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Old March 6, 2011, 06:11 PM   #1
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Model 12 Production Year Build Numbers

Winchester Model 12

Just wondering why in 1956 roughly 70,000 were made, then in 1957 less than 10,000, then in 1958 back up to almost 40,000.

There were a few years this sharp decline in manufacturing occurred.
1944....and so on.

Just curious...
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Old March 6, 2011, 08:39 PM   #2
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I would think that any sane manufacturer would base their production run schedules on demand for a particular model, i.e. actual orders from dealers & distributors.

A low demand would usually follow a time of market saturation, albeit temporary.

The reason why large manufacturers have a diverse offering is that they can run production on one or two items more in demand, during those slack times on the other products.

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Old March 12, 2011, 12:36 PM   #3
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Low production numbers during the WW II years is easy to understand, after all, Winchester was rather busy with other things.

As to the rest, I think supply and demand probably covers it. If you build 40,000 guns one year, but only sell 19,000, next year you aren't going to build as many. And the year after that when you sell 37,517, you are going to ramp up a bit, to cover anticipated future demand.

Lots of factors involved, including the general economic climate, interest in shooting sports, and especially the competition. Remington's 870 was hitting its stride in the late 50s, and basically steamrollered the Model 12 a decade later. A better gun in a few ways, and a cheaper and easier gun to make in most ways, the 870's popularlity turned the last few years Model 12 production into high end trap guns, before it ended all together.

Winchester came out with new models to better compete, but never regained the dominance they once had.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old March 12, 2011, 02:41 PM   #4
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Looking for Model 12 dates, I've run across seemingly conflicting production numbers. Some lists show spikes, like the OP's 1956, but other lists show consecutive years being fairly similar.

One possibility is there are two sets of serial number dates: one list could be based on production dates while others reflect when the guns were actually shipped. I don't know if the Winchester factory made Model 12s continuously or did them a batch at a time. If made in large batches and warehoused to be distributed based on demand, it could explain the seeming discrepancies. Is the model year of a gun the year it was made, or the year it left the factory warehouse? I think it may depend if the records are from the production floor or the accounting office.
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