I use an open-reed style call for 90+% of my cow calling, and there are a LOT of folks out there that do. Mouth calls are AWESOME, but there are some things an open reed can do for you that a mouth diaphragm can't, and that's why they're my "go to" call of choice. Different reed styles, different sound boards, and different resonating "chambers" on each of the different types of open-reed calls out there will impart a different feel, ease of use, tonal quality, and versatility. Best bet is to play around with one or two different styles (wide reed vs. narrow, long tapered vs. short, etc.) and see how you like them, and how they work for you. ...if you want to pick apart a PILE of different calls on video first, consider checking out our website and take a look at the "Understanding and Using Cow Calls" video series; we go through ALL of the ins and outs of the different styles of calls so you can know what each one gives you and what you can expect.
With bugles, nothing beats a mouth diaphragm for versatility and realism for those that can blow them well, but the Primos Blue-Reed systems are a very close second as far as an "external reed" bugle goes. There are a lot of folks that like to criticize the Primos bugles, but they aren't the number one external reed bugle out there without reason; easy to use, great versatility, and great realism if you know how to use them properly. ...again, we've got videos on all the different types of bugles out there as well if you want to check them out.
Don't be discouraged if RIGHT NOW you have trouble with mouth diaphragm calls. In time, and with some instruction, I'll bet you can learn them, use them well, and overcome your gag reflex. However, in the meantime, and to increase your diversity of calling, jump on an open-reed style cow call or external reed bugle and start playing around with them. They're awesome!
Is the mouthpiece you are looking at on the bugle page? if so that one is designed to work with elknuts chuckler series bugles. If you are going to buy a bugle, one of the Chucklers would be my recommendation.
Once you get ready to try mouth reed calls the ones on elknuts site are good reeds, until then get a Primos bite and blow type cow call.
I would caution against focusing too much on what sounds good to you or your friends. The elk are not reading off of the same page we do. Knowing what to say to the elk is far more important than the voice (inherent sound produced by any call). When working and even when hunting I almost always have a roll of plastic surveyors ribbon with me. I have used a piece of it to blow a two note squeal and had bulls answer. I like Elknut's lil Chuckler which I think he calls the EL Chuckler now. It is easy to use and resonates well. I like it better than the vacume cleaner hose I have, but it is yet to be proven that it will call in more elk. If you are not sure which call is best for your situation call Elknut. He will take the time to be sure you are not heading in the wrong direction.
a diaphragm call should be far enough forward in your mouth as not to cause a gag reflex.if your gagging while trying to use one push it further forward.should be just behind where your teeth and gums meet.that said everyone's mouth is shaped different
Marshrat: The Chuckler XTR is the one you are looking for if you don't want a mouth diaphram type call. Also, don't be afraid to just give Elknut a call. He'll talk your leg off. LOL! His phone number is listed on his website and I'm sure he will get you started in the right direction.
I carry 4-5 different calls each day. You never know which call is going to trigger that response.
One of my fav open reed call is 'IMAKA DA BULL CRAZY'
My 'go to' open reed is Wayne Carltons 'Fightin cow'
You still have time to practice with diaphragm calls if you want...
As many have noted, having variety and variation in your calls can be imperative to having success in using calls. I am always carrying 2-3 different cow calls, whether they are the diaphragms, or open reed calls, along with 2-3 different types of diaphragm bull calls. Also, you may find that some diaphragm calls work for you and others may not, so be sure to experiment with different manufactures. Good luck on the practicing and experimenting of calls.