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The Shotguns of Coyote Cap, Part 2

by Captain George Baylor, SASS 24287 (Life)  

1887wcse-18 and W20 Lever Action Shotgun

          These are long-awaited shotguns.  Several things ganged up on these guns, and the result was a long wait. Well, the wait is over.  Guns are arriving, and some are in stock.  There are several 1887s coming in from China right now.  Let me see if I can simplify it:

          Coyote Cap is selling 2006 production of 1887w (walnut stock) c (choke tubes) s (special) e (edition) 18 (18-1/16” barrel) marked “Coyote Cap Special Edition”.  These are fully race ready guns.  There is a long waiting list, and they are being delivered to the people who ordered them and put down deposits as they arrive and pass inspection.  All are inspected and test-fired.

          Some 200 standard edition models produced that were mistakenly marked “Coyote Cap Special Edition.”  Cap is selling these in stock form for $499 or modifying them to full race models except they have 20” barrels and no choke tubes.

          IAC is importing standard edition models with no race tuning.  Additionally the first receivers made up were farmed out due to the plant doing a special run of riot guns for Bangladesh.  These were cast, not forged, and suffered from pinholes and other flaws.  All were rejected, and forged receivers were made up in house.  These cast receivers have been welded up and finished and are in gun stores at a lower price than the real thing.

          A lot of the standard guns not sold through Cap have come in with some or all of a long list of flaws, all fixable.  Cap has put the list and the fixes on his website.  Some CAS gunsmiths like Nate Kiowa Jones have  done action jobs and straightened out a lot of guns with the aid of the list.

          We tested guns sold by Cap, one 2005 production gun, sn CC0500001, with 20 inch barrel, high grade walnut stock, recoil pad (at -4° angle optimized for CAS), really nice lever wrap, full action job, and #4 bead.  Since this was SN 1, it was destined for Judge Roy Bean, and it had a really nice laser engraved forearm.  As a result I didn’t take it to a match and shoot it and let other people shoot it.  I didn’t want to have to explain any dings on it.  I just function fired it and put it away carefully.

          The other got the bulk of testing.  It’s SN CC0600007, destined for Hipshot.  Sorry, Hipshot, the wear marks on the action were earned legitimately.  I put about 175 rounds through this gun and countless dummies.  It differs from the 05 gun in that the 18-1/16” barrel is thicker and shorter and threaded for custom Trulock stainless steel choke tubes (Cylinder, Modified, and Extra Full included) along with a Coyote Cap engraved stainless steel choke tube wrench.

          Both guns have the “Two Shot Feeding” system, and it works correctly and ejects the last round reliably as advertised.  Length of Pull (LOP) is 12.5”.  If this is short, remember the long lever throw and the reloading procedure.

          It should also be noted that the leather wrap is necessary to prevent pinching your fingers in the pivot.  If you have a standard model, you’ve probably already learned this.

          The 18 came with a checklist of possible defects, each checked off and signed, a fired Winchester AA hull, and an empty Winchester AA shell box, hinting forcefully that you should shoot Winchester AAs through this gun.  It also had instructions for the Two Shot Feeding System.

          This is the heart of the gun.  If you can, every time, load 2 rounds at a time without a bobble, it’s faster than a double.  If you mess up, it takes a LONG time to cure some of the errors.  Before I fired the gun the first time I literally wore out a batch of dummies, the extractors ripping the rims off some A-Zoom dummies.  Several dummies made from fired hulls with silicone in the primer hole, filled with corn meal, crimped, and the ends sealed with silicone died because the abuse of hundreds of repetitions caused the ends to open up and dump the corn meal on my floor.

          Then I took the gun to a monthly match and shot it for practice and in the match.  Again, when it worked right, it was FAST.  When I messed up, it took a while.  Normally a screw up with a double doesn’t take much time to fix.  If a round doesn’t go in, fiddle with it, and it will.  If it doesn’t eject, yanking it out takes a second or two.  5-10 seconds to clear some screw ups wasn’t uncommon.  But then I have been shooting a double for a long time.  This was my first time with the ‘87.

          I used the cylinder choke tube and the modified.  I like the modified for knockdowns and those @!%%^! spring-loaded shotgun targets.  It was nice to have choice.  Most of the rounds were black powder or black powder substitutes made on the recommended Winchester AA hulls.  That didn’t hurt the choke tubes.  When cleaning the REALLY dirty barrel after shooting 175 rounds I did remove the tube and clean it, put anti-seize on the threads, and reinsert it.  If you decide to do a torture test like this to your gun, stop every 25 rounds and run a Bore Snake through the bore with a generous amount of Windex squirted in.  It’ll save a lot of work later.

          I took the gun to the Texas State Championship and shot it (badly) in the shotgun side match but not in the main match.  As I said, I’ve been shooting a double since the earth was flat and dinosaurs ruled.  I’ll need a lot of practice to use a ’87 in major matches.  I talked to some name shooters who use doubles, who can’t use ‘97s in their categories.  As one told me, “I tried an ’87 for an hour and a half and couldn’t match the speed of my double.  I decided if I couldn’t do it in an hour and a half, I couldn’t do it.”  Well, it took me a lot longer than an hour and a half, and I’m not there yet.  On the other hand, I’ll practice dry firing a double an hour and a half a week for weeks before a major match.  I think that if you practice as much with the ’87 as you have with your double to get where you are with the double, you’ll probably be faster with the ’87.  If you don’t, well, you’ll have the “cool” factor.

          The fit and finish are excellent, with no-nonsense bluing and an oil-finished walnut stock.  Laid side by side with my newest Marlin Cowboy, they look better, especially in fit.

          I’m not going to go over the two shot feeding system here.  It takes too long.  Done properly it works.  Make a mistake, and it doesn’t.  Practice, practice, practice.  I did find that I could load faster and more reliably using the strong hand to manipulate the shells.  Holding the gun to your shoulder with your weak hand gives you a stable target, and you have much better control of the gun than holding it by the open lever and trying to push it against your shoulder but keep it open.


          Neat gun, worth the wait if you like the novelty, want to emulate Arnold Swartzenegger or Matt Dillon, or would like to use one instead of a double.  I expect it to be successful in Classic Cowboy, Frontier Cartridge, Frontier Cartridge Duelist, and Frontiersman where ‘97s are forbidden after some of the users have had a while to practice.  Cost $635 in race ready form.


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