Shotguns have been around for quite a while. Since the early 16th century they have been used for military and hunting purposes in Europe. The shotgun is one of the most versatile types of firearm. It is useful in combat, for a hunt, and other non-lethal circumstances, making it the go-to weapon for self-defense or simply for driving away pests on the farm:
Shooting fowl or Hunting
The shotgun was historically called a fowling piece. Its original use is for shooting small and swift animals or objects.
Shotguns are used for certain shooting sports such as trap shooting, skeet shooting, and sporting clays.
Shotguns are usually issued to officers since they are easy to operate and users do not require too much training. Aside from shooting, the shotgun can be used during close combat. The actual length of the shotgun also allows it to be useful for door breaching in emergency situations. The military also has specialized breaching rounds for this purpose.
Self or Home Defense
For the same reason that makes it desirable for law enforcement, the shotgun is also a good choice for self or home defense. The actual appearance of the shotgun is already intimidating and since its shots are powerful, it produces a loud sound perfect for warning shots or driving away wild animals. it is also quite affordable even in comparison to handguns.
With its rich history and numerous innovations, shotguns are a great investment with prices that vary depending on rarity, antiquity, and craftsmanship.
As time passed, their popularity grew rapidly and even became a part of the household for many. Eventually, this weapon usually used for sport found itself in the crossfires of World War one. The Winchester Model 1897 also known as the Trench Gun became part of the army’s arsenal as it gained its name from how easy it is to handle in narrow trenches. The shotgun has been improved and manufactured to be used in battle ever since. It has been depicted in movies, TV shows, and even cartoons making it one of the most visible types of firearms in pop culture.
This weapon’s versatility and timeless functionality made way for a wide range of variations as developed by renowned gun makers – with different cosmetics, workmanship styles, and value – further development of this firearm for military purposes has made deactivated shotguns desirable for practical collectors around the world.
History of the Shotgun
1600s: Early muskets are being used for shooting birds in flight – a pastime of the monarchs. By the late 1600s, the flintlock allowed shooting as a sport to gain more popularity.
1770: Reliable Damascus shotgun barrels became available
1790: The double-barrel flintlock shotguns became available. Joseph Manton (1766-1835), known as the “father of the modern shotgun,” put together the aspects of shotguns and turned it into the modern double-barrel shotgun.
Late 18th Century: Manton’s work on the former sporting gun converted it into a piece of beauty and craftsmanship. Businessmen, leading politicians and nobility celebrated his work. Manton’s apprentices, James Purdey and William Boss, allowed his influence to be engraved into the firearms history as his design became a permanent standard in shotgun manufacturing.
Early 19th Century: Alexander Forsyth invented and later patented the percussion cap ignition system. More advancements to the shotgun were made later including the Breech-loading and external hammer shotgun designs.
1875: The box lock hammerless action was developed for double-barreled shotguns by Anson and Deeley. As sophisticated as it was during its time, sportsmen and manufacturers were against it at first but eventually became the most dominant form since its production was more cost-efficient.
1882: A pump-action shotgun was developed by Christopher Spencer and Sylvester Roperand. It was granted a patent to Roper.
1893 : Winchester came up with its John Browning-designed Model 1893 pump that shoots black powder.
1897: Winchester released the Model 1897 or later called Model 97. They offered to replace the 1893 model with this newer version if returned to the factory. E.J Churchill, Westley Richards & Co, Holland & Holland, John Rigby & Co, Boss & Co, James Purdey & Sons all chipped in to refine the classic British double-barreled shotgun. Although, the external hammer shotguns were further developed and used all throughout World War I.
1905: The Brownings and Fabrique Nationale in Herstal, a suburb of Liege, Belgium broke through with the Browning Automatic-5 semi-automatics which started being sold by dealers..
1909: The shotgun has reached its last form. The pump-action’s exterior by the Winchester Model 12, semi-automatics by the Browning Auto-5 is now final. Further design changes were developed for the gas-operated semi-automatic by High Standard and then by Remington but it still had similarities to the Model 12.
All throughout the 20th century up until the 21st century, the shotgun has been used as a staple in each army’s arsenal. As craftsmanship changes from each era and new variation, the classic shotgun design has been retained and it preserves its charm as a versatile, practical, and essential piece of firearm.
Types of Deactivated Shotguns
The design of the shotgun has changed a lot over time. Its variety is proof of how much it has evolved and improved as different manufacturers have pitched in to optimize its design as much as possible.
Sawn off Shotguns
The sawn off shotgun, also called the “short barrelled” shotgun. As portrayed in pop fiction, this particular type of shotgun is usually used by the villain or criminals as its size allows for it to be easily hidden in a coat or bag. Mind you, its size does not make it any less of a fearsome weapon, especially for close-range combat. With a barrel at around 18 inches, it is shorter than that of the usual shotgun. It might be shorter but it is more lethal close combat since its design allows it to spread pellets more widely. This feature makes accuracy less of an issue. Models like the Colt 1877 are popular in the Wild West but this particular type of shotgun was popularized as a crime gun, usually wielded by gangsters and criminals. In the 1930s, possession of this weapon was criminalized in the U.S., Britain, and Canada. Despite being used by military and police, legal possession of this type of shotgun is still highly restricted.
Pump action or slide action shotguns have a mechanism that requires the user to pull the forearm back which releases a shell from the magazine within the forearm. So, the forearm requires being pulled back to push a shell and lock it in the chamber before the shot. After the shot, the forearm should be pulled back again to remove the empty shell.
This simple mechanism makes it a very reliable and practical type of shotgun. It is also usually less expensive than semi automatics. These redeeming factors make it a common firearm for home or self defense. Although one downside for pump action shotguns is that due to its design and lightness, there would be more recoil which may cause a delay in between shots. One of the most popular pump-action shotguns is the Winchester Model 1897 developed by the Father of Shotguns himself, John Moses Browning. It had a twenty-inch barrel and a six round magazine that came in handy when firing at an enemy trench.
Double Barrel Shotguns
The double barrel shotgun has been around for a long time and there are many reasons why this type is so desirable especially to hunters. It has an impressively versatile shot selection. Some double barrels have two triggers and the user has the convenience to shoot from either the wider or tighter choke. It also has less moving parts, providing less actions and noise for each shot. It also keeps the empty shells in the barrel after each shot so it’s easier to clean up and transport, making it a fine choice for those who shoot for game or for self-defense. Beretta produces some of the most reliable double barrels such as the 486 Parallelo or the Silver Pigeon series.
Single Barrel Shotguns
The single barrel shotgun’s design is the most basic design dating back to the 17th century such as the early fowling pieces or the Blunderbuss. But despite all the more advanced versions, this design is considered the best option for new shooters because of its simple design, making it safer in comparison to other variations. The single barrel has a break-top design through a lever or button near the hammer. The step by step process of operating this gun is you break it open, load a round, close it, and shoot. There are no magazines that might malfunction and there are minimal rounds you can load at a time. It also costs less in comparison to other variations. Although many experienced gun users might find this a bit limiting, it is a good start for newbies to practice on before they explore models with more complex and risky mechanisms. Single barrel shotguns are all about practicality – models such as the Rossi Single Shot and Midland Backpack Shotgun are very affordable.
Hammer action or hammer shotguns have an external hammer to cock the springs of the trigger. This is a design reinvented through the late 1800s but this variation remained popular among shooters due to the stylish hammer action usually seen in films, TV shows, and pop-culture in general.
This type of shotgun is usually used to shoot fowl but creators of this variation would usually include an artistic touch as some are often made to order by the elite. The novelty of this comes from its craftsmanship and bespoke nature. The artistic value made some models very desirable and expensive. Renowned gun maker E. Remington & Sons has beautifully made vintage hammer action shotguns and the right models fetch high prices making it a very good investment.
The over-under model is a type of double barrel shotgun with a single trigger that allows the user to switch between barrels when firing. This type of shotgun is usually used for hunting, shooting fowl and clay. The over-under model is usually bought for its style since its design allows for sleek engraved details and more intricate creative elements as seen in models by Fausti and Purdey. Aside from artistic reasons, shooters use this model because it’s design helps reduce recoil compared to other variations as it usually weighs more.
Deactivated shotguns vary depending on the novelty and history behind the model. More seasoned collectors would already have a model in mind that would factor in the rarity of the unit. For example, World War Two models can fetch for around £150 to £500 but for certain models, it can go up to almost £800. Antiquity also influences pricing, such as pre-world war one models that would range from around £500 to £800, taking into consideration the condition of the unit.
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