Winchester Model 50


June 16, 2005, 01:37 AM
A long time friend of mine has a Winchester Model 50, 12ga, 28 inch barrel, full choke, as near as I can tell mfg in 1958. (SN: 1393xx)He's moving out of the country, and while I'll probably end up storing it for him anyway since I have a gun safe, I think I might like to make him an offer for it, since I know he needs the cash.
It's in pretty good shape, a few light flecks here and there. I've stripped it before (PITA) and gotten all the muck out, and although it's relatively non user friendly when it comes to tearing down, I really kind of like the old dog.
Anyone run one regularly and have any helpful commentary? What's a fair price for one in pretty good shape? I'd tack on a bit of a premium, I think, because we shot it together growing up, and the nostalgia value personally is worth something.

If you enjoyed reading about "Winchester Model 50" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Tom Held
June 16, 2005, 08:08 AM
With the exception of the Super X1 the Model 50 is the finest semi-auto shotgun made by Winchester. It's built on a steel frame, extremely strong action, simple to disassemble and clean, and should fire tens of thousands of rounds with no problems. I still have a 20 gauge that my father bought for me in 1957 and it shoots just fine to this day. I also have a couple of 12s. These are great guns if you'relooking for a semi-auto. Today's prices will range from $300 to $500 for a field model. Buy it.

Uncle Alvah
June 17, 2005, 06:25 PM
I agree, buy it. I put a lot of rounds thru my ex-father in laws and loved the gun! His had a darn compensator on it, which most seem to, but I'd have prefered it without. I did have the hammer on it break, and thought I was going to die of old age before I could find a replacement, but eventually found one. They also made the Model 50 with a fiberglass barrel with a steel liner called the Winlite(Model 51?), but they are really scarce.
If you DON"T buy it, let me know and I will! $300 or so sounds right to me.

June 17, 2005, 06:54 PM
The fiberglass barreled ones were the model 59s. Both are great guns and if you get a chance to buy one do it!

January 10, 2007, 11:02 PM
The Model 50 is a great shotgun. I have owned a 12 Ga. with a plain barrel in modified for over 40 years. I have hunted with it often. To the best of my knowledge it has never jammed or failed to chamber another round or let me down in any way. I have also had two 20 Ga's for the last 15 years. They also have shot and operated perfectly. Bottom line...even though it has not been manufactured for over 45 years, and was not very popular, it is a great shotgun. In my opinion, as good as any Autoloader ever made.


January 11, 2007, 01:45 AM
The Winchester Model 50 also had a lightweight version called the Featherweight. Used a high-strength aluminum alloy for the frame, with only a few problems, overall.

The model 59 frame was probably this one just re-marked and with the fiberglass WINLITE barrel, which happened to be the barrel available with the WINLITE choke tube system, the forerunner to the more common WINCHOKE.

I have had to fix a few frame cracks on the aluminum frames that developed through the bolt handle slot to attempt to extend towards the rear along the right side.
See picture 1.

The c-shaped mark and partial hole at the end of the slot was designed to short-circuit the vibrational flexing at the narrow end of the slot that made occasional cracks develop.

Picture 2 shows the crack that has developed through the magazine tube hole in this frame, a somewhat uncommon problem, and not one that would stop this from being functional, just not worth repairing what is still just cosmetics.

Picture 3 shows the action tube threaded into the frame at the rear. If this is ever allowed to loosen and be used despite the part being partially engaged in the threads, the aluminum will fail at some point and you have no threads. The large spring tube that threads on the rear of this is able to be tightened more if this tube is not seated, so the stock may be tightened, but not in the best and proper manner.

I have fixed the threads in the rear of these frames when they have been stripped in the manner described here.

I just recently finished a thorough clean-n-examine of an old rabbit hunter's favorite, a steel frame 50, and for something with nearly 50 years of use, some parts were quite low on wear. Most were only moderate on pounding and wear, so the refit was not extensive compared to many other vintage firearms with lesser amounts of use.

January 11, 2007, 06:26 PM
The 59 does have an aluminum receiver. I'm glad I haven't seen any cracks like that on mine yet but then again that's why I have three. If one starts to break I have parts :)
May 20, 2009, 03:12 PM
Hi there,

I'm new in here. I just bought a model 50 yesterday. Its a 12 guage 30in full choke. I did a couple of rounds in the range. I'm using a #8 lead for now. Maybe in winter I might join the duck hunt. Can you guys advise me what brand,number shot and size number can I use.

The dealer that I got it from told me any material except steel coz it might banana peel my barrel. The only problem in CA is you can't hunt lead it has to be steel. You can also email at

May 20, 2009, 03:29 PM
Well, steel shot and a thin vintage full choke barrel are not a marrage made in heaven.

First, there is no danger of a bananna peel blow-up.

What will happen though is, the choke will be beat out from the steel shot pounding, and a ring will develop on the outside which will likely pop the vent rib loose.

Second, a full choke is too tight to pattern at all well with steel shot.

Your only option now is to shoot nothing but softer lead-free bismuth or other shot safe to use in the older guns.

Bismuth is no longer being made.
But two lead-free brands are currently available.
Kent Tungsten-Matrix and EnvironMetal Class Double shells are safe to use in your full-choke gun.


Tom Held
May 20, 2009, 06:43 PM
You have lots of options. You can have choke tubes installed but for the price of that you can probably easily find two new barrels. I would look for a Skeet barrel and a Modified or Improved Cylinder. They will all easily interchange.
May 22, 2009, 01:23 PM
Thank you very much. I think I will shoot alot of traps first and might get a loaner gun to hunt this winter. I tried and the barrel is out of stock and I will check again next week.

October 6, 2009, 11:23 PM
I own and shoot four M-50's Two reg. and one Featherweight 12 ga. plus one 20 Ga. WS1 Skeet. A couple are Cutts Equipped and there is not a better Skeet gun going... The 20 ga. has a Simmons screw on choke that really works. They may look strange and make more noise but they grind the targets. Spl. attention required on the removeable chamber as they can dry out and rust on first on the outside then on the inside. Easy to dissassemble and clean. No tools required. If the nut is tight use a nail in the hole. I put a light coat of grease on the outside of the chamber and it lasts for a long time. Have one set up with Cutts and a screw in adjustable Cutts Choke. Gun is an all season American made firearm and will still be shooting when others are pieces of rusty metal. Have less than a grand in all four of them. Buy it and get a spare. Gary Hoffman, theflorida snookman,
M-50 guy.

October 7, 2009, 10:07 AM
I'm new in here. I just bought a model 50 yesterday. Its a 12 guage 30in full choke. I did a couple of rounds in the range. I'm using a #8 lead for now. Maybe in winter I might join the duck hunt. Can you guys advise me what brand,number shot and size number can I use.

If you can find some Bismuth, it will shoot fine through older barrels. Also, Kent Tungsten matrix is an alternative designed to shoot through older barrels like lead.... . These are your only alternatives. At 5 dollars a shot, I'd get another shotgun for waterfowl, personally. :rolleyes: Number 3 fast steel loads in 2 3/4" are under 10 bucks a box of 25 and kill ducks over decoys just fine. A couple of duck hunts with tungsten matrix, and you coulda bought a new Mossberg 930. A few more hunts, and you coulda bought an SX3. :rolleyes:

December 2, 2009, 02:28 PM
Do any of you out there know where I can obtain an Operators Mamuel for the Model 50? They seem to be exceptionally difficult to find or I'm looking in the wrong place.:banghead. Any help will be appreciated!

December 2, 2009, 05:04 PM

December 2, 2009, 07:53 PM
Well, I realize I'm getting in on the tail end of this thread, but I have had a Model 50 for 54 years. My father bought it for me when I was 14. I got the full choke barrel and a few years later, I had a Weaver Choke installed. I've hunted everything from geese to quail with it and it has never failed. I was in a Trap league in my early post college years and loaded my own shells, so thousands of rounds have been through it. When steel shot came around, I found a used modified barrel so I could use steel for duck/goose hunting. Also, I opted to replace the Weaver Choke with an adjustable vented Polychoke. I now have several additional shotguns, including O/U's and SXS's, but none have the sentimental value that the Model 50 does. Sadly, they are going for the $300 to $500 range, but deserve more.

December 3, 2009, 04:37 PM
To 1KperDay: thanks for the link to the Manual. I got it over to my friend and he ordered.

If you enjoyed reading about "Winchester Model 50" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!