The Winchester Model 1200 is a pump-action shotgun and – despite its short history – is considered by some to be one of the top shotguns in history. Manufactured in the United States, the Model 1200 was first designed in 1964. While also available as a civilian purchase, the military version of this shotgun provides the option of fixing a bayonet onto the end of the barrel – a feature generally utilized in close quarter combat. The bayonet often chosen was the M1917. The military version of the Winchester Model 1200 also included a ventilated hand guard and sling swivels.
The Winchester Model 1200 was designed to a cost efficient replacement for the well-respected Model 12. From 1968 to 1969, the US Army obtained a few Model 1200s. Though their military service was short-lived, Commanders in the US Army were given strict instructions on what to do should there be a threat of this shotgun falling into enemy hands. The Model 1200 was to be dismantled and smaller parts salvaged, but all major components of the weapon were to be destroyed.
History and Specifications of the Winchester Model 1200
- Style: Pump-action shotgun
- Operation: Manual
- Originated: United States
- Service History: 1968 to 1969
- Combat History: Vietnam War
- Weight: 6.5 lbs.
- Calibers: 12, 16 and 20-gauge
- Feed System: One – Six shot-shell, tubular magazine
The Model 1200 can be easily disassembled for easier storage and transporting. This shotgun design was the first to use a rotary bolt, which was secured within the barrel by four locking lugs. The 1200 was also the first to utilize the Winchester Company’s Winchoke system which they had patented. This system design allowed easy replacement of the chokes by using a quick change tube.
The Model 1200, during its short time of active military time-frame, was mainly carried for use in close quarter combat, to guard prisoners or to be used during riot duty. A number of variants emerged from this initial design including the Model 1200 Police, a Ted Williams variant marketed by Sears and a 28-inch hunting variant.
The Winchester Model 1200 Shotgun was eventually replaced with in 1983 with Model 1300, at which time the manufacturing of Winchester arms was taken over by US Repeating Arms Company, which eventually went bankrupt in 2006.