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<  16ga. Guns  ~  Win. Mod. 12 w/ Poly Choke question
Sharptail
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 2:27 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 6
Location: Edmonton, Ab. Ca.

I recently acquired a Winchester Model 12 in 16 gauge. It has, I believe, a 2 9/16th inch chamber. The serial number is 958XX, dating it to 1915. It is a field grade gun with no rib. The gun is equipped with a Poly Choke device, marked as being manufactured in Hartford, Connecticut. Also stamped on it is "Single Turn". It has five marked positions, Cyl, Mod, Full and two intermediate positions, presumably Imp. Cyl and Imp. Mod. The muzzle end is vented. The barrel measures 26 1/2 inches to the end of the Poly Choke, and about 25 inches to the end of the collet.

Other than the fact that the Poly Choke could be ordered as a factory installed option, I am completely ignorant of the device, and would like to determine if the unit installed on my gun is original or an aftermarket installation. I suspect the latter, as the barrel is stamped "Full". However, a local gun dealer told me that it was not unheard of for Winchester to take a completed barrel and install the Poly Choke, and that the "Full" stamp does not necessarily indicate an aftermarket installation. At the time I was told this, I did not know the age of the gun. Did Poly Choke even exist in 1915? One source I found through Google indicated that the Poly Choke originated in the 1950's, another site was trying to sell a Model 12 with a Poly Choke installed, claiming it to be factory original and dating it to 1923. Does anyone here know the history of the Poly Choke? Is there any sure - fire way of determining a Winchester factory installation?

I am not a collector, I am not trying to sell the gun, and I could care less if the Poly Choke is original or not. I would like to determine as many details about the gun as I can. While my primary focus is upland hunting and double guns (especially in 16 gauge!) I have a soft spot for old Model 12's, and this one just seemed to hit the right chord.

Thank you in advance for any information or opinions you may offer.

Sharptail
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offhand35
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:10 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 182
Location: Western Connecticut

Poly-Choke is still alive and well. It is currently located in Fond du Lac, WI.
Look at their website: www.poly-choke.com
One of their tabs is an instruction sheet, which describes the proper use of the Poly-Choke. The instructions apply to the Hartford address units as well.

Another tab on the website has a history page.

I had a Model 12 (1952) 2 3/4" and have now a Browning Auto-5 2 9/16"(1934), both 16ga with Poly-Chokes on them. They both produce GREAT patterns.

What I did find is that they [at least the 2 I have experience with ..] have a tendency to shoot a little high from what might be expected for POI, almost like a trap gun. This is a good thing when shooting at a rising bird.....

I found it very interesting to read a letter in a recent issue of Gun List from someone who had a Model 12 20ga cmplaining that it shot high......

You could call Poly-choke or ask them about this.......If you pattern your gun, and you really should....you may find the same result....it would be important to know!..

I mostly hunt small game [read that squirrels.....the partridge and rabbit populations are practically zip around much of CT due to the weather, development, ageing forest habitat changes, and coyotes] and it defiantely helps to know that I have to put the bead UNDER my target area rather than cover it with the bore as I do with my H&R 16ga....

Back to patterns.....if you do pattern yours, it would be interesting to hear what you think of it.....I think mine work very well...
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Sharptail
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:07 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 6
Location: Edmonton, Ab. Ca.

Offhand35, thank you kindly for your reply. The link to the website you posted gave me one important piece of information - "Poly-Choke was created by E.F. White of Hartford, CT in the 1920's." This precludes the unit on my gun from being an original installation (as I suspected). I will call them on Monday and see if any further information may be obtained.

I was intending to go out and pattern the gun this weekend, but the dreaded "W" word interfered, and now it will have to wait until next weekend. It is pleasing to hear that you have had positive results with both of your units. The one installed on mine appears undamaged, although as it is adjusted from IC to CYL a little looseness appears in the threads, and the rotating head will "wiggle" very slightly. From the first intermediate setting (IC) on up to Full the threads are tight, and exhibit no play. Did either of your units have this trait? I think I will avoid the use of the CYL setting for now.

Your comments on the Poly Choked guns shooting high are interesting. I had been speculating that the gun would shoot low, as the bead is raised compared to a gun without the Poly Choke. In addition, the increased diameter of the muzzle causes your eye to look a little higher than it would over a normal barrel. A raised front sight should cause the gun to shoot a little lower, or so I thought. Now I am anxious to get out to the patterning board! I will definitely report my findings back to you.

Thank you again for your input.

Sharptail
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offhand35
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 4:54 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 04 Feb 2005
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Location: Western Connecticut

I also thought the raising of the front sight with the Poly-Choke would lower the POI, and so was surprised at the actual patterning results....it did explain why my 1st round of trap with one of these was so poor....

As to the looseness that you see in the setting, I have not seen any at all in mine, the threads all seem very close fit.
Be sure that as per the instruction sheet on the website, that you crank it down hard as far as it will go, just a little past the FULL setting, and THEN back off to the choke setting that you want, anywhere from FULL to IC or CYL. If you don't do this, any setting that you choose will not be correct.

I'm looking forward to hear your results with yours!
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Sharptail
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:42 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 6
Location: Edmonton, Ab. Ca.

Well, the gun was fired for patterns this weekend, and shot a couple of rounds of continental (wobble) trap as well. The Poly Choke worked well! As per instructions, with the choke set to full, the gun patterned about 70 percent, maybe a hair less, with 7 1/2 shot. This is a little lighter than what I believe a full choke should be, but that could easily be due to my ammunition (I had only 1 load to try). As the choke was opened up, so did the patterns in a pleasing, progressive manner. Patterns were fairly smooth, with a little tendency to group in the centre. Only 2 shots had a hole in the pattern that I considered significant, and again it could have been due to the shells. In other words, this device works as well as choke tubes, with the advantage of not having to carry around extra tubes.

As for the point of impact, the gun did shoot a little high, but in what I consider the "normal" range of shot placement. On the patterning board it put about two thirds of the pattern above the point of aim at 40 yards. On the trap field that meant I could hit the fast vertical risers, but could still hit the "lawnmowers" without undue adjustment to my sight picture.

All in all, I am more than a little happy with this 90 year old girl!. The stock is too short for me, so I used a slip on pad - I will have to come up with a more permanent solution. I experienced no mechanical glitches, and the action is as smooth as silk. The gun will not win any beauty contests, and it does not have the thoroughbred handling of a good SXS, but it is far livelier (and lighter) than the 12 gauge version and like all Model 12's that I have shot with anywhere near my correct LOP, it shoots where I look. I do believe that I lucked out with this one - I wish I could say the same of all my guns.

Sharptail
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Wolfchief
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:23 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 15 Oct 2004
Posts: 722
Location: Indiana

Sharptail: Nothing points as well as a Model 12. I took my full choke, 28" 16 ga. out to South Dakota last week for pheasants and went 11 for 15 in a hellish wind. A better field gun for pheasants than the Model 12 has yet to be invented.....

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