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Question re: vintage Winchester Model 12 barrel swap

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by handsonaudio, Jan 22, 2018.

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  1. handsonaudio

    handsonaudio Member

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    Having perused most of the forum posts related to this subject (at least that I could find), I'm still looking for an authoritative answer on what my best option is for swapping the barrel in my Winchester Model 12. Here is the scenario:

    I own a 1946 Model 12 - 12 ga. in usable condition. I love the build quality and the history associated with this gun, but it is far from a collector's item. Somewhere along the line, a previous owner had the receiver, receiver extension, and the barrel parkerized in OD green (not the magazine tube, for whatever reason). The barrel was sawed off to about 20.25". It looks like he/she was trying to approximate a riot/trench gun. Also, the stock was cracked all the way through the pistol grip. I have since repaired the stock.

    I originally purchased this Winchester as a solid and practical home defense weapon, which it currently is. More recently, I've considered using this gun for hunting (for which it's all but unusable in its current state, unless I'm less than seven yards from my target). Initially, I thought I could just swap out the current barrel with another, longer barrel better suited to hunting. My research shows that (and I'm sure most of you would second), for these Winchester M12s, it's not that easy, and the barrel is certainly not something I can swap back and forth. I'm still unclear on whether the real trouble comes from fitting the barrel to the receiver extension or the receiver extension to the receiver (that's my first question). Currently, I do not want to separate the existing 20" barrel from the receiver extension; if I were to buy another barrel, I would probably get one already fitted to the extension.

    That being said, I think these are my options:

    1) Purchase a longer barrel w/ receiver extension from the same time period and swap it out with the current barrel/extension. If so, will I likely need a gunsmith to do this? What are the chances that I get lucky and the new (used, but same time period) receiver extension fits perfectly onto my current receiver?

    2) Have the current 20" barrel threaded for a choke. This may be a silly question and probably makes my inexperience obvious, but I'm trying to learn something. Would it make practical sense to attach choke(s) to a barrel this short for hunting?

    3) Keep the Winchester as is and consider just buying another shotgun for hunting. This is the least attractive option to me, as I'd rather have few guns, each of which was versatile, than several guns each for a specific purpose.

    Thoughts? What are the factors that I haven't considered? Is there another practical option for me?

    Thanks in advance..
     
  2. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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  3. handsonaudio

    handsonaudio Member

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    Thank you for the reply. I actually ran across that forum thread earlier today. It looked like the OP was asking about fitting a barrel to the receiver extension vice fitting a different receiver extension to the receiver, though there's some advice pertaining to all of it.

    In my case, I would be looking to (potentially) buy another barrel already installed in a receiver extension, and then trying to match the whole barrel/receiver extension assembly to my receiver. I hope I'm using the correct terminology. I do not want to remove a barrel from the extension, either a replacement or my current one.

    I have removed the entire receiver extension/barrel/magazine assembly from my receiver once or twice for cleaning, and that's pretty trivial. It would *seem* that simply replacing that assembly (plus my original magazine) would be pretty simple given how easy it is to remove it, but I just don't know how well an unknown receiver extension would match up to my receiver.

    As an example, I could purchase something like this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/ORIGINAL-1...696854?hash=item3d56965156:g:h5IAAOSwU91aYREw
    I would fit my existing magazine to it and screw the whole thing onto my receiver, hypothetically. What are the chances it doesn't fit exactly right or that I need a gunsmith to ensure that it aligns properly?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. handsonaudio

    handsonaudio Member

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    Apologies. Having read the shotgunworld post you linked to a third (or maybe fourth time), I do see that they kinda address my question there toward the end. I still get a little confused when he (the gunsmith) starts referring to the fit of the barrel and the adjusting ring vice the fit of the receiver extension to the receiver. I thought you only had to worry about the barrel itself and the adjusting ring if you're fitting a barrel to the extension, not the extension to the receiver.

    Don't mean to be redundant; I'm just trying to understand my gun as well as I can.
     
  5. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    I see what you mean. I read it about a half a dozen times and its confusing how he wrote it.
     
  6. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Model 12's were certainly the Cadillac of pump shotguns. One of the reasons they were discontinued in the 60's was the 870 was just a simpler, more useful and less expensive design. I have a 97 that was the fore runner of the 12. I have several barrels for it and have changed them a few times. Both of my barrels have extensions on them as the gun was fitted at the factory for both barrels. I know this because the receiver and barrels have the same SN.

    If you find another barrel you will want the extension that goes with it or find an extension to put on it. That isn't going to be easy. Once you have the barrel and extension a smith is going to be needed to mate them together to fit your receiver. The extension has to be on the new barrel and properly mated to the receiver before a barrel swap can be made. You are correct in thinking you don't want to remove the extension from your short barrel. If you remove it your barrel becomes useless until it's extension is again properly fitted to the barrel and receiver. That requires a special barrel wrench and some skill.



    Just buy an old 870 and forget it or get ready for some serious expense.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
    Crawdad1 likes this.
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