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.
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.
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!