Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

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Bridger
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Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#1 Post by Bridger » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:05 pm

Next month when the gun fund has some money in it again I want to buy a shotgun. Initially I wanted a 12 gauge, and I had planned to get a Model 12, but....I was browsing in a shop and found a Model 1200 in 16 gauge and for some reason the idea of a 16 ga has really grown on me.
So, between 2 different local shops, here are my options. All three of the guns will probably be there next month, as I know that a couple of them have been there for around a year at least.
1. Winchester Model 12 in 12 gauge. Full choke. Bluing is in good shape except on each side of the reciever it looks like somebody got after it with steel wool to get some rust off. I suspect also that it has been rebuked but still a nice, tight, pretty gun. $369
2. Winchester Model 12 in 16 gauge with a modified choke (I think). All original, probably 80% condition. $469

The 2 above are in the same shop.

3. Winchester Model 1200 in about 65-70% condition with an IMP Cyl choke. $189

What I like about the 1200 is that it's so cheap I'd use it and not worry about it much. But, I know the model 12 is the standard all others are judged by. What is the collector status of the Model 12? Are they going to take off like Colt Pythons or will I always be able to pick up a good one? What say you?
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#2 Post by Bill in Oregon » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:14 pm

Bridger, I'll admit to biases: My first shotgun was a Model 12 in 16 and I still miss that thing.
You'll probably get your money back on a Model 12; I doubt they will decline in value any further. What hurt all the fixed-choke shotguns was the steel shot requirement. That said, you could probably run steel in the smaller sizes through the IC choke of the 1200. If you don't think you'll have to run steel, go with the Model 12 in 16. It was built on a 16-gauge frame and will be much nicer in the field. I bought my Dad a Model 12 in 12 gauge some years ago and he just never hunted with it as it was too heavy for upland.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#3 Post by 2ndovc » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:05 pm

Model 12 in 12 gage with a full choke and you'll never miss! I have one in 20 gage w/ a full choke and it's the deadliest shotgun I've ever owned. I also have one in 12b but the 20 is my favorite. My dad had a couple of 16s, but I just never warmed up to them. Finding shells was difficult back before the internet.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#4 Post by GunnyMack » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:14 pm

The 16 ga could possibly be 2&1/2" chamber, depending on its age.
Personally I'd get the 12ga and not look back. You could always go back for the 16 in a couple months.
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#5 Post by Sixgun » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:27 pm

If your that undecided, go with your gut....forget price.....go with what strikes your fancy...or use.....

The 12 is more collectible but it's not as if either are "collectible" unless there's a high grade 12 involved.----6
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#6 Post by gamekeeper » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:47 pm

I have just bought a Winchester Ranger 120 the cheaper version of the 1200, I haven't used it enough to say much other than so far I prefer it to other makes I have had.
I have never used a model 12 but I would be very tempted if the 16 gauge is built on a lighter frame. I like the 16 gauge with 15/16th of an ounce loads.
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#7 Post by 765x53 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:58 pm

How about a Model 12 in 16 gauge? https://www.gunbroker.com/item/811932755
Don't let the Weaver choke put you off. Choke tubes can still be found on e bey, Gun Parts, and Gun Broker.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#8 Post by 765x53 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:59 pm

GunnyMack wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:14 pm
The 16 ga could possibly be 2&1/2" chamber, depending on its age.
Personally I'd get the 12ga and not look back. You could always go back for the 16 in a couple months.
The 1200 is too modern to have short chambers.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#9 Post by GunnyMack » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:17 pm

765x53 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:59 pm
GunnyMack wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:14 pm
The 16 ga could possibly be 2&1/2" chamber, depending on its age.
Personally I'd get the 12ga and not look back. You could always go back for the 16 in a couple months.
The 1200 is too modern to have short chambers.
Yes but the 16 ga model 12 could!!!
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#10 Post by 765x53 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:47 pm

GunnyMack wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:17 pm
765x53 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:59 pm
GunnyMack wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:14 pm
The 16 ga could possibly be 2&1/2" chamber, depending on its age.
Personally I'd get the 12ga and not look back. You could always go back for the 16 in a couple months.
The 1200 is too modern to have short chambers.
Yes but the 16 ga model 12 could!!!
If it is newer than 1927, it will have a 2 3/4" chamber.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#11 Post by M. M. Wright » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:49 am

I grew up with my Dad's 16 gauge model 12 and I still have it and love it. It is old enough that it had the short chamber but I had that reamed out and opened the ejection window a little. Runs like a champ! One of the nice things about the model 12 is the magazine will hold 6 rounds. I also have a 1200 and there is no comparison in any aspect of it. Just junk by comparison. I bought a nice model 12 for $200 at the last Wanamacher but I'm keeping it. Buy the 16 but try to get it a lot cheaper. Come to think of it, I have a 20 with a ribbed barrel, (can't remember if it's vent or matt), Cutts and a couple of screw in chokes that I'd part with.
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#12 Post by TraderVic » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:08 am

My Model 12, 20 gauge (made in 1916) has a 2 3/4" chamber. Wonderful, light shotgun.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#13 Post by 6pt-sika » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:29 pm

Get the 16 gauge Model 12 the chamber might be 2 9/16” or it might be 2 3/4” . The quality between a pre 64 Model 12 vs a 1200 is like night and day .
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#14 Post by Larkbill » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:37 am

All good answers, but more important is how it fits you and how it feels in your hands. Youngest bro bought a 1200 at a real bargain price when Target was getting out of guns. Never really liked the fit and it had a skinny trigger that hurt his finger. Offered it to me but I liked it about as much as he did.

16 ga is much more available than it used to be, I shoot two of them and use them for both targets and hunting so the right ammo is out there. If it is an early enough gun for short chambers it can be fixed but does it make sense to invest that amount in that gun? Depends on fit and feel. Only you can decide that. Field grade Model 12's are plentiful and not really collectible so they make excellent shooters but on the heavy side. I should talk, my pump gun is the cheap version of the Marlin 120 Magnum, all steel.

You might also look at Mossberg 500s. Very customizable, lots out there, and the only gun that passed the Army's durability test in '64. Several in my family and don't hear any negative feedback. I'd stay away from their Maverick brand economy guns.
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#15 Post by Bridger » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:12 pm

Thank you for the input, all of you guys. You've given me much to consider. Honestly now I'm leaning toward the 1200 only because several of you have mentioned it's not highly collectible and my chance to own one won't go away if I don't buy this one. The 1200 seems more natural for me when I hold it, so that's a big factor. I think this is mainly because of the more full forearm. The corncob style forearm of the Model 12 is somewhat more awkward to me.

I have thought about the Mossberg, but Winchester and Colt are the two brands I really like the most so I'm going with a Winny one way or the other.

Random thought, does anybody know if the military still uses pump shotguns?
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#16 Post by gamekeeper » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:14 am

The Winchester 1200 is not a bad shotgun, if the Winchester model 12 had never existed the 1200 would probably have been hailed a great shotgun but it will always be in the model 12s shadow.

As far as I know yes the military still use pump action shotguns and semi auto shotguns.
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#17 Post by buckeyeshooter » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:18 am

Bridger wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:05 pm
Next month when the gun fund has some money in it again I want to buy a shotgun. Initially I wanted a 12 gauge, and I had planned to get a Model 12, but....I was browsing in a shop and found a Model 1200 in 16 gauge and for some reason the idea of a 16 ga has really grown on me.
So, between 2 different local shops, here are my options. All three of the guns will probably be there next month, as I know that a couple of them have been there for around a year at least.
1. Winchester Model 12 in 12 gauge. Full choke. Bluing is in good shape except on each side of the reciever it looks like somebody got after it with steel wool to get some rust off. I suspect also that it has been rebuked but still a nice, tight, pretty gun. $369
2. Winchester Model 12 in 16 gauge with a modified choke (I think). All original, probably 80% condition. $469

The 2 above are in the same shop.

3. Winchester Model 1200 in about 65-70% condition with an IMP Cyl choke. $189

What I like about the 1200 is that it's so cheap I'd use it and not worry about it much. But, I know the model 12 is the standard all others are judged by. What is the collector status of the Model 12? Are they going to take off like Colt Pythons or will I always be able to pick up a good one? What say you?

Buy a 12 in 16 ga. best of all worlds. light frame, swings well and beautiful.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#18 Post by t.r. » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:39 pm

Remington model 31 is another great shotgun that went out of their catalog due to production costs. My brother has one in 16 gauge with an improved cylinder choke and he rarely misses upland game. The receiver is a 20 gauge frame so it's lightweight and swings/points like a champ.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#19 Post by Alan in Vermont » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:50 pm

My first shotgun was a 1200 in 16 ga., modified choke. I thought it was OK until I shot an A5 Browning. The 1200 and a Savage 24 got traded on a NIB 20 ga. Magnum A5, which I still have. Something is just enough different that the Browning delivers a higher percentage of hits than the 1200 did. Between it and a M 59 Winchester I can sort of look like a competent shotgunner more days than not.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#20 Post by Bill in Oregon » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:16 pm

Alan, the Auto 5 has always fit me very well, although I didn't care for it in 12 gauge. You are lucky to have a Winchester Model 59 -- so far ahead of its time when it came out in 1960. Pretty sure the late Frank Woolner thought it the finest New England grouse gun ever built.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#21 Post by 6pt-sika » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:55 pm

Bill in Oregon wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:16 pm
Alan, the Auto 5 has always fit me very well, although I didn't care for it in 12 gauge. You are lucky to have a Winchester Model 59 -- so far ahead of its time when it came out in 1960. Pretty sure the late Frank Woolner thought it the finest New England grouse gun ever built.
I bought a 59 about thirty years ago to make a Frank Woolner version . I cut the barrel to 22 or 23 inches , removed the PG and made it a kind of straight grip and thinned the forend . I shot it pretty well but I never did get close with that gun .
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#22 Post by JB » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:58 pm

Bridger wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:05 pm
What is the collector status of the Model 12? Are they going to take off like Colt Pythons or will I always be able to pick up a good one? What say you?
I don't see them ever taking off like Pythons. The values on Model 12's leveled off several years ago. Nice ones are still collectible, but they don't seem to be bringing any more than they did 10 to 15 years ago.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#23 Post by Molasses » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:22 am

This topic gets me started on the memories. That's my excuse for such a long-winded post. :lol: Like it takes all that much to get me started.

My Dad hunted with a Model 37 Winchester single shot for years, but always wanted a repeater.

Put off buying one due to being frugal; having a family to feed/clothe/etc. and the expenses of running a family farm with the need to keep old, tired machinery running and replace what needed it with newer stuff without going into debt to do any of the above.

By the time he decided he was financially ready to get a pump gun, the Model 12 had been discontinued. He settled for a new 1200, but even as the little kid I was in those days, it was obvious that he was never pleased with it. When I got old enough and interested in guns enough to converse with him about it, there were a lot of conversations where he mentioned being unhappy about how that went. A number of times he also mentioned that he'd really liked the Model 12 in 16 gauge that a neighbor had owned and had lent out a few times.

Kinda glad that I stumbled over a mechanically sound Model 12 16ga with fairly worn finish at a low price shortly after getting out of the Marines and taking a job back in the Midwest. One of the better presents I ever gave him.

My biggest peeve with the 1200 is that it seems to have such a long expanse of receiver. Not really, but it just doesn't look proportioned right in my eyes. It's not a bad gun at all, but...

When I got Dad's old one, I messed with it for a bit before sending it down the road. There was no sense of attachment to something Dad had regretted owning for so many years.

The funniest thing about the whole deal is that when I decided I really needed a shotgun of my own, I got advice from a FFL holding cousin and bought a Model 1300 Turkey gun. The early version Turkey model, where it was still a regular wood stock with overall matte finish and sling swivels added. Cousin pointed out that it was available for le$$ than the fancier versions and that the shorter barrel would be handier for grouse, the dull finish would be good for turkey hunting AND in the duck blind and the choke tubes would make it suitable for all those purposes. Made sense to me.

Got a letter from home at mail call one day while in the Marines. Included was a clipping from the hometown paper about a local 70-year old shooting his first turkey, that his older brother had called up. Also enclosed was a photo of my Dad posed with a nice gobbler...and MY shotgun! I guess it's what I deserved for leaving my stuff with the folks when I went off to be one of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. And it means that I'm never letting that 1300 go, even if I reach for a Breda, Auto-5 or the 101 when heading out to hunt birds or play claybird games these days.
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#24 Post by gamekeeper » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:14 am

Interesting story Molasses.
Never had or even fired a model 12 so I could only compare my Winchester ranger 120 ( a cheaper 1200 ) with the Mossberg's, Savage/Steven's and the one Remington I once owned, I obviously wouldn't say it's superior but it can hold it's own in the field. It may or may not last as long or keep its value as some of the others but if it fits you and hits what you aim at what more can you expect from a modern mass produced shotgun ? I have never kept any of my guns for long, I change them on a whim, often regretting it later but this way I get to own and use a lot of different guns that I can look back on and say, boy did I waste a lot of money! :lol:
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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#25 Post by Scrumbag » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:55 pm

The model 12 in great, I own one. But I would say maybe get a more modern one. A second hand mossberg 500 won't devalue that much and there are so many parts it will do virtually anything for you.

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#26 Post by JOG » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:11 pm

I had a 1923 model 12 sweet 16 gauge that I got rid of and still regret it. I now have a model 1300 great shotgun but surely not a model 12.
Around here model 12 are going for 600 and up! But I'm still looking for the right 12 in 16 gauge to replace the one I lost in a moment of weakness!
I would go with the Winchester model 12

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Re: Winchester Model 12 vs 1200

#27 Post by AmBraCol » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:26 pm

What ever you do, stay away from the Winchester 120. The guts on those are junk. Had one some time back, had trouble, tore into it, found stamped tin cans for parts (that's what it seemed like). Got it running, traded it off. I'd go with the Model 12 if you've got the funds for it. They've a long, solid rep as a reliable platform.
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