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 Post subject: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 3:00 pm 
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Hi, I'm brand new here so please forgive any newbie transgressions. I just inherited a beautiful Winchester Model 12 shotgun from my father's good hunting buddy who passed away. I'm thinking it may be a Pigeon Grade, but I can't tell for sure because some of the details aren't matching up with what I'm finding on the internet. Here's what I know. Based on the serial number 1,197,XXX, it appears to have been manufactured in 1949. It is a 20 Gauge, 2&3/4" chamber and it's marked Improved Cylinder. Above the standard Winchester stampings on the barrel, the following words are stamped in tiny letters on the rib... "Simmons Gun Specialties, Inc., Olathe, Kansas." It has a 24" ventilated rib barrel.

The following features lead me to believe it may be a Pigeon Grade (or some other fancy custom-ordered model): high grade fancy walnut stock with fancy checkering, and machine-turned breech bolt and carrier. The stock is a straight pull design with red rubber butt pad and it has some of the most beautiful wood I've ever seen on a gun. The pictures don't do justice to the depth and beauty of the wood. However, it's missing the engraved pigeon that pigeon grad models are supposed to have on the receiver extension. One of the photos I'm attaching is an old Winchester ad (supposedly from 1949) which lists the pigeon grade features and indicates that they were available by special order without engraving. It also states that the stocks were hand made to the customer's dimensions, and perhaps this custom order theory explains the shorter barrel as well (most information I can find refers to barrels of 26" or greater).

The only non-original parts I see are a custom safety and an early example of a fiber optic front sight. Though I could easily replace these with the factory correct pieces, assuming that would help the value. As far as condition, it's overall excellent. There is one area on the magazine tube where the bluing is fairly worn, and there's a tiny spot on one side toward the front of the receiver as well, as you'll see in the pictures. Other than that, it's immaculate, no scratches, dings, pitting, etc.

Please let me know what you think. I'd love to learn a little more about this gun, and get an approximate value if possible.

Thank you for your help! Here are the pics...
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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:21 pm 
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Location: Eastern Iowa
All I can say is, WELCOME; and congratulations on a beautiful shotgun!!

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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:16 pm
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Location: New England
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Welcome to SGW ! ! ! {hs#

Judging by the open choke, you appear to have a Model 12 that's been upgraded very nicely.

IME, 20ga Model 12's have a much higher value than a 12ga.

IIRC, the Simmons rib and straight-gripped butt stock were factory options, as was upgraded wood.

AFAIK, except for WW2 Trench/Riot Guns, the shortest Model 12 barrel length offered by the factory was 26"

Also AFAIK, the surest way to determine what you have would be to obtain a letter from the Cody, WY Winchester Museum, which will describe how it left the factory.


https://centerofthewest.org/explore/fir ... s-records/


.

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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:07 pm
Posts: 1986
Location: Augusta, GA
Definitely not a Pigeon Grade. The wood was likely added by Simmons when Simmons added the VR. They (Wood and VR) are not Winchester, they are Simmons. If your barrel measures 24", it was likely cut down from 26, 28 or 30" when Simmons added the wood and ribbed the barrel, along with a reblue, which was required when adding a Simmons VR.

You have a Simmons upgraded Standard Field Grade gun. The standard barrel lengths offered by Winchester in 20 ga were 26, 28 and 30 inch. Pre-1927 Model 12 20 Gauge guns wore 25" barrels.

Cody has ZERO records on the Winchester Model 12 or 42 other than the date the serial number was applied.

You have a very nice Simmons upgraded Model 12, great gun to shoot. Enjoy it and shoot it.


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 10:09 pm 
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Road Rat wrote:
All I can say is, WELCOME; and congratulations on a beautiful shotgun!!


Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 10:13 pm 
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Thank you for the replies.

M12Gunboy, appreciate the info. How do you know that the wood is from Simmons and not the factory? I thought the straight pull stock and fancy walnut were options. Also, any idea of the value?


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:12 am
Posts: 5060
Location: WA/AK
Anyone who knows Model 12s can tell just by looking that that is not Winchester wood. The checkering isn't a Winchester pattern, the wood shaping isn't "right" and the recoil pad is the modern day reproduction of the Winchester pad. The upgrade wood I've seen from Simmons use to be much closer to original Winchester wood than this gun is.


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2021 7:27 am 
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Okay, thanks for the info. Any guess on the value?

And follow up question to help me learn some history.... did Simmons acquire guns from Winchester and then sell them to the public? Or did people buy their Winchester and then bring them to Simmons?

Thanks,
Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2021 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:12 am
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Location: WA/AK
Both. But your gun left New Haven long before Simmons was getting guns from Winchester. The style of rib on your gun is from the 1970s or later.


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2021 12:21 pm 
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Interesting stuff. Thanks all. Would still love to get an idea of the value if any of you Model 12 aficionados care to take an educated guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2021 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:17 am
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I am not an afficianado, but I had a model similarly updated by Simmons. Mine, though, had the factory correct length of barrel and, to my eye, even prettier wood. It was otherwise in about the overall condition of yours and I sold it for $800. Was that a fair price? I don't know; I made money on the deal. For reference, that sale was about 7 years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:15 pm 
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Location: Kansas
I think that with the right buyer you might get twice that. Who can say? Just my gut feeling

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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2021 6:27 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:07 pm
Posts: 1986
Location: Augusta, GA
Right now prices are crazy due to what's happening in our government. Look at ammo prices.

This is not a collectable gun because of everything mentioned above, but it wouldn't surprise me at all today if it brought you $1000 or more, not from a collector but from someone who just wants a very nice shooter 20 ga model 12.

Like vettejockey, I had one with factory correct pistol grip skeet checkered wood, had a Simmons rib, IC choke and 28" barrel and sold it about 10 years for $1200. It was a hell of a dove gun. I have and had too many to keep them all, since I have constantly been upgrading my collect for the last 20 years with all original configuration, factory engraving, factory A and B carved wood, ect. model 12s and 42s.

I'd shoot it on five stand, skeet, sporting clays, small game, doves, pigeons, ect...


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2021 7:34 pm 
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Location: Kansas
It’s really hard to predict what’s going to happen with prices on guns, ammo and everything shooting related. I’m seeing prices that are jaw dropping. I don’t know if people are paying those prices though. Suddenly Gun parts are unavailable and out of sight if you can find them. It seems that quality, collectible guns are still good investments

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"We pulled the trigger, the safety went forward, both barrels fired almost together, the gun opened, ejectors kicked the fired cases over our shoulder ...the most completely automatic gun we ever fired" Elmer Keith- Shotguns by Keith


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 Post subject: Re: Model 12 Pigeon Grade? This wood is gorgeous.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:22 pm
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Thank you all for the information and ballpark values, much appreciated. I have no intention of selling the gun anyway, was just curious. Rather, I intend to enjoy it for many years to come!




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