From the Deepest Depths of Uselessness: Chiappa 1887 T-Model Lever-Action Shotgun

Chiappa makes guns for cowboy action shooting. Think Westworldonly you shoot at targets rather than robot cowboys and everyone goes home at the end of the day. So it only makes sense that Chiappa would introduce a replica of the stockless lever action 12-gauge shotgun deployed by the Cyberdine Systems T-800 Model 101 in Terminator 2. Wait. What? No it doesn’t. Especially as any attempt to “spin cock” the Chiappa 1887 T-Model Lever-Action Shotgun T2-style “violates pretty much every gun safety rule in existence.” That’s the warning issued by‘s Bill Gil Horman. As you might expect, the NRA writer both is and isn’t impressed with the $995 long gun. “It really is fun to shoot, eliciting plenty of laughs and smiles along the way.” But then . . . .

I shot the T-Model from the hip with both hands firmly engaged as this grip and stance seemed like the best testing approach for the following reasons. First is the gun’s grip shape. A standard vertical shotgun pistol grip allows the shooter to keep a strong, straight, supportive wrist position if the shotgun is lifted to chest or eye level. The nearly strait grip of the T-Model forces the shooter to bend the wrist at an unsafe angle if the gun is lifted much above the waist line.

Second, it was possible with the gun at waist level to get the support hand locked firmly on the barrel to manage the recoil. Finally, I had no desire to find out what the kick of a 12-gauge load would feel like shooting it one handed and I certainly did not want to experience the gun recoiling into my chest or face because of a slip of grip. Some mysteries are better left unsolved.

Chiappa makes some damn fine replica guns but . . . I need a minute here. You’re telling me that this thing can imitate anything it touches? I’m thinking some things are better left untouched.


  1. avatar Kelly in GA says:

    Sales will be great. COD anyone?

    1. avatar Gyufygy says:

      Double shotgun douchebags… Rat bastards.

      Don’t judge me. We were all young once. You know, a couple years ago…

    2. avatar Wade says:

      I thought that they have been producing this gun for several years.

  2. avatar TTACer says:

    ‘Especially as any attempt to “spin cock” the Chiappa 1887 T-Model Lever-Action Shotgun T2-style “violates pretty much every gun safety rule in existence.”’

    Doesn’t really matter if you are a bullet resistant robot from the future. Although he did get blown halfway through the bar when Reese hit him with a shotgun in the first movie.

  3. avatar jwm says:

    The whole manual of arms with those lever action shotguns seems awkward. The originol Winchesters seem to have lost out dramatically in sales and use as soon as the pump gun became a reality.

    1. avatar Kyle says:

      I doubt Winchester lost any sales considering the first pump action shotgun was the Winchester 1897 which as may have guessed came out 10 years after the 1887. The 1897 was the design John Browning was working on and insisted on in the first place however Winchester wanted to keep their tradition of making lever guns.

  4. avatar David W. says:

    I once watched a 75 year old man shoot trap with a shot gun in each hand, both twelve gauges, he called pull and two clays launched, he dusted one and shattered the other.

    I’ve fired a 12 gauge one handed before, its not really *that* bad. I’ve had worse kicks from revolvers. Though I was using a gun with like a 26-30 inch barrel so the weight of the barrel probably reduced a lot of the muzzle flip, and I only used like, uber cheapo shells though, usually got a FTF or two per box. I wouldn’t put like goose loads or a slug in it.

    1. I’ve shot a short barreled shotgun before one handed, its not too bad. Recoil had me pointing it into the sky after the shot was fired. Where we were shooting that wasn’t a big deal, I can see some places discouraging that though.

  5. avatar Armchair Command'oh says:

    Arnold was a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101. Not a “T-800.”

    I am so very disappointed in you.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      D’oh! Text amended.

      1. avatar Aharon says:

        We must pass a new law requiring journalists to master Sci-Fi Film History and Technical Writing 101.

        1. avatar IdahoPete says:

          Wait a minute … does that comment make you a “film nazi”?

    2. avatar Alex says:

      Fool! I know it’s 3 years later, but he was a model 101 of the T-800 series. ;p

  6. avatar Johnny says:

    I’ll take 20.

  7. avatar Houstorm says:

    Cimarron has had a more accurate replica available for a few years. I’ve shot it before; it is really not that difficult to shoot accurately as long as you aren’t using powerful ammo; even one-handed. It is designed for fun; you are not forced to buy it. I swear, between this rant and the continual zombie product bashing you’d think the writers and commentators here would only be happy if people shot slow fire bullseye. As long as people enjoy their firearms in a safe manner, who cares how they do so?

  8. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    I could see these selling fairly well if they were in the same price range as the much-less impractical Mossberg Cruiser. But a $1000 gun ought to be either practical, beautiful, or collectible, and this range toy is none of the above.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Didn’t the chinese, norinco?, make a low price copy of the lever shotgun a few years back?

      1. avatar Guy says:

        Yep, I have a very nice 87-1 model from IAC. Holds 6+1, and the 2-shot-drop feature is pretty cool. I do need to tap it for screw-in chokes.
        Mine is a real hoot to run if you like lever guns, but it does have a conventional stock. I don’t see any use for a shotgun without a butt stock.
        So far the reputation for bad build quality on the IAC has been unfounded. It’s no FN Browning, but it’s better than a Chinese AK.

    2. avatar Matt Gregg says:

      Kriss is gonna make tons of cash selling their clunky, neutered carbines that are only good as range toys. And they sell for $1500. And they can also thank COD for their profits.

  9. avatar Totenglocke says:

    Even if you can handle the recoil, don’t buy from Chiappa. I have one of their Puma Bounty Hunters and, while I love the gun when it works, I’ve had it replaced three times under warranty and the most recent one (the distributor told the store no more returns) was sent in for warranty work where I had two issues (bad loading gate which got stuck depressed so you can’t work the action and there’s an issue with the magazine follower….it appears to be too big so not only does it not feed properly, but you can’t take the magazine follower out either) and they only fixed one of the issues (the loading gate). I need to call them and bitch about not fixing the other issue and how they need to pay for shipping this time or just give me a refund on the damn thing.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      Yup. If the “What gun are you embarrassed to own?” thread were still active, I would say my Chiappa.

  10. avatar Greg Camp says:

    I’m still of the opinion that a thousand dollars for a shotgun is like paying $400 for a hammer–typical for government work, but not my style. Especially not this one, since there are many designs that work better for less money.

    But more than that, don’t we all know by now that Hollywood is adept at screwing up everything related to firearms? If I see a gun in a movie, that’s a reason to be cautious about buying one.

  11. avatar Leo Atrox says:

    Nerd rant: The Terminator was a T-800 Model 101. T-800 is the actual model number; “Model 101” refers to the model (human being) that the appearance was based on. The Series 800 cyborgs came with biological coverings based on several different models. In the beginning of the first Terminator movie, you see a Series 800 cyborg with a different model (say, for the sake of argument that he was Model 102). It is implied that this is actually the same type of cyborg, a T-800, as the one that is sent back to kill Sarah Connor. They just have different models.

    So referring to the Terminator as a “Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 cyborg” is not strictly accurate (although it is in keeping with promotional materials which also incorrectly used this nomenclature). It would be more accurate to refer to it as a “Cyberdine Systems T-800 Model 101.”

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:


  12. avatar Michael Bane says:

    Use…blah blah blah…need…blah blah blah…tactical….blag blah blah…practical…blah blah blah…

    I own guns that I like. Some of them are butt stupid, but I still like them and shoot them. I figure if I gotta fight a war at the Secret Hidden Bunker, I got shotguns (not to mention the occasional battle rifle) for that. Really really good shotguns (thank you, Hans Vang!). I love my Super Shorty SBS, and I’ve shot it a lot. I have an 1887 clone I shot for a while in cowboy, but I decided I liked my trigger finger too much…work the lever too fast with your trigger finger in the slightly wrong position and — viola! — said trigger pokes a hole in said trigger finger! Ouchies.

    BTW, I shot this gun at SHOT with special “Reserved for Michael B. loads”…it was a handful and then some…

    Michael B

  13. avatar savaze says:

    I don’t know about this shotgun, but I still have dreams about the Chiappa Rhino 4″ (of course I’d want to send it to Grant Cunningham first and have him alter the trigger guard and monkey with the crazy internal hammer).

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      You’ll change your mind after you handle a Rhino in person – I know I sure did.

      1. avatar savaze says:

        I have handled one in person at the shop, but not the range. My hands are so big my finger barely fits in the trigger guard, I’m not sure if the Italians have tiny hands, but to my understanding with it’s changed recoil profile my trigger finger would take the hurt more than my wrists. I’ve always wanted a revolver that fires from the 6 instead of 12, I just wish one would come along that’s not so overly complicated.

        1. avatar Totenglocke says:

          Or one without such a godawful trigger pull.

  14. avatar kb says:

    Wasn’t the movie gun a 10-gauge?

    1. avatar arnoldnonymous says:

      In the novelization of “Terminator 2”, the shotgun was a Remington 10 gauge lever action.

      I don’t know if such a thing ever existed.

      In the movie, it was a Winchester 1887.


  15. avatar jerome ruud says:

    has anybody tried to shoot the limited edtion marion with the 16 in barrel with iron high vis sights and hit any thing but there foot.

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