From the Vault: World War I Trench Guns

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Brownells Gun Techs Keith Ford and Steve Ostrem return to Rock Island Auction Company to show us two U.S. Army issue pump action shotguns commonly called “trench guns.” The Army first deployed pump shotguns during the Philippine Insurrection and found them highly effective in close-quarters battle (CQB). When U.S. troops arrived on the battlefields of Europe in World War I, the compact, maneuverable, fast-cycling trench gun’s double-aught buck flying at 1,300 fps was devastatingly effective. Troops dubbed it the “trench sweeper.” The first Rock Island gun is a Winchester 1897 (aka Model 97, M97) that dates from after the war. You can tell because it has a civilian-style takedown receiver; a WWI original has a solid receiver. How can you tell if a Winchester 1897 has a worn out sear? Keith explains his simple test. The other gun is a nicely preserved Stevens Model 520 with a sturdy heat shield and a vintage plum-colored finish. A robust John Browning design, the Stevens 520 was very reliable in the rough conditions of the trenches. Both the M97 and Stevens 520 stayed in U.S. Army service until the Vietnam War. Hungry for more FTV or other Brownells video content? Click here:


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