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Over at, Ian McCollum gives us a look at the Burgess folding 12-guage repeating shotgun and a history of the man behind the gun. Faced with a patent on the pump-action shotgun, Burgess designed a cool work-around: a sleeve around the rear of the action (including the trigger) that cycles the gun. The best bit: the shotgun folds up as above. It deploys quickly and easily. Equally, it’s easily secreted in a holster. If some clever dick decided to recreate the design . . .

would the ATF require an NFA stamp for it? I’m sure they’d find way. Somehow. I mean, the whole rationale behind the tax stamp requirement for long guns with barrels under 16″ is that criminals can hide them. This despite the fact that the vast majority of criminals use handguns, and the perps who prefer long guns don’t seem to have a problem using firearms with 16″ barrels … or taking a hacksaw to the end. Bullpups? Yes, there is that. Anyway, want?

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  1. If the ATF was going to raise a stink about a folding shotgun in a holster then I think they would have already done so over firearms like the Sub-2000 it also folds into a nice compact format and a holster for it would not be hard to make at all.

    That of course would be the case if the ATF used anything resembling logic so I stand ready to be proven wrong.

    Respectfully Submitted

    • The 10/22 takedown is a tiny .22lr the Kel-tec folders are pistol rounds or .223/5.56mm. Someone at the ATF can easily look at a shotgun shell and justify an NFA stamp requirement on the basis that it’s bigger and redder. Or the Firearm guy is in the bathroom and the Alcohol guy is covering. Or the day ends in a y. Or F-you that’s why.

      A lot of shotguns already break down into 3 parts fairly quickly, I guess they could ban hinges, then only criminals can have doors.

  2. A big +1 to “Forgotten Weapons” on Youtube as well. The quality of prior research and detail put into each video is immaculate.

    • +++ Eleventeen-dozen. I’ve been following Forgotten Weapons for a long time, and his channel was pretty much the only reason I still visited Youtube (Taofledermaus being the other reason). But when Forgotten Weapons (and Demo Ranch) went over to, I rarely watch anything on YT.
      Ian pretty much does the job I’ve always dreamed of having. Unusual, historic, unique, rare, and innovative (both successful or not so much) firearms have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. As a little kid poking through stacks of my grandparent’s antique mail-order catalogues, newspapers & magazines, I would find old advertisements for cool guns which have been long forgotten or out of production, and bemoan the fact that I would never be able to buy/find/shoot any of them.

      That Burgess shotgun is now on the short side of my gun bucket-list. Oh yes….. If I were a rich man, it would be mine.

    • There simply is no better place to go for the history, design, take-downs and operation of antique firearms than ForgottenWeapons. I love that channel – he should have his own well-funded television program.

  3. Years ago I had a Beretta folding shotgun, a 20 ga. I modified it so the barrel would fold up much farther into the stock. Then I cut the barrel to 19″, so when it was folded, nothing stuck out.
    The only use I had for it was a rattle snake gun, and it served that purpose very well.
    I paid a whopping $25.00 for it brand new, sold it for much more.

  4. If that shotgun were available in 20 gauge for, say $250, I would immediately purchase two of them. And I know a lot of people that would immediately purchase one or two as well.

    And why would I and so many other people want to purchase one? Because they are an ideal trunk gun or survival gun.

    Note: it isn’t clear to me from the photo … I am assuming that shotgun is pump action with a tube magazine. If it were a single-shot folding shotgun, I wouldn’t want to spend much more than $100 for it.

    • I am assuming that shotgun is pump action with a tube magazine.

      Correct, according to the video. You can also see the tube magazine in the picture.

    • More than a truck gun. That gif in the article shows it would be a pretty crazy concealed carry weapon if you could wear a long coat. He whipped that thing out pretty quick, and I can’t imaging the mugger who would stick around if you brought a full size shotgun out of nowhere!

      • No shit. That draw is like a magic trick… “Yes, sir, Mr. Mugger. Let me just reach back here to my back pocket and retrieve my wallet. BOOM!”

        Want. So much want.

  5. “Ultimately, they were not that successful.”

    This is my shocked face. More shocking is the accent on the second sylLAble: Bur-GESS.

  6. To the best of my knowledge, the Burgess is classified as an antique (made from 1894 to 1899, so the last ones made may not be antiques) and therefore does not fall under the purview of the Bureau for the Absolute Termination of Freedom. Same goes for “trapper” rifles with sub-16″ barrels, and cane (or similarly disguised) guns – as long as they were made before January of 1899, they are antiques.

    • Rick, it would be a C&R but ATF will still consider it a SBS if the barrel is under 18″, or the overall length when unfolded is less than 26″. Occasionally ATF will grant waivers to the NFA requirement (such as old shoulder stocked Lugers), so one could always make the request. I’ve only seen one Burgess, and it belonged to a Sheriff in west Texas. As I recall, the Burgess company was bought out to end competition with Winchester. Some trick shooters used it because it was lightening fast to operate. I believe Teddy Roosevelt ordered a batch for the NYPD when he was police commissioner – high praise indeed.

      • Bill is correct. If the Burgess shotgun “employs a conventional ignition system and uses fixed ammunition that is readily available through ordinary channels of commercial trade,” it would be an NFA item if it doesn’t meet the barrel or overall length requirements.

        • According to the linked article, it’s got a 20″ barrel and is 40″ overall unfolded, so the NFA can go screw… 🙂

  7. Info on the Burgess at indicates the total length when unfolded is 40″. Using the standard barrel length of 20″ and photos of the shotgun when folded for reference, it appears the total length of the Burgess when folded is around 20″.

    Unless there is some caveat or obscure ATF restriction I’m unaware of, the Burgess is excluded from NFA restrictions since it doesn’t meet the definition for Short Barrel Shotgun (18″ minimum barrel length / 26″ minimum overall length) and doesn’t meet the Any Other Weapon definition (barrel length between 12″ and 18″),

    Recent modern production long guns such as the Chiappa X-Caliber ( ) and Tri-Star SB ( ) also measure around 20″ when folded, but like the Burgess, have unfolded combined total lengths of 26″ or more. Both the Chiappa X-Caliber and Tri-Star XB passed ATF muster and are legal to possess without an NFA Tax Stamp.

    So apparently either a vintage Burgess or new production and likely very expensive Burgess manufactured at some future date with a 20″ barrel like the original would be excluded from NFA any way you measure it and would be legal to possess without a NFA Tax Stamp.

      • I noticed the 16″ reference as well which piqued my curiosity about the Burgess. I wondered if someone came across a forgotten Burgess shotgun in the attic with a 16″ barrel, would ATF view such a previously unregistered short barrel shotgun just as they view an original but never registered yet historic 14″ barrel M6 Air Crew Survival Weapon (22/.410 rifle/shotgun combo) which is now impossible to retroactively make legal by obtaining a NFA Tax Stamp and likely doomed to ATF destruction, which is a damn shame. But since the Burgess barrel length appears to exceed the minimum with a couple of inches to spare, a lucky owner wouldn’t have to worry about that.

  8. I have an interest in any long gun that can be folded into a smaller package. Being able to reach into a desk drawer and pull out a rifle or shotgun impresses me.

    The problem is the market is driven around price and competition. If the price is less than $500, it’s a win, but if it’s going to cost nearly a grand, the KSG can be bought for less, be shorter in firing mode, and hold more shells.

    Also, there’s the issue of quality. Factory workers don’t know how to make guns as well as they did 50-100 years ago.

  9. SO MUCH WANT. It’s a really ingenius design with a lot of great history and seemingly endless utility.

    I really need to start a gun company to try and bring some of this stuff back.

    I am also thinking uber cheap zigzag revolvers. Any takers?

    • I’m game. I like the Burgess folding shotgun and zig zag revolvers. The biggest problem I run into with reproducing the shotgun is money. Buying the folding version at auction can run anywhere from $2k to $20k. Once, I have all the 3d modeling and engineering drawings completed I imagine it would cost between $15k and $20k to build a few prototypes for testing. Manufacturing could cost over $100k just for tooling cost. So, gonna need some investors to raise the money. Does Kickstarter or GoFundMe allow for firearms startups?

  10. I actually think the Burgess slide/pump design is superior to both the lever and traditional pump actions, as cycling of the action is in-line with the line of support and doesn’t jar the firing position as much as the lever, nor does it require operating the action with a supporting hand.

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