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#598394 06/18/21 09:51 AM
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ANY OPINIONS ON THE JAPANESE MODEL 12, I BELIEVE MADE BY MIROKU? THANKS!


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I've never had one just the ones made in the US. I've seen reports that the Japanese versions have high precision fitting parts that don't have the "slop" of the original version which makes them less smoother before fully broken in. Choice of the word "slop" not meant to convey poorly made or inferiority. Other than that, whether above correct or not, they are good guns. The other Gil.

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I’ve owned 4 over the years. 3 Brownings and 1 Winchester. I currently own 1 Browning repro. I bought my first one at Guns Unlimited in Omaha around 2002 for around $400. I really like them. They seem very well made, shoot where you want it to, pattern nicely with both 7/8 and 1 Oz loads, usually have pretty nice wood and I like the configuration of the repros as well. I’ve never had one fail or not cycle. The triggers can be pretty stiff, that’s one complaint you’ll hear about them. I’ve never had an issue with the triggers on my guns fwiw. I own a few “original “ Mod. 12’s too, and I think the repros are every bit as good. Pretty sure I’ll take some heat on that last comment, but I’ll stand by it.
I enjoy shooting early season teal with these guns. They handle 2 3/4” steel with zero issues and they’re fun to shoot and the configuration is perfect for that type of shooting.
Chokes on the Brownings are Modified and on the Winchester it was IC. That’s the only difference between the two that I know of.

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I had a 20 gauge many years ago. A Browning version. Also had numerous opportunities to look at the Winchester version. I also owned the Browning version of the Model 42.
With all that said I never shot them that much but they were put together very nicely.
Now I will say, that Michael McIntosh wrote in his Best Guns book that even though the Browning Model 12 was not a double he still considered it a "Best" gun. Something to consider coming from someone who knows his way around double guns


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My basis of comparison is three two-pin guns (two skeet, one trap) and a Japanese Winchester. Oh, and an old field gun.

The Japanese parts are better finished than on the originals. As to new guns being stiff (i.e. the reproductions), it is not hard to do a little polishing here and there to smooth things out. I suspect my reproduction is as smooth or smoother than the best of my originals. As to exterior finish, the two-pins were rust blued and the reproductions are hot-blued; I prefer the softer rust blue finish, but that is not a quality issue.

The triggers on the new guns have an interrupter. Some people fall on their swords when they encounter this, but I don't mind it because every once in a while it prevents me from looking like fan-firing idiot. If you are sitting in an arm chair and playing with it, the trigger pull is a bit heavy and creepy. But to tell you the truth, when I pull the trigger on a moving target, I am so involved in the process that trigger characteristics rarely register, and I'm more than okay with the reproduction jobs.

They seem somewhat over-priced right now at what, somewhere around $1200?

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I had a 28 gauge Browning Model 12 for a number of years. The prior owner had opened the choke to I/C, added a mid-rib bead and a recoil pad, so I got it fairly affordably. I bought it at Dave Riffle's suggestion. I'd called him looking for a Winchester Model 12 28 gauge and he told me point blank that if it was a shooter rather than a collector, I ought to save the money and buy the Browning. So I did.

The prior owner had shot it enough that it was as slick as either of the two original Model 12s (both 16s) I've owned. It was very well finished and never bobbled or gave me a lick of trouble. I sold it when I bought my first 28 gauge sxs (an AYA 4/53).

I see an occasional 20 in the local gun shops, but haven't seen another 28 in years. I'd certainly think about adding one to the stable if I were in an acquisition mode, but I've been trying to thin the herd and it's unlikely I'll ever own another.

The last time I saw one for sale, it was the higher grade, new in the box, and languishing on the dealer's shelf with a $1800 price tag. The last Grade I which I encountered was used and was also collecting dust at $900. I think the availability of original 20 gauge Model 12s in shooter condition depresses the price of the Brownings if they are used, as Browning collectors seem to want new in box condition.

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I've owned a couple of them & found them to be very good well made guns.

I don't believe they were made by Miroku. I think they were made in the Winchester Kondenso plant which made the Winchester 101, Mdl-23 & the Parker Reproductions.

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The Olin-Kodensha plant last made guns in 1988. I seem to recall the plant then went to making auto parts. The Browning/FN Japanese made Model 12s and 42s that were marked Winchester were offered by U.S. Repeating Arms in their 1993, 1994 and 1995. From the 1993 catalog --

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The 1994 and 1995 catalogs still had some of the 1000 Grade IVs and 4000 Grade Is to move.

I have one of the Grade Is. The widow of a long time friend had this one that Tom had probably only shot two rounds of skeet with. Several of the sharks at one of the local gun clubs were trying to lowball her on the gun, so humanitarian that I am I bought it. Pumps nice and smooth.

Last edited by Researcher; 06/19/21 01:15 PM.
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The vent ribs on these guns are a bit different than anything Winchester Repeating Arms Co. ever offered. Sort of like the "round post" version of the Winchester Special Ventilated Rib, but different at the breech end of the barrel magazine assembly.


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