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Model 12 identification
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Jim1961xyz
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February 3, 2018 - 3:51 am
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I have read a number of books (i.e., Madis and others) and was wondering if anyone might have comments that help me understand what model 12 I have. Measurements may be a little off as i just used a tape.

Serial 1,745,XXX. Looks like a late 1959 gun. It has 3 barrels all serials match the receiver. It is a 12G – 2 3/4 Chamber in very good shape, the only wear is the slide comes back. Otherwise the bluing is good as is the wood.

Barrel #1 is 27 1/4″ from end of the threads to the end of the “deluxe polychoke” It has a vent rib with lines parallel to the bore. There is no indication of a manufacturer for the rib. The supports are round. The barrel shows WS-1. There is a proof mark on the top left side by the receiver that looks like a stylized P and W in a circle. It has a white bead front and middle site. The slide looks like a standard Winchester (walnut diamond checking) but its long 9 1/2″ to 9 5/8″.

Barrel # 2 is 25 3/4″ -26″. It is also marked WS-1. The vent rib is marked Simmons Gun Specialties Inc. Kansas City Mo on the left side. The supports are half moons. There are two proof marks at least one looks like a P in a circle the other maybe a failed attempt at a mark. They are both upper left side almost top of the barrel by the receiver. The beads are white but do not match barrel 1. The slide is also 9 1/2″ to 9 5/8″ but the pattern for the checking is not like anything I have seen on a Winchester. It is not super ornate but is slightly carved with checking.

Barrel #3 is 30″ full choke. The slide, rib and beads match barrel #2. The proof mark is in the same approximate location as the others and looks like an I in a circle.

The receiver extractor and loading gate are jeweled. The stock is very slightly proud of the receiver at the top and slightly low or just flush at the bottom. The stock is a pistol grip walnut stock matching the color and wood of the three slides but the carving/checkering is non-Winchester and matches the slides on #2 and 3. It has a Pachmyr recoil pad. The stock has a white and black plastic or ivory half inch wide band/inlay where it meets the pad. It is just slightly proud of the stock. The cap in the pistol grip looks like carved ivory or plastic with some black in the recesses for effect.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

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February 3, 2018 - 5:10 am
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Jim,

Your Model 12 was manufactured in 1957, not 1959.  It is not factory original, and barrels #2 and #3 are not original to the gun.  It appears that a previous owner had the gun reworked, and added the extra barrels to it at a later date.

Bert

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Jim1961xyz
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February 3, 2018 - 12:19 pm
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Thank you. My thought was Simmons did the work but I was confused by the proof marks being visible (not hidden by the ribs) and the matching serial numbers on all barrels. Any way to tell if the poly choke is factory installed?

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February 3, 2018 - 4:15 pm
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If Model 12s (or any model) were returned to the factory to have a second or third barrel fitted, does this qualify them as “not original Winchester”?

I have a standard grade two barrel model 12 Ser. #1020423 (both receiver extensions identically stamped). The 30″ full choke barrel date stamped “45” with the round slide handle.  The second barrel 26″ CYL. choke with the barrel date stamped “47” and it has the flat bottomed slide handle.  Does this qualify it as “not factory original”?

I have always believed that if Winchester did the work the gun would be classified “original”.  This would also include guns returned for repair.  Am I incorrect in this belief?

I am continually trying to learn and not be mistaken in my knowledge of understanding what is correct.

Your help in understanding this will be appreciated.

Thanks.

RDB

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February 3, 2018 - 11:50 pm
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Jim1961xyz said
Thank you. My thought was Simmons did the work but I was confused by the proof marks being visible (not hidden by the ribs) and the matching serial numbers on all barrels. Any way to tell if the poly choke is factory installed?  

In answer to your question about the Poly Choke, Yes, there is a way to tell if it is original, and you provided that information in your description of the barrel and the markings on it.  You stated that it is marked “WS-1”, which means that it was originally choked “Winchester Skeet 1”.  When Winchester factory installed a Poly Choke (rare), the barrel was not marked with a choke constriction.

Barrels #2 & #3 have the mail order proof mark on them (based on your description), and as you noted, the Simmons marked Vent Ribs.  By the late 1950s, Winchester installed their own Vent Ribs.

Matching serial numbers are relatively easy to make, well within the capabilities of Simmons, and proof marks are easy to add to the barrel after the rib was installed.

Bert

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February 3, 2018 - 11:57 pm
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rogertherelic said
If Model 12s (or any model) were returned to the factory to have a second or third barrel fitted, does this qualify them as “not original Winchester”?

I have a standard grade two barrel model 12 Ser. #1020423 (both receiver extensions identically stamped). The 30″ full choke barrel date stamped “45” with the round slide handle.  The second barrel 26″ CYL. choke with the barrel date stamped “47” and it has the flat bottomed slide handle.  Does this qualify it as “not factory original”?

I have always believed that if Winchester did the work the gun would be classified “original”.  This would also include guns returned for repair.  Am I incorrect in this belief?

I am continually trying to learn and not be mistaken in my knowledge of understanding what is correct.

Your help in understanding this will be appreciated.

Thanks.

RDB  

Roger,

If Winchester did the work, then Yes, it should be considered “original”.  However, in the case of Jim’s Model 12, there are lots of clues that indicate that it was not Winchester’s handiwork.

Bert

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February 4, 2018 - 2:51 am
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Thanks Bert.  I somehow missed the circle P referenced in the earlier post. 

Read twice, before asking questions!  New rule!

So where do the guns returned to Winchester, for barrel or caliber change and refinishing, fit in?  Such as the late 1930’s period where Winchester offered these changes for the 1885s (219 ZIPPER, 218 BEE, 22 HORNET, etc.)?

RDB

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February 4, 2018 - 4:11 am
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Roger,

If it can be verified (which is rare) that Winchester swapped a barrel, or refinished a particular gun, it will not have a significant negative effect on the value.

Bert

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Jim1961xyz
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February 4, 2018 - 5:17 pm
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Thank you all for your time.  While I do not care if this particular gun is “original”, I am interested in better understanding the guns I own, most of which are hand me downs. It is the mystery I find interesting.  For example, I would love to figure out if Gramp’s model 1917 Eddystone is actually the one he carried in France and goes with his bayonet, uniform medals etc or did he as I assume, buy it later, but that is another mystery.  A few observations on closer inspection:

1) There are no barrel dates visible without disassembly on the underside of any of the barrels.

2) The proof on barrel #2 has a horizontal oval (wide left to right not top to bottom). This is in contrast to the proofs on the other two barrels where the oval is long top to bottom not left to right.  In addition, the location of the proof is noticeably different than on barrels #1 and #3, not to mention it is double proofed once poorly and once acceptably but not as strong as on #1 and #3.

3) It appears #3 actually has a PW in the oval.  They eyes are getting old, but I still don’t know how I missed that.  It is not as clear at the far right of the “belly” of the P. I guess it could be an IW but sure looks like a PW. #1 and #3 appears to be struck in the same spot, whereas #2 is closer to the rib/top of the barrel.

So, how did this odd set come together? A few questions or points of emphasis are in bold.

In 57 an order is placed for a gun with jeweled ejector and loading gates, a 26″ (or perhaps 28″) WS-1 barrel with a long forearm (is 9 1/2″ or so long?), typical Winchester diamonds (single left, right and bottom) with standard checking and a factory (?) vented rib (round supports).  What model did we likely start with? 

At some point, a someone installs a deluxe poly choke on the original WS-1 barrel (barrel #1). The install looks well done but was not done by Winchester because apparently they would never poly choke a barrel already marked WS-1 (even if the gun is sent back to them). 

I assume the poly choke was installed before ordering barrels #2 and #3. I make this assumption because #2 and #3 have identical Simmons ribs and non-Winchester forearms that match the non-Winchester stock (~13.75+” LOP). Otherwise I seem to have a situation where the whole gun is sent out to a gun smith (Simmons?) who poly choked the original WS-1 barrel, restocked the gun, installed matching forearms on the second 26″ WS-1 and 30″ full choke barrels and did not replace the forearm on the original WS-1 (barrel #1) to create a matching set. Possible, but odd.

I guess the poly choke with 6 choke options did not give sufficient performance, so an identical mail order 26″ WS-1 barrel and likely the 30″ full choke barrel (barrels #2 and #3) were ordered.  I assume mail order barrels came from Winchester without forearms so the gun and two mail order barrels were sent to Simmons, and they installed forearms and ribs and replaced the stock.  

I am not clear who put matching serial numbers on these barrels (Winchester, Simmons, other?). I assume at least the original (#1) was done by Winchester. Oddly the serial numbers on #1 and #2 look exactly the same whereas, number #3 looks a little different (the font is the same but the 9 is weaker).

If a WP rather than P proof on barrel #3 (30″ full choke) suggests it was part of the original set then I am really perplexed.

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February 4, 2018 - 7:38 pm
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Jim,

I certainly understand your desire to learn more about the gun, and how it came to be what it is today. Unfortunately, the person who more than likely knew the answers to your questions (your grandfather) is no longer able to provide them. What I will suggest to you at this point, is that you locate and purchase a copy of Dave Riffle’s fine reference book on the Model 12 – “The Greatest Hammerless Repeating Shotgun Ever Built The Model 12, 1912-1964” as it will help answer many of your questions about how & what Winchester did with the Model 12.

Bert

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Jim1961xyz
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February 12, 2018 - 3:04 am
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Finished the recommended books.  Looks like a Simmons gun or a gun that was reworked by Simmons. One last oddity. The receiver is not proof marked, but the gun does not appear to have been re-blued. Some on line comments suggest that means it was acquired by Simmons, customized and then sold as a set (a Simmons gun vs a reworked gun). 

It functions great.  I plan to shoot it at the local trap and skeet club. My hand me down Wingmaster may be getting a break. 

Thanks for the advice.

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Kel
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June 3, 2024 - 8:06 pm
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Model 12 1686380 how old?

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June 3, 2024 - 9:13 pm
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Kel said
Model 12 1686380 how old?

It was manufactured in February 1956.

Bert

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Nate2978
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June 9, 2024 - 10:48 am
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I recently secured two model 12s both over 100 years old and in very good shape. (The older is model 1912) Both SN are under 376xxx. The younger one is a very brilliant bronze color instead of blued. Also has initials stamped on the receiver. I was wondering if this is from the factory or how do I find out.

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June 9, 2024 - 4:18 pm
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Nate2978 said
I recently secured two model 12s both over 100 years old and in very good shape. (The older is model 1912) Both SN are under 376xxx. The younger one is a very brilliant bronze color instead of blued. Also has initials stamped on the receiver. I was wondering if this is from the factory or how do I find out.

The odds are extremely high that the bronze colored gun is not factory original.  Can you provide clear pictures of it?

Bert

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Nare2978
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June 9, 2024 - 4:30 pm
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Im having difficulty putting images from my phone on the forum. I can email them if you like. 

my email is

[email protected]

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June 9, 2024 - 4:45 pm
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Nare2978 said
Im having difficulty putting images from my phone on the forum. I can email them if you like. 

my email is

[email protected]

Nate,

You can send the pictures to – [email protected]

Bert

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June 9, 2024 - 5:01 pm
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Bert H. said

Nare2978 said

Im having difficulty putting images from my phone on the forum. I can email them if you like. 

my email is

[email protected]

Nate,

You can send the pictures to – [email protected]

Bert

  

I sent them along with the SN 375818 the other one is SN 107447

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June 9, 2024 - 5:07 pm
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Pictures received, and that gun has positively been reblued/refinished.

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June 9, 2024 - 5:12 pm
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Bert H. said
Pictures received, and that gun has positively been reblued/refinished.

  

Feel free to share them on the forum 

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