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Model 12 Carriers: Lessons Learned

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Like most M12 shooters I have come to the opinion that a M12 works better with a cartridge guide (flag) on the carrier.  The first lesson was that all those rough milling and machine marks on the carrier are there for a reason.  The roughness slows down the incoming round until the hull can be ejected.  Otherwise the round will catch the hull as it leaves the port and create a stove pipe.  I polished mine and had to regrind it to make it rough again.


The next lesson was that there are different carriers.  My first carrier w/flag I bought off eBay and the second I robbed out of a 3" duck gun.  While both my M12s worked, occasionally I would get a hull trapped by the incoming round and stovepipe the hull out of the port.  Thinking I just needed to replace them I went shopping for carriers w/flags.  I found that the 2 3/4" carrier is different from the 3" carrier and both of mine were from 3" shotguns.  The first photo is a carrier from a 3" duck gun.  There is no lip to stop the incoming round.  When installed the round stops against the action.




The second photo is a 2 3/4" carrier.  The lip stops the incoming round before it hits the action.  Since the round is stopped earlier it can't trap the hull as it leaves the port.




Now both my M12s have the correct carrier.  I ran close to 200 rounds through one at EoT & the side matches with zero stove pipes.  So when you shop for carriers look closely, there are a lot of 3" carriers being sold as simply M12 carriers. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for posting these observations. 


Been chasing the "stovepipe" problem on a very late model 12 for almost a year now.  Has a serial number in the 1,85x,xxx range.  It is a 2 3/4" gun.  I figure it's one of the last made (so to speak).  This gun, while being well-finished on the outside, shows lots of short-cuts on the inside.  Clearly, the broaches were worn out when this gun was cut.  The amount of chattering on the inside receiver cuts suggests the tool head (chuck) itself was worn beyond its useful life.


In addition to the worn tooling, the lifter does not have the end wall you describe.  Rather, it has a 3" type lifter.  So, one of the ways Winchester tried to keep up with Remington was by eliminating machining processes that, formerly, had been an important (essential?) part of the design of the gun.  In other words, they were selling guns in the end that could not perform up to the same levels as those produced in earlier times.  They looked like Model 12s, but only on the outside.  It is a stark testament to the force of economics.


At any rate, your remarks helped me to see all the time and money installing new extractors and springs, as well as fitting a new ejector were wasted on this gun.  None of that work made any difference to the stovepipe situation.  And, because of your observations, I now understand why.


Hopefully, installing a proper 2 3/4" lifter will do as you say and finally get this gun up and running. I was told early on that a 3" gun would probably not work for WB (and, by proxy, a 2 3/4" gun with a 3" Type lifter).  But, I never knew why.  I also never suspected compromises that so profoundly affect the operation of the gun were part of the way Winchester did business in the '60s.


Again, thanks for sharing your observations.


Beware high serial number model 12s.

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