I am researching the model 12, 20 gauge, 2-3/4′ chamber, particularly with the 28-32″ barrel, the 32″ being somewhat rare. I have been using the Madis book and other sources. What I cannot find are:
1) What year and s/n did Winchester 20 ga.change to 2-3/4″ chambers?
2) Was the barrel marked 2-3/4″? One would think so.
Do you have any information?
November 26, 2014
The first thing I feel important to tell you, is do not believe everything you read in the Madis’ book on the Model 12. That reference book contains dozens of errors.
Winchester changed the chamber length on the 16-ga and 20-ga guns in September of 1926, and then announced it in the 1927 catalog. Because there are no surviving factory production records, we do not know what the “first” 20-ga (or 16-ga) gun’s serial number was with the longer 2.75″ chamber. What I can tell you, is that it was somewhere in the 485795 – 487982 serial number range.
The very early guns with the 2-3/4″ chamber were not marked on the barrel. Instead, they were marked on the bottom of the receiver frame just above the loading port (see the attached pictures). I do not know exactly when Winchester began marking the chamber length on the barrels, but I would assume it was shortly after they had used up all of the older barrels still in stock.
In regard to the barrel lengths, Winchester did not ever officially offer or list a 32″ barrel for the Model 12 20-ga guns. The 30-inch barrel length was introduced November 24th, 1930.
WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
March 23, 2010