Occasionally, there’s a firearm that doesn’t get the recognition it should. The lever action Winchester shotgun is one example. First developed in 1887, there have only been three models ever made over the years.
History of the Winchester Lever Action Shotgun
In the late 1800s, the Winchester lever action rifles were the most popular repeating rifle available. Deciding to continue with this popularity, the company asked gun designer John Browning to create a lever action shotgun to accompany the rifle.
The first lever action shotgun produced was the Model 1887 which was available as both a ten and twelve gauge. With the advent of smokeless powder, the company realized that the M1887 wasn’t strong enough to handle the new shells, so the Model 1901 was created. The M1901 was only ever made as a ten gauge, and production ended in the 1920s.
Then, in 2001, Winchester produced the Model 9410, a .410 gauge shotgun that was released to great acclaim and interest. Unfortunately, production stopped with the closure of the company’s New Haven facility in 2006. With less than 80,000 Winchester lever action shotguns produced, these are a true collector’s item.
Modern Lever Action ShotgunsMost of the lever action shotguns made today are replicas of those models from the late 1800s. Companies like Chiappa, Henry, Century, and Taylors and Company are the most prolific makers of lever action shotguns. Even then, not very many are produced.
Chiappa makes a lovely reproduction of Winchester’s M1887, a beautiful twelve gauge that weighs nine pounds, is 39 inches long and has a seven round capacity. The barrel is blued and black with a wooden stock and forearm for an authentic look.
An even more unique offering is the Mare’s Leg, made by both Chiappa and Taylors and Company. This pistol grip twelve gauge is only 27.5 inches long but still packs six rounds.
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