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I would say that the 870 is, arguably, a finer shotgun in several respects than the highly touted old Winchester Model 12.
I've owned and shot Model 12s and 870s and, although I love the 12, I can't argue the point. Really two different guns from two different production eras. The 12 was born in the era of machining every part and then hand fitting as needed; the 870 was born in the era of modular, replaceable parts that required little or no fitting. Both have their advantages, but like an old gunsmith I know once told me, "There is nothing as worn out as an old worn out Model 12. When they're dead, they're dead. You can replace parts on an 870, forever."

The heck of it is, even though I have always loved 12s, I've always shot 870s, better, especially the older vintages 870s.
 
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