Model 25 Winchester

The Poor Man’s Model 12

With a few minor changes this well-used Model 25
was returned to service.

Many readers are probably familiar with the Model 1912 Winchester (later changed simply to Model 12 or M12). When introduced, it was known as the “perfect repeater.”

Manufactured from 1912 to 1963, a total of over 2 million were produced during its production run. The Model 12 saw action in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and was used by every branch of the service.

Model 12s were offered in 12-, 16-, 20- and 28-gauges with barrel lengths ranging from 25″ to 32″. Riot and Trench guns with shorter barrels were produced for police and military use. Many grades were offered as well as take-down versions.

Price Problem

However, gun dealers complained about the high cost of the Model 12 and this brought about the lesser-known Winchester Model 25.
The Model 25 had a relatively short five-year production life with manufacturing beginning in 1949 and ending in 1954 with 87,937 produced.
Based on the Model 12 action, it was known as the “poor man’s Model 12.” The Model 25 was a no-frills model and offered only in 12 gauge. Standard barrel length was 28″ although no take-down versions were made although a few riot guns with 20″ barrels were produced. All Model 25s had solid frames, so no take-down models.

Unlike most modern shotguns with a magazine of four or five shells, the Model 12 and 25 have a capacity of six (6+1).

My son’s fiancé was recently given a Model 25 by a relative. I’m not aware of any records breaking down serial number by year, but with serial #10045 I think this was made in the first production year.

Flint brought it over for me to look at and said they had taken it to the range. He told me after firing the slide-action would not work without activating the action release, demonstrated the “problem” and handed it to me. I initially thought it was a well-worn Model 12, but looking it over I realized I held the rare (compared to the Model 12) Model 25.

I proceeded to work the action and dry fired the shotgun five times without touching the action release. I explained that like the Model 12 and Model 97 shotguns, the forend needs to be pushed forward and kept there while a shot is fired in order for the gun’s action to unlock for the next shot.

Like the Model 97 and Model 12, the Model 25 can be “slam fired” while holding the trigger to the rear and working the action back and forth.

This shotgun was in good condition and lockup was solid, but the action was quite stiff. I took a guess this was probably from years and years of no cleaning, with the interior gummed up with unburned powder, dirt and congealed lube.

Sometime along the line someone had shortened the barrel to 18¼” but had not replaced the bead sight. As with most factory shotguns, the length of pull (LOP) was too long for my son’s fiancé. I’ve never understood why manufacturers make shotgun stock so long. While anyone can shoot a gun with a shorter stock, a long LOP makes good technique very difficult for anyone who does not have arms like an orangutan.

When the barrel was shortened the front bead sight was not reinstalled. This was one thing needing to be addressed.

Custom Work

A decision was made to take the gun to Dave Fink of Fink’s Custom Gunsmithing to shorten the stock, fit a recoil pad, install a bead front sight and perform any necessary cleaning and repair.

We’ve gone to Dave Fink for several projects and as usual, his work was exemplary. When the shotgun was returned we were more than pleased with the results.

The bead sight was properly centered and the recoil pad to stock installation was seamless. The shortened stock fit Flint’s fiancé perfectly. The action now feels slicker and is easier to manipulate. The absolute best thing was it brought a family heirloom out from the back of the safe and turned it into a shooter again.

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