Back in the Dark Ages when you ordered a shotgun, one of the decisions you agonized over was choke-boring, and some still agonize over it today. The full choke you use for the goose spread might not be the best choice for the dove fields and a lot of us couldn't afford more than one shotgun. With a new Remchester pump going for $100.00, that was about a week's pay for an honest working man in the late '50s or early '60s.
No one had heard of choke tubes. Winchoke, Invector, and Rem-Choke were all futuristic fantasies. However, that's not to say that all shotguns were fixed choke.
You had Poly-Choke, and Cutts Compensator as choices; sometimes the only choice if you wanted a quick change of shotgun chokes. They were ugly. They were really ugly, stuck out on the end of your shotgun barrel. They actually decreased the value of the shotgun.
But boy, did they work. One gun could he employed in a goose spread in the morning and spend the afternoon busting coveys of quail.
The Winchester Model 12 I bought earlier this week has a Poly Choke on it. This isn't the first gun I've owned that had one. I've owned fixed chokes, screw-in chokes, and adjustable chokes. A quick look through my cabinet shows all three types. My big waterfowl 12 gauge has a shot-out full choke that patterns just about like an improved modified and is deadly out to 40 yards with the right load. My 20 gauge Win 1200 has screw-in chokes, as does my Remington 870 riot gun. If I were forced to find my other chokes, I probably could. They're in a box somewhere near the gun cabinet, but it would probably take me an hour of so to find the correct box after our last move. So, till I get completely unpacked (it's been two years), those shotguns are effectively fixed choke.
I was googling today and found that they still make the Poly Choke and the Cutts Compensator. I was never a fan of the Cutts, but some folks liked them. I did like the Poly-Choke, though, because it was a one-piece unit.
I see where Poly-Choke makes an adjustable unit for screw-in chokes. That is a darned good idea. Sure, it ruins the lines of the gun, but it is just dandy for adjusting choke to conditions. With adjustable constriction from cylinder bore to extra full choke, you have eight different degrees of constriction. They claim a ninth degree, or a spreader choke, but it is hard for me to understand how that works. If the choke is more open than cylinder bore, the effect is that of having a marginally shorter barrel.
Still, it's good to see that a company I thought was dead and gone is still alive and running. I might have to put a couple of Poly-Chokes on my wish list for future holidays. In the meantime, I need to find that box of choke tubes.