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2 9/16" Chamber

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by OFT, Jun 4, 2008.

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  1. OFT

    OFT Member

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    I recently inherrited a Model 12 Winchester in 16 gauge. It appears to have a 2 9/16" chamber and I'm a little worried about shooting it. Can a gunsmith ream out the chamber to 2 3/4", thereby making it a safe shooter?
     
  2. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    Has been done to some other shotguns, not sure on the Mdl 12.

    Another option is that there are A FEW places that sell the shorter shells for these older 16-Ga guns. Dave McCracken/Lee Lapin/SM or one of the other shotgun gurus here will be along shortly with ammo info for you.

    EDIT

    I don't think anyone has mentioned this, but one more caveat....Since this is a very old shotgun, with short chamber..

    NO 'UNLEADED' SHOT
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  3. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I just ordered some "vintager" 16 Gauge shells from these guys, per recommendations here.:)

    http://www.polywad-shotgun-shells.com/16-gauge-shotshells/

    Will report back how they work. I understand they're top-notch shells. They have spreader loads, also, which are useful if the gun has a fixed Full choke or something. The "vintager" shells are less expensive than regular off-the-shelf 16 Gauge shells are, around here, anyway. Not bad for a specialty load.

    Something to consider: this is an old gun, with old walnut on it. Chambers changed to 2 3/4" in the 1920s, so the gun is over 80 years old. The light "vintager" loads would probably be the best choice for trying it out, one way or another.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2008
  4. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    definitely have it checked out by a smith who knows older guns. If OK to shoot as it is, go for the low pressure "vintager" shells from polywad as mentioned or RST. While the pysical ability to ream out the chamber isn't hard for a good smith, the gun might not be able to handle modern pressures well. It will also devalue a model 12 VERY quickly
     
  5. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    At least around here, 16 Gauge ammo isn't exactly dime-a-dozen. So if you have to look around for ammo anyway, there's no particular reason not to buy and shoot 2 1/2" shells.

    It's not like this gun will shoot steel shot or magnum loads anyway.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Simmon's in Olathe KS has been converting Model 12's & Brownings to handle 2 3/4" for about forever.

    http://www.simmonsguns.com/

    Convert old Model 12 Winchester 16 and 20 ga to handle 2 3/4” shell....250.00

    It would be money well spent.

    rcmodel
     
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Scratching my head to figure out exactly why...

    Instead of a classic original with history, you end up with a butchered old shotgun with no rib and a fixed choke.

    I'd use it proudly as-is, and buy a new Mossberg 500 in 12 Gauge with the $250, if I needed a pump that would shoot all the modern ammo out there. A vent rib, choke tubes, a 3" chamber and a steel-shot barrel would come with the deal -- and I'd still have the wonderful old Model 12, with family history, that hadn't been messed with.
     
  8. OFT

    OFT Member

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    My uncle bought the shotgun in question sometime after WWI. The serial number, 34378X, shows to be from about 1923. It was the first shotgun that I ever fired (likely with 2 3/4" shells) and I would like to take it bird hunting again. I have six other shotguns which are much newer and nicer (incliuding another model 12 in 12 ga.) but I just have a soft spot in my head for this gun.

    Thanks for the advice, folks. I load for everything except shotgun & I guess that I need to get some 2 1/2" shells and start loading for that. Since 16 ga. shells are higher than 12s or 20s it would make sense to do that.
     
  9. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Oh, I understand that. That's why I wouldn't have someone grind away at it!

    I hope to take my 1926-vintage 16 Gauge SxS hunting this year.:)
     
  10. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    eggzactly!..... perfectly said!
     
  11. gunut

    gunut Member

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    BP sells short 16ga shells on there web site...they are listed under hunting loads [F2]....if you use your 16 for pheasant they still have some older stock 1 1/16oz #3 shot for I think $63 a 8 box flat ...shipped. The #3 is actualy more like #4 shot as they use european measurment for shot size....
     
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Simmons would probably quibble about the "butchered" part!

    Normally I am the last person in the world who would advise modifing any old Winchester.

    But a field grade Model 12 short-chambered 16 ga is not up near the top of the collector list and never will be.

    This is one mod that would not hurt the value, and in fact, would probably increase it.

    rcmodel
     
  13. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    We don't know it "never will be." Think of all the WWII surplus junk that people chopped up to make theirselves huntin' rah-fulls.

    But be that as it may, if it were me, it wouldn't be about the value. I'd want to pass the gun on in its original configuration. He's got plenty of other guns anyway; he doesn't need it to shoot 2 3/4" shells.

    I'd rather say, "This was uncle X's shotgun, and the first gun I ever shot. It's just the way he left it," than, "Yeah, in 2008 I had a guy modify it to take 2 3/4" shells, but otherwise it's pretty much like it was."

    The gun wouldn't gain any real utility from the modification. Would it gain $250 in value? Doubtful. I see nice 12 Gauge trap M12's languish on the range bulletin board for 500 bucks. The trap geezer gang always points and mumbles approvingly, as if I should buy one. But they don't buy it, themselves.

    I figure that this gun is most valuable to its present owner, as-is. Hunting with it -- as OFT's uncle did -- will be just a bit magical.:)
     
  14. kirbythegunsmith

    kirbythegunsmith Member

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    Details

    Any safe alteration to a Model-12 WILL gain the ability to use shells that can be found at any shop or store, and not need to have special order shells or reloading.
    The chamber length is one small part of a conversion, but the main visible alteration is the opening and "squaring" to modern configuration of the front of the ejection port. Got to clear those newfangled long shells. They've only been in use since before WW2, after all.

    From this:
    1.jpg

    to this:
    16-5.jpg

    Any gun already put through typical years of field use is not a "collector" gun, especially when made in the numbers that Model 12's have been.
    They can be desired and "collectible" in any decent condition, but being shootable with all typical available ammo is definitely a useful point. Model 12's benefit from conversion to modern configuration, and all of them are able to take modern pressure shells, if no mechanical defects are present.

    Anyway, the reason that the old "surplus" unaltered stuff is so valuable now is the lack of untouched examples. Therefore, if nobody had butchered all of the Smith-Corona '03's they wouldn't be nearly so scarce and valuable to "collectors". Let's see how many collectors of SKS's are around in 50 years. Very few decent examples will be around of the most desired versions, so why aren't you stocking up on them now?

    If I give away an older gun, I'll make sure that there is minimal fuss with ammo selection and safe use. I'm not going to leave the original classic lube and dirt on it, or not upgrade an old cleaning rod and kit, if necessary, either.

    [email protected]
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    My thought on doing the mod is this:

    As long as the gun still will fire, even two or three generations from now, (if guns & ammo are still allowed by then) unknowing folks are going to try to shoot 2 3/4" shells in it.

    That isn't safe, or kind to the gun.

    Better to convert it to safely handle modern 2 3/4" shells whiile folks like Simmons (and Kerby) still know how to do it right.

    rcmodel
     
  16. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    That's what I'd want left alone, not for collector value, either. I'd want my uncle's gun to be "as it was."

    It's a 16 Gauge. At least around here, I'd have to special order or handload most of what I want, anyway, regardless of length.

    That's the only good reason I can think of, to pay someone $250 for this mod. I'd probably still use it for a season, first.:)
     
  17. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Member

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    ArmedBear - While I agree that I'd leave the gun alone...

    Calling any gun modified by Simmons (especially to a Winchester) a "butchered old shotgun" should be fighting words. They're not your local Gander Mountain 'smith.
     
  18. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Oh, I'm not saying they wouldn't do a good job. That wasn't what I meant to say, at all. Sorry if that's how it was taken.

    It just seems that the real value of the gun, to the OP, is to be found in what it is, not what it isn't.:)

    (And I'm sure that Briley would do a great job putting choke tubes in an old Parker, too. Might refuse to do it...)
     
  19. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    I also own and use a 16 ga., 2/9-16. A Winchester Model 1912 made in 1915. I started using it in 1955 just as plastic shells with star crimps came out. They hung up on the ejection port and made follow up shots impossible, dumb kid!!!!!!! when I learned about the short chamber I retired the gun, then started looking for 2/916 shells. they were everywhere up until about 1990. Don't see them anymore in country stores and gun shows, but I have a lifetime supply, I refuse to modify the old gun.
     
  20. Bud Tugly

    Bud Tugly Member

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    Midway sells 16 gauge shells in both 2 1/2" and 2 5/8" sizes.


    http://www.midwayusa.com/
     
  21. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    My 2 cents....

    I'm not fond of altering most old guns for the reasons given by others already.

    If this was John Philip Souza's Dove gun with exhibition grade wood LNIB, maybe lengthening the chamber would not be such a good idea.

    But it's not. It's a field grade with honest wear. Such are meant to be shot. Altering the chamber, done by a reputable smith such as Briley, Simmons, Nu Line, Orlen or our own Kirby would enable the owner to keep on using this for decades.

    Model 12s do not wear out easily, and a field gun that has not been used as a trap or skeet gun is not close to being worn out.

    IMO, the $250 spent on making this modern ammo capable will be money well spent,

    If the OP decides to keep it as is, the Polywad ammo is good stuff. So are the Fiocchi and Gamebore loads.

    Were it mine, and I have a fondness for 16 gauge Model 12s, I'd get the chamber lengthened.

    And then I'd take it hunting......
     
  22. chas08

    chas08 Member

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    I agree with the above. Fortunatly the 16 ga Model 12 I inherited was 2 3/4" ready from the factory. I know my Grandfather (who seen absolutely no use in owning more than one shotgun) would do whatever it took to make his "only" shotgun more user friendly and convienient to buy ammo for.
     
  23. Tijeras_Slim

    Tijeras_Slim Member

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    I have a number of 16's, both 2 3/4 and 2 9/16 chambers. If you're not planning on shooting it a great deal, buy ammo. If you're planning on more volume or want to tailor loads, get a Mec Sizemaster with a "short kit" and a BP Hull Trimmer and load your own. Trimming and skiving old 2 3/4 hulls adds about 10 seconds per hull to the first time you reload them. Of course, the shorter shells will work well in longer chambered guns.
     
  24. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Yeah, I'd be more pro-modification if I hadn't just ordered 250 quality 2 1/2" shells in about one minute off the Web, for less than I'd pay for 2 3/4" "field" shells at Wal-Mart.

    It doesn't seem necessary to have it gunsmithed just to take it bird hunting, when ammo is readily available, and the owner has a safe full of other shotguns anyway.
     
  25. OFT

    OFT Member

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    The shotgun in question has had the front edge of the ejection port machined so that it would clear a 2 3/4" hull. I'm sure that in the last 50 to 75 years it has had hundreds of 2 3/4" shells through it. I'm just getting a little more cautious (certainly not smarter) in my old age. I think that I'll just go with the 2 1/2" hulls.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.
     
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