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Something old, something new...how do they REALLY compare?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Grunt, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Grunt

    Grunt Well-Known Member

    It's been said that some of the best shotguns made was the old Winchester Model 12. Some would even argue that it's better than the Remington 870, Mossberg 500 or some of the other popular guns of today. What caused it to go out of production wasn't that it was a bad gun but the production costs grew to where it priced itself out of the market and was replaced by the 1200. Personally, I have an older Ithaca 37 that I like probably better than my 870s but what about the other old shotguns that are now out of production, how would they fair against some of the current production models. Some of these old shotguns that come to mind are like the High Standard K-1200 Flite King, Stevens 67, Ithaca 37 (although like I said, I have my own opion on this one), and Browning autos just to name a few. Is it the other designs like the 870 or Mossberg are the better designs be it smoother, more rugged, reliable, etc. or is it a case of older manufacturing methods not being able to keep up in the modern world of high production and lower costs? If the older guns were still in production right along side the modern shotguns and the price was even across the board, what one would you choose?
  2. Rshooter

    Rshooter Well-Known Member

    I cannot say about the other brands but I can say about the older 870's. I have one from 1953/1955 and a police gun from 1960. These are as smooth as glass compared to my 1993 police.
  3. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

    If the mfg's still offered the older model guns just like they were orig made- Winchester model 12, Browning A5 and others, the price would be so high that no one would buy them. They made very high quality weapons back then and even the prices for them new was high compared to other guns in the same class. Just look and see how many of the cheaper price (working mans) guns you can find that have lasted 50-100 yrs and are still in above avg shape and still in working cond.
    What would it cost if Chevy started making a new 57 Belair? Nobody except the rich could buy one.
  4. chas08

    chas08 Well-Known Member

    3" Mag. Model 12, with interchangeable chokes. And while we're dreaming, lets bring back $5 a box "Lead" shot for waterfowl also. :)
  5. mtngunr

    mtngunr Well-Known Member

    Apples and oranges comparison....the debate back then was which is better, the Winchester 12 or the Remington 31.....one old smith said it best to me....he opined the old guns were slick and good, but 37's would wear and shoot all the rounds out the back, and that he'd done an awful lot of action-bar brazing on single bar guns, no matter the make....and that he'd hunted with a Wingmaster since they came out, and never had to braze a bar on one....this said as he pointed at all the 12's, 31's, and 37's lining the walls near the ceiling, and commenting that was where they were staying....
  6. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam


    I like most pumps and the Model 12 is one of the best.

    So is Remington's Model 31,the Ithaca 37, Winchester's 97, and so on.

    Still, I'll stick with the 870. Even if my good friend Doug H says an 870 shucks like " A Model 12 full of sand".

    I can live with the shuck.....
  7. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Well-Known Member

    Here's what I've got laying around... and use.

    1922 Winchester Model 12
    1926 Winchester Model 12
    1950's-vintage Ithaca Model 37
    1958 Remington 870 Wingmaster
    2005 Remington 870 Express
    2004 Remington 870
    2002 (?) Winchester 1300

    In terms of smoothness of operation and overall handling (a combination of balance and handling), I would rank the Model 12s at the top, followed very closely by the Model 37. The old Wingmaster is pretty darned good, though.

    The recent 870s are a far cry from the older guns. It's not to say that they don't work; however, they aren't anywhere near as smooth, nor as well-made. Even taking into consideration how much they've been used, I don't think it's close.

    Now, I'm using these guns primarily for upland and waterfowl hunting. They have not been, nor are likely to be, abused.

    This debate can go in any direction, depending upon the specific needs of the end user. For me, though... if I'm looking for a pump-gun, I'm more likely to get one off the used rack.

    BTW, if I were to get another one brand-new, I'd probably lean towards the BPS. YMMV.
  8. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Like TR said, the used rack is where it's at.

    Good pumps are incredibly durable. I've yet to see a name pump of any brand worn out from shooting. Some old trap guns are needing a few parts and attention, but that's with 6 figure round counts.

    Re recent 870s vs the classics. The smoothest 870 here was made in 73. Next smoothest, 1950. Next smoothest, 72. Then, 1955. Least smoothest, in the 90s.

    This parallels the use. Work polishing.

    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    I own repeating shotguns of several makes and vintages and overall I prefer a shotgun made of steel vs. aluminum alloy. Maybe thats why I like my old M12's and my old bolt guns from Mossberg and Savage-Stevens.

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