The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Gun Pr0n and Range Report: Winchester 1300 Shotgun

Posted by Bill Nance on July 13, 2009

I finally had a chance to get our new shotgun to the range this weekend. After literally an entire month of rain, we finally had a sunny day yesterday.

The gun itself is a Winchester 1300. It’s a pump-action 12-gauge, which, without a dowel, holds 4 shells in the tube and one in the pipe. Winchester also makes an 8-shot version called the Defender. Barrels change out easily. A few quick twists of the magazine plug and you can swap barrels in about 15 seconds.

I was able to get hold of a virtually unfired gun. The original owner said he’d put less than a single box of ammo through it and true enough, the gun was spotless. Along with the gun came two barrels; one, an 18-inch barrel suitable for home defense and the other a 28-inch ventilated rib barrel, along with a full and a modified choke.

Winchester 1300 w/18" bbl (28" bbl also shown)

Winchester 1300 w/18" bbl (28" bbl also shown)

As I got it it had a folding stock and pistol grip, which I’ve removed.

Some of my readers may ask why I got rid of the tacticool setup. The answer is two-fold: First, this is likely to be the first gun I pick up in the middle of the night when the dogs are going berserk and the bad guys are coming. If, (God forbid) I actually have to shoot someone, the last thing on earth I want to do is give some hoplophobic district attorney something to show a jury that’s been “modified” to look scary. If you think this is paranoid, you aren’t paying attention to the news. It happens a lot, even in supposedly “gun-friendly” states, much less here in Mass. It’s one of the reasons I would never EVER carry reloads in a defensive gun. I can already hear the DA telling a jury: “He specially made these bullets to be extra-special deadly!”  A pistol grip isn’t especially useful for me. If you’re practiced and confident with a shotgun you don’t really need one, and unless I had no other choice I would never shoot a 12-gauge shotgun using just a pistol grip. Try doing that once (not recommended) and you’ll see what I mean -it hurts!

The other reason I changed back to the standard stock is that as a teaching aid I usually try to refrain from scary-looking guns for some audiences. My wife and I are especially trying to reach out to the urban, non-gun culture crowd. It’s hard enough to get these people to come to a class without having the first guns they’ve held in their hands looking like something they’ve seen Rambo using.

I got this gun primarily as a teaching aid. I’ve gone bird hunting twice and after finding out just how much I detest plucking birds I haven’t been out since. Still, when we teach home firearms safety a pump-action shotgun is a necessity because they are so very common as well as being my top recommendation for home defense.

The gun is a truly excellent piece of design. The slide is smooth and incredibly fast. You can rack a new shell into the chamber while the gun is still shouldered easily and as fast as any gun I’ve handled. Loading is simple and fast and unloading the gun is quickly accomplished with a slide release at the left-rear of the trigger housing.

I took a couple of shots with the 18-inch barrel with a target #8 load and at 21 feet it left a satisfying large large hole in the target. But the real fun was taking it out to the trap range to see if I was still as good as I used to be at shooting clays. (It’s been a long time since I did it last). Yes, I can still shoot them as well as ever and I had a ball until my wife insisted she was bored pulling the rope for me and we moved on to shoot some of our other guns. I will definitely be back though. I’ve never been a member of a gun-club before (out west your “range” is walking out your back door or taking a 5-minute drive up to the hills) and Harvard Sportsmen’s Club has a fine trap range.

I paid $300 for the whole setup and I’m very happy with it.  I would highly reccomend this gun to anyone. They can be had for about $250 used in reasonable condition and additional barrels run about $120 new.


5 Responses to “Gun Pr0n and Range Report: Winchester 1300 Shotgun”

  1. Jay G. said

    Nice shottie, Bill! I’ve got one myself, actually. I went for the Mossberg 590 (I can haz bayonet!), so the Win 1300 is returning to its mild-mannered guise. I’ve got a 3-round mag extension if you’re interested, BTW…

  2. logan said

    where did you get your new barrel

  3. Bill Nance said

    Logan: It came with the gun. they can be had mail order though, just google it or check out

  4. tyler said

    I just got myself one of these winchester 12 gauge defender, love it, works awsome.

  5. tyler said

    I would like to know what year mine is, I got it from a family member for $200 awsome shape, only has had a half a box of shells through it.

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