When you say Winchester shotguns, most people think of the Model 97 Trench gun, the Model 1200, or the elegant double barrel Model 21. But what if we told you there was a gun marketed for almost a century that was more advanced than the 97, better made than the 1200, and sold many times as much as the 21. Well it happened, and it was the M12.
Why the need?
In the late 1890s, John Browning had perfected a pump action shotgun for Winchester, the Model 1897 that proved to be one of the best scattergun designs in history. It was a pump-action gun with a under barrel tubular magazine, but as the years ticked by, there was one glaring, antiquated flaw—it had a hammer.
Between 1904-1908 both Savage and Remington came out with ‘hammerless’ designs that replicated Winchester’s gun performance, only with the hammer hidden inside a streamlined receiver. Winchester found itself rapidly losing market share to the more modern designs.