(foto Winchester 1893 1e model 12ga shotgun from the Tielemans collection)
This is one gun that Winchester DID NOT want you to own! The 1893 pump action shotgun was a great gun and it was Winchester's very first pump action shotgun design. Unfortunately, it was caught in between two different technological eras...the end of the black powder age and the beginning of the new smokeless powder era. Since it was designed to be used with 12-gauge shells loaded with black powder ONLY, it must have really worried Winchester by the late 1890's/early 20th century as identical smokeless 12 gauge shells began to take over the market. Fearing injuries and lawsuits from smokeless shells being used in a black powder gun, Winchester began one of the earliest product recalls probably in American history by placing ads in various publications. By this point, Winchester had made over 30,000 Model 93's. The ads encouraged owners of the Winchester Model 1893's to send their guns back to Winchester in exchange for a brand new Model 1897 pump shotgun which had been re-designed for smokeless powder. Winchester destroyed every Model 1893 that was returned and that is probably what happened to most of them. Still, a few survive today and as long as the owners used them with black powder, were probably safe for many years of use. However, this is not an endorsement that the 100+ year old gun is safe to fire.
Winchester 1893 & 1897 repeating, (pump) shotguns
(Foto Winchester 1893 20" Riot 12ga from the Wit collection)
These models were a open hammer, pump operated shotgun. the forearm was made with circular grooves around it. One nickname for this gun was the "cornshucker"
The model 1893 was the predecessor to the 1897, with about 33,000 being made. It originally used 2 1/2" ammo. It can be readily identified by a "thumb cut" on the top LH side of the receiver, somewhat like the model 98 Mauser rifles.
A & B Series:
In June 1897, the model 1897 was born & the following changes were made to the 1893. Then the gun was called the Model 1897, with the serial numbers of the guns continuing from the 1893. Apparently the series A & B relate to the 1893. Not sure if all "B" guns had rounded end magazine plugs.
(1) New firing pin lock put in breech block.
(2) Screw put in receiver to hold magazine from turning.
(3) Release pin and plunger (for action slide lock)
(4) Top of cartridge ejecting opening in frame made straight.
(5) Spring placed on inside of action handle encircling magazine.
(6) Collar put inside of magazine to keep spring and follower from coming out.
(7) Top of breech block made straight.
(8) Receiver holding bolt made shorter.
(9) Buttstock made longer, drop changed, and outside shape changed slightly.
(10)Friction spring put in under cartridge guide.
In February 1898, after about 47,000 shotguns had been made, more changes were made in the Model 1897. After that date the gun was marked with the letter "C" over the serial number.
(1) A small wire was put into the receiver and connected to the action slide lock release pin, to hold it from coming out when the gun was taken apart.
(2) Receiver made 1 1/2 (one and one half) hundredths ??? thicker on each side. This was thought best on account of the increased cuts on the inside.
(3) Action slide lock spring was changed.
(4) The first Model 1897's had no ejector spring. (The ejector was a little block pinned to the LH receiver wall.) This spring is a small thin "L" shaped spring with a screw hole that is attached from the outside LH side of the receiver immediately in front of the "ejector".
The end of the magazine plug was flat on "D" guns.
In April 1898, after about 50,000 shotguns had been made (Model 1893 & 1897) some more changes were made, and the model 1897 detachable barrel and magazine put on the market. These were known as the "E" series guns.
"E" guns had slightly deeper 5/16 wide grooves on the receiver ring.
Prior to "E" guns, cartridge stops were fastened with screws through the receiver sides and shells were difficult to release from the magazine. For unloading, most shooters worked them through the action. On E models, the cartridge stops fastened through the bottom of the action and providing buttons which could be pushed to retract the cartridge stops.
These are not all the changes. Madis stated that 37 major and 52 minor changes were made in the first 12 years of production of the Model 1897.
Other items that may be of some interest:
1. Standard shotgun stock was 13 3/4 inches.
2. Frame altered on 1897 to use 2 3/4" ammo.
3. Brush gun was made available November 1897 to 1931. It had shorter stock with more drop and 26 inch barrel.
4. Standard gun was made with rolled steel barrels, full choke standard. Cylinder or modified choke on special order.
5. Standard barrel length 30 or 32 inch. 30 inch shipped if not specified.
6. Trap Gun 12 and 16 gauge (1897 to 1931). The gun had 30 inch rolled steel barrel, select fancy walnut handmade stock. Straight checked grip with oil finish and black diamonds in the grip, and checked rubber butt plate. It was first listed at $47.
7. Trap Gun was engraved on the breech block and could be had with matted barrel.
8. Within certain limits, purchasers could specify stock dimensions.
9. Solid frame and takedown trap guns were made. After 1926 Trap Gun was not always engraved on the breech block.
10. Receivers on Trap, Tournament, Pigeon, Standard Trap, and Special Trap guns had matted groove.
The Winchester Model 1893 Pump Action 12 Ga. Shotgun
Some of you who have read my articles in the past will know of my interest in older shotguns and some, hopefully many, will read my little fortnightly piece in the Shotgun and Rifle Forum where I write a short essay on a shooting related item of interest, this article came about as a result of both. I was going to write this up in the Forum, but the more I researched the gun in question; the more interesting became its history. The gun in question is a Winchester Model 1893 Pump Action 12 bore shotgun. I had been after an early pump with an external hammer for some time and here in Britain such things are quite scarce. I had only once previously seen one Model '93 and a couple of '97's and no Marlins or makes other than the Winchesters. There was simply not just the market here for such guns.
The London Gunmaker Charles Lancaster did buy some Spencer/Roper actions and made them up with fine Damascus barrels and even Damascus tube magazines, fitted them with a fine walnut stock and some engraving but found that they did not sell at all well. How I would like to get my hands on one of these today. One advantage of the fact that pumps are not very popular here is that they can be picked up for comparatively little money on the second hand market. I already had a Winchester Model 12 and an Ithaca Model 37, both in 12 bore, and was on the look out for a Model 97 and a Model 42 Winchester. I am still on the look out for the latter and I suppose still on the look out for the former also. With this in mind I had left word of my requirements at a number of local Gun Dealers.
Years passed and then one of the local dealers with whom I do frequent business with in the North of Derbyshire, remembering what I had said, mentioned that he had a Winchester hammer pump action in and would I be interested. It was less than an hour's drive away but as it does no good to appear too keen when angling for a purchase, I told him to hang on to it and I would be in by in a couple of days. I knew full well that it would be doubtful if any other customer would come in showing any interest and, sure enough, when I called in, there it was in the rack. It was displayed trigger guard uppermost and a quick glance showed it to be, not a Model '97 as I had suspected, but the far less common Model '93. Then I spotted the serial number, not the usual row of meaningless digits that indicate just another gun, but a single digit, the number '8'. Indicating it was one of the very first to leave the Winchester factory back in 1893.
'Not many of those made.' said the Gundealer trying to show a little knowledge. "No, I suppose not," said I, just trying to show a little ignorance. It doesn't pay to appear too smart when a potential deal is in the offing. At this stage I knew that something in the order of 30 odd thousand had been made and that production had stopped due to an alleged patent infringement and a court case had ensued and that Bannerman's who held the patent rights, had lost because Winchester could prove that pump action patents already existed in Britain and France even though no guns were actually produced. Then having won the case they started up again, but producing the Model '97 before ceasing in the 1950's.
What I had in front of me was uncommon, not rare, but very desirable in view of its low number. There was no price tag attached, there never is in this particular shop, and customers are expected to make an offer. Not a way I like to do business but none-the-less I made a low but sensible offer and brought my wallet out to show that I had the cash on me. Now, catch this particular Dealer on the right day and offer cash and some great deals can be made. Today was one of those days and my offer was accepted; two minutes paperwork and I was off clutching my prize.
An Interesting Find
by Mike Baines
Now, don't think that I had been too hasty here. I had given the gun a good going over and found it to function correctly, and an examination had revealed no defects. One always has to look for anything that may turn the ensuing deal to one's advantage. Apart from the fact that the gun had not a vestige of original finish and was worn smooth and silver by use, there was not a thing wrong with it. It was obviously a well used gun, but also a well cared for gun. There was only the slightest hint of pitting in the bore, nothing to be concerned about. No doubt it had probably fired many thousands of modern smokeless cartridges, something it was never designed to do, but everything fitted tight where it should be tight and smooth where it should be smooth. I was delighted with my purchase.
Having arrived home I couldn't resist cleaning the new gun, not that it needed it but it was a chance to get the feel of it and admire its design. Time then for a little research and this was easily accomplished by having a look through some of the gun books that I had accumulated over the years. The Model'93 shotgun owes its origins to the Browning patented action for Winchester's first slide action firearm, the Model '90 pump action in .22 rimfire. This design was protected by U.S. patent 385238 of 1888 and the popularity of this model induced Winchesters to bring out a repeating shotgun based on the same basic design. The Model '93 had not long been in production when an action was filed for an alleged patent infringement by Francis Bannerman, a New York firearms dealer and then owner of U.S patent 316401 of 1885.
The original patent had been granted to Sylvester H. Roper and Christopher M. Spencer, to cover a slide action repeating shotgun, who had then gone into liquidation transferring the rights to Pratt & Whitney from whom Bannerman had eventually obtained the rights to manufacture and sell the Spencer/Roper shotgun. Winchester was forced to cease production and prepare to defend the action. Two lines of enquiry were sent out; one via Thomas E. Addis to interview Spencer to show that the 1888 patent had been antedated by U.S. patent 255894 of 1882 and issued to Spencer and Roper, and another line of enquiry was pursued by George D. Seymour who was dispatched to Europe to check the French and British patent record offices to see if any patents for such actions had been filed there. Much to Winchester's astonishment they found three such British patents and one French, the earliest being the Alexander Bain patent of 1854 and two further patents taken out in 1866 by Joseph Curtis and William Krutzsch. The French patent was slightly later and had been taken out by M. M. Magot in 1880.
(Model 1893 20" Riot in unfired condition from the Saris collection)
Armed with this information the Winchester Company prepared to defend the action which appeared before Judge Wheeler on June 5th. 1897 who found for the defendants and ruled that no patent infringements had taken place. Winchesters were free to resume production. During the interim period between the cessation of production and the trial date, the use of Smokeless powders had begun to replace the Black powder for which the '93 had been originally designed. The Model '93 had become outdated and it was decided to recommence production with a new and stronger design better able to stand the higher pressures of the new Smokeless cartridges that were becoming more widely used. The Model 1897 had been born. Production of the 1893 model had ceased around serial number 34,050 and serial numbering of the model 1897 started where the older gun had left off. This design proved to be one of Winchesters most popular models with production ceasing only as recently as 1957, 60 years in production, with the last reaching a total production to the serial number 1,024,700. Almost one million model 1897's had been produced.
Winchesters were keen to promote the newer improved model and issued a statement that they would replace any 1893 models returned with a new model 1897 free of charge. This must have been a tempting offer and must have resulted in the scrapping of a number of used model '93's together with those unsold or under production at the time of the law suit. No doubt some of the model '93 parts were salvaged and used on the earliest '97 models. How many '93's left in circulation at this point is anyone's guess but it must have been much reduced from the initial 34,050.
The basic model of 1893 was obtainable with a plain pistol grip stock with either a 30" or a 32" rolled steel barrel at a retail price of $25. Other variation could be ordered at extra cost which included a fancy walnut chequered stock and forearm, rubber butt plate and two types of Damascus barrel. A top of the range model would retail around $62. This was a non-takedown model issued only in 12-gauge and with 2 5/8 inch chambers. There does appear to have been a small number made with 20 inch barrels and issued as riot guns.
Not all desirable firearms must be blued as long as the color is complete to the entire firearm what Gun dealers and Appraisers call "In the White".
This photo shows the extremely low and much desirable serial that raises such collector interest and this Editor's cupidity.
The example in my collection (not pictured) is of the most common type and is of plain finish with a 30" Rolled steel barrel. It does still see occasional use with home loaded black-powder cartridges and has smashed quite a few clays since I obtained it. I will one day take it out for a shot at game when the inclination takes me. How this gun found its way to England will, I suppose, forever remain something of a mystery. One clue is that is fails to bear any English Proof marks which indicates that it was never imported through the usual channels via an Importer/Dealer. All imported American made guns should, by Law, pass through one of the two Proof Houses and be correctly stamped to that effect.
Technically, it is an offence to sell this gun un-proved and I have approached the Birmingham Proof House about the possibility of this gun being issued with a Proof Exemption Certificate which can be issued in circumstances where the gun is thought to be of Historical interest and may not survive Proof testing. The gun can then be legally sold if accompanied with the appropriate certificate. I do not intend to part with it but at least I would then be legally permitted to do so.
Oddly, two other American made guns in my collection, a Winchester model '12 and a L.C. Smith double also fail to bear the Proof stamps. Both date to 1939 and it is my opinion that they most probably entered this Country with visiting American Servicemen who came to Britain later in the Second World War and then were sold on locally.
Could this old model '93 pump have entered Britain in this way? Could this gun, bearing serial number '8', be the oldest Winchester pump action shotgun still in use in the world? I would like to think so. Oh! The price I paid for it? Well it doesn't do to mention such things as it only makes our Editor jealous. .
See now also for Colt: http://outlawscolts.jouwweb.nl/
The Winchester Model 1893 Shotgun History & Statistical Analysis By Bert Hartman #6571L
The Model 1893 Exposed Hammer Slide-Action Repeating Shotgun was the second John M. Browning designed and patented shotgun manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Production of the Model 1893 began in the spring of 1893, with serial numbers 1 – 22 passing through the Polishing Room on May 2nd, 1893. The Model 1893 was formally introduced to the shooting public almost a full year later in the April 1894 Catalog No. 52. The Model 1893 Slide-Action Shotgun was designed and chambered for the 12 gauge, 2⅝-inch black powder shell only (identical to the Model 1887), and with a 30 or 32 - inch rolled steel, Full choke barrel as standard. Numerous options and special order features were available, and they will be discussed in further detail later in this article. One of the primary reasons I decided to research and write this article, was to dispel several urban myths that persist about the Model 1893, and to correct a fair amount of inaccurate information that has been published about this particular model in the past. So with that in mind, let’s begin: 1. Winchester never officially issued a “recall” for the Model 1893 shotgun. What they did do (beginning in early 1901 based on the factory ledger records), was to voluntarily offer to replace any Model 1893 shotgun returned to them with a brand new Model 1897 shotgun—
but only if the customer desired to do so. As of this time, I have yet to find any verifiable document published by Winchester that supports the “recall” theory. None of the original period catalogues make any mention of a “recall”. 2. It is very commonly believed within the collecting community that “most” of the Model 1893 shotguns were returned to Winchester, scrapped, and replaced with a Model 1897 shotgun. I can positively tell you that was not the case! A number of years ago during one of my annual research trips to the Cody Museum, I spent an entire week carefully going through the factory warehouse ledger records looking for information in regards to just how many of them were actually returned and replaced. At the same time, I also verified exactly how many Model 1893 shotguns were manufactured. What I discovered, was that of the 34,179 Model 1893 shotguns that were manufactured, precisely 2,219 of them are listed as being returned and replaced with a new Model 1897, or were returned and “broken up” or “scrapped”. That works out to just 6.49% of the total production that was actually removed from the market. The original factory warehouse ledger records show that the very first Model 1893 shotgun returned and replaced (by date) was serial number 26836 on 3/26/1901. There were hundreds of earlier serial numbers that were returned and replaced, but all of them were returned at later dates.
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Above are scanned copies of the ledger pages showing the entries in the records for serial number 26836 and serial number 128141(courtesy of the CFM). 3. So, you are now probably asking yourself: If only 2,219 of the 34,179 Model 1893 shotguns were replaced, where are all of the rest of them now? That is a very good question, and one that more than likely cannot ever be completely answered. That stated, the following paragraphs are a few of my thoughts on that question: A. In my ongoing research survey of the Model 1893, I have thus far located 263 of the 34,179 guns, which is a relatively small number. A notable number of the guns I have located thus far were not found in the United States, which leads to my next supposition. B. Apparently, Winchester exported a substantial number of Model 1893 shotguns to foreign countries and buyers, which makes finding them today considerably more difficult. I have estimated that approximately 10% of the total production was exported, or in numerical terms, approximately 3,418 guns. The Belgians imported a fair number of Model 1893 shotguns based on their association with John Browning. C. As for the remaining 90% of the production, I suspect that at least several thousand of them are still out there sitting in closets, gun cabinets, barns, attics, etc., in poor condition, hence we are not seeing them brought into the collector market. This same scenario exists for the Model 1887 shotgun, which had a much larger production of 67,000+ guns, was never “recalled”, but today we see relatively few of them as compared to their contemporary Winchester rifle cousins. Let’s estimate this category to be 25% of the total production (8,544 guns).
D. The survival rate for the older black powder shotguns might actually be significantly lower than we currently believe, thereby eliminating many thousands of them from the collector market. I have estimated the survival rate to be 50% of the total production, which would eliminate 17,089 guns. Some past authors have estimated a much more dire survival rate, as low as just 25%. E. It is also quite probable that a small number of the guns that were returned to Winchester did not get recorded in the original warehouse ledger records. Based on the information that I found in the factory warehouse ledger records, Winchester first began replacing Model 1893 shotguns with Model 1897 shotguns in March of 1901, and ceased doing so in May of 1919. There are several more guns that were returned later in 1919 that are listed as “Broken up” with no replacement Model 1897 serial number listed. There are no entries that I found later than December 1919. Considering the fact that Winchester kept what appears to be very good records for the returned and replaced Model 1893 shotguns for more than 22-years after production had ended, I personally do not believe that more than a few dozen returned guns may not have been entered in the warehouse ledger records. However, and just for arguments sake, let’s assume that 1% of them were not recorded as being returned and replaced (342 guns). F. When we add up the estimated percentages and corresponding numbers from the previous paragraphs, the total is 92.5% (or 31,615 guns) that are out of the reach of the collector market, leaving just 2,563 of them out there that are available to be bought and sold at auctions and gun shows. That is certainly not a very large number! I suspect (based on my survey results) that as many as 20% of the total production are still out there somewhere.
Note the “R&R 3/26/1 #93615 see gun # 128141 (Mod. 97)” in the remarks column of the ledger for s/n 26836.
The ledger entry for s/n 128141 has “see gun # 26836 & ticket # 93615”
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OK, let’s get back to the verifiable production history. John M. Browning and his brother Matthew S. Browning were granted Patent No. 441,390 for the Model 1893 on November 25th, 1890. As listed in the April 1894 Catalog No. 52, there were just two variations cataloged: (1) the Repeating Shotgun, and (2) the Fancy Repeating Shotgun. Shortly after production began, a Riot Gun was manufactured, but it was never officially listed in any of the ensuing catalogs. Still later, a Trap Gun and a Pigeon Gun were added, but again, they were never cataloged. They are very rarely found today. Serialization of the Model 1893 began with number 1 on 5/2/1893, and it ran through number 35402 on 7/22/1897 (the last Model 1893 listed in the ledger records). When the successor Model 1897 was introduced in June of 1897, the serialization for it was a continuation of the Model 1893 number sequence. Beginning at s/n 34150, there is a relatively brief intermixing of Model 1893
serial numbers with the Model 1897 serial numbers. During the 4+ year production run, a number of design changes were made, and with them, Winchester changed the serial number marking to include an “A” above the serial number, and later a “B”. The serial number transition point from no letter to the letter “A” was in the 13800 – 14700 range. The transition from the “A” to a “B” was in the 23550 – 24600 serial range. Very near the end of the production, a final design or production change was made, and a “star” symbol was added. This change occurred near s/n 30000, and it was common until the end of production. In my ongoing research of the Model 1893, I have discovered that at least three guns were modified by Winchester before they originally shipped or during an R&R, that have both an “A” and a “B” marked on them. All three were originally “A” series guns, but were later altered and have the “B” added above the “A” or below the serial number.
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The “A” added above the serial number indicates that Patent No. 487659 was incorporated. That patent changed the breech locking system such that it required a slight forward movement of the slide handle to unlock the action. On the early production series guns (pre-A), the action could be unlocked (opened) with a simple rearward pull on the slide handle if the firing pin was depressed, or if the hammer was fully down (resting on the firing pin). As of this time, I do not know what the specific mechanical or design change was that Winchester made that necessitated the addition of the “B”, or the “star” above the serial number. If any of you who read this know the answer, please get in touch with me.
Right: One other point of interest concerning the production changes that necessitated the serial number letter changes was addressed by Winchester in their catalogs. Specifically, Winchester published separate disassembly instructions based on the letter marked on the receiver frame. This is a scanned copy of the instructions as contained in several Winchester catalogs.
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Standard barrels were made of cold rolled fluid steel. Special order barrels in 3-blade (Good) or 4-blade (Fine) Damascus were available, but were rarely ever ordered. In my research of the warehouse ledger records, I found just (424) guns that are listed with a Damascus barrel. That equates to just 1.24% of the total production. Note that the standard barrel markings shown above were rolled stamped right into the Damascus steel. Unless specified, all barrels were choked Full (unmarked), but could be furnished at no extra cost with a Modified choke or Cylinder bore if so ordered. Two standard barrel lengths were listed: 30 and 32-inch. Ultimately, many different barrel lengths were made on special order, from as short as 16.5 inches up to 31 inches. The table below shows the production numbers for the more common lengths found. Barrel Length Total Each Percentage
20” 586 1.71% 21” 19 0.06% 22” 43 0.13% 24” 9 0.03% 26” 113 0.33% 27” 6 0.02% 28” 413 1.21% 30” 24,077 70.45% 32” 8,540 24.99% Other 22 0.07% Blank 351 1.02% Total 34,179 100.02%
There were just two different barrel markings that were used. The Type 1 is found on the Pre “A” series guns, and the Type 2 marking was coincident with the introduction of the “A” series.
Type 1 Barrel Marking: “PAT. NOV. 25. 1890.”
The Type 2 address marking added a second patent date of “DEC. 6.1892.” This marking was used through the end of production. The second patent date was for Patent No. 487659, which corresponded to the letter “A” above the serial number.
Type 2 Barrel Marking: “PAT. NOV. 25. 1890 & DEC.6.1892.”
Just one style of slide-bar marking was used as shown below:
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As listed in the April 1894 catalog, the standard Model 1893 shotgun was $25.00, and the Fancy grade was $62.00. The following special order features and associated costs were also listed: 1. Fancy Walnut Stock and Fore-arm, not checked ... $10.00 2. Checking Stock ..................................................... $5.00 3. Extra Length or Drop of Stock, to order ............. $10.00 4. Rubber Butt Plate ................................................ $2.00 5. Good (3 blade) Damascus Barrel ...................... $15.00 6. Fine (4 blade) Damascus Barrel ....................... $20.00 The standard butt stock used a smooth steel plate with a widow’s peak at the top. A black hard rubber butt plate with the Winchester Repeating Arms Company logo was a special order item. Pistol grip butt stocks were standard (with the round knob). An English style straight grip butt stock was made for a small number of guns as a special order item. There were three “carbine” style Riot Guns that were factory fitted with a sling bar and ring. As previously mentioned, Winchester did manufacture several other variations of the Model 1893 that were not cataloged. A complete survey of the Model 1893 ledger records revealed the numbers shown at the upper right. As can be seen, there were only 1,083 non-standard Model 1893 shotguns made, and of that number, more than half of them were Riot Guns. The “Elliot” guns listed in the warehouse ledger records were actually a specific configuration of the Trap Gun. They featured a straight grip (English style) butt stock, oil finished checkered stocks, rubber butt plate, 13 ¾ inch LOP, and a 2 ¼ in Drop at heel. One of the four Pigeon grade guns is listed as “Elliott”. Another rarity in the Model 1893 was factory engraved guns. Serial numbers “1” and “2” are listed as “Fine Damascus, Checkered stock, Rubber butt plate,
Engraved $15.00, Gold receiver”. Those two guns were undoubtedly used to help Winchester promote the Model 1893 at Expositions and similar events. Their whereabouts today are unknown. Any Model 1893 shotgun found these days in decent factory original condition is a real find, and it is most certainly a highly collectable Winchester. Those that are found with factory special order features are truly rare! For those of you who own a Model 1893 shotgun, I would very much appreciate hearing from you so that I can add it to my research survey. Win1885@msn.com, or (360) 8810272 (evenings, Pacific Standard Time). Happy hunting and collecting to all, Bert Hartman