Winchester Model 37 12 gauge Red Letter

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by dkamm, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. dkamm

    dkamm New Member

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    Jan 22, 2008
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    Hi all, you were so much help with the other two guns I inherited, and I finally found the other gun. It is a Winchester Model 37 12 Gauge, that I believe to be an earlier model, but am not sure where to find the serial number or from my understanding they may not have serial numbers. From other descriptions I found on the Internet it has the rounded nose on the hand grip, the circle logo on the butt of the gun with flat head screws, not phillips head. It has two other features that were mentioned elsewhere. 1 is the red lettering, and the other I believe is the "pig tail" lever to break it open. It has a 30" barrel which is stamped with "Full" which I am assuming is the choke. It seems to me to be in pretty good shape. Most of any damage can be seen in the first photo right in front of the trigger guard. Anyway, I am just looking to figure out what year it was made, or if that isn't possible a range, and then also an approximate value.

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  2. onlywinchesters

    onlywinchesters New Member

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    Hello dkamm: The first Md 37s reached the warehouse Feb. 10,1936. By Sept. 25,1936 a forging was used to make the new release lever. Doing away with the Pigtail! So you have a 1st year Md 37!!! Sweet. also these early guns had the choke designation, "FULL". later changed to just "CHOKE".

    I can't tell you that your gun is worth an exact dollar amount. But if you market it, (advertise correctly) with good photos, I think your gun could sell from a low of $275 to a high of about $425.

    You are correct, the Md 37 has no serial numbers.

    Regards Dave
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  3. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Hi dkamm......welcome to TFF. :)

    And....onlywinchesters....great to have you over here! :D
  4. dkamm

    dkamm New Member

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    Thank you onlywinchesters! That is good news to know, not that I really want to sell it, but wanted to find out some history and know an approximate worth. Do you happen to know how many they made with the Pigtail?

    Thanks again,
    David Kamm
  5. onlywinchesters

    onlywinchesters New Member

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    hi dkamm: All I can tell you is by the first anniverary, the "pigtail was gone". the first year they did not make any .410s so you will not find a .410 with a "pigail". winchester made about 1,000,000 Md 37s from 1936-63. As to how many per gauge I couldn't even speculate, other than the 20ga. and 12ga. appear to be the most common, the 28ga. is the rarest.

    What would make your gun rarer is if it has a 32in. barrel. Most were 30 in. and some 28in.

    Regards Dave
  6. renegade

    renegade New Member

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    Jul 6, 2008
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    I just won the bid on 37 red letter pig tail 16 guage. It's in collecter quality. Just wondering if the 16 is a good collectable guage? I did see a .410 pig tail from the same sellers feed back page. It had sold a couple weeks earlier. So I guess there were some made. Anyone know how many 16 guage pigtails were made?
  7. onlywinchesters

    onlywinchesters New Member

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    Hello renegade: Hmmmm a .410 with a "pigtail" interesting since the .410 didn't come out until year 2, after the pigtail became history. That gun I would want to look very close at!!

    As to the numbers of guns by gauges, fat chance no records available. However based on the sales of Winchesters other 16ga. guns at the time, (the Md 12,21,and 97). There aren't many. I doubt if it was even 20% of the total production. the most common are the 12 and 20 ga. followed by the .410.

    Winchester made approximately 1,015,000 from 1936-1963. That's 28 years. 1,015,000/28= 36,250 on the average. at 20% you would have about "7,250". That's about as close as anyone can get you today!!

    Regards Dave
  8. guardian380

    guardian380 New Member

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    i have a redletter pigtail .410, so i contacted the bill cody museum in wyoming as to its authenticity.The curator of the firearms dept. replied that the pigtail was discontinued in sept. of 1937 not 1936.
    It appears that the redletter pigtail .410 does exist.
  9. Joel Lehman

    Joel Lehman New Member

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    Mar 23, 2007
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    I paid $229 for a youth model 20 gauge Model 37 for my grandson about 2 years ago.
  10. wraco

    wraco New Member

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    Jan 2, 2010
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    How Do and Happy New Year, 2010.

    Sorry to be dragging this old post out, but I found it while looking for info on the M37.

    A friend from our Gun Club is selling off some guns for a widow and he asked if I had need for an old M37 Winchester. Since I have a nice M37 I figured for $30 it'd be at least good for parts if I ever needed any.

    Before supper I went and picked it up. It's a red letter with the pigtail release lever and a 32" barrel. Never picked up on the pigtail or the 32" barrel until I stood it along side my other one for length comparison.

    Bores' nice and shiney and locks up tight and ejects out the shells just fine. It's dirty and dry but still original. Damn, I like it already.

    On another note; Dave Hagan (onlywinchesters) was a moderator and a regular over on the Winchester section of Shotgun World. I notice his last post here was about the same time as Shotgun World. We all liked and respected Dave and looked forward to his posts as they were always chucked full of good information and conversation. Some of us tried to contact Dave and find out what happened with him, it's like he dropped off the edge of the earth. Any information would sure be appreciated.

    Regards:
    Rod
  11. mkaz13

    mkaz13 New Member

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    Jul 5, 2010
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    Hi all...just wanted to report that I also own a red letter Model 37 410 with the pigtail. It sounds like they may have made the 410 with the pigtail in 1937. My wife's grandfather bought the gun new, so I know the gun is all original and that would have been around 1937 or 38.

    Thanks for all the good info...
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  12. WALKERS210

    WALKERS210 New Member

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    Location:
    Great State of Alabama
    Hello to all, I too stumbled upon this post while doing the typical GOOGLE search. In this part of the country the Winchester Mod 37 has always been the preferred shotgun for Turkey Shoots. I no long go to the shoots but it is something that can be tons of fun, and bring out the real competition in shooters. A friend of mine past away last year could modify the 37 where they would darn near take out the center of the target every time. What amazed me at times was how a simple 12ga single shot gun could bring such premium prices as some of these have I have seen the 37 go for as much as $700 to $800 dollars and the buyer was grinning all the time. Good looking Red letter pictures here kinda wish I still had one of mine again.
  13. Luvstashoot

    Luvstashoot New Member

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    Oct 16, 2010
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    I have an early model 37 12ga, 30" barrel and I have some questions about it. Basically it's a red letter, has "Full" on the barrel, and has the standard barrel release paddle. From what I read, the only guns that should have Full on the barrel are the first year guns. However, my gun doesn't have the pigtail barrel lever. This gun was bought new by my great grandfather in the late 30s and was only used for a few years to hunt squirrels. I received the gun in 1994 after his death. The gun was kept under his bed loaded for years (It had a paper shot shell in it when I got it). I have shot it a few times with no problems using low brass bird shot. Never any fail to fires and the extractor will pitch the empty shell about 5 feet. I am certain this gun has all original parts as it was rarely used from what my Dad tells me. I am guessing the year at 37 or 38, but not a 36. Any thoughts?

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  14. 3/2 STA SS

    3/2 STA SS Active Member

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    Especially in .410-thats what they used at the ones I went to.
  15. RDO

    RDO New Member

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    Feb 27, 2010
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    I have a red letter 37 also i had thought about selling it but haven't made my mind up on that. i love that old gun and i do go to turkey shoots ever time i go some body wants to buy the gun.
  16. Tommc56

    Tommc56 New Member

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    Location:
    Michigans Upper Peninsula
    I too found this while researching a possible trade , I have been offered a 37 for an item that I have for sale . What I really want is a 3" chamber pump for one of my sons to use for waterfowl and turkey hunting . What are the chances that I will be able to trade the 37 ?
  17. Bob Scruggs

    Bob Scruggs New Member

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    Apr 19, 2011
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    i purchased a Winchester Model 37 12Ga in 1953 the price was $ 12.00 i use it for years for small game I use to put a towel under the butt to shoot it. Back then you didn't need a background check or age requirements I was twelve and paid $ 2.00 down and a dollar or two a week on a lay-a-way plan.
    Still have it!
  18. J_boyss

    J_boyss New Member

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    Apr 26, 2011
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    Location:
    Seattle
    I have a model 37 that has a similar but I believe different problem. The action won't open in the slightest and the release lever on the top is free to rotate CCW when viewed from the top. The limited access to view what is going on below it there shows a boss on the bottom of that lever that has a square notch in it to perhaps allow a spring driven bolt to move to the rear of the action to release it. I can't see far enough past this to see what its real function is however. In reading through the above posts, mention is made of removing the large (.495 from what I can measure) pin that captures the barrel. It looks like someone previously has tried this from the right hand side of the action. Is this the correct direction to drive that pin out? There isn't enough on the opposite side for me to measure. Anyone know which side this is supposed to go out? Also, do I need to do this? Anyone know of some magic trick to get that lever to release the locking mechanism?

    I also have images I can post of the action minus the stock if this would help ID the age or style of mechanism.

    Thanks, any ideas or tricks would be much appreciated.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  19. timberwolf9653

    timberwolf9653 New Member

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    Jul 4, 2011
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    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    I'm curious what mine could be worth?? I stumbled on this using google as well. I have a Red letter Model 37 .410 gauge with the pigtail release, it also says FULL. My grandfather gave it to me, his grandfather bought it new and gave it to him. It is in excellent shape.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
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