Friday, July 06, 2007

Wild Bunch Shotguns pt2

I guess it has been a while since I posted part 1, sorry to all you one or two people who read this blog.

Second only to the semi-auto pistols that you shoot in a Wild Bunch side match is the shotgun. Why? Because you get to use some non-SASS shotguns and you get to stoke them full and use the pumps and leverguns as they were intended and that's very appealing to most of us who own them. I don't care how old or experienced I get, picking up a loaded pumpgun and blasting away fast and furiously is still gonna be fun!

First on the list is the venerable Winchester model 1897 pump, an extremely popular shotgun that brought pumpguns to where they are today, feared, revered and respected. The 97 is also a very popular gun in SASS competition because its fast, sure it's more complicated and more prone to failure, but when they work well, there's nothing faster. The standard model 97 will hold 5 rounds in the tube magazine and that's what most every Wild Bunch match will require, 5 in the tube and five knockdowns.

The model 97 was build up until 1957 and there are millions of them out there. The only problem is that with SASS being so darned popular, the originals are wearing out. At this point, I wouldn't buy one unless I knew that it was a good, functioning gun. What does that leave us? Well, fortunately, there are reproductions that are getting better and better. IAC has been importing them since 1999 and like I said, are getting better. EMF is importing one now and is reportedly good as well as TTN's replica that supposedly is an exact replica, that is the parts from originals are supposed to fit it. With all the originals and several new replica importers, there's no shortage of the 97 for the foreseeable future.

Note that the 97 is followup gun from Winchester/Browning of the model 93 which tended to be a dangerous firearm and thus banned in SASS competition and as far as I'm concerned, banned, period. While on banned shotguns, the Marlin 1898 pump is also a period pump that's banned and should stay that way, you want to take your life in your hands with nobody else around, fine, but don't ask me to stand next to you.

Another SASS legal gun available in Wild Bunch matches is the model 1887 lever-action shotgun. This original gun wasn't as popular as the 97 and so there are fewer originals out there. It also should really only be shot with black powder as the metal in the originals isn't up to snuff for modern smokeless. Again, due to demand created by SASS shooters, copies are being imported. IAC again is brining in some good reproductions and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Coyote Cap as being key in bringing this gun to market by lending his expertise to the Chinese. The new gun is a stout shooter of good manufacturer and should hold five in the tube for a Wild Bunch match.

Now on to the non-SASS guns. First up is the Winchester model 1912, the hammerless followup to the famously popular 97. There's not much to say about this one, it was a very popular shotgun from its introduction until it was finally done in by the mighty Remington 870. Since its not SASS legal and there isn't much call for it in any other competition, the only way to get one is to have an original.

The other post 1899 model that I'll touch on is the Winchester model 1901 lever action shotgun. These are for all intents and purposes identical to the 1887 model and like the model 12, the only way to have one is to obtain an original.

Those are the pumps I know about, there may be others, if so, I'd certainly let them in play if they were manufactured pre-1920. There should be some consideration maybe for the semi-auto shotguns of the era, I know there have to be a bunch of guys and gals with Browning A5's, Remington and Winchester model 11s that are just itching to bring them out of the gun safe and play. Nobody has brought them up yet and until they do or I buy a Browning, I won't worry about it.


Judge Mint Day said...

How do the Steven's pump guns fit in?

José Giganté said...

I'm unaware that Stevens built a pump shotgun before being acquired by Savage in 1920. I'd certainly be willing to let it play as long as its safe and a pre-1920 model.

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