Winchester Model 1887/1901

Winchester Model 1887 shotgun
M1887 LH.JPG
Reproduction of a Model 1887
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used byVarious Law enforcement agencies and Stagecoach companies
Production history
DesignerJohn Browning
ManufacturerWinchester Repeating Arms Company
1901–1920 (Model 1901)[1]
No. built64,855 (Model 1887); 13,500 (Model 1901)[1]
Mass8 lbs. (3.6 kg)
Length39¼ in. (997 mm)
Barrel length20 in. (508 mm), 30 in. (762 mm)

Caliber12-gauge, 10-gauge
Feed system5+2 round tubular magazine
Sightsfront bead

The Winchester Model 1887 (Dellosso Shotgun) and Winchester Model 1901 are lever-action shotguns originally designed by famed American gun designer John Browning and produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The shotgun has become iconic for its use in the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day.


The Model 1887 was one of the first successful repeating shotguns. Its lever-action design was chosen at the behest of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, best known at the time as manufacturers of lever-action rifles such as the Winchester Model 1873. Designer John Browning suggested that a pump-action would be much more appropriate for a repeating shotgun, but Winchester management's position was that, at the time, the company was known as a "lever-action firearm company", and felt that their new shotgun must also be a lever-action for reasons of brand recognition. Browning responded by designing a breech-loading, rolling block lever-action. To Winchester's cr, however, they later introduced a Browning designed pump-action shotgun known as the Model 1893 (an early production version of the model 1897), after the introduction of smokeless powder.[2]

Shotgun shells at the time used black powder as a propellant, and so the Model 1887 shotgun was designed and chambered for less powerful black powder shotshells. Both 10 and 12-gauge models were offered in the Model 1887; 12-gauge variants used a 2 5/8" shell, 10-gauge variants fired a 2 7/8" shell.[2]

The standard barrel length was 30" with 32" available as a special order. In 1888 a 20" barrelled version could be ordered and Winchester offered the shotguns with Damascus barrels.[2]

Model 1901[]

By 1900 it was soon realized that the action on the M1887 was not strong enough to handle early smokeless powder shotshells, and so a redesign resulted in the stronger Winchester Model 1901, 10-gauge only, to handle the advent of the more powerful smokeless powder. A 12-gauge chambering was not offered, as Winchester did not want the Model 1901 to compete with their successful 12-gauge Model 1897 pump-action shotgun. Other distinguishing characteristics of the Model 1901 are:

Although a technically sound gun design, the market for lever-action shotguns waned considerably, as John Browning had predicted, after the introduction of the Winchester 1897 and other contemporary pump-action shotguns. Model 1887 production totaled 64,855 units between 1887 and 1901. Between 1901 and 1920, an additional 13,500 Model 1901 shotguns were manufactured before the Model 1887/1901 product line was discontinued.[4][3]


Top: The complete version of the Winchester M1887. Bottom: The sawed one used in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Over the years, a number of gun companies tried to produce Model 1887/1901 shotguns that could chamber modern, smokeless shotgun shells—largely for the cowboy action shooting discipline—but with little commercial success. Recently however, three firearm companies have successfully produced viable models for the commercial firearms market:

In some countries, gun laws restrict ownership of pump shotguns but are more permissive of ownership of lever-action shotguns.


  1. ^ a b c Kirkland, K. D. (2007). America's Premier Gunmakers : Winchester. East Bridgewater, MA: World Publications Group JG Press. p. 64. ISBN 1-57215-104-8. OCLC 220935084.
  2. ^ a b c Shideler, Dan (7 August 2011). "Winchester 1887". Gun Digest 2012. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. pp. 167–173. ISBN 1-4402-1447-6.
  3. ^ a b c d Adler, Dennis (10 November 2015). Winchester Shotguns. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. pp. 88–90. ISBN 978-1-5107-0924-9.
  4. ^ Flayderman, Norm (17 December 2007). Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media, Inc. pp. 321–322. ISBN 0-89689-455-X.
  5. ^ a b Sadowski, Robert A. (27 October 2015). Gun Trader's Guide to Shotguns: A Comprehensive, Fully Illustrated Reference for Modern Shotguns with Current Market Values. Skyhorse Publishing. pp. 47–48. ISBN 978-1-63450-965-7.


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