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For Sale- Franchi SPAS 12


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I picked this up a little while back and as bad as i hate too, Ive found something Ive been wanting a little more. Im the third owner and Ive not fired, taken apart, cleaned this shotgun at all.  Previous owner said that he put around 50 rnds thru it over the years.   The SPAS is a 1982 production, has original sling (which sells for $300+ if you ever see one) 8+1 capacity and is just a legend in the shotgun world.  Last i heard there were around 1800 total in country.  Its in great shape for bein 40 yrs old and exhibits the typical handling marks/wear, nothing major.

$4000 firm     as pictured. If you know, you know. These unicorns sell for $1k to $1500 more over on Gunjoker.  I have lots of pics i can send potential buyer.  I will accept USPS money orders, certified checks, but be aware, i wont ship on checks untill it clears my bank and my bank holds all checks over $1k for 5 business days.  I can even do discrete PP F$F or you pay the fees.

buyer pays actual shipping and INS if you want it.  Will ONLY ship to FFL and please make sure they'll accept from a private seller with a copy of my drivers license. Any questions/more pics, shoot me a message and thanks.


*** this is listed locally as well, so if you're interested, check with me ***



SPAS 12.jpg

Edited by MrMilitaryPolice
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A friend actually gave me this 1983 mfg. imported via F.I.E. Miami, FL,  NIB Franchi SPAS (Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun) with folding stock and infamous "hook" arm brace (way ahead of it's time) 10-12 years ago. It's definitely a cult firearm piece, glorified by it's highlights in Arnold Schwarzenagger "Terminator" movie. It took 10 years   and $2500 for me to acquire all the known available "accessories", the last of which was the 2-piece muzzle "diverter" for $1300 in 2021, from the SPAS12.com site originator nonetheless. Several years ago I balked @ $500 for the device, bad non-purchase.  It's one heavy and clumsy gun to manipulate. Importantly there was a Safety Recall in 1991 regarding the original "lever" style safety lever that would, without warning, discharge the firearm while toggling the lever from ON-OFF / OFF-ON position; a good time to emphasize the primary safety on any firearm is muzzle direction.

My Franchi SPAS  12 (Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun) has a  21.5" barrel, SPAS 12 external muzzle thread protector, folding stock, 8 round magazine = pre-ban                 SERIAL NO. AL XXXX

                        DATE CODE “AL”=1983   Imported by F.I.E. , Miami FL - collector desirable.

pump / semi-auto modes. The pump mode was for cycling low powered rubber tip riot cartridges.

First year mfg 1979.  (1994 assault weapons ban)

Removable magazine restriction plug, FIE scope mount, Vario-Mix choke tubes (cylinder, modified, full choke), sling, "hook", muzzle “diverter” device paid $1300 in 2021 for this 2-piece accessory

Trigger guard “lever” safety (Safety Recalled in 1991; factory replaced recalls with the cross-bolt trigger group.






I authored an Anatomy Series Manual on the differences between the Lever / Cross Bolt safety trigger groups available that also details how the safety malfunction occurs and the factory resolution using the same lever trigger groups!

A bit of musing on the "muzzle device" and it's parallel development in the armed forces follows.

A variety of shotgun muzzle devices have been tried over the years to enhance their effectiveness in a defensive role. One item that comes off often is "Duck Bill Spreaders" most seem to originate in the early 70's. Crane Lake is often cited as were their origin and cited has being used by the SEAL's in Vietnam and by the Air Force Security Forces.

In each case they are cited as being regulated for use with #4 buck shot. Relative reference manuals  from the early 70's reveals #4  buckshot was the preferred load for LE-military shotguns.

Crane Lake is often cited as such prototype muzzle devices used by the SEAL's in Vietnam and the Air Force Security Forces.

A&W muzzle in "The Police Shotgun Manual", by Roger H. Robinson, 1973. Mr. Robinson includes many high speed photos that were provided by A&W Engineering of shot loads coming out of the A&W duck-bill device; photos show the diverter to be very efficient at pattern modification.

At 10 yards  a 7 1/2" H x 29" W pattern with #4

At 30 yards  a 25" H x 96" W pattern with #4.

A claimed a 22% reduction in recoil an diminish the muzzle flash to that of a .38 special at night.

A slug can be used as well, imparting two grooves on either side of the slug with a reduction in projectile yaw.



According to Swearengen in _The World's Fighting Shotguns, the US Air Force Directorate of Security Police in the mid-1960s developed a requirement for a spreader choke that would produce a wide elliptical shot pattern. This horizontal pattern spread was supposed to increase the hit probability from a shotgun on a moving target.

The Air Force request went to Frankford Arsenal for action, at the time Frankford was working on improvements to the military shotgun in general. Early experiments at producing a spreader choke were less than successful- the chokes split, patterned poorly and in various ways failed to produce te desired result. Ultimately Frankford ordnance engineer Charles A Greenwood developed the duckbill choke in answer to the Air Force requirement. It was subjected to a good deal of laboratory and field testing.

The original duckbill choke was simply a sleeve with a long V-notch cut on either side, the apex of the V toward the rear. The top and bottom of the sleeve were compressed toward the centerline at the muzzle, constricting the emerging pattern of shot in the vertical plane and forcing it to spread horizontally. The sleeve was permanently brazed onto the barrel so that it would not be blown off or rotated by firing the gun.

Early examples of duckbill- equipped shotguns were deployed to Vietnam in the hands of Marines and Navy SEALs. It was found that the open V- notches in the muzzle of the duckbill hung up badly on vegetation as the shotgunner tried to move through thick growth, so the duckbill was modified with a ring around its muzzle to exclude vines and branches. It was discovered that the spreader device worked as advertised, but in reality what was needed in a fighting shotgun was a way of producing dense, lethal patterns.

Spreaders in field testing produced patterns five feet high and twelve feet wide at 30 meters with #4 buckshot loads. At 40 meters, patterns were six feet high and sixteen feet wide. At 40 meters an average sized man would only be hit by a couple of pellets. But with a standard cylinder bored barrel shooting approximately a four- foot circular pattern at 40 meters, some 60% of the shot would strike an average man- sized target.

Still, the duckbill choke had its adherents, among SEALS especially. Development on the idea continued for several years. Clifford Ashbrook and Wilson Wing of Kexplore, Inc. in Houston, TX developed the A&W Diverter in the late 1960s using mathematical concepts, and received patent protection (# 3,492,750) in February 1970.

The HK 512 gas operated 7+1 shotgun, it was manufactured by Franchi for HK under a contract to supply an elite force in Germany (GSG9), i.e. the  "Anti-Terrorist Shotgun" . A production over run of 270  units which were imported into the US, employing a shot diverter that creates a rectangular spread .

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IMG_9416Franchi SPAS 12 Muzzle Diverter Device 2021 copy.jpg

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Edited by benelliwerkes
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After owning several of the Benelli M3T folding stock models, and a SPAS-12, other than the more unique looks, the SPAS-12 has nothing on the M3. The M3 is lighter, smoother, more refined, more reliable, easier to use, safer, etc. That hook, while certainly an interesting idea, is in reality mostly a novelty except perhaps to reload an alternate round in a full gun. I still like mine and they are a conversation starter and interesting piece. I am still going to buy a SPAS-15 in the near future. That model has largely fixed most of the deficiencies in the SPAS-12. Too bad it was banned so early on so it is even less common. BTW, to the OP, while $4k might be optimistic with the pump wear and the lever type safety, they haven't sold for $1,500 in that configuration for quite some time. Yours should definitely sell closer to your higher than your lower numbers.


BTW, one of my late relatives owned a large gun shop in the era and a Franchi rep had initially referred to the SPAS as "special pump automatic shotgun". Then, shortly after during their police demonstrations, that same rep referenced it to the room as "Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun". Later, as you surmised, it was changed to sporting in a veiled attempt to pass it off as such to avoid its eventual fate.

Edited by bambihunter
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  • 5 months later...
  • 9 months later...

Bought a SPAS-12 in the 80's, as our NYC brownstone was broken into a number of times.  The detectives said "buy a shotgun".  So that's where the SPAS journey began.  Thankfully, never had to use it for that purpose.  It sat then in a custom/steel welded box, bolted to the floor joists, for over a year.

Being originally from Montana, and a bird hunter, it was time to test the SPAS out.  Went to a skeet range and broke about 18 targets, first time, even with the awkward folding metal stock.  Soon after, ordered a set of chokes (Full, Modified and the Spreader) plus the all-important Full Stock.  Then shot skeet for maybe a year, and when I finally ran 100 straight, decided to check out Sporting Clays - more like real hunting.

Went to a few sporting clayl courses then entered as NC (not classified) in the NY State Championship at Sandanona (now an Orvis facility).  All the fancy shooters were giving me the skunk-eye, using this heavy, assault shotgun. A few murmerred " that kind of gun shouldn't be allowed", etc.  While they were busy adjusting their stocks and changing choke tubes, I simply shot the course with the short, thread protector = cylinder bore.  Only used the Full choke for the springing teal in the shootout.

But . . .  did end up in the 'shootout' for NC and came in 2nd.  Won a bit of $ as well.  Now shoot proper over & unders -  although not nearly as easy to keep the gun moving before, during and after the shots.  That almost 10# make for good follow-through.

Haven't used the SPAS since the late 90's, so decided it is time to put it on the market.  My collection includes everything (I think) that has ever been made for the gun.  All original.  All complete and in working order.  The following photo shows all the various accessories. Serial No. AA9528.

Will likely put it on GunBuyer.com, but can also be reached through this Forum.


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I don't have as many spare accessories that you are showing - but have the standard/complete stuff.  So . . . .  if I list it on GunBroker - any thoughts on a price that might have it sell in a month?  Or, put an extreme price on the gun package and hope for the best?  Had it for 35 years already, so not in a panic. 

But want to trade/$ it for something I can use at the rifle range.  Maybe a really nice M1 Garand (and 1,000 rounds) or a match grade .22.  Not sure.


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On 8/22/2023 at 9:44 AM, YankeeLake said:

if I list it on GunBroker - any thoughts on a price that might have it sell in a month? 

As single individual seller, I would not list it as a penny start auction like the big boys do. List it with your "buy now" minimum and let the market take it where it will in the coming month......list it for 7 days at a time, if no sell, re-list adjusting the price or not the first two weeks as necessary; don't part out the accessories, the 2-piece diverter is the brass ring. The SPAS-12 market has been pretty strong for good looking gear like yours.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The price on these has dropped back down from their peak during the pandemic. One way to get a valid price for the going rate on Gunbroker is to do an advanced search. Then, select the "Completed" tab. Search for desired item, in this case SPAS-12. It will give you a list of closed auctions. It will list auctions that closed without selling, cloned NR rated scam sellers, and others as well, so a little skimming is in order to really get a good feel for it. Here's a link with that work already done:

Personally, I'd say a good place to start would be $4,500 and adjust accordingly if that is less than you'd actually take. That's what I'd probably give for it. Stay away from using reserves as it turns a lot of people off including myself. Since yours has a lot of extras that can swing the value, I don't think I'd put a Buy It Now option either. From this side of the gun it isn't obvious whether it is the back side of the lever safety or if it is the cross-bolt safety but that hugely affects the price on these. Also, if you haven't already, I'd suggest replacing the shock buffer. There's a good chance it has disintegrated which can beat up the inside of the receiver when shot semi-auto.

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