Survival Gear Review: 1887 T-Model 12 Gauge Shotgun

Not every firearm we review on Survival Cache is the ultimate survival gun.  Sometimes we see something and say “That is badass, I gotta getSurvival Shotgun Review my hands on one of those.”  Which is the case with the T-Model Lever Action Shotgun.  Last year at Shot Show, we were bleeding out of our eyes from seeing AR15 after AR15 when we came across the 1887 T-Model Lever Action 12 Gauge Shotgun for the first time.  The T-Model, which is made by Chiappa Firearms and sold in the United States by Taylor’s & Co, was a much needed break from the black rifle guys.  As soon as I saw it, I said “Is this thing for real?  Looks sort of like the Shotgun from Terminator 2.”  That is when the guy who was working the booth for Taylor’s & Co told me “That is why it is called the T-Model.”  My next question was “Is it legal?” And the answer to that was yes.  Oh ya, Jimmy C was sold.

The Video:

The Review:

What can you say about a lever action 12 gauge shotgun that is 27.5 inches long except that it works.  We pulled it out of the box – no lube, no Best Survival Shotguncleaning and it worked.  We decided to include T-Model Lever Action Shotgun review in our video series because it was so badass.  Bottom line, everyone that was with us on the range that day shot 20 to 30 rounds of 12 gauge through this bad boy.  No jams.  Even the camera guys from Camera Speeds were like, “I gotta shoot that thing.”  This shotgun is a blast to shoot and as you can see from the video, the recoil got me on the first shot.  After that, the T-Model was in Jimmy C’s wheel house.  Realistic uses for the T-Model Shotgun:  Urban Bug Out Bag, Car/Truck/Boat Gun, Home Defense Shotgun, You’re Dropping My Daughter Off Late Gun? Or The Undead Starting Rising From Their Graves Gun.  The best part is, with T-Model 12 Gauge Shotgun you only have to knock once.


Barrel Length:     18-1/2 Inch Round
Caliber:     .12 Gauge
Capacity:     5 rounds
Weight:     7.9 lbs
Finish:     Matte-Black
Grip/Stock:     Black Soft Touch Rubber Coating
Manufacturer:     Chiappa – Italy
Sights:     No – You Don’t Need Them
Overall Length:     27.5 inches
Badass Rating:    9.5 out of 10


After you get the action and the recoil down, it is game on.  I am still trying to wipe the smile off of my face.  Tell your local gun store to order one….you need it for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Also Read: Survival Shotgun Selection

Photos and Video by the Survival Cache & SHTFBlog Team

Jimmy C
Written by Jimmy C

Jimmy C was an infantry Marine in the USMC and USMCR for 6 years. Jim began a life learning about and working towards self-sufficiency using old-world practices. Jim has stockpiled years of food, water, ammunition, and is developing a survival network in his community in order to ensure the survival of his family. Read his full interview here. Read more of Jimmy's articles.

19 thoughts on “Survival Gear Review: 1887 T-Model 12 Gauge Shotgun”

  1. Well, I'm going to have to go watch "Terminator 2" now on this snowed-in day. Fun review…now I wanna try one! I dunno how it'd hold up long-term versus a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500, but it does indeed get huge bonus points for "badass".

    • It probably won't hold up to Remington or Mossberg, both hard to beat. Its just one of those guns for the guy has everything else and digs new toys. Good gun for review.

  2. I have always believed that if you are only going to have one gun it should be a 12 gage shotgun. That’s because a shotgun can be used as a weapon or it can be used to get al sorts of game. This gun with no stock would be a good short range weapon, but not have much use for hunting.

    • Nothing is stopping you from buying it with a full stock and adding it for hunting. If I ever bought a Rossi Ranch Hand, I'd add a full stock to it.

  3. Check out the Centry Arms PW87. Lever action 12 ga for about a third of the price. It has a full stock which is beneficial when shooting a 12 ga. Or you can cut it down for that sawed off look.

      • thanks I am looking for a shotgun to use as part of my prep armory, but have heard that pistol grip only shotguns are hard to control and want one with a full buttstock. I know several will suggest some pump or another, but even this classic design would work.

        • Choate Machine and Tool Mfg. makes a great after market full pistol grip stock for shot guns. Well built, light and affordable. They also make folding stocks for rifles and shoguns. The lock-ups are solid. I have the full stock on my 870 and a folder on my Mini 14. I love em. Nuff said.

  4. This gun was fun to shoot. You have to be aggressive with the action to cycle the rounds. Once you get it down, it is pretty much a blast.

  5. I'll stick with my 590 or 870 this gun doesn't really impress me that much. Great for show or play, but not for defense or offense. Trekker Out.

  6. way, way too expensive unless this has always been your (specifically) back burner favorite gun of all time, but still quite a stretch at that, for most folks – the original 1887 lever gauge was designed for steamtrain conductors who needed to stave off hijackers, interestingly enough. That gives you a better perspective, really; it was meant to be a slightly more compact alternative than the larger, newfangled competing pump action models, for use from or even inside of a train car when facing a moderate force of multiple intruders.

    I like to think of the 1887 as a would-be middle ground between the sawn-off double barrel, which wouldn't pack enough capacity, and the available pump actions of the given day which were not readily available nor easily customized into smaller configurations. Unfortunately, beyond the original 1887, no one seems to have made a particularly great upate to the classic firearm – either they're cheap and chronically disfunctional or they're exclusively expensive, far beyond the gun's actual value given the capabilities + there are some pretty pathetic reviews of this new model on YouTube, to boot…

  7. Remember the great line from the movie Cat Ballou (even though it had Jane Fonda in it, it did have Lee Marvin) The line was something like "'OOO, they've got shotguns. I hate shotguns- they leave such an oozy corpse"

  8. There's some pretty decent shotguns out there, with a huge range in price . My preference is for a Dominion Arms Grizzly . Fantastic little 12 gauge that is mag fed, comes with a collapsible tac stock and can be had with a 12.5" barrel right from the factory.

  9. Pretty — pretty noisey a pump is bad enough but you can shuck it slow to try not to wake up the neighborhood.
    I like it and I would get one but not as my first advise 870 Remingtons as they can have add on magazine extensions unlike others that cannot be converted so easily lots of add ons extra barrels for combat and hunting.

    I like the twin action bars side eject if your a southpaw a Ithaca 37 bottom eject but it has a barrel nut so you cannot use a magazine extension.
    over 40 years I have owed an 870 in a wingmaster or express never had a failure never needed a repair well I have knocked off a bead or two I eleminated all stock problems by going to synthetic as I have cracked a couple of stocks.

    As with any firearm keep it clean dry lube or oil as to your region and you should have no problem with a quality
    firearm, if this breaks I have no clue where you would get a part.
    I noticed it said rubber well rubber is for birth control not firearms no sights well that is a non starter even a bead is
    worth more than nothing.
    I think shot expands about 1 inch a yard so you can miss with a shotgun anyone that says just point and shoot also may as well tell you to close your eyes if this is what you think I have another suggestion for you bemd over till your lips can touch your butt and kiss it goodbye LMAO. A black gun at night and no sight thats with rubber at least you probaly wont get pregnant but it may end up stuffed somewhere now thats funny.


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