Safety advisory -- Winchester Model 12 Pump-action Shotgun óDavid Gates

The Winchester model 12 lacks a trigger disconnect and will fire when closing the action if the trigger is held back while closing the action. But when I recently took mine apart to remove 72 years of crud, I found a defect with a safety device.

For those of you unfamiliar with pump shotguns, the action locks closed so that the forearm makes for a solid handhold when the shooter is firing. As soon as the round is fired, the action is unlocked and can be opened by pulling the forearm rearward (thus making half the sound that every gun in Hollywood makes).

There is also a button or lever somewhere around the trigger guard that allows the action to be unlocked so that an unfired round may be removed from the chamber. Winchester did not want the model 12 to be fired if this button was depressed (for obvious safety reasons).
Their solution has a flaw.

If you press the button in and hold it, and then press and release the trigger, the gun will not fire -- which is what Winchester intended. But when you let go of that button, it does fire.

While on the subject of the model 12 -- if any of you ever take the action apart on one, talk to me first. There is a nasty little thing with the feed latch that almost trashed mine when I got it put back together wrong. Talk to me first so I can keep you from making the same mistake.

Originally published in the GGC Newsletter - Spring 2000