Replacement Parts for Your SPAS-12

If you’ve been reading this site since almost the beginning you know that I’m the proud owner of a SPAS-12. It took me 13 years (my desire to have one was a result of Jurassic Park, which I first saw when I was pretty young) to obtain one but the wait was worth it. The SPAS-12 is a fun gun but it’s an unsupported platform that was never terribly popular. What that means is replacement parts, when they can be found, are expensive. Furthermore some of the factory parts in the SPAS-12 don’t age well. Two parts in particular, the folding stock shock absorber and the receiver buffer, are made of a plastic that becomes brittle with age.

My SPAS-12 didn’t have a shock absorber on the folding stock when I obtained it. But the buffer was there and in working order. That changed when I did something really stupid, I let another person shoot my rare and no longer supported shotgun. The SPAS-12 comes from an era when 2 3/4″ shells were the only shells for all practical purposes. One day when I was shooting with a friend he asked if he could shoot it. I said yes, then quickly asked if his shells were 2 3/4″. He answered in the affirmative and I believed him. As it turns out the shells he was using were 3″ and after firing the first round the shotgun jammed up. When I got it unjammed I also learned something else, the receiver buffer had broken off. I was pissed but I also failed to perform due diligence on a gun that I knew spare parts weren’t easy to come by. Lesson learned.

Fast forward to today. The SPAS 12 Project has newly manufactured spare parts for sale! I ordered a folding stock shock buffer and an old style receiver buffer that showed up last night. Unfortunately they accidentally sent me a new style receiver buffer but it only took a quick e-mail to get everything sorted out so I could exchange it for the correct one (overall I’m very happy with how quickly they replied, other one or two man online operations I’ve ordered from haven’t always been as responsive). But I did get the folding stock shock absorber installed.

First let me say that the shock absorber is somewhat rough looking but well made. It’s made of a very dense polyurethane that flexes but not easily. Without the shock absorber the end piece of the folding stock has a habit of moving forward slightly when you shoulder the weapon. After repeated firings in this condition the piece wears at the locking button hole and eventually the piece cracks. Although I haven’t been able to test fire the SPAS-12 I can say that the play in the rear piece of the stock is entirely gone after installing the shock absorber. So far it looks like a quality piece.

As I messed with the gun I also noticed that the magazine spring appears to have aged beyond its useful point. While most of the shells reliably eject out of the magazine and onto the lifting gate the last one or two will eject very lazily and sometimes not fully. Thankfully the magazine spring, like the o-ring for the gas system, is easily replaced with Remington 1187 parts.

Obviously I can’t give a final verdict on the parts until I’ve test fired the gun. But the new style receiver buffer that I was sent looks and feels like an quality piece. I believe it will work well for a long time. So if you’re in need of spare parts for your SPAS-12 the people running The SPAS 12 Project are a good place to look. They also sent a few extra o-rings free of charge, which is appreciated since they have a habit of disappearing.

Why I Prefer Common Guns

Many people prefer esoteric guns. These people like having unique guns for various reasons, myself included. For instance I have a SPAS-12 which is kind of a rare breed. It’s fun and a blast to bring out to the range because it’s a very good conversation starter. But when it breaks finding parts and information is almost impossible. Right now it won’t feed shells out of the tube and the gas ring is defunct. Thankfully I found out the same gas ring used on Remington 11-87 shotguns will work on the SPAS-12 but the other problem is harder to diagnose and finding parts is a problem.

This is why I primarily like having common guns. For instance if a part breaks on my Glock I can easily find a replacement. The same goes for my AR-15 and AK-47. To top it off not only can I easily find parts but I can parts for a reasonable price.

Anyways my advice is if you only have a few guns and don’t plan on expanding your collection much further make sure you have some common guns. Sure that fancy SPAS-12 looks cool but you aren’t going to be able to walk into your local gun store and get a replacement part should you need one.

I Love the SPAS-12

Boy I can’t tell you how much I just love the SPAS-12 shotgun. It’s such an amazing piece of machinery. In fact I’ll go so far as to say it’s the greatest gun ever made by anybody ever. I mean what’s not to love? It has both semi-automatic action and pump-action modes. The safety lever that can potentially discharge the firearm when engaging adds much needed excitement to the shooting sports. But the absolute best part is the fact it actually makes me breakfast in the morning.

Did Franchi pay me to say this? You know what I don’t have to tell you shit regardless of what some people may say.

The SPAS 12

A couple of weeks back I finally obtained the gun I’ve been after since I first saw Jurassic Park, a SPAS 12. Here she is…

SPAS 12 and Choke Tubes

As you can see I also obtained a full set of choke tubes for it. As far as I know these are all the choke tubes that were produced for the SPAS 12. They are in order from left to right…

  • Improved Cylinder
  • Skeet
  • Improved Modified
  • Modified
  • Full
  • Extra Full

SPAS stands for Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun, although automatic really means semi-automatic. In actuality it’s a military shotgun now a sporting shotgun but the marketing people at Franchi probably didn’t think they would sell nearly as well with a name like MPAS.

The SPAS 12 is an interesting gun to say the least. It’s one of the few shotguns I’m aware of that can be used both as a semi-automatic and pump action shotgun. There is a button under the fore grip of the gun. Press it in and push the fore grip slightly forward and it goes into semi-automatic mode. Press the button and pull the grip back and it goes into pump action mode. This might seem like a strange idea until you realize some of the intended uses of this shotgun. Most non-lethal shotgun round, like beanbags and plastic slugs, lack the required pressure to cycle the gun in semi-automatic mode. Because of this the capability to manually cycle the gun was desired.

Another feature to facilitate using specialty rounds is the magazine cut off. On the right side of the gun is a small button near the magazine. Once pressed in the magazine is cut off so when the gun cycles next a new round won’t be automatically fed. So if you needed to use a slug but you only had shot loaded in the magazine you could hit the cut off, eject the currently chambered shot shell, and insert a slug. Once the slug is chambered the magazine cut off disengages automatically so the gun will function normally after the newly chambered shell is fired.

There are two safeties on the SPAS 12. The first being the quick action safety on the left side of the gun. When it is clicked back towards the user the trigger is disengaged. When you click it forward with a simple forward movement of your trigger finger the trigger is reengaged.

The second safety is located on the right side of the gun. There are two different setups for this safety. On older guns there is a large lever that really doesn’t have a save position which I’ll explain in a second. The second type is a crossbar safety which is a button similar to safeties on most modern shotguns. The reason I say the lever safety doesn’t really have a safe position is because it had a defect. Turning the safety from fire to safe could discharge the gun. This is why it was recalled and the new cross bar safety was used. Lucky me my gun has a level safety, but I’m not one to use manual safeties so it didn’t concern me much. The once nice thing about the large lever safety is it can be easily manipulated with gloves on, which was the original intent.

The final thing I’ll talk about in this post is the sights. Unlike most of the shotguns I’ve used the SPAS 12 doesn’t have a simple bead sight. Instead it has a nice ghost ring rear sight and a blade front sight. The ring has a notch cut out of the button. When using slugs you place the front blade into that notch, otherwise you center the front sight in the ring of the rear sight. It’s a very nice sight setup I will say.

I’ve had this gun out to the range twice so far and absolutely love it. I’ll be posting articles from time to time on interesting things I find with the SPAS as well as applications I’ve successfully used it for (I’m going to try trap shooting with it one of these days).