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12-Gauge Pump Actions: 1897s From Winchester and — Norinco?

The storied Winchester 1897 brings a lot of memories to the Cowboy range, but the updated Chinese copy offers a lot for shooters to consider. Our pick: Go with the newer gun.

The Norinco 97, top, is a knockoff of the ven-
Żerable Winchester Model 1897, bottom. For
Żmost shooters who plan to compete in Cow-
Żboy events, we think the better choice is the
ŻChinese import.

The initial birthing of the Winchester Model 1897 shotgun proved to be a difficult delivery. Though this particular version of the gun appeared in November of its namesake year, it had been conceived, at least in part, seven years earlier when Winchester Repeating Arms bought a patent from John Browning. The patent was for an exposed-hammer slide-action firearm that first became the Winchester Repeating Shotgun Model 1893.

But the 1893 didn’t last long because it wasn’t built to handle smokeless shells. Winchester revamped the shotgun and relaunched the solid-frame product as the 1897. A little more than a year later, the company added a 12-gauge takedown version of the 1897. …

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