When I was in my early years of high school, I decided that if I never have an occupation that lends me the possibility of getting to work with my dream guns that I should just save up and buy the most realistic one at the top of the list. This chosen one was the Winchester 1887 Lever Action Shotgun. I was not remotely interested in buying an actual Winchester because I intended on shooting the crap out of it. This led me to the Norinco ones which have some not great reviews and reports and eventually the Chiappa 1887 Lever Action Shotgun reproduction. I have had this shotgun for just under a decade and I still use it and adore it today. Let’s dive right in!
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Specifications: Chiappa 1887 Lever Action Shotgun
To my memory, my Chiappa 1887 came in a long cardboard box and it came with the typical cable lock and manual as well as three chokes total. The chokes are Improved Cylinder, Modified, and Full. Looking at the photos, you will notice a leather wrap around the lever. This was a later addition bought off of eBay to ease the user’s knuckles in the early years of using this shotgun (more on that later). Check out the specifications below:
- SKU: 930.000
- UPC: 8053670710467
- Type of Gun: Shotgun
- Caliber: 12GA-2.75″
- Action: Lever-Action
- Barrel Length: 22″ (559 mm)
- Chokes: Beretta/Benelli® Mobil Choke Thread MC-3 (IC, M, F)
- Capacity: 5
- Feed In: Magazine Tube
- Stock: Hand Oiled Walnut
- Forend: Hand Oiled Walnut
- Front Sight: Bead
- Safety: Internal
- Weight: 9 lbs
- Overall Length: 39″ (991 mm)
- Material: Steel
- Finish: Color Case Receiver/Blued Barrel
- Lever-Action: Standard Lever
The MSRP of my specific SKU of Chiappa 1887 is $1,539 which is pretty hefty and I totally understand if that’s too much for the average person. If I remember right when I special ordered mine from a local gun shop it was more around the $1200 mark. This is roughly around what an original maybe but like I said earlier, the reproduction fit my needs for an everyday sort of shooter rather than a piece of history that I am further wearing out. Check out Chiappa’s description below:
The 1887 lever-action shotgun is considered to be the first successful repeating shotgun. The Chiappa Firearms® 1887 is a faithful reproduction of this classic firearm. The 1887 utilizes the design of the original solid lever that includes an innovative internal safety. Featuring a European walnut stock and forearm and color case finished receivers, the 1887 is as beautiful as it is functional.
Just Under a Decade of Range Time: Chiappa 1887
From what I can remember about my first impressions is that this is a dense piece of art weighing in at nine pounds. It is absolutely beautiful and even to this day. The wood is wonderfully done, it looks like it grew around the metal like wood on a gun should. The color case hardening finish and blueing are gorgeous and rugged. The action felt so smooth but stiff at the same time.
First impressions shooting it for the first year yielded the need for the aftermarket leather lever wrap. I remember that although the action always felt very smooth, it would become incredibly stiff every once in and while when shooting. The action would work wonderfully and then suddenly it would lock up and you would almost have to put the stock between your knees and really tug on the lever to get the action to open.
My father and I would put a little bit of oil in the right spots in which the wear was supposed to break in and it would help intermittently. After the addition of the leather lever wrap and a break-in of about 300 rounds, it has been a darling to work with.
Fast forward 1000 rounds, give or take, a few things happened or worked loose mostly due to my absent-mindedness. At one point the single sling stud at the front of the magazine tube disappeared and needed to be replaced (contacted Chiappa and they replaced it without issue) and also eventually the front sight bead also worked loose and evaporated (also easily replaced). Since then no parts have been replaced or lost.
Nowadays my Chiappa 1887 sits at roughly 2500 rounds. I took it to trapshooting every year that I’ve had it, went grouse hunting with it (took my first grouse with it), and have done many trips to do sporting clays. I cannot express my immense pleasure and application for it enough. I have many fond memories of honing skills as a shotgunner with it hunting and standing on a trap line with it. Nothing beats standing next to some hotshot competition shooter on the trap line with his fancy $2000 over and under and blinders on and getting better scores than them. I am never one to gloat or rub anything in anyone’s face but I will not say it does not feel good to stand next to them with a lever-action shotgun with a 22-inch barrel and do better at what they are all kitted out for.
The biggest ongoing impression would be that this gun is a dream to clean just as easy as a break action. The barrel is easily accessible with the action open and the action itself is easy to get at with lubrication and cleaning tips. I have only ever done one full disassembly/reassembly (easier to do than you would guess) and deep clean and the gun really did not need it that much.
In its near-decade of use, the main complaint is that the side screws of the action (I guess I would call them carrier/lifter screws) want to come loose. Regardless of the type or amount of Loctite I have used, the two threads just are not enough to anchor it and they will work loose and I need to be cognizant of it. Other than that more recently my Chiappa 1887 has been prone to light strikes on harder primers. It is totally normal for it to just hate one whole box of Winchester but love the Federal or vice versa. It is entirely possible that the port needs to be cleaned or that the spring is worn out. The firing pin looks immaculate which is really impressive.
Final Thoughts: Chiappa 1887 Lever Action Shotgun
All in all, I am happy with my purchase. Just under a decade I firmly believe my purchase was more than worth it. Besides needing to be vigilant of the receiver screws and aware of the ammo it likes nowadays, I believe my Chiappa 1887 has a lot more life in it and I look forward to the years to come with it! I highly recommend it to anyone that loves these types of guns but does not want to shoot the crap out of an original.
In closing, I want to say thank you to Chiappa Firearms for making such a robust reproduction firearm and for granting me the opportunity of fun and excitement this last decade! That is greatly appreciated. Also, we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think? Do you believe that this reproduction piece of history is something worth spending your money on? Would you run to the range with this likable lever-action shotgun? Would this be your go-to fun gun at the trap range? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.
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