of the value will be the barrel. So if you get fitted, plan to keep them, or alternatively, buy a barrel and tube set used.
 
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