Chiappa makes guns for cowboy action shooting. Think Westworld—only 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 americanrifleman.org‘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.