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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
it is been a while, busy with 2 little kids and getting back into the sport lately.

anyhow, I always liked the American double and especially the m21. now I am thinking to get one and of course, a used old one.

I know the usual things about double and what to look for but not sure about these old babies.

I know from metallurgy point that any metal or steel used much will have a metal fatigue and therefore can affect on what I shoot through the gun.

should I be worry and skip these old m21? I read that they used a good chrome moly steel and a very strong one. but again, after all these years and use, maybe the metal will have a high fatigue and the receiver or barrel will be compromised.

I am asking because I tend to use the gun hunting and in sport. so I will be shooting and not just staring at it.

thanks
 

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I certainly wouldn't worry about metal fatigue in a Model 21...or, in any quality shotgun. Instead, I would look for signs of wear that renders the lock-up loose. It the lever is right of center and there's no looseness in the closed action, it will be fine. I have a well-used...but, pristine...Model 21 skeet that has had a bunch of shells through it and it is still solid as a rock.

The Model 21 is a fine shotgun, but if you are looking for a hunting gun that will need to shoot steel shot, it is not a good choice. With lead shot...or, the expensive non-toxic shot instead of steel...you should have no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the response OldSkeeter, the thing is as much as I think the model 21 is upper strong, I never heard anything where it did shoot a lot of rounds. like 100k or more on skeet, trap or sporting. I know the proof test and is nice to know.

the gun I am looking at has the tang right of center and no loosening, but it does have wear on the bluing especially on the trigger plate...the reason why I am asking is I have seen some pics on old sxs where the receiver crack due to metal fatigue and high round count
 

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Well, I have never seen a cracked receiver on a Model 21. That's not to say it can't occur, I suppose, but I've looked at quite a few and have never seen it. It is certainly not something I worry about with any of my guns...and, especially not with the Model 21.

You can have a flaw in any gun...new or old...so there is no certainty whether you buy new or used. If there are no apparent cracks or other flaws in the Model 21 you are looking at, it should be as sound as any new gun you can buy. Winchester used quality steel in the Model 21.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Roger that. just to clarify the pic I have seen is for an old unknown sxs with a crack receiver. it looked like a Sterlingth but not sure. it wasn't a mood 21. just to be clear.

how much you have rounds through your m21?
 

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A moderately used Model 21 will last several lifetimes.
Stay away from abused ones.
I have 3! 12, 16, & 20.
To me, the 16 is balanced perfectly and shot a lot of pheasants in So Dak last week!
 

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The bluing wear on the bottom of the receiver is from carrying. Normal for a gun that age that's been used. Mine is a 1938 Trap and I put a thousand rounds or so of target loads through it annually. Wonderful shotgun! Follow oldskeeters advice. If the lockup is tight and it doesn't appear at abused go for it! winmod21
 

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You should know that Model 21 floorplates are often flaked, worn, or whatever in contrast to low usage. It is a function of a different steel used in the floorplate. The top lever also suffers from such problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Busy week...low gun, so the floor plate flaking not always an indication of worn out from use? Never knew this.

How you guys consider a gun being abused? I am trying to look for obvious signs to avoid when buying.

Another question, I know the 21 is solid and strong, but can it handle repetitive shooting using modern pressure loads? Or any 2,75 inch waterfowl load (non steel)?
 

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Cedar said:
Busy week...low gun, so the floor plate flaking not always an indication of worn out from use? Never knew this.

How you guys consider a gun being abused? I am trying to look for obvious signs to avoid when buying.

Another question, I know the 21 is solid and strong, but can it handle repetitive shooting using modern pressure loads? Or any 2,75 inch waterfowl load (non steel)?
Dents in barrels, opening lever left of center, cracked stock, rusty; all signs of wear or abuse.

The Model 21 will shoot modern 2-3/4" loads all day...and, then some.

I believe you are way overthinking the possible selection of a Model 21. If it doesn't show any of the signs listed above, it will likely outlast you.
 

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Yes, it can handle all the modern ammunition that you want to feed it. At one time it was known as the strongest side by side on the planet and may still be. Winchester actually made a few rifles out of its basic action. I would suggest that you pay the money and buy one from a reputable dealer. These guns don't come cheap even in a very used condition. I would watch out for reconditioned guns; reblued and refinished stocks. I've seen some with poor re-blue jobs. It's always best to get a letter from the Cody museum that describes the gun as it left the factory. If you buy an original gun with a Cody letter and take care of it, it will likely appreciate in value even though you use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I hear you men...it is just everytime I am close to pull the trigger on one, and someone strats telling me about not buying old Guns and old steel..i was at a gunsmith and small gu shop in my town. I know the old man, he is grumpy and outdated, I wouldn't trust him to fix firing pin but he is a nice guy..anyways, I was looking at an old LC Smith and the first thing he said, Don't use the new shells in this, otherwise it will break, I went to say well I am looking at 21s for now...he yelled at me and said even the 21 is outdated and not conform with the new modern ammo. I said thank you and have a nice day.
I know I can't believe him, but it is just this thought in my back of my mind about old steel mill and old heat treat, but again a gun like the 21 is proven not matter what. So yes I was over thinking it.
 

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Well, there is a famous story that every Model 21 fan knows about. It is the proof load test done in the 1930s. Winchester began a test by firing 150% proof loads in a Model 21 and competitor shotguns until they broke or would no longer function. Every competitor brand failed early in the test except the Model 21 that kept going until the test was stopped at 2000 rounds. The gun was still in near perfect condition. Now, how much convincing do you need? Incidentally, the Model 21 is still being manufactured by Connecticut Shotgun and it's probably better than the originals.
 

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Don't know how much more convincing you need. My goodness you've received some excellent advice from folks that know so no need to repeat. Find a good one and go for it.

I only own two Model 21's. . Both are pre-war guns and still good for a couple more life times of shooting modern shotshells.

This one from around 1937 . .




Around 1935 . . a factory 3" chambered 21 before they were marked "Duck"


 

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Those are real eye candy!
 

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Cedar said:
...I was looking at an old LC Smith and the first thing he said, Don't use the new shells in this, otherwise it will break...
The "old LC Smith" can be a different situation as the early ones had "pattern-welded" (Damascus, ribbon, twist, etc.) barrels. They can be problematic with modern shells, though there is still some debate on that.

The Model 21 was not produced with pattern-welded barrels. Sounds like your smith friend doesn't know much about Model 21s.
 

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wraco said:
Don't know how much more convincing you need. My goodness you've received some excellent advice from folks that know so no need to repeat. Find a good one and go for it.

I only own two Model 21's. . Both are pre-war guns and still good for a couple more life times of shooting modern shotshells.

This one from around 1937 . .




Around 1935 . . a factory 3" chambered 21 before they were marked "Duck"


Is the trunk case an original Winchester case?
 

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johnnyo said:
Is the trunk case an original Winchester case?
To the best of my knowledge the trunk case is a Winchester 21 case. . The Model 21 that now resides there came to me with the other case, the leg-o-mutton one.

The trunk case I obtained, a good 20 some years ago or more, with an early L.C. Smith F/W Ideal Grade inside. . The trunk case was the reason I bought the outfit and eventually sold the L.C. Smith to a WTB ad.

The M21 fits the case like a glove but not likely of 1937 vintage. . The 3" M21 inherited the leg-o-mutton case and everything is good.

Merry Christmas everyone !! :)
Rod
 
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