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Old March 6, 2010, 10:39 PM   #1
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Dumb question

I have a Winchester 1200 12 guage. It is chambered for 2 3/4". Does the barrel determine what length shell I can use? I'd like to be able to shoot 3" shells if possible.

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Old March 6, 2010, 10:42 PM   #2
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That's actually a good question, i don't know the answer. I assume you are assuming can you just buy a new barrel and shoot 3'' shells out of it. Im sure you can do that and make it fit, but in not sure if the receivers are different or if there is anything else that would prevent you from doing that safely.
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Old March 6, 2010, 10:53 PM   #3
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Thats exactly what I was wondering. Im pretty new to all of this and this is actually my first gun. Today was a good day though, I fired my first few rounds out of it. I also got to shoot my buddies Super X2 with a couple 3.5" shells. His recoil pad didn't help too much

I forgot, I have also read that 1200 and 1300 Winchester barrels are interchangeable. Can anyone confirm that because it would open up some more possibilities for me. The gun has a 28" smoothbore ribbed barrel with the WinChoke system now.
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Old March 6, 2010, 11:54 PM   #4
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if the receiver isnt made to handle 3inch shells it wont work. the shells may be too long to cycle from the mag to the barrel. the barrel would also have something to do with it. but if the shells cant reach the barrel theres no point. you also may not be able to load them into your mag, if the load port is smaller
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Old March 7, 2010, 04:43 AM   #5
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It tells you what it's chambered for. A good rule of thumb is if it's a 2-3/4" chamber, the longest round you can put into it is 2-3/4"

If you have a 3" chamber, you can chamber 3" rounds as well as 2-3/4". 3.5" chamber can chamber 3.5", 3", and 2-3/4". I'm sure you get the idea. I bet you could cram a 3" in the 2-3/4" chamber through the ejection port, but you would easily create an unsafe situation doing so (and it may be wedged past the forcing cone as well). And good luck getting it back out
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Old March 7, 2010, 06:36 AM   #6
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Get a barrel chambered for three inch shells.

As noted, it is unsafe to shoot 3 inch shells in a gun chambered for 2 3/4".
You can also take the gun to a gunsmith - a competent gunsmith - and have him recut the chamber/forcing cone so that it will safely accept 3" shells.
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Old March 7, 2010, 07:26 AM   #7
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Receiver strength is not much of an issue as 2-3/4in and 3in 12ga shot shells operate at the same pressure limit: 11,500psi. Three inch shells just hold more shot. 3-1/2in operate at a higher pressure. First try to cycle 3in in your gun. They will go into a 2-3/4 chamber, but don't fire them. If your barrel is thick enough around the forcing cone area, a gunsmith can ream it out to a 3in chamber. If not, just get a replacement barrel. Or just get into shotshell reloading and you'll find 3in doesn't have much advantage over 2-3/4.
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Old March 7, 2010, 10:16 AM   #8
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The barrel is chambered for 2 3/4" shells. DON'T shoot 3" shells in it- it's not safe, as the mouth of the shell opens out into the forcing cone of the barrel and further constricts it, just at the time chamber pressure is at its highest. Not what you want to be doing...

Your receiver (ejector) is set up for 2 3/4" shells too.

You want to shoot 3" or 3.5" shells, get a gun set up to handle them. Leave the gun you have to the size shells it was built to handle. A Winchester 1300 will handle 3" shells, I don't know if Winchester ever built a shotgun for 3.5" shells.


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Old March 7, 2010, 02:12 PM   #9
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Don't worry I'm not going to put any 3" shells in it.

That is what was confusing me though. I have read in a few different places that the 1200 and 1300 are the same gun, and most parts will interchange.

I just can't find anyone that can confirm which parts. I was thinking that if it was just a difference in the barrels, then I could swap to a 1300 barrel and shoot them.
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Old March 7, 2010, 03:12 PM   #10
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Also, remember, the length of the shell is the FIRED length, so a 3" unfired shell will appear to easily fit into a 2-3/4" chamber, giving the impression it fits and is safe. It isn't. Pressures are higher and some guns are not built to withstand reliably
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