Winchester Mod 1887 & 1901
The Model 1887 and 1901 are lever-action shotguns designed by John Browning and produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Winchester Repeating Arms Company is best known as the manufacturers of lever-action rifles such as the Model 1873 and they wanted to follow this success with a repeating shotgun. John Browning obliged them by designing a breech-loading, rolling block lever-action, the Mod 1887.
The Mod 87 was designed for black powder shells in both 10 and 12-gauge. 12-gauge guns were chambered for 2 5/8" shells and the 10-gauge chambered for 2 7/8" shells and offered with 30" or 32" Damascus barrels, a 20" version was offered in 1888.
By 1900 it was realized that the action on the M1887 was not strong enough to handle smokeless powder so a redesigned stronger smokeless powder model, the Model 1901 which was released in 10-gauge only so as not to compete with their new 12-gauge Model 1897 pump-action shotgun. Although a technically sound design, the market for lever-action shotguns basically disappeared after the introduction of the Mod 1897 and other pump-action shotguns.
In total Winchester made almost 65,000 Model 1887 and 13,500 Model 1901’s were made before the line was discontinued.
Reproduction 1887 / 1901 shotguns chambered for modern 12ga 2 3/4” smokeless shells have been made by Norinco and Chiappa. Here in Australia ADI made a small run that were meant to be released in 2007 but it never came to fruition and with the Aussie market now flooded with modern lever action shotguns its very doubtful they will.