Granddad’s Winchester Model 12

 Sixty five years ago, in 1948, my grandfather bought a Winchester Model 12 trap gun to hunt ducks with his buddies around Galveston, Texas. I was the lucky 15 year-old aspiring trap shooter that ended up with it 27 years later.  Between the two of us, we pretty much wore that gun out.

The Model 12 possesses the intrinsic qualities of a truly great gun. A subtle and sublime combination of design, style, weight and balance results in a gun that handles and points like a dream. It has a silky smooth action and heft from machined, blued steel and solid American walnut. It feels good. When you throw it to your shoulder, you know you can shoot it. The Winchester Model 12 is certainly the king of slide action shotguns.

Below is granddad’s gun.  It is not a cream puff. You would pass it by if you were in the market for one but to me it is priceless. Though worn out, this is one neat old gun.

Right 4

Along with the Single Action Army, Colt’s 1911, Browning’s A-5 and the Winchester 94, the Model 12 has a distinct and recognizable profile. An iconic, classic American firearm. See where the blue has been worn by a sweaty trigger finger shooting at countless clays through hot Texas summers.

Left 2

It was fortunate for me that this was indeed a trap gun. The numbers missing from the serial number are thanks to amazing photo editing software.


The mechanism that rotates and unscrews the magazine from the receiver to break the gun down.


The lighting on this photo picks up the layer of rust that is under the remaining blue.


The end of thirty inches of “Winchester Proof Steel”.


Machined matted rib.


Not so pristine shell carrier.


They don’t, and can’t afford to, make them like this anymore.


Tex loves the Winchester Model 12!


Filed under Firearms

12 responses to “Granddad’s Winchester Model 12

  1. That gun is good for at least another 3 generations. Really cool to have your grandfather’s gun.

    • It would need some work to keep it going. It has a soft firing pin strike about every 50 rounds. I feel very fortunate to have it. Your wonderful post “Touching the Past” inspired me to do this one.

  2. Tedd Edmondson

    I have fond memories of you and that gun! I’ve got my dad’s old A5, it’s still a beauty too!

  3. That’s really cool! I have an old 1946 20 gauge semi auto that was my grandfathers.. still hunt with it every now and again. Now you’ve gone and inspired me to make a similar post to yours and Wingshooter’s. Thanks!

  4. Hmmm. Maybe you really are Uncle Larry!!

  5. Johnny West

    My uncle had a collection of Model 12’s to include a factory deluxe field gun, solid rib, with factory installed vented Poly Choke. There are no markings on the barrel for choke designation. Alas, I was never gifted one of his guns when he passed but put together my own little collection to include a barrel assembly like his deluxe gun. I do have a ca.1941 16 gauge factory deluxe field gun in IC that I got from an estate sale in Portland; it’s still a sweet shooting little gun and the butt stock is a gorgeous feather crotch. I saw the writing on the wall and stocked up on 16 ga. lead loads so am fixed. Keep up your excellent posts. JW

  6. Thanks Johnny! I can only imagine how sweet a Model 12 in 16 gauge would be.

  7. Worn out, probaly not. The model 12 has a headspace screw so you can adjust the headspace as it wears. In WW2 they used model 12’s to train aerial gunners for bomb crews shooting skeet. These guns literally got 100’s of rounds put throught them every day the entire length of the war. They did have somewhat of a tendecy to break firing pins, but that was latter corrected. These guns will really last and last. It would cost a fortune to wear one out!

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