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Old June 11, 2011, 10:11 AM   #1
junker
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Bought a short barrel Winchester 120 (PIC) Have Q's, Seeking A's

I went into a shop yesterday looking for a cheap 12 ga. pump for home defense. I don't really know much about shotguns but figured I should have one. I desired something cheap and short.

I found a little Winchester Ranger 120 and picked it up because it looked to be in great shape (not all beat to hell). Parkerized finish I think. I stuck a dowel down the barrel to measure it, 18-1/16" inches. I understand the ranger is a budget line model and that's just what I wanted.

Barrel says the following...

WINCHESTER Ranger Model 120 12 GA. 2 3/4 & 3"
MADE IN NEW HAVEN, CONN U.S.A. WINCHESTER PROOF STEEL
DEER SLUG

My questions...

1. Is this a factory length barrel?
2. Is this legal?
3. Anything I should know about this particular gun?
4. Did I do ok at $175?

Thanks!

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Old June 11, 2011, 10:50 AM   #2
LugerT
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As long as the barrel is 18" or longer it is legal and is not subject to being a short barreled shotgun under the NFA. Did you take the measurement from the bolt face with it closed?
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Old June 11, 2011, 11:05 AM   #3
lamarw
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I think you did OK. It is obviously a deer gun with the fixed sights and the grooved barrel. (built for slugs) I would think with the rifle type front sight the gun is original from the manufacturer and legal; although any thing is possible.

Nice looking gun.
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Old June 11, 2011, 11:11 AM   #4
junker
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Lamarw, thanks for your reply. You said "grooved barrel" this gun has a smooth barrel inside (not rifled) if that's what you meant.
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Old June 11, 2011, 11:14 AM   #5
hogdogs
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Nothing in the OP states that this is a rifled "grooved" barrel. It very well may be a fully rifled barrel but it isn't a sure thing.

Many of "deer guns" with rifle style blade sights are, in fact, smooth bore cyl. choke or slightly tighter.

These are designed to maximize the range and effectiveness of the old "rifled" slugs. They take the average shooter, gun and ammo from about a 50-75 yard comfortable range out to 100-150 yards quite often.

If it is a rifled barrel, it really needs the $abot $tyle $lugs rather than the much more affordable old fashioned slugs.

Brent

Last edited by hogdogs; June 11, 2011 at 11:43 AM.
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Old June 11, 2011, 11:17 AM   #6
hogdogs
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junker got in before I finished my post... but as you see... it is one of the many I spoke of...

Brent
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Old June 11, 2011, 11:29 AM   #7
hogdogs
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Quote:
Parkerized finish I think.
It may not be parkerized... Many of the cheaper guns that appear like a parkerized finish are, in fact, called "matte blued finish". Which means they are not rust resistant and can be harder to wipe dry than a "polished blued finish".

Parkerized is an expensive finish to put on a gun and not often found on "price point" value guns.


Quote:
1. Is this a factory length barrel?
2. Is this legal?
3. Anything I should know about this particular gun?
4. Did I do ok at $175?

1.) Most likely,a close inspection of the muzzle crown will show if it is a factory cut or professionally done. If it is a "Bubba Barrel" it will be obvious under a magnifier lens.

2.) Yes, Federally! Some rogue jusisdictions may not allow it.

3.) Needs wear marks (a pile of hulls at your feet is the best method)

4.) Any functioning pump gun (even the chinese, turkish, russian, south american knockoffs) is worth a sub $200 price.

Shooting everything from 7 1/2 junk wally world promo loads to buck shot and slugs should get you and your new gun well acquainted.

For low cost buck and slug loads, I prefer the Winchester Super "X" lines. 15 round boxes at wally world were under 10 bucks 2 years ago so expect $12 or so now.

I feel these are a little cleaner in the barrel than the Remington "Express" line of ammo.

Brent
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Old June 11, 2011, 12:28 PM   #8
TxGun
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You're correct: The Winchester 120 is the budget version of the 1200.

They are very smooth shotguns. The 1200/120 replaced the iconic Model 12 and, of course, were never able to measure up to their predessesor in the minds of most sportsmen (just like the post-64 Winchester rifles vs. the pre-64s). Nevertheless, they were good shotguns, IMO. I've had a 1200 for 30 years, used it hard, and never had any trouble with it whatsoever. Wouldn't trade any of my Model 12s for another one, but my 1200 has been a good gun. The barrel looks factory from here. I have a second, "riot", barrel (and factory marked as such) that looks exactly like yours...exact same sights, and it's just over 18". One other thing about the 1200 that I like is that it is extremely easy to break down completely for cleaning*.

For $175, I think you did well.

*Just be sure you understand how the ejector fits on the ejector retainer pin on the inside of the receiver.

http://www.urban-armory.com/diagrams/win1200.htm

Last edited by TxGun; June 11, 2011 at 01:17 PM.
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Old June 11, 2011, 08:26 PM   #9
lamarw
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Sorry, My Bad~ You did not mention a rifled barrel.

I have an old 1200 I bought new back in the mid-70's. It has been a very reliable gun. Hope you enjoy yours just as much.
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Old June 12, 2011, 03:27 AM   #10
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1. Most likely.
2. Assuming you bought it at a shop, they wouldn't sell you something illegal. In any case, there are aftermarket 18" barrels.
3. The muzzle flash, blast and felt recoil from a 3" Magnum will be astounding.
4. Yep. An aftermarket barrel is worth more than $175. Looks in pretty good condition too. You may want to put a bit of BLO on the stock. Oil finish stocks are your friend. Any wee scratch goes away with a bit more oil. Put a light cost of oil on the metal too.
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Old June 12, 2011, 10:20 AM   #11
junker
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I shot it today and was impressed. Never shot a 12 ga before (only a .410) and was expecting a big kick, it was about half what I was bracing for. It has a rubber pad on the butt so maybe that helped, plus I was shooting cheap walmart value pack stuff.

I was at first disappointed that it only held 2 rounds in the magazine but then after some reading I found a spacer dowel installed and removed it, now it fits 5 in the magazine, which pleases me.

Thanks for the info you all provided.
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Old June 12, 2011, 10:53 AM   #12
Lee Lapin
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One warning that I didn't notice being covered so far - be careful what solvents you use cleaning your 'new' Winchester. This design has a plastic 'feed throat' at the junction of the magazine and the receiver, and some chemicals can be hard on the plastic. Take a look at http://www.urban-armory.com/diagrams/win1200.htm , and note part numbers 42102 and 40102 in the drawing to see what I mean. Some people use chlorinated brake cleaner on guns, for example - that's one product you should not use on this one. There may be other solvents that will cause trouble, be sure any cleaning/lube you use is plastic safe. And last time I looked, modern replacement feed throats were available if needed.

Other than that relatively minor caution, you have a really good gun there, and got a really good deal on it IMHO - enjoy it!

lpl
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Old June 12, 2011, 11:45 AM   #13
natman
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Quote:
1. Is this a factory length barrel?
2. Is this legal?
3. Anything I should know about this particular gun?
4. Did I do ok at $175?
1) Sure looks factory.
2) As long as you can't see an 18" dowel in the barrel with the bolt closed it's OK with the Feds.
3) I had a 120 once in hunting trim. Worked great.
4) And How!
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