Rifleman Q&A: U.S. 'Trench Gun' Finishes

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posted on December 9, 2022
Trench Gun

Q. I’ve been looking to buy an all-original World War II Winchester trench shotgun. I’ve been offered a Parkerized Model 12 stamped “U.S.”, and it has the Ordnance Corps bomb on it. All of the other all-original guns that I have examined were blued. Were any World War II U.S. military shotguns originally Parkerized?


A. With one exception, all shotguns procured by the U.S. military during or prior to World War II were originally blued. The sole exception are some very late production Winchester Model 12 “trench guns” that were factory Parkerized. These can be identified by the serial number (above approximately No. 1,030,000) and the rough, unpolished metal on the receiver. However, the factory Parkerized Model 12 trench guns will evidence some blued parts including pins, screws, triggers and slide-action bars.

closeup shotgun receiver metal finish coloring

While all other World War II-vintage military shotguns were originally blued, the quality of the bluing and metal polishing preparation sometimes showed evidence of hasty wartime manufacture that often resulted in a dull or brushed-blue finish.

Most U.S. military arms, including shotguns, were rebuilt after the war, and this procedure generally required that the formerly blued guns be refinished by Parkerizing. Due to the widespread post-war overhaul programs, the majority of World War II military shotguns observed today are Parkerized, but with the one exception noted above, such guns have been refinished.

—Bruce N. Canfield


This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the February 2007 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John W. Treakle.

To subscribe to the magazine, visit the NRA membership page and select American Rifleman as your member magazine.

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