View Full Version : Win.Model 12 Military Shotgun

January 29, 2011, 03:52 PM
Apparently Winchester made a Model 12 Military Shotgun, 12 guage,with U.S. and the flaming ball on the receiver, without the perforated heat shield, but with a cutts compensator mounted, and a Pachymer shoulder pad. This became an Air Force Skeet Shotgun, used to train gunnery student airmen, in the art of leading the target. Although there is plenty to read about the skeet training, I've never heard of this gun mentioned. Has anyone seen what I've described. Thanks. Joe

January 29, 2011, 07:43 PM
All branches of the military bought shotguns, especially during WWII. While they contracted with Winchester, Ithica, Remington, and Savage to build both riot and trench guns, they would also buy standard field grade guns for training purposes. Many were bought right off the hardware stores racks at the beginning of the war. The fact your has a choke system on it is puzzling. I have never read of any with this add on being built for the military. The recoil pad is also an after market addition. If I had to make a quess from my 45 plus years of buying and collecting and studying antique arms, I would guess that both the choke and pad were added after the war by the surplus arms purchaser. If your barrel had a choke marking on it ie. FULL, MOD. IMP CYL, OR CYL, then the choke is definately an after market.

Tom Doniphon
January 30, 2011, 12:49 AM
Prior to the end of WWII, there was a Military shotgun overhaul program during which thousands of Military Model 12 sporting shotguns had Cutts compensators added to them. These shotguns were indeed used for aerial gunnery training by the Army Air Force.

January 30, 2011, 03:07 AM
Seems like the American Rifleman ran an article about training such gunners in the past 10 yrs or so.

It was long touted that the US had the best trained aerial gunners in the world.
Gunners shot trap and skeet, then road in the back of trucks and shot at clay birds launched from odd angles while moving. Some guns were mounted in brackets to simulate the MG sighting and set up from the aircraft.

Seems like I also read that clay bird shooting blossomed after WWII since so many men had been exposed to it.

January 30, 2011, 04:57 AM
What a nice response from 30-30 Winchester, Tom Doniphon, Bamaranger. I appreciate it. Gun definitely is a Military Shotgun, not commercial. It has the proof ball and flame, the "W.B." and proof stamp in the left stock. "CYL" is marked on barrel (cyl was engraved on mil. shotguns)., but as 30-30 points out, not full, mod, etc. I called Winchester in Utah, but all their Model 12 info was lost in a fire. I checked Nat. Skeet Shoot Assoc. website. They write about Aerial Gunnery Skeet Shooting and show one picture, but nothing can be determined from that info. Gun was built in 1943. The original owner told me it was an "Air Force Gun". Maybe Air Force historical records can help? Thanks. Joe

January 30, 2011, 11:38 AM
We would apreciate photos if you have them. Now you have me really puzzled. If the barrel is marked CYL then it already has a choke suitable for skeet shooting. What is the length of the barrel without the choke system? These types of questions are the reason I come to the forums. Much imformation can be gleemed from these if you weed out the inaccurate imformation. I have done quite a bit of study on military shotguns but have never heard of the overhaul program Tom was talking about. I will try to find out more on this subject.

January 30, 2011, 01:27 PM
Thanks. According to BlueBook, "cyl" was engraved on all Model 12 Riot, and Trench guns. 18 3/4" seems to be the measurement of barrel. I will take a photo.

What I would love to find out it that this is not an aerial training shotgun, but a USAF ordered Skeet Shotgun, for a Base shooting club, and, that the Air Force wanted Winchester to build it on a military shotgun base, not a commercial Model 12. I'll get photo in a few days.

January 30, 2011, 02:16 PM
I have a oddball model 12 military that I thought was and still might be a pieced together unit. It has front and rear sights. The rear sights are two pins about 3/8ths inch apart and the front is a ramp with a bb on it. The receiver is a very crudely machined model 12 marked U.S. with the flaming bomb. The safety 'off' button is odd shaped and about twice the size as the 'on' side. It has the take down barrel but where the corn cob attaches to the barrel reminds me of a model 25 set up. It has a sling mount on the buttstock.
A now deceased vet once told me that he thought it was an aerial training gun. He remembered driving a truck with men riding in the back of shooting at clays that were launched off a train car that they were driving along side of. They would have to shoot while bouncing along to try to simulate the real thing.
Any help in determining if this is an original or not would be much appreciated.
If this is the real deal I want to loan it to the local Airforce museum.
I took some photos but they are too large for this site. I will try to make them smaller. I will email them direct to one of you if you would like?
Thanks guys.

January 30, 2011, 05:42 PM
Hello Schlitz,

Much info on shotguns connected to a mount, on the back of a pickup, to teach gunnery skills. It was said that American Airmen were the best aerial gunners in the world, because of their advanced training. Your question is like my question, what's the history behind my model 12. I'm happy to have had my question responded to, and I'm sure more research will follow. I'm going to take a photo of mine, and your photo will surely be great to see. :) Plug in your serial number into "Winchester dates of manufacture". There are two sets of numbers under the receiver. If the shotgun was an original manufacture, those numbers will match. Even if they don't match, there still is an important history for your gun. Numbers will tell you the date of manufacturer. It's one piece of the puzzle. :)

January 30, 2011, 07:42 PM
Going by memory, all the riot and trench 1912s were 20", not 18.whatever, IIRC.

January 30, 2011, 08:06 PM
The riot and trenchguns were issued with 20" barrels only. When an aftermarket choke device is installed you must first remove the factory choke existing in the barrel. This can either be done with a brake hone and an electric drill or the barrel is cut far enough back to remove the restricted portion of the barrel. This is the most common and cheapest way to remove the coke restriction. It sounds like you have a standard issue riot gun that had an aftermarket choke installed. Why and when this was done is anybodys guess. Does your gun have sling swivels and three horizonal evenly spaced cuts under the barrel between the forward end of the magazine and end of the barrel? These are give aways as it having started life as a riot gun. These training guns are of particular intrest to me as my late father-in-law was a ball turret gunner on a B-17 during the war and did the training mentioned in above posts. Just a little bragging here as he rode 32 times under the belly of a B-17 over the hostile skies of Europe.

January 31, 2011, 06:18 PM

All regards to our father. No need to dismiss your post. Your father suffered along with all aircrews, who could not have expected to return from many cold, lonely, bumpin' shakin' exhausting, missions. And that's before any flak or German fighters were encountered. All respect to your father. My Military Model 12 has nothing under the barrel. Again, it has all the proof marks which denote it as a Military Shotgun. It could be that there were some different contracts let to Winchester.

February 1, 2011, 02:46 PM
I don't mean to be even remotely offensive but you may wind up taking offense anyway - not intended at all - but it is important to point out that there has been quite a good deal of faking in Winchester military shotguns over the years. I am not saying that yours is not authentic, but anything outside the known criteria raises questions.

February 2, 2011, 03:45 PM
I don't take any offense whatsoever, we're all her to share and learn what we can. I have heard the same types of things regarding faking. This gun belonged to the father of a man I worked with. I also bought a beautiful 1886 Winchester .33 WCF from him. Father died and son sold some guns to help mother out with income. Serial numbers match, all proof marks in place. I know it is a genuine. It's the question of the Cutts and shoulder pad that lead me to think that it was purchased to shoot skeet at a USAF installation, or again, train aerial gunners.

I'll get a photo, and I have an appointment with an elderly gun smith who may or may not have some info. Thanks for writing.

February 2, 2011, 05:30 PM
Just thought of this: There are a few photos of Airforce gunners shooting skeet. WWII black and white photos. There arn't many that I could find.

The shots that I did find show a "clean barrel", some with Cutts Compensator, some without. Nothing below the barrel, and in the case of Winchester Riot and Trench Military Shotguns, no perforated shield, no bayonet lug. Now I realize that Savage, Ithaca, Remington, all had different designs, etc. but I am thinking the following: Why would USAF order Win. Model 12 shotguns that would be used for: Skeet shooting for a USAF Base Shooting Team, and, then, Aerial Gunnery practice shoot skeeting, with a perforated heat shield, bayonet lug, etc. I'll offer that they would not. No matter, food for thought, I'll just keep doing some research, and others will too. Have a glass of Red Wine :) Joe

44 AMP
February 4, 2011, 05:01 PM
And lots of times, "field expedients" were used. You're right, they wouldn't order a riot gun to use for skeet shooting training. But, they might have used a riot gun that they already happened to have, until they got the guns they ordered. And they might have kept on using it, even after the "right" guns were available.

We underwent a tremendous expansion the first couple years of the war, and lots of things were locally in short supply. In 1941 there were something like 3 flight schools in the country. By 1943 there were over 25. It is quite possible a riot gun got pressed into serving for gunnery training. Not saying yours is, but if I saw one like that, I wouldn't be surprised.