Worst Shotgun Ever: The 1911 Winchester | Field & Stream

Posted: January 10, 2019 by gamegetterII in Uncategorized

“Winchester’s Model 1911 might just be the worst shotgun ever. That’s a bold claim, as there have been some bad ones. The fact that it earned the nickname “widowmaker,” however, is a good clue that a shotgun belongs on the “worst ever” shortlist, if not at the top.

Like most gun invention stories of the first half of the 20th century, this one starts with John Browning. Early in his career, Browning learned the hard way that inventing didn’t pay off unless you patented your designs. So, when he designed the Auto 5, he patented every last piece of it he could. Then he offered to it Winchester, with whom he had often worked in the past. The Auto 5 had taken up so much of his time and energy (he believed it was his greatest invention; I would agree) that he asked Winchester for a royalty per gun sold. Winchester said no. The meeting went badly enough to end Browning’s relationship with Winchester.

The rest of the Auto 5 story is history. Browning collaborated with FN in Belgium to build his gun, and also licensed it to Remington and Savage. Left out, Winchester needed a semiauto of its own, so it turned to its gifted engineer, Thomas Crossley Johnson (who designed the Model 12, a mic drop of a shotgun if ever there was one), and asked him to come up with a gun to compete with the Auto 5.”

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