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 Post subject: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:06 pm
Posts: 35
I just found a long forgotten Winchester 1200 in a security cabinet in my garage last weekend. Made in 1978 and belonged to my dad. No rust, 28" barrel but does have a couple of dings in the wood and needs a recoil pad.

My first thought was to buy a shorter barrel and turn it into a HD gun. However, that seems cost prohibitive. Next thought was buy a synthetic camo stock and forend for less than $40 and turn it into a loaner dove hunting gun.

What's this old dog good for?
Thanks in advance for your time.



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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:42 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:45 am
Posts: 2261
Full choke I imagine ? If so I would have the choke cut out to modified, refinish the wood and put a new pad on.

My son and I each shot the heck out of our 1200s with no problems. His was 3 inch, mine 2.75”.


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:44 am 
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Location: Coastal NC
You can get a reliable defense gun at a pawn shop, such as a Mossberg 500 for Home defense. Cut the barrel down to around 20" and you have a very reliable shotgun to use for home defense.

The $40 camo deal is my suggestion. The 1200 ain't that reliable. It is made cheaply, though many will flame me by telling of a friend who never had any problems with the 1200. I was not so fortunate. Loan it out until it gives up then toss it. I wouldn't use it as a defense weapon. Others might do so.

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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:57 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:06 pm
Posts: 35
McFarmer wrote:
Full choke I imagine ? If so I would have the choke cut out to modified, refinish the wood and put a new pad on.

My son and I each shot the heck out of our 1200s with no problems. His was 3 inch, mine 2.75”.


Actually, it has 3 Winchokes with it.

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Benelli Montefeltro Sporting 12GA
Franchi Affinity 3 12GA
Weatherby Orion 12GA
Winchester Model 12 (100+ years old)
And my trusty 870 Express :)


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:21 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:45 am
Posts: 2261
Bakerloo wrote:
McFarmer wrote:
Full choke I imagine ? If so I would have the choke cut out to modified, refinish the wood and put a new pad on.

My son and I each shot the heck out of our 1200s with no problems. His was 3 inch, mine 2.75”.


Actually, it has 3 Winchokes with it.



Then I would say you have a good loaner gun. Not home defense, as previously noted.

Sand it down and put some Truoil on it, some had really nice wood. Tape off the checkering and make a weekend project out of it. A grind-to-fit pad would be good, otherwise slip one on.

Might want to run a box of shells through it first to check function, probably not worth putting money into it if it needs repairs.

I shot a fair amount of trap with mine, it held up.


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 12:29 pm 
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evbutler wrote:
The 1200 ain't that reliable. It is made cheaply, though many will flame me by telling of a friend who never had any problems with the 1200. I was not so fortunate. Loan it out until it gives up then toss it. I wouldn't use it as a defense weapon. Others might do so.

The 1200s and 1400s had a terrible, and deservedly so, reputation. Apparently they did make a few good ones. The problem is they made far too many bad ones. The current 'Winchester' pump, the SXP, is three generations removed from the 1200.

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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 5:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 1106
I would leave as is for a loaner gun.


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:06 pm
Posts: 35
Virginian wrote:
evbutler wrote:
The 1200 ain't that reliable. It is made cheaply, though many will flame me by telling of a friend who never had any problems with the 1200. I was not so fortunate. Loan it out until it gives up then toss it. I wouldn't use it as a defense weapon. Others might do so.

The 1200s and 1400s had a terrible, and deservedly so, reputation. Apparently they did make a few good ones. The problem is they made far too many bad ones. The current 'Winchester' pump, the SXP, is three generations removed from the 1200.


What goes wrong with a pump shotgun? Just curious.

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Weatherby Orion 12GA
Winchester Model 12 (100+ years old)
And my trusty 870 Express :)


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:30 pm 
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What goes wrong with a pump shotgun? We are discussing the 1200 series, right?

Too many parts made of a brittle plastic. Check out the extractor, also. Looks like it was cut from a beer can. The plastic feed throat is a trouble spot. Parts are still available but I quit the 1200 and 1400 series decades ago due to their cheap manufacture. Some folks swear by them. Some swear at them.

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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:04 pm
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Location: Upstate NY
I'm one of the lucky ones. I have two of the model 120, which I believe was the budget version of the 1200. One of them was my first shotgun in 1984. I think I handed over $149 for it at Sears. It saw a lot of use and never failed. Several years ago, I put on a Knox stock and a camo rifled-sighted barrel and made it a turkey gun.

I also have another one with a blonde stock that is in like-new condition. I take it to the skeet range once in a while just for the heck of it.

If you look around a bit, I think you could easily find some original wood furniture for it if you didn't really want to put synthetic on it...

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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:38 am
Posts: 120
Location: North Bay Area
+1 for getting there Camo stock for $40 and turning it into a loaner.


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:32 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:01 pm
Posts: 208
Location: Western PA
I have shot the 1200’s and 1400’s off and on for over 25 yrs. No hiccups to speak of. Cheap and reliable they have been. Are they pre 64 model 12 quality type gun.....No.
I have seen the 870 and 1100’s give their owners fits for various reasons...while my cheap Winny bangs away.
Good loaner, you could even luck into another barrel cheap and it could do double duty as home defense.


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 2:44 pm 
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All the "endorsements" in the world cannot change the truth.

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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:17 pm 
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Location: Louisiana
Virginian wrote:
All the "endorsements" in the world cannot change the truth.


Absolutely. I had a model 1200 briefly in 1969 and I do mean briefly. I bought it as an upgrade from my Mossberg 500, which it was not. I quickly traded it in on a new Ithaca 37, which I still own, and never looked back.


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:24 pm 
Limited Edition

Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:22 pm
Posts: 440
Location: NE South Dakota
My 1200 20 gauge has been a solid gun for me for almost 30 years. It doesn’t get shot a ton, but probably 20 boxes a year run through it and has not broken, ever. $75 farm sale gun.

That being said, there are some “dumb” plastic parts, like the magazine throat that I wish there was a metal aftermarket part. I haven’t broken it, but I helped the brother in law replace one on his SXP. You can short load shell into the magazine and they pop out under the lifter as well, but that’s operator error.

I will say in a home defense type situation I would trust my 1200 way more than the 3 year old youth 870 express I bought. That gun has been a non stop pos jam master for us so I sold it this past year, which was a good time to sell a Remington.


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:36 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:05 pm 
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I have never seen an 870 or a 500 that couldn't be fixed. Can't say that for the Winchesters.

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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:06 am
Posts: 83
Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast
Virginian wrote:
I have never seen an 870 or a 500 that couldn't be fixed. Can't say that for the Winchesters.


Not disputing your claim just genuinely curious; what can break on the 1200 that can't be fixed???


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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:44 am 
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It has been a looong time. I recall several plastic parts which became unavailable; the feed throat for one. I had a machinist friend that shot card shoots for big bucks, and he had a 1200 with a barrel he had made that shot very well. When the feed throat busted he made a replacement part out of aluminum. When another part let go he gave up and sold it for parts.
I was selling and repairing guns. I quickly got to where I would not order a 1200 or 1400. The 1300 was better, don't remember the Speed Pump, and the SXP seems to have finally solved the issues.

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 Post subject: Re: Winchester 1200
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:08 pm
Posts: 1861
Location: Minnesota
I had a 1200 back in the early 70s. As I recall it was a decent shotgun.




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