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M12 Trench Gun
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April 29, 2017 - 3:39 am
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Saw what appeared to be an honest trench gun last weekend. Right markings, right SN range, even a few battle scars. 70% or better gun. Price seemed OK @ $2300 but couldn’t get serious about it. Bad vibes, I guess.

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April 29, 2017 - 7:47 am
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TXGunNut said
Saw what appeared to be an honest trench gun last weekend. Right markings, right SN range, even a few battle scars. 70% or better gun. Price seemed OK @ $2300 but couldn’t get serious about it. Bad vibes, I guess.  

You may have made the biggest mistake of your life. A M97 or M12 Trenchgun in good condition, and 100% original, is worth much, much, more. Big LarryDSCF0480.JPGImage Enlarger

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April 29, 2017 - 11:26 am
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Big Larry said

You may have made the biggest mistake of your life. A M97 or M12 Trenchgun in good condition, and 100% original, is worth much, much, more. Big LarryDSCF0480.JPGImage Enlarger  

 Maybe the second biggest, I thought the first biggest was when a guy says ” I do”…………Wink

 

Erin

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April 29, 2017 - 4:20 pm
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I don’t know enough about the trench guns to buy one right now, Larry. I bought or traded for three guns that weekend but wasn’t really planning on buying any, was more focused on selling. That member never spent much time at his table so I never got the chance to meet him. Something didn’t seem right about that gun, just couldn’t put my finger on it. Will study up a bit before the next show, maybe it will be there again.

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April 29, 2017 - 4:22 pm
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TXGunNut said 
Something didn’t seem right about that gun, just couldn’t put my finger on it. Will study up a bit before the next show, maybe it will be there again.  

If it is still there at that price next show then you will know for sure something is wrong with it………

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April 29, 2017 - 8:24 pm
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Maybe so, not sure how many shows he does. Suspect he only does the club shows.

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April 29, 2017 - 9:54 pm
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Mike,

There are at least a few thousand FAKE Model 1897 and Model 12 Trench Guns out there… like anything else that is desirable and worth good money, the scumbags of the world have been faking them for a long time in the hopes of selling them to unsuspecting buyers. Caveat Emptor!

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April 30, 2017 - 4:42 am
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This one had all the characteristics described in the Red Book and they all looked good, any clues to look for in a fake? A trench gun isn’t really something I’m looking for other than possibly as an investment.

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April 30, 2017 - 6:18 am
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It would frankly take too long to describe what to look for, and it varies depending on when exactly the gun was made. Like everything else that Winchester manufactured, there were numerous production changes that took place at various times in the production run. It is important to what those changes were, and when in the production run they were made.

Sorry to be so vague, but it is becoming way too easy for the wrong people to read and learn from the details we post on this forum, and I frankly refuse to help them learn the errors of their deceitful ways.

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April 30, 2017 - 7:30 am
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Big Larry said

You may have made the biggest mistake of your life. A M97 or M12 Trenchgun in good condition, and 100% original, is worth much, much, more. Big LarryDSCF0480.JPGImage Enlarger  

I too may have missed a gem. A widow was selling her late husband’s guns of which included a nice M12 Trenchgun S/N 993353. It had been appriased at $2000 by a local gunsmith who I am not sure he knew what it was worth. The gun appeared to match all the information I could find ( Red Book and others) but I could not convince myself that it was right. Part of the uneasiness was probablely due to a BAD deal on a Model 70 pre 64 257 Roberts Super Grade some years ago. If you are not sure what you are looking at – leave it. RR

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April 30, 2017 - 3:27 pm
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Bottom line I recalled earlier posts on the subject and felt I was more likely to encounter a fake than a genuine example. In this situation I feel the seller probably didn’t know what he had but I didn’t want to be in the same position after spending $2300. I’ve made a few poor buying decisions because I didn’t know enough about the gun I was buying. I’ve also been lucky a time or two but I think I made the right call this time.

I understand about your reluctance to tell how to determine a fake, Bert. I’m well aware that lurkers far outnumber forum members at any given time. I guess we’ll have to discuss this another time.

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April 30, 2017 - 3:45 pm
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It pretty much takes an expert to evaluate these US  shotguns. 98% of them have the wrong or fake handguards. Faked stock cartouches are another problem. Reworked and or parkerized US shotguns are another factor. When these guns reach $10,000 status, there is going to be a glut of fakes and parts guns start to show up. Like any other type firearm, it is best to know your field of collecting. Real nice, 100%  US shotguns are a valuable commodity. The accoutrements are also being faked. Shotshell pouches, M1917 bayonets, and some web gear. The correct ammo is another thing. A nice, sealed box of WW2 brass 00 Buck will set you back over $500. Paper shells, once common, can also be faked. There is always someone out there to prey on innocent folks for a few bucks. If you aren’t sure of a purchase, pass until you can consult with an expert. I used to consider myself an expert on US militaria, but I quit collecting that stuff years ago. The shotgun I have pictured is one of the last M97’s made. 1943 vintage. Still smart enough to recognize a deal, I got that gun for under $3,000 and it is “drippy mint”. Someday, I may trade it for a real nice M1886 or M1892, both of which I already have. Big Larry

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April 30, 2017 - 5:17 pm
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I like the 97 trench gun better but not really all that interested in trench guns except as investments. I was looking for a nice 97 shooter but the only one I found had spent a few hours on a buffing wheel before rebluing and the action didn’t feel right…but once again I didn’t know enough about the gun to know if it was badly worn or just dry or gunked up.

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May 1, 2017 - 2:40 am
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Talk about a big mistake in buying a Trench Gun! In 1964 I had an opportunity to buy a very nice Model 12 Trench Gun complete with hand guard and bayonet for $50 and maybe even less from a person I was working for. The gun was sold to a native fur trapper who took it to his remote trap cabin on the James Bay coast. I tried to buy it from the trapper two years later and was told he had left in in the bush because it was “no good no more”. I have made many poor choices with gun purchases and sales over the decades but this one remains the most regrettable.

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May 1, 2017 - 2:56 am
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Is the correct finish blue or Parkerized?

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May 1, 2017 - 12:15 pm
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TXGunNut said
Is the correct finish blue or Parkerized?  

Mike,

Winchester used both types of finish on the Model 12 Trench Gun… you need to know specifically when the gun was made to determine which finish type is correct.

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May 2, 2017 - 1:40 am
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This one was blue, thought that was odd but didn’t know. I didn’t write the serial number down but think it was just under 200,000. Probably 199 or 198,XXX.

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May 2, 2017 - 2:58 am
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Mike,

That serial number would make it a WW I Model 1912 Trench Gun, and they were all high polish blued. Winchester did not use the parkerized finish until that latter part of WW II.

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May 2, 2017 - 3:05 am
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I may have misremembered the SN. This gun had ordnance markings. Some day I’ll learn to take better notes, maybe even pics.

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May 2, 2017 - 3:58 pm
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An original WW2 parked M12 serial number would be in the 1,030,000 range if my memory serves me correctly, which it doesn’t these days. These guns are poorly finished with many tooling marks on them. They have a GHD cartouche on the stock. Not rare, but uncommon. They bring a very hefty price tag. I think I sold mine for $5,000 many years back. It came out of the Bob Norse collection.   Big Larry

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