View Full Version : Winchester model 42 questions

July 2, 2012, 06:03 PM
Hey guys, I've got a model 42 Winchester 410 shotgun my buddy is trying to sell me and he let me take it out and shoot it.

It's the standard or field model, 3 inch chamber, full choke. Serial number dates it built in 1960. I did some research on it last night and wow! I had no idea those guns were potentially worth so much. I would say it was a safe queen most of its life. Bluing and stock are about 95 percent.

I went out and shot it today and discovered some issues. Mainly weak springs I believe. The feed ramp ( I guess that's what it might be called - the ramp that moves the shell from magazine to chamber) seems to have a very weak spring which caused a few jams. The worst issue was that it wouldn't eject shells half the time. It's like the extractor is not engaging on the rim. When this would happen, I would have to work the slide a few times to finally get it to engage.

So I have a few questions.
1. How hard is it to find parts for this gun
2. Should I even begin to try and fix it myself if I buy it
3. How much is it worth? I know y'all would like to see pics and everything, and the moderators don't like us to try and value guns on here, but I'm asking for advice on what to offer my friend for his shotgun given its present condition. He has no idea what he has. Told me it was a browning. So I'd like to get a good deal, but don't want to screw him either.

Thanks in advance. I'll try and get the wife to help me upload some photos when she gets home.

July 2, 2012, 06:30 PM
Pictures will tell us a lot more ...but as you probably know in 1912 / Winchester brought out the model 12's ..hence the name ....and they were made in 12ga, 16ga, 20ga and 28ga .....and then in 1933 the model 42's came along ( a downsized version of the model 12 ..in .410 )....the bigger model 12's were not made in .410 / and as far as I know the model 42's went out of production in the early 60's...

Model 42's ...came in 5 or 6 grades....from Standard ...all the way up to Pigeon grade. The Pigeon grades are a thing of beauty ...and I have seen them sell for well over $ 5,000... but the standard grades...especially in the later years of production are not that sought after...at least by collectors...so there are extremes in values at the high end / and not so much at the lower end.

Depending on what you want to use it for ....a Full choke may be a negative to you ...or maybe not. As a "skeet" gun, it would be a negative...and in general, I'd say a Full choke is not a plus for it. But the good thing is ..it has the Full choke vs being cut off and having a cutts compensator put on it ...which a lot of them - had that done.

Parts - in general ....will not be easy to come by / but not impossible either. What might be harder is finding a decent gunsmith to fix it properly so it will extract and feed properly. Its probably not "springs" so much as worn out parts...or it just might be dirty and not properly lubed...hard to tell.

I'm not a Winchester guy...( I don't like the model 12's --- and while I know its blasphemy ) ....I'm more of a Browning guy ...and I just don't like the look of the model 12's or 42's ....but us Baby Boomers ...seem to be snatching up these model 42's ....especially in Skeet, Deluxe and Pigeon grades...just because / and while guys will bring them out to shoot Skeet with from time to time....noone I know of is using one to compete with ...( vs O/U's from Browning, Perazzi, etc ...) in .410 .... so to me, these pump guns are more of a novelty than anything...

In contrast....if you wanted a new pump gun ....chambered in .410 ...Browning still has one ....BPS Hunter model, .410, 26" barrel, changeable screw in chokes...and in .410 it lists new for around $ 700 ....but I see it selling for around $ 625 ....


It's not really a competition gun either ....but its a gun you can have a lot of fun with for probably way less - than what your buddy might want for the model 42 ...

If you were going to buy the model 42....I would tell him he has to get it to a qualified gunsmith ...get it cleaned up / tuned up ....so it cycles 100% and then make him an offer....but if he wants over $ 700 for it / when you can buy the new Browning BPS Hunter model instead, I'd pass....but once he has it cleaned up...I wouldn't be shocked if someone offered him at least $1,500 for it these days...even in standard grade. That's my perspective on it...( but like I said, I'm not a Winchester mod 12 lover either )...and a lot of guys just have to have a complete set of model 12's in all the guages...and a model 42 - to make the set complete.

Personally, I shoot a lot of skeet and sporting clays ...and the .410 frustrates me a lot ( small patterns ) even with more open chokes...but I stay with an O/U ...30" barrels, 8 lb gun, with screw in chokes...built on a 20ga receiver ...( in both the 28ga and .410 )....so then the 20ga, 28ga and .410 all feel the same / even though I have 3 different guns .../ but that gun gives me a better chance to perform well ....and I don't see the novelty of
a .410 in a pump gun / although I understand it ...I'd rather have the O/U...or I'd go with the BPS Hunter model. I rarely use the .410 O/U for new shooters in my family / I usually start them on the 28ga ...(better pattern, better results ) ...at 10 or 12 yrs old ... If I force myself to shoot the .410 -- at skeet or sporting clays....its because I have some fundamental flaws in my swing ...and I'll use the .410 to get into my head...and accentuate my issues / vs shooting a bigger gague and letting me get by ....the .410 tells me I suck / and I can hear it laughing at me....it tortures me / at the same time, it makes me concentrate....and make better fundamental moves on a target ..or my scores get really ugly. But that's how I look at a .410 ....in general..../ good luck / and I hope you get some photos up so we can see it...some WIN guys will be along ....

July 2, 2012, 09:34 PM
It's a great gun if you're a Winchester collector. At one time, the Model 42 was king of Skeet's .410-bore events; but, that was many years ago. Have a look at one of the web's gun auction sites for Model 42 values.

Big Jim doesn't do very well with a .410 because he's using the wrong gun(s). If you really want to maximize your Skeet scores, get a tubed O/U. It's been a long, long time since any other set-up had won a .410-bore event.

July 3, 2012, 01:45 AM
The 42's seem awfully scarce. I wanted one dearly as a kid, it never happened, Dad, practical as ever, bought me a bolt Savage, which promptly broke.

I've only ever even seen two Model 42's for sale at a show, and those were on display, not really for sale.

I'd be upfront with a pal. " Hey, your gun could be worth a lot, but .....what'dya want for it?" He names a price and nobody gets their nose out of joint.

July 3, 2012, 12:01 PM
I agree with Zippy ....a tubed gun / with a carrier barrel ...is by far the best competition gun around for the sub-gague events in skeet, sporting clays, etc...but that's a whole different level of performance.

I took a little cheaper way out ...and invested in stand alone guns / Browning Citori XS Skeet models, 30" barrels, in 12ga, a 20ga, a 28ga and a .410 ...and the 28ga and .410 are all built on the 20ga receiver by Browning. They are not the "perfect system".

But the question for you ....is what do you want a .410 pump gun for ?? What do you intend to do with it ?? Is it a gague ..you want to spend $ 700 on / $ 1,500 on / $ 3,000 on ...or more....and at $ 3,000 or so, its a different issue ..../ but then again, sometimes its just fun having something different.

( but in any configuration....my .410 still laughs at me ...tells me I suck / it did it about 30 min ago ...when I loaded it into the gun case...darn thing...)...it just will not quit laughing..../ but today is the day, I tell it to behave, or I'm going to tie a rope to it and drag it thru the gravel parking lot !

July 3, 2012, 01:37 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys.

At first when he told me he had a 410 pump, I was thinking it would be a great first gun for my son someday (he's 4 now). Then, when I saw what it was, that idea went out the window. I rarely ever shoot skeet and never competitively, so this gun would be mainly a collector, and occasional squirrel gun. I like to play the horses and whenever I hit a good lick, I buy guns. Ties my money up in something I love that in most cases appreciates in value. I hit the trifecta in the Kentucky derby, and haven't bout any guns yet, so this is good timing.

I know there are better 410 s out there for sure, but man the more I research this one, the more I want it. Before I shot it, I was thinking of offering 1000, but now I think I'm going to have a smith look at it and see what it would take to get it to function reliably. I don't mind having collectible guns that sit in the safe most of the time, but I definitely want to be able to shoot them whenever I want too.

So, I'm thinking around 700 now. (of course this would be contingent on what the smith says)

So, what's yall s opinion. Think that's reasonable? Am I way over thinking this? I already asked him what he wants for it and he told me just make an offer.

Thanks, Daniel

July 3, 2012, 02:25 PM
A .410 isn't a good gun for a kid in my opinion. A 28ga is a way better gun ...and you can do a lot more with it. But then, I live in the Northwest ...and we don't hunt squirrels either...

If you just want a .410 ....or a .410 pump gun ...I don't think you're over thinking this gun....it comes down to whether you like the looks of a model 42 ( its old technology / but once you get it so it'll run 100% it'll probably be ok long term). On the std grade model 42's ..I don't think they'll maintain their value another 10 yrs or so ...and then the value is going to crash in my opinion once us Baby Boomers are no longer interested in them. The exception will be the Deluxe grade model 42's or the Pigeon Grade guns...those will continue to demand a premium price .../ but comparing a standard grade to a pigeon grade...is like comparing a Hyundai to a Lexus ...they're just not the same.

I think the Browning BPS in a .410 and one in a 28ga ...combined will only cost you about $ 1,200 for both guns ...is a better buy than this model 42. But I think the Browning BPS is a stronger gun than the model 42 as well ...and for the next 3 generations in your family, the BPS won't have to be rebuilt.

But it isn't what matters to me...its what you think would be the sexy gun to have in a .410 ....the model 42 or the BPS...but before you decide, I'd at least go to a good gun store and hold a BPS in .410 ideally ( or in 28ga or 20ga ) and see what you think of them vs the model 42. I think that's how to make your choice. A lot of stores should have the BPS in stock in at least a 20ga ...the Hunter model ...( they have about 9 models of the BPS ) but the Hunter model is probably the most popular. Remington used to make the 870 Wingmaster in a .410 as well ...and they're good guns as well ...the Wingmaster and the BPS are on a par ....the other 870 models, like the express, etc ...not so much, in my opinion.

In terms of rebuilding the model 42...unless its just a cleaning and lube issue ...I think you're looking at $ 300 easily to have it rebuilt / could be way more / almost impossible to tell --- until a gunsmith gets it broken down and can evaluate it for you.

July 3, 2012, 02:36 PM
Simmons Guns (http://simmonsguns.com/) (the gold standard for model 12s and 42s) has an internet special and will "fix-up" your Plain Jane Model 42 for $1200 + $75 S&H.

July 3, 2012, 04:49 PM
I was at a buddies used gun shop an hour or two ago ....and he has a couple of model 42's in inventory ....one standard ...and one the next grade up ...they're both on consignment.../ asking price is $ 2,500 on the std one and $ 3,000 on the other one.

My buddy told me - quietly - that if he gets an offer for $1,000 on either one - the seller might take it / because noone has given them a serious look in months / and they've been there at least 3 months.

Another older gun ...that is discussed on this forum a lot ...is the Browning Auto 5 ....and my buddy has at least 15 of them in inventory ...12ga, 16ga, etc....and says he's quit taking them in on consignment or in trades / he can't sell them - except on a rare occasion / even if they are in excellent condition.

On the flip side...he can sell all the used BPS Hunter models he can get.../ has 2 of them used now ...( he tries to keep new ones in stock on 12ga, 20ga and a 28ga ...) but he's been having trouble getting them, except in 12ga.../ and he can sell all the used Beretta O/U's he can get ...and all the used Browning Citori O/U's he can get...( he told me he has at least 3 buyers, for my Citori XS Skeet model in .410 if I ever decide to sell it ...I bought it from him - so he knows I paid about $ 2,400 for it a few yrs ago ....and he says he can easily sell it for around $ 3,000 today --- but its not for sale / like most of my guns --- but he keeps asking - just in case I change my mind).

If these model 42's were pigeon grades...my buddy says he easily sell them for around $5,000....and lots of buyers on that grade..../ but some of this might vary by the region of the country as well. Just one perspective....

.300 Weatherby Mag
July 3, 2012, 11:21 PM
My buddy told me - quietly - that if he gets an offer for $1,000 on either one - the seller might take it / because noone has given them a serious look in months / and they've been there at least 3 months.

The people that frequent that store must not know what they are... $1000 for a model 42 is a steal unless its beaten to death!!! I've seen certain model 42s sell for more than $4000... I've shot one that was valued at $4600+!!!

July 4, 2012, 01:38 AM
rant warning;
There is a guy on another forum, Who has 160 model 42's with several other collectors trying to surpass him. I blame him and others like him for driving up the price of the 42's. The 42 is a super fine gun and it bothers me that me hoarders have driven the price beyond what I feel I can spend.

July 4, 2012, 11:02 PM
Thanks for all the great replies guys.

I've already got a 20 ga moss erg 500 my dad got me when I was 10 that I was planning on handing down to my son when he is ready. Jim - the way you are talking up those Brownings is making me want to go get one just to have one. I have shot a 12 ga bps , don't know the model, and they are sweet.

Don't think I'll be sending it off to Simmons if I buy it. Wow - 1200 bucks

I'll probably offer him 700 and try to get it working right. If he will take 700. I just think its a cool old gun.

Again thanks for all the input. He's on vacation til this weekend, so I'll let y'all know next week if I bought it or not.

July 5, 2012, 11:03 AM
if the gun is original and 95% it most likely just needs a good cleaning to function properly.....sitting all that time tends to dry out any grease or other lubes.....a tooth brush and some hoppes will have it working in no time....1200-1500 dollar gun.....

July 5, 2012, 02:15 PM
I'm a Browning guy ..../ because they fit me primarily ....but I've never had a Browning shotgun let me down either....


Here is my pair of BPS - Hunter models one in 12ga ..one in 20ga...( bought the 12ga in the early 80's ...the 20ga in the late 80's ...) ....both of them have been thru my 2 boys learning how to shoot clays ...and some of the grandkids as well....and I shot the BPS 12ga - as my primary gun for bird hunting and for Trap singles...for at least 5 yrs...

as they sit ....there has to be 300,000 shells or more thru each of them at least...( I never abused them / or used them as boat paddles...) they have a few marks on them ...

I just think the Browning BPS Hunter models ...and the Rem 870 Wingmaster are on the same par in terms of quality. If you don't have one / its a good investment. Eventually I'll pass both of mine down to one of my boys ...and I still shoot them once or twice a year - at skeet or whatever - just for the heck of it. But my primary guns for bird hunting, sporting clays and skeet are Browning Citori O/U's XS Skeet models...30" barrels ..in 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410.


the bottom one in this photo is my .410 version...

and I'm not saying the model 42 is a bad gun ....but if I could pick up a Browning Citori, XS Skeet model in a .410 for $ 3,000....I'd rather have the Citori than the model 42 ...but the BPS Hunter model ...is just a good buy in the .410 or a 12ga...or whatever.

But I bring these options up ...because more than one person has told me they've never seen an O/U ..in a .410 ... / and if you look thru the Browning catalog ...a lot of their guns are available in a .410 ...and they make a number of them, on special order runs, like the XS Skeet...from time to time for big dealers that can commit to accepting 50 or so ...so there are a lot of guns around in .410 .....
No matter what happens ... good luck / and no matter what - have fun with the process.

Clifford L. Hughes
July 6, 2012, 10:14 AM

Twenty or so years ago, Browning produce a small run of Winchester 42's in a field grade and in grade, I think, grade five or six. The high grade was fully engraved and gold inlaid. So when valuing the 42 it must be determined who made the gun. I sold guns at the time for a living and the Browning 42's sold well.

Semper Fi.

Gunnery Sergeant
Clifford L. Hughes
USMC Retired

Bailey Boat
July 7, 2012, 07:57 AM
Cliff finally mentioned the Browning repro guns and you had said earlier that your friend said he had a Browning pump gun. I'm making the assumption that you have the gun and it actually says Winchester on the barrel???

The Browning repro guns were solid but didn't carry the pricing of the earlier Winchesters. The Remington Wingmaster guns in 28 and 410 are out there but very hard to find.

July 7, 2012, 01:56 PM
He has no idea what he has. Told me it was a browning. So I'd like to get a good deal, but don't want to screw him either.

As mentioned, Browning did make a 42 pump gun

Currently, Winchester 42 pump field guns in decent condition go for around 1500, target versions in mint are triple or quadruple that

Here's a Browning for $2200: http://www.gunsinternational.com/BROWNING-MODEL-42-Limited-Edition-Grade-V-410.cfm?gun_id=100194447

Here's a listing of 94 Win 42's for sale

compare to yours for pricing

July 7, 2012, 05:45 PM
It is definitely a Winchester. Says so right on the barrel.

Looking at some of those guns on guns international, it would probably be priced in the $1700 range. I just wonder what those guns are actually selling for.

Anyways, I talked with the owner this morning and he is going to do the deal of $700. He seemed really surprised it was worth so much. Said he had another buddy he trusted about firearms value it at about 500 a year ago. I was just up front with him and told him if it was in good working order it was probably a $1200 gun all day long. He understood that I might have to get a smith involved to get it working right and was very happy with $700. Hope he stays like that til I actually put the money In His hand tomorrow!

July 7, 2012, 07:02 PM
GI is NOT an auction site, so those guns typically sell for what they are offered for - most sellers are reputable dealers so their prices are about spot on

July 7, 2012, 11:28 PM

July 7, 2012, 11:29 PM
a few more pics

July 7, 2012, 11:31 PM
hope these pics arent too crappy

July 8, 2012, 06:25 AM
i had my rem 870 express .410 opened up to a modified choke and the forcing cone polished and opened up a little, then i packed it full of JB bore cleaner and worked it for several weeks off and on. it is a very smooth shotgun now and shoots very well and the total cost including gun(walmart close out under 200.00) is under 350.00. i shoot barn pidgens at about 25yds and miss very few. i also got a 28ga rem 870 express at the same time and cost,it has a modified fixed choke so i,ll just have the other work on it and do the JB smoothing work, it should be a good small game shotgun with the win one oz #6,s out to 30yds or so. eastbank.

July 9, 2012, 02:59 PM
Well, the deal is done. I'm the proud new owner of a model 42 Winchester. Paid $700 for it. Got a manual on the way so I can take it apart, clean thoroughly, and see if any parts need replacing. I'll let y'all know how it goes. Thanks again for all the advice and opinions.

July 9, 2012, 05:29 PM
good luck with the new gun ...and please do let us know....

Bill from Boomhower,
July 17, 2012, 12:38 AM
Get that problem you mentioned rectified, buy up some .410 ammo, and prepare to keep a staight face, as you amaze yourself and your friends, by out-shooting their 12 and 20ga guns, making it look easy and fun. Easy because it's a damned fine gun, well designed, with excellent balance and point-ability, which feels like an extention of your arm pointing, swinging thru on targets.............. natural. And fun because the shotgun is so light, so balanced and light weight that it not only makes last second snap-shots on game count effortlessly, but it's probably half to two/thirds the weight of the Model 12, and shells are as well light in weight, and are less bulky to carry afield, making this gun a fun pleasure to shoot, and shoot well. The old saying about .410s was that the gun was for beginners, or experts. I should never have let go of the one I had that was my Dad's. It had a plain bbl w/full choke, and was just very clean otherwise. Nowadays I have a real clean Wingmaster 870 in .410 w/vent-rib bbl, and improved cylinder, that was my Father-inlaw's, but this one's not gettin' away from me. You'll really appriciate that gun by just shooting with it as I have mentioned. Keep your eye out for a Winchester model 37, a uniquely designed single shot .410 break-open, that your boy can gro into first to help teach him. It's even shorter and lighter than the model 42, with a unique design.....the top tang break-open lever is in front of the hammer. That's certainly different, yet it puts the young shooter's handin a closer, more natural position to raise or lower the hammer, I beieve making it safer for new, young shooters, plus you'll have another cool Winchester. I have one myself, and used to have the model 42 as well. Oh well.........

July 17, 2012, 03:14 PM
Just got the manual in the mail so I'm thinking this weekend I'll take it apart and try to assess what the problem with extraction is. The bolt has a tiny extractor claw on the inside or left side of the bolt and I'm thinking it may be broken off and some of it missing. Gonna have to do a search on the net for pics of what it should look like.

Also, the slide release is a little sticky. I'm hoping a good thorough cleaning and maybe a few replacement parts will have her up and running. Seems like a pretty complex gun to me just looking at the manual, with many areas for dirt to gum up and plenty of tiny parts to break or tiny springs to get weak. Wish me luck!

340 Weatherby
July 18, 2012, 01:07 AM
At $700, that was a fine purchase. you should be able to get it fixed ok as their are people that specialize in 42's. I haven't seen one like yours priced under $750 in 20 years. They truly are a cult gun, and unless someone has one they probably won't understand. Shoot a limit of doves with that thing and they'll have to knock the smile off your face.

July 18, 2012, 08:08 AM
We have a small cadre at our gun club who all own 42's and they will get together on the 5-stand and FITASC field with them and have some fun. Most are pre WW II, and in great condition

July 19, 2012, 12:05 PM
I have a 20 gauge single shot shotgun that is supposed to be an H&R but on the stock it says it's a Winchester ........the serial numbers on the receipt and the gun do not match up...
This may help ......it doesn't eject the shell after firing....typical on an H&R
Someone said to use Remington ammo.....I am using Winchester super target

July 19, 2012, 02:18 PM
Greetings Davidmoody, and welcome aboard.

...the serial numbers on the receipt and the gun do not match up...
Oops... I think you may be trolling for trouble.
How is the stock labeled "Winchester"... on the butt plate or grip cap?

July 19, 2012, 03:33 PM
I hope......
It is a plastic shoulder plate that says Winchester repeating arms co.
Serial#8794 2
this is a very old gun.....
Thanx for your reply.....
I'm putting together kit furniture for my neighbor...so I'm in and out
Dave Moody

July 19, 2012, 06:11 PM
..be carefull taking apart that 42..its easy to damage screws and scratch and mare parts trying to get them apart..[fair warning given]

Nice looking gun....it was made in 1961....

July 19, 2012, 07:14 PM
How did you know it was 1961.......
Is it a Winchester or an H&R......
I did clean the breech totally ....and hop in that it ejects the shells
I heard that Remington has a better quality ammo......!!!!.

July 19, 2012, 09:00 PM
Gunnut - thanks for the warning and I plan on being extremely careful with this gun. By the way, do you have any experience with disassembly of the 42? If so, I'm sure I'll have some questions. Going to really take my time on this one. I was planning on starting this weekend, but my sister just had a baby in nw Arkansas, so looks like I'll be headed up there.

David - I just went to google and did a search for " Winchester serial numbers" and came up with a site where you enter the number and they tell you the date of manufacture. You do have to know the model of the Winchester to search the serial number.

July 26, 2012, 08:32 PM
Hey guys, im having a hard time finding any pics of the left extractor on the model 42, but i finally got to taking the gun apart, and have some pics of the bolt showing the extractor. Take a look at the left extractor and see if you guys think its broke off. Thats what it looks like to me and this may be my solution to my extraction problem.

August 27, 2012, 06:25 PM
Alright, I'm back, with updates.

I found that Midwest gun works had all the parts I felt needed replacing after I finally got the gun all broken down ( don't thinks I've ever taken that long to take a gun apart). Anyways, I replaced several springs and screws, but when I went to replace the left side extractor I didn't fit! Dang it! It is just too fat. It will actually go into the slot and I even got the retaining pin in, but there is so much extra metal, it will not function at all. So I put the old one back in ( which is sheared off at the tip) and got the gun back together after thoroughly cleaning every last bit of it. Took it out and shot it last night and still failing to eject every third or fourth round (big surprise).

So my question this time is would y'all just try to file the new extractor down to fit or search the world over for a new extractor that is correct? I think I'll probably end up filing.

Oh, I did fix the sticky slide release. Just had to do some very light filing where the thingy was hitting the thingy.

August 27, 2012, 07:41 PM
$700 is a steal for a 42. My local club has a group of folks with 42's, and between all of them, they have about every grade - all get shot

September 24, 2012, 12:17 AM
Well I finally got the old model 42 running right. Did some filing on the new left extractor so it would fit and now it is ejecting every time. Man, that is one fun little shotgun. I'm almost afraid to have too much fun with it thigh, given its value. Kind of thinking about selling it now and getting both me and my son new shotguns. :)