Guns & ammo
Expert advice, appraisals and fascinating firearms stories
Originally called the Model 1912, Winchester’s Model 12 is considered one of the finest pump-action shotguns ever made. It was manufactured from 1912 to 1976, with a total production of nearly two million units. It was offered in a wide range of variations, from trap and skeet models to trench and riot guns for the military and police. All were takedown models that could be easily and quickly disassembled into two pieces for storage or transport.
While prices for rare or unusual versions of the Model 12 are either stable or appreciating, the standard models have been decreasing in value in recent years, unless their condition is exceptionally good. At one time, 12-gauge Winchester 12s were virtually the standard for waterfowl hunting, but softer-recoiling semi-autos and steel shot resulted in most of them being retired. Most common was the 12-gauge, followed by the 16-, 20- and 28-gauges. A .410 version was called the Model 42.
The Model 12 pictured here is a 20-gauge standard field grade model, made in 1942 with a 28-inch full-choke barrel. Although the gun is rust-free and mechanically sound, the finish on the barrel and magazine tube is fairly worn. It recently sold for $350, probably less than it would have brought in five or 10 years ago.