Winchester Model 97

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Yeah, the Model 97 took its fair share of game in its 60 years of production, but that’s not why it’s remembered. U.S. doughboys thinning the German ranks in World War I with the “Trench Gun” or “Trench Broom” is what etched this John Browning design into history. The Model 97 was apparently so effective at its job during the Great War, the Germans filed a diplomatic protest over the weapon, claiming the shotgun was illegal per the Hague Convention due to it causing unnecessary suffering. Crocodile tears for the purveyors of poison gas and inventors of the modern flamethrower. The 97 was essentially the evolution of another Browning shotgun design, the Model 1893, strengthened to handle new-for-the-time smokeless powders.

If there is one gun that might do it all, short of long-distance work, it’s the shotgun. The jack-of-all-trades is an absolute bruiser in a fight, arming shooters with overwhelming firepower. Shotguns have literally taken nearly every game species know to man, from the very smallest to the absolute largest (we’re talking elephants here people). And finally, certain specimens are among the most elegant and coveted guns ever forged from from blued steel and walnut. Honestly, if your gun safe is devoid of a shotgun it is truly not complete. Thankfully, the firearms world is brimming with excellent examples, many among the most affordable guns around. So what are you waiting for? Check out these 10 classic shotguns you’ve got to own and find that smoothbore that can do it all for you.


classic shotguns - gun digest book