The Winchester Model 1897 evolved from the Winchester Model 1893
. The Model 1897 and 1893 were both designed by John Browning. The Model 1897 is an external hammer
shotgun lacking a trigger disconnector
. This means that the user can hold the trigger down while cycling the shotgun and once the action is returned to battery the gun fires. The gun itself is classified as a slide action pump shotgun. It was the first truly successful pump-action shotgun produced. Throughout the time period the Model 1897 was in production, over a million of the type were produced in various grades and barrel lengths. 16-gauge guns had a standard barrel length of 28 inches, while 12-gauge guns were furnished with 30-inch length barrels. Special length barrels could be ordered in lengths as short as 20 inches, and as long as 36 inches. Along with various grades and barrel lengths, the Model 1897 came in two different chamberings. One was the 12 gauge and the other was the 16 gauge. The shells should be of the 2-¾ inch or 2-? inch model. Any shells larger are not recommended. An average Model 1897 held 5 shotgun shells in the magazine tube. After including the one shell that could be held in the chamber, the average Model 1897 held a total of 6 shotgun shells. However, this would vary from grade to grade. When working the action of the Model 1897 the forend (fore grip) is pulled back, forcing the breech bolt to the rear which extracts and then ejects the spent shell while simultaneously cocking the external hammer by pushing it to the rear. When the forend is slid forward again, the breech bolt pushes a fresh shell into the gun's chamber and locks into place. This action of sliding the forend back and forth (pumping) is why the gun is classified as a slide action (or pump) gun.