Famous American gunsmith John Moses Browning went to work for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1883 and, in 1887, he delivered the Model 1887 lever-action shotgun - regarded as the first true successful repeating shotgun anywhere in the world. Browning then went to work on the company's first pump-action slide repeating shotgun and this became the famous Model 1893 with its 12-gauge form and 30-inch barrel.
Some 35,000 of the type were produced. Not one to sit on his laurels, Browning then perfected his Model 1893 into the Model 1897 complete with refined shoulder/pistol grip stock (longer and straighter than in the Model 1893), a reinforced receiver and steel buttplate as well as support for smokeless powder shells - a rarity for shotguns of the period. Spent shell casings were ejected through a side-mounted port.
The weapon was also made quite safer over the original Model 1893 series thanks to inclusion of a slide-lock. Production of the Model 1897 began in 1897 and would last until 1957 to which 1,024,700 examples were delivered in 12- and 16-gauge forms and with multiple barrel lengths to suit customer tastes.
The Model 1897 became one of those rare firearms to see combat actions in both World Wars as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars to follow