Tag Archives: shotgun

Winchester Model 12

I don’t find every old firearm to be interesting, but there are the occasional ones that grab my attention for any number of reasons. The Winchester model 12 just happens to be one of the few that did pique my interest, and today I’m here to tell you a little bit about my experience with it.

History
The Model 12 is a pump action twelve-gauge shotgun, iconic in that it has the classic features that make a pump-gun so appealing. And it may not be the first, but it certainly trained generations how to shoot airborne game among many other things. The Model 12 was also used by the US Military, making it an actual war weapon unlike your AR 15.
My father grew up shooting an old model 12, barely a teenager when it was given to him by my grandfather he used it for hunting pheasants and ducks in the marshy wetlands beyond grandpas pasture. As a child I remember seeing Dad tinker with it amongst his other guns.

The model 12 uses traditional wooden furniture, with an easily identifying ribbed front grip. A shallow rib runs the length of the barrel, with a targeting bead on the muzzle end. The barrel itself is a thirty-inches long and has a three-inch magnum chamber. It features a familiar safety at the front of the trigger guard, and an action release just behind it. The tubular magazine holds six 2-3/4 shot-shells, and it is clamped to the barrel at the front of the tube.
I looked up the serial number and if the internet is to be believed, this gun was manufactured in 1917, making it a hundred and five years old.

In the Field
After some inspection and thorough familiarizing myself with the gun I decided it was time to see how it shoots. I loaded up some clay targets and a few boxes of shells and headed to the hills. The family and I spent a good part of the afternoon shooting the model 12, smashing clays and pumping fresh shells through the gun.
This model 12 in particular appears to be in pretty good shape, and yet we did have just a few hiccups with it. The trigger on the gun doesn’t reset when pumped, you can literally hold the trigger down and pump shot after shot like the old western revolvers. A couple times it felt as though the trigger followed the bolt home and didn’t go off, leaving a dead trigger. This is likely as much a result of my children’s inexperience with shotguns as anything. On a couple occasions the bolt felt stuck in battery, requiring an extra shove from me to extract the spent shell.
Despite these hiccups, we still had a great afternoon on the mountain. The barrel was made way before interchangeable chokes, so you get what it came with as far as that goes. I imagine it is set fairly tight, as the shot pattern seemed much smaller than I expected. This made shooting the hand-thrown clays a whole lot more challenging. We were shooting one-ounce loads from Winchester and Fiocchi, both using 7.5 shot.
I am certainly not the best wing-shooter, but I did feel like I was cheated out of a few hits by the model 12. Shots I am very confident I’d of made if I were shooting one of my guns. Continue Reading Here…

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Beretta A300

Its hard to imagine a good lineup of autoloading shotguns that doesn’t include something from Beretta, the European manufacturer is one of the oldest pillars in the firearms business. The firm is well known for many notable firearms, but they are known in these parts for their shotguns, and the A300 Outlander is the one we are playing with today.

Autoloading Beretta’s

My Father is a bit of a shotgun junkie. Being things as they were when I was younger, I was exposed to some very nice shotguns. I also got to shoot many of them, Dad wouldn’t let me bring my two-hundred dollar 870 when he had a couple fancy Italian’s on standby. And whether it was a fancy double barreled gun or a handsome auto-loader, I was happy to give it a go.
Beretta makes a broad assortment of semi-automatic shotguns, whether it is an M9 for tactical scenarios, or todays A300 field gun, there is a Beretta to fit your needs.

The Outlander

The A300 Outlander like many of Beretta’s semi-auto guns is a gas operated system. The action is operated by gas pressure vented from the barrel to a piston, which pushes an operating rod disengaging the bolt and cycling the action. It sounds pretty simple, because it is. Perhaps the reason why it is such an effective system used by so many. The gun is fed from a tubular magazine that can hold up to three two and three-quarter inch shells with the plug removed.
This model came with dark wooden furniture, but the gun is also available with synthetic options and camouflaged coatings. The twenty-eight inch barrel features a three-inch chamber which allows you to shoot any two and three-quarters or three-inch loads. And the muzzle utilizes an assortment of replaceable chokes to adjust your shot pattern to the ammunition and expected shots.

The controls of the Outlander mirror most semi-auto shotgun patterns, so whether you are learning on the A300 or coming from a different model you will find the controls familiar and easy to operate.
I grabbed a few boxes of Winchester and Fiocchi ammunition, both of them with one-ounce loads of 7.5 and 8 shot. And with a couple cases of clay targets my Dad and I headed out for an afternoon of bustin’ clays.

In the field

Of course Dad was going to bring a couple of his own guns, something we could compare the A300 to. A Benelli and A Winchester SX3 would make great company to the Outlander, as well as something we were both familiar with to compare it to.
We started throwing targets to get a little warmup going, and before long we switched over to throwing doubles and report pairs.

The Beretta felt great in my hands, I felt a little bit of a squish on the cheek to get a good view down the rib. As I continually swung the gun after targets I found that old familiar feel of pacing the flying target with the bead. To my surprise I did quite well shooting the A300, better than I had done with the other guns present anyhow. A good bit of time passed before I managed to miss a target, and as it invariably happens the gun wasn’t at fault.
Following the faster targets that came from the side I was able to maintain a good sight picture down the rib, and it felt great to watch those clays turn to dust. The modest recoil from the one-ounce loads was easily manageable, and follow-up shots were quick to get on target.

Proper shooting with any shotgun requires a proper setup, we did change out the full-choke for something a little more open. Hand thrown clays can often be more challenging to hit than mechanically thrown targets, and many of the shots we made were fairly close. So before we started, I swapped the choke out for a modified for a little broader pattern.
I managed to talk my Dad into putting his gun down for a minute, to see how what he thought of the Beretta. He too was able to make good hits with the Outlander, and his old guy hmm haw of approval was well deserved. Continue Reading Here…


Conclusion

Beretta Silver Pigeon

If your lucky enough and work hard you can become one of those financially secure adults that we all imagined becoming as children. And its about that time in a firearm enthusiasts life that he or she decides to start buying up guns that they want more than they need. While that statement could describe nearly any firearm, today we are discussing one in particular. Beretta is well known for making excellent shotguns, many of which I’ve been lucky enough to play with on the range. The Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon is yet another fine example of Beretta’s prime production, but this one brought up some interesting reflection. Continue Reading Here…

Browning Superposed

I’ve known for years that the Browning Superposed is a dream shotgun, a real clay buster if there ever was one. Maybe it’s because my father has always been a shotgun aficionado, much the same way I geek out with rifles. It was many years ago now, but I remember when dad brought home his Superposed 12 gauge. I thought it must have been something fancy because he was pretty excited. So when I got the chance to play with one myself, I was expecting to be impressed. Continue Reading here…