View Full Version : Just inherited my 1st shotgun. Some questions

August 13, 2000, 12:31 AM
Hi all,

I just inherited my first shotgun. It's a Winchester model 42, .410 pump action. Seral # 465XX . A nice long 26" barrel. It was my grandfathers a long time ago. Anybody out there familiar with this one?

I've never been much for shotguns and I'm relatively new to shooting them. I've shot a 12 gauge that was handed to me before but never really operated a shotgun on my own. However now that I have one that is my own, I must admit I'm looking forward to learning.

I have a few questions. Can anybody share their experience or knowledge with me about this firearm? Any tips to a new shotgunner? What type of game could I use a .410 on, and at what range is it effective? About how common is this particular model (I wouldn't want to use it if it was rare or something - although I don't suspect it is)? This gun has been treated well and the wood and bluing is nice, however there are areas of bluing that are gone where the pump action has been worked.

I plan a trip to my local gunstore sometime soon to get ammo and will ask them to show me how to break it down and clean it, but I just thought I'd stop here and see what I could learn from the many helpful people on this form. Thanks!

Mike Irwin
August 13, 2000, 02:43 AM
Whoa! VERY nice inheritance!

Don't kid yourself, some Winchester 42s are very desirable to collectors, especially the older ones, and ones that have special features. You may want to have someone who is familiar with Winchester shotguns take a look at it for you.

Here on the forums there may be someone with a Winchester Serial Number list who can pin down the year of manufacture for you.

As for what you can shoot with a .410, well, when you get right down to it, not a lot. The .410 is really a specialist's gun. The shot charge is so light that it's really not suitable for use on birds, except small ones at very close range. It can be used for rabbit and squirrel, but again at very close range.

P.S. -- Forgot to mention, there is a nice book out about the 42 by Ned Schwing (sp?). He's written quite a few books on Winchester guns. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a copy at a gunshow.

Beware the man with the S&W .357 Mag.
Chances are he knows how to use it.

[This message has been edited by Mike Irwin (edited August 13, 2000).]

Dave McC
August 13, 2000, 05:51 AM
The Model 42 is a classic,and many firearms collectors would drool at the chance of getting a field grade in good shape. The bad news is that it's still just a 410.

Mike has it, the 410 is for experts with limited use on small ground game like squirrels by others. The common practice of starting out kids with 410s is one reason there's so many non shotgun shooters in the world, since one cannot hit much with the thing, people get diacouraged.

All that aside, have fun with your heirloom.
Get some shells(most 42s are chambered for the 3 inch but possibly not all) and pattern it, then try some hand thrown clays. Enjoy!!

August 13, 2000, 11:24 AM
Here in Oklahoma, and in lots of other warm places, the 410 is ideal to take along on a fishing trip for killing snakes. (And if you like frog legs it's a good round to take a big bull frog with. Peel the skin off the legs and grill. Great!)

It's also good for pest birds around the house, since it doesn't make a lot of noise or go very far. My neighbor uses his for shooting webworms out of his trees.

August 13, 2000, 09:52 PM
1940. And the plain-Jane standard grade ones are worth $850 in 98% condition according to the Blue Book. JT

August 17, 2000, 11:43 PM
Hi all,

Thanks for all the good information, everyone.

I took my gun to a couple of stores to see what I could learn. You guys were right on - my gun made in 1940. It's a standard model. The tube holds three 3" shells. It shoots great! I didn't think the .410 was hard to shoot at all, but of course I'm used to shooting .22 caliber bullets that leave little room for error. Either you hit the target, or you don't! :) So with the .410, I almost feel like I'm cheating when I don't miss time after time. But at least my girlfriend was impressed. :)

But moving on... When I took it to the 1st gunstore the gent there told me after only a minute of looking at it that he would write me a check for $500 on the spot if I wanted to sell. Or, he would give me $600 on a trade. I asked him to estimate the condition, and he said 97%. Another employee there said afterwards that if I sold it to them, they'd sell it for about $900 off the shelf.

At the 2nd store, the gent there spent considerably more time looking at the gun and inspecting it. He went over every detail. My 42 has a leather pad-thing over the end of the stock, and it looks as if it's been epoxied on to add overall length to the gun. The leather has seen some obvious wear & tear. He said because of that pad, the gun was only around 70% condition and didn't offer me anything, but showed me a book with a list values in it. I think 70% landed at $450.
However, I looked around in this shop and found a used Win Mod 42 they had for sale. This gun looked like crap. The finish was nothing near the rich black-blue and shiny wood that mine is. It was somewhere around dull gray to brown. Their price: $600. Go figure.

Anyway, after shooting my 70%/97% Mod 42, I've found that I like it and probably won't be selling it. Not unless somebody offers me an HK-91 for it or something... :)

Thanks everybody!