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What is a Pigeon Grade?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Bruce Specht, Mar 20, 2012.

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  1. Bruce Specht

    Bruce Specht Well-Known Member

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    Here is the question,if I own a Model 12 Trap Grade with factory # 5 engraving and B carved wood what is the difference between it, and a Pigeon with the same engraving and wood?
     
  2. Quick 1

    Quick 1 Active Member

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    Winchester used to advertise the Pigeon grade guns had hand honed actions and chokes. I have a Super Pigeon grade (In which I wished had #5 engraving)that I bought new in the late 60's and many of the parts inside are polished. From the time it was new, the action has worked as smooth as a sled on snow.
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  3. eightbore

    eightbore Well-Known Member

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    Is your gun marked Trap or Trap Grade? A postwar Model 12 with factory #5 engraving and B carved wood is unlikely to be anything but a Pigeon Grade. Is it possible for you to post a picture and serial number range?
     
  4. Sam Ogle

    Sam Ogle Member

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    If you are thinking about buying a Pigeon Grade Winchester Model 12, be VERY careful, as there are many fakes out there.
    If you can, have an expert look the gun over before you lay out bucks on it.

    It does not take a master engraver to engrave a Pigeon on the gun, and it has been done a lot. If it isn't high-grade wood to match that high grade gun, you probably have a fake.

    Also, if it is an "Original 28 Gauge," and it doesn't have some type of "Cutts Compensator" on the barrel, look at it VERY carefully. Yes, they made 28 gauges without the "Cutts," but in that era, MOST were made for skeet shooting and most had a "Dial-a-Duck" on them.

    Just some advice from a guy who learned a lot in the school of hard knocks.

    Sam Ogle, Lincoln, NE
     
  5. Bruce Specht

    Bruce Specht Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the answers, but the question is more braod than limited to a Model 12 I used that gun only because of another post. What is the difference or what makes a gun a Pigeon grade gun. So if a gun has the upgrade in wood , caring and engraving but nota pigoen engraved is it not a pigeon grade? One poster mentioned a "Super Pigeon" what is the super all about?
     
  6. Quick 1

    Quick 1 Active Member

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    After Winchester stopped production on Model 12's in 1964, they kept around 500 receivers to be sold thru their custom shop. These guns were available with at least 5 engraving patterns and A or B carved wood with or without gold inlays. Winchester called these guns Super Pigeon's. I have seen some that were built later with the cast receivers serial numbered after 2 million. Most of the old Pigeon Grades(pre-64) were not engraved when they left the factory. They had more select wood and a slightly different checkering pattern. Sam is correct about a lot guns have had pigeons added later. I have seen some pretty ugly pigeons engraved on standard guns!
     
  7. MW58

    MW58 Member

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    I've got Model 12 with #5 engraving, it has a jeweled bolt, but it doesn't have a pigeon, I believe the wood is standard. Serial # 191xxxx (1963) can anybody tell me anymore about this gun. Why would it be engraved but not be a pigeon ???
     
  8. miketmx

    miketmx Well-Known Member

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    I have seen a Pigeon Grade Browning BT-99 that I would be proud to own.
     
  9. plaw

    plaw Active Member

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    the mdl.12 pigeon grade were custom order, you were able to order the type wood, engraving,stock deminsons. It was special made just for you no two were alike.
     
  10. WS-1

    WS-1 Banned User Banned

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    Bruce,

    I think in the earliest days of selling graded guns, companies like L.C. Smith and Winchester referred to guns with stock dimensions set up for bird hunting, recoil pads (rather than butt plates), fancy wood, fancy checkering, some nice engraving, and open chokes as "pigeon grade" guns. It was a marketing device designed to appeal to the snobby elite who could spend lots of their discretionary cash on toys. Over the years, the name kind of morphed into a label for any high-dollar piece of eye candy that could be used to impress a close knit circle of shotgunning buds and still be used to shoot the occasional dove or quail.

    Like they say, "Life's too short to hunt with an ugly gun."
     
  11. Doug Brown

    Doug Brown Well-Known Member

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    I owned a M-12 Pigeon grade with #5 engraving. You could spot this fake at 25ft. It had a stick man with a stick dog on it. The best part is I sold it back to the man who had it faked up!
     
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