Bought me two old shotguns

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by Fireman22, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. Fireman22

    Fireman22 Active Member

    I posted this in another forum I frequent so I apologize if you've already read about this, although I only mentioned one of the shotguns there.

    Last Saturday I was able to purchase a Winchester Model 1887 lever action 10 gauge and a single shot Meridan Arms 12 gauge. Serial numbers puts them at a year of manufacture of 1890 and 1907 respectively.
    Honestly, I was surprised as to how nice they both are for shotguns their ages and now that I've had a chance to clean them, I hope to shoot each.

    All the research I've done online pertaining to shooting older shotguns suggests using 2 and 7/8ths inch, lite load shells. (Hope I can get some here in MA.)

    Have any of you ever used a shotgun this old? None of the guys I shoot with have first hand experience with older guns like this so I was hoping for some helpful advice and/or suggestions from the collective forum mind.

    Thanks in advance for help you can offer.
    rugertoter likes this.
  2. paulruger

    paulruger Active Member

    I'm not sure about the Meridian but the Winchester should be safe as it doesn't have Damascus barrels! Good luck with the Meridian.

  3. rugertoter

    rugertoter Active Member

    First off, those shotguns are AWESOME! Have you ever shot a 10-gauge? Lots of "boom" there. Secondly, do you know of a certified gunsmith to take them to? Just have a good gunsmith check them over for you, and follow their advice on what to shoot out of them.
  4. Fireman22

    Fireman22 Active Member

    Thanks. I've never shot a ten gauge but I have heard they can kick.

    I've only had the need to use a gunsmith once (to replace a broken ejector) and unfortunately he passed a while back. I'll ask around the club and at the two main shops I go to for a reputable one and have them check out the guns before firing them. Better safe than sorry.
  5. greg_r

    greg_r Well-Known Member

    I have a Winchester 1887, but mine is a 12 gauge. The 1887 is not safe to use with modern smokeless powder loads. It was designed for black powder and when smokeless became available, Winchester redesigned the 1887, made it stronger to handle smokeless powder, and called it the 1901.

    I do shoot mine and enjoy hunting with it. I reload my own brass shells using the RCBS Cowboy 12 gauge dies and a few hand tools. I here is a good video put out by Larry Potterfield on reloading brass shot shells. The only thing I do different, besides using different tools, is to fill the empty space by putting cushion wads below the shot column and crimping the overshot wad in place. A change I had to make because the 1887 would not function properly with unclimbed shells.

    Be careful hunting with it. There is a half cock notch, but to get the hammer there you have to pull the trigger and lower the hammer by hand. There is very little hammer to hold in to. And holding on to it is made even harder with gloved or cold hands.

    The 12 gauge uses 2 5/8" shells. I do believe 2 7/8" is the correct length for the 10 gauge. Track of the Wolf is a good place to get reloading supplies.