How versatile can I make a Winchester Model 12?

This is a discussion on How versatile can I make a Winchester Model 12? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I jumped the gun a little in a previous thread. So I need to back track a little. I own a Winchester Model 12, 12 ...

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Thread: How versatile can I make a Winchester Model 12?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    How versatile can I make a Winchester Model 12?

    I jumped the gun a little in a previous thread. So I need to back track a little.

    I own a Winchester Model 12, 12 guage pump shotgun. Received it as a gift from my father. I would like to use it, and make it mine, so it will have more sentimental value when I pass it on to his grandchildren. It is in good condition, and he would use if for pheasant hunting (I think deer a few times).

    I'm one of those crazies who does not like having a lot of guns. I know, CRAZY! I'm a pack rat, and to combat that nature, I'm anti-collection because I always end up being consumed by collecting instead of enjoying the collection. I also find I get to enjoy other's collection more when I'm not trying to collect.

    I don't need a shotgun for duck or deer hunting. My goal with a shotgun (in order) is skeet, trap, turkey hunting, home SD, and maybe rabbit.

    I understand the chamber limitation of the Model 12. I don't mind having a pump (vs a semi-auto). I can live with that. What I'm confused by is how to choke it with out damaging its value / condition (altering the barrel). I would like shotgun with the following chokes: cylinder, improved, modified, and full choke, and skeet.

    Would other options be less expensive (like just buying another shotgun) then trying to get versitility out of the Model 12?

    Thank you for any input.
    Last edited by Thanis; September 9th, 2008 at 10:07 PM.

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  3. #2
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    You can try and find a shorter barrel (18") with a cylinder or open choke; but I would leave it as is. Model 12's are an American icon and IMO should be kept original.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  4. #3
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    Dont mess with it, they have collector value.

    Just swap out the barrel, you can get them many different ways. Short, long, ribbed, unribbed, with any choke, poly chokes,what suits your fancy.

    Click here for an idea...
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  5. #4
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    Especially since they are no longer made. Also the barrel may be questionable for use with steels hot (waterfowl hunting). That said the Model 12 is a great shotgun for hunting. My dad actually owns 2 that were passed down from his dad and grand dad.
    you may be able to find a different barrel to use, some model 12 came with a Cutts comp choke as a factory option I believe. This is an adjustable non removable choke system.
    I use a Browning BPS , but love shooting the model 12 as much (for non waterfowl hunting).
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Ya, I already know I will not do anything, other then hunt and shoot, that might damage this treasure.

    So if I want to get the chokes I want, something might happen to the barrel. So the plan should be to get an already altered barrel and go from there. Before I start the searching & shopping, is this sort of a dead end option (looking for barrels) as it would be more cost effective (vs value) to just buy a new shotgun with more options and versatility.

    Model 12 - 12 GA - CHAM
    --Winchester Proof Steel--
    MOD

    A little heavy (the gun) for a day of skeet (vs say a polymer), but managable. Am I correct to assume the shotgun is:

    Skeet ready.
    Weak for trap.
    Ok for turkey hunting (but a full or turkey choke should be used).
    Just OK for SD
    Ok for rabbit (but improved would be better).

    -or-

    Am I making to much of this. Other then trap, it is a good shotgun to use for all of the above?


    ------------------------------------------

    Reason for post:

    My wife wants a shotgun to shoot sheet and trap. People are helping her make the right purchase, and I don't want to look out of place with my beloved father's shotgun.

    Totally lost on SD shotgun choke, think I'll start another tread on that.

    I'm going to get serious about turkey hunting, and want to bag a few. I think my model 12 might be a good option.

    I've rabbit hunted (but with an uncle and I was not armed). Not sure I will use a shotgun, not sure this is the right shotgun.

    Thank you for the help, as I want to get the stupid questions out of the way.

  7. #6
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    I'm not sure what shooting sheet is. Is that the slang version of shootin "stuff"?
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    I'm not sure what shooting sheet is. Is that the slang version of shootin "stuff"?
    I'm just not good at proof reading. I meant Skeet.

  9. #8
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    Ohhhh, skeet...

    Yes, finding a new barrel will most likely bemore expensive and time consuming than just going out and picking up a new 870.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Shooting sheet.
    Interesting use of words.

    Lets go sheet shooting.
    I'll be there in a minute honey, I'm shooting the sheet with my friends.
    Sheet shooting rocks!
    I'll put 10 bucks on the fact that I' a better sheet shooter than you.
    Sheet shooters do it harder!

    What choke are you wanting exactly?
    What choke is the gun you have ?

    Turkey hunters usually use full, extra full or super full.
    Skeet shooters usually use improved or modified.
    Trap shooters usaully use modified or full.
    Rabbit hunters usally use improved cylinder or modified.
    Self Defense can be anything, but most are improved cylinder or cylinder bore.

    Cant help you with the sheet shooting though. Never heard of it before today.
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  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Thanks for help.

    Model 12 - 12 GA - CHAM
    --Winchester Proof Steel--
    MOD

    What is stamped on barrel. I always assumed the MOD = modified.

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    Yep, modified is a good all around choke for most hunting. Lots of old shotguns are choked with it. There was a reason for that. For hunting rabbits or squirrels too much choke could put too many pellets on target if it was up close and make them hard to eat due to the pellets in the meat.

    Nowadays, as popular as the interchangable chokes are, its hard to find a shotgun with a hard choke in it.
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    Shooting sheet. Now that's funny.

    Sounds like a great idea. I bet they are easier to hit than skeet.

    You could even have separate classes for shooters of different skill levels. King, queen, double, twin.

    seriously though, it would be easier and probably cheaper just to get another gun and save the model 12.

    As far as steel shot for waterfowling, the model 12 aint made for it, but there are other non-toxic shot types on the market that are safe to use in older guns that can't shoot steel. Bismuth is one that comes to mind.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

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    Since I'm a neanderthal I still use a Winchester Model 12, 12 gauge and have for most of my life. Just had a mess of doves for supper last night that were taken with mine. My Model 12 sees serious hunting use year in, year out.

    This is the second Model 12 I've owned and used. It's a Skeet (sheet?) Grade gun with the scarce factory option Cutts Compensator fitted barrel that uses screw-in chokes. It was special ordered from Winchester by a friend of mine in 1941. The Cutts works well for reducing recoil, though it amplifies the report. It is also ugly as all get out. Though it is a scarce factory option I'd prefer the gun to be without it. It is practical and makes for a great dove and duck gun. It's good on the skeet range and I've used this Model 12 some for shooting in local skeet leagues, just for fun. No one would now consider a pump shot gun for serious skeet competition.

    The Model 12 is as smooth and slick as it's reputation suggests and is quite durable. I shot a used, worn out clunk for 15 years, that gun seeing heavy field use for doves and especially ducks. In his old age my friend offered this gun to me and I replaced my first Model 12 with it. Have been using it for about 15 years now.

    I really like the 12 gauge 2 3/4-inch shell best of all and am pleased with the wide range of loadings available for it. I keep a 10 gauge magnum around just for fun but seriously don't have any use for it or the 3-inch magnum or 3 1/2-inch magnum 12 gauge guns. I've not goose hunted but have never found anything that failed to be brought to bag when I turned my 2 3/4-inch 12 gauge guns on it.

    Ducks used to fall readily to lead shot flung at them using Remington Express or Winchester Super-X 2 3/4-inch shells. The 3-inch Magnum 12 gauge shell never seemed necessary to me. I almost quit the sport when steel shot came along. For me the use of bismuth approximates the results I experienced with lead shot and saved the sport for me. I utterly loathe the lead shot ban! It is disrespectful to the quarry to to use steel shot in my view, speaking as a now old geezerly duck hunter who used lead way back before the ban.

    If your gun is choked modified I'd be tickled pink with it as is and would use it happily if it was mine. My first Model 12 was customized with a ugly Poly-Choke when I bought it. This accessory may not look attractive but did work as advertised and greatly increased the utility of the shotgun. You might just want to shoot the shotgun as is and keep an eye peeled for a cheap Model 12 barrel that has been fitted with an after-market Poly Choke. Such a barrel would have no collector appeal and could be had inexpensively. You could either use such a barrel as is or whack the blamed thing off and have screw-in chokes fitted.

  15. #14
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    "Skeet ready.
    Weak for trap.
    Ok for turkey hunting (but a full or turkey choke should be used).
    Just OK for SD
    Ok for rabbit (but improved would be better)."



    In my view:

    Your modified choke is a bit tight for skeet but would do. You wouldn't loose too many targets.

    Modified's a bit open for trap but would do nicely if you get on the target rapidly.

    Bet you can kill the hooey out of turkeys with the modified choke.

    The modified choke is less important than is the overall length of the shogun for self defense. I imagine your Model 12 is likely a 28-inch gun, a bit unwieldy for household use. Not a deal breaker though and I'd feel good holding a Model 12 bird gun in my hands to repel boarders. They'd have a lot more to be concerned about than I would.

    I'd probably choose modified for rabbits.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    I really like my father's model 12 that he gave me, and when I pass it down, I want it to mean more to his grandchildren.

    I think I'll hit the gun shows and look for a model 12 customized barrel with the "...ugly Poly-Choke."

    Still have to think about it. Don't want to be outclasses by my wife's new shotgun, but maybe it is best for her to have the edge at skeet / trap. Just wish I could get her to turkey hunt. :)

    Very happy I did the thread. Always looking for more thoughts. Thank you everyone.

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