Polychokes, Good Or Bad?

Dear Technoid:

The idea behind the polychoke seems inspired: why mess around with interchangeable chokes, when a twist of the wrist will do. I know two outstanding shooters who use them, and yet I have never read a review that didn’t either damn them with faint praise, or imply that somehow it is terribly unchic to use them. What gives?


Dear Henry,

In 1990 I lucked out and beat 240 other hopefuls (Including Andy Duffy and Charles Schneible) to win the Connecticut State Sporting Clays Championship. I used a Remington 1100 with a Polychoke. Since then Andy and Charles have turned professional (and progressed out of my league) and I switched to the more reliable Beretta 303 gas gun with standard screw chokes, but the Polychoke still has a warm place in my heart.

No damning the Polychoke with faint praise here. It was absolutely great. Each click was EXACTLY .005″ on my gun. I used it on a plain barrel, not vent rib, to keep the weight down. I also was using the caged model which, in theory, might have reduced a touch of recoil- tough to tell with the soft shooting gas pipes.

Funny thing. After winning a big shoot like that, I thought that everyone and his brother would ask me about that Polychoke. No one did. Not a soul. It was sort of like a fart at a dinner party. Everyone knows that it happened, but no one wants to comment on it. At that time you could not have gotten a sporting clays shooter to use a gas gun for love or money, much less with a Polychoke on it.

I have had Polychokes on three or four guns ranging from that 1100 to an 870 and a Model 12. The device has always worked well for me and, after a bit of testing settings at the pattern board, has thrown the entire range of patterns from cylinder bore to full. I have never worn one out or broken a collet. The Polychoke is not as popular now as it once was simply because most new guns now come with screw chokes. The instant choke selection of the Polychoke, particularily valuable in sporting clays and certain hunting situations, has been overlooked.

There are only three possible problems with the device. The first is that it might not be properly installed (put on straight).

The second problem is that installation of a Polychoke on a “collectible” like a Model 12 Winchester will absolutely kill its resale value.

The third problem is that some people object to the way that the Polychoke slightly intrudes into the line of sight. If you are an “aimer”, this could be a problem. Then again, if you are an aimer you already know that you have problems. If you concentrate on the target as you should, you will barely notice it. In fact, I found that the Polychoke kept me from aiming and thus stopping my swing.

Yes, sir. No faint praise for the Polychoke here. I loved them.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, but never in doubt.)

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2 Responses to Polychokes, Good Or Bad?

  1. William R Eddleman says:

    I too had good results with the Poly Choke. Proper installation as The Technoid said was critical. I always favored the non-vented Poly because it was a bit less obtrusive looking and not as loud to those standing nearby. The convenience in the field or anywhere is far superior to choke tubes.
    An interesting fact shown by the Poly Choke is that you can get well formed patterns without having a choke parallel section. The Poly Choke did not have any that I could detect.

    I found that by removing the outer sleeve and periodically cleaning the “fingers” and applying a bit of grease to the threads it would keep working much better. I also found the different choke settings to be just a guide and one needed to experiment to get the actual choke you wanted. For example on more than one gun, the LF setting gave me a tighter pattern than the F did with the ammo I was using.


  2. Jim Garren says:

    Another Polychoke fan here, I have one on a ribbed 870 and would agree that it works as advertised. Out of style is the only explanation I can think of, sad to see them go.


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