Apparently they did. The trim, lithe, quick little Model 42 sold well enough that Winchester survived and continued making that model until 1963. About 164,800 were built in standard grade, skeet, trap, Deluxe, and Pigeon grades. Barrels could be 26- or 28-inches with solid or vent ribs or plain. Some even came with a Cutt’s Compensator to regular choke.
Winchester’s M42 was the first pump action .410 in history. Shooters discovered it was a natural pointer and easy shooter, ideal for quick shots at quail, ruffed grouse, and any similar-sized bird or mammal flushing within 25 yards or so. As a boy I took my first duck, pheasant, and jackrabbit with a break-action single-shot .410. Later I found out how deadly a Model 42 could be on a Georgia quail plantation. I shucked a borrowed Model 42 to drop four quail from a covey rise. These weren’t wild quail, but the speed and handling characteristics of that little .410 impressed the heck out of me.
It’s been reported that Winchester (under new management by John Olin who’d bought the brand and merged it with his Western Powder Company in 1931) was prepared to introduce the M42 in 1932 but waited because the new 3-inch .410 shell would not be ready for a simultaneous release. Both hit store shelves the next year, and the rest is history. During the next 30 years Winchester would sell 164,800 Model 42s.
Weird 410 “Gauge”, Winchester Model 42 & Video — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com