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The Truth Article


UPDATED:  19 January 2012

This firearm is now approved for SASS Wild Bunch Competition

Thinking back on what could have possibly caused certain members of the Wild Bunch to overrule the approval of the M-93/97 by the Territorial Governors, brings to mind the origin of the M-93/97.  Back when AWA was in business, Cap was commissioned by the President of AWA to build two prototype M-93/97 shotguns for review by the Wild Bunch while at Winter Range 2004. 

To avoid a possible conflict of interest, the decision was made to use two Winchester M-97 frames, instead of a Norinco and modify them to look like an M-93.  This was done, except for the addition of much stronger Chinese M-97 internal parts (including the barrels on both of those AWA prototypes).

At Winter Range, one member of the Wild Bunch asked Cap if the gun would be safe to shoot and Cap answered, YES because the production models would be built much stronger than any previous models. 

Nobody needs a liability !

The real problem of the Winchester AWA Prototypes was the very large size of the loading port, which actually weakened the frame even more than a standard M-97 and thus the Wild Bunch suggested to us to not build (THAT) shotgun. Which we did not do - we did not build it like they saw it.

We took their suggestion to heart, by looking at the SASS rules in place at the time, then building a new shotgun that would not break down and would not get us into a lawsuit and was a NEW gun to sell and a good reason for SASS members to buy a new gun, go out and shoot it at a SASS match and renew their SASS membership for another year.  It WAS a good idea.

The reason we did not build it like the Wild Bunch saw it at Winter Range 2004, was because of the extra large opening of the top (stuck shell extraction) port. Because that port was MUCH larger than the original Winchester M-93, this prototype could actually be loaded through the larger port opening and thus would be faster at reloading during SASS competitions. So, we scrubbed the idea and closed the port opening down to where the gun could NOT be effectively loaded through the stuck shell extraction port.

After Winter Range, AWA failed to make payment on those two prototypes, so a call was placed to I.A.C. to see if they had an interest in building a new shotgun for SASS.  The answer from I.A.C. was YES.

Later that spring, a call was made to Coyote Calhoun at Mule Camp when we were donating two new shotguns to the match and in that conversation, the remark was made that Winter Range prototype being  so much faster than any M-97, but we failed to also mention that the shotgun was not going to be built in the same configuration by AWA, and that I.A.C. was going to build a much better and stronger gun.

Substantially better and stronger would be an understatement.

I.A.C. and Coyote Cap Gunworks know the SASS rules, and thus, this newest shotgun is extremely overbuilt to become the strongest and safest gun we have ever produced for SASS. 

In the process of re-engineering the new shotgun, the frame of the M-93/97 is .125 thicker than the Winchester M-97 and as such, the size of the loading port is substantially smaller than the AWA prototypes and measure, metal to metal almost exactly the same size as the Winchester M-97.

The proof of this statement can clearly be seen in the photos in the bottom right corner of page #68 in the article written about this gun in the December 2007 issue of Guns of the Old West.

Look at the tops of the frames on all three guns and the center gun has a much thicker and thus, much stronger outer frame. 

The new "Coyote Cap Special Edition" M-93/97wcse-18 is so much stronger and so far advanced over the Winchester M-93 and the M-97, that to compare them would be wrong.

We knew the SASS rules when this gun was built. Why else would we bring an already approved M-87 to the SASS convention, to ASK the Territorial Governors to approve of a small screw addition to the outside of the frame of the M-87 in an attempt to level the playing field from a left handed shooter having a decided advantage over a right handed shooter - - IF we did not add that little screw.

As I said, we knew the SASS rules and we played by them.

Because I.A.C. and Coyote Cap Gunworks have a track record of building safe and reliable shotguns, the Wild Bunch decision to not allow our new gun into SASS Sanctioned matches, came as a complete surprise and we were not prepared for this.

The fact is:  the new M-93/97 is over 99% (highly upgraded) M-97 parts and only looks like an M-93 from the top. So, what is it anyway ?  Is it an M-93 (no), is it an M-97 (yes) !  (it is an M-97) !!!

We deliberately stamped M-93/97 on the barrel and slide, so as NOT TO MISREPRESENT WHAT THE GUN REALLY IS !

Maybe what should have been done, was to name the gun a Model 98 or 99 or 100, anything but a 93/97. The truth is, the very first "Coyote Cap Special Edition" prototype of this shotgun, (with a serial number built in 2004), had  the designation on the barrel as M-97/93 - - - - - - NOT M-93/97, that, in itself is another story !

I think what really happened over the decision to not allow our new gun into SASS sanctioned competitions was, some of the Wild Bunch only remembered the First AWA Prototype (which was a modified Winchester) and they assumed the new gun would be the same as the AWA they saw in 2004 - - - which turned out NOT to be the case at all. 

I also think they forgot about our track record of building safe guns, but also donating those same guns to help SASS to grow.

They put a ban on the M-93, but only allow the M-97 (or clones), but they failed to see all of the Winchester 97's and even some of the 97 clones (not a Coyote Cap or I.A.C) are unreliable and downright, unsafe, and can fire without pulling the trigger.

Now that enough of the M-93/97 shotguns are out in the field proving themselves, to be the outstanding shotguns that they are, now is the time for the Wild Bunch to revisit this issue and make a statement to explain the ruling that banned the M-93 (and the Marlin), but approved the M-97 (or clone of an M-97).

There is no need to reverse a decision on the M-93 and Marlin shotguns, but a clarification of the M-93/97 issue would be the right thing to do - - - and also the Cowboy Way.

   ++++++++++end of update ++++++++++     

This new shotgun was ordered a long time ago, as a new shotgun for SASS consumption and after overwhelming approval by straw vote of the SASS Territorial Governors at the 2005 SASS convention, he gun was given a thumbs down by SASS HQ.

There was an ASSUMPTION, that the loading port was much larger on this newest M-93/97, than an M-97 and that the gun could thus be loaded faster. This has been proven to not be the case at all.

The truth is that the actual loading port of an original M-93 is much smaller than an M-97. The port opening of an original M-93 (metal to metal) is measured at 3" long by 3/4" wide, while the M-97 and M-93/97 is measured at 3"x 1" (once again, metal to metal).

The open top of the original M-93 was used for ejecting stuck hulls off the extractors and out the open top. 

Loading quickly into-the-top, is extremely difficult and most often the rims get caught on the exposed extractors causing lost time in re-loading and without LOTS and LOTS of practice, this method of loading (over the top of an M-93) has proven to be a much slower method and no faster than loading an M-97.

History records show, there are no A-model, or B-model, M-97's. Only C's, D's and E models.

There is also some misinformation about the original model 93 (as John Browning designed it) being an unsafe shotgun. This is absolute nonsense, as John Browning designed the original M-93 with a solid shell flag system and then Winchester engineers thought they could improve on his designs, and thus, from serial number "0" and on up to about "890", the M-93 models worked perfectly because these had a solid shell flag system and Winchester hadn't tried to improve the gun yet. (actually screw up a good design).

Winchester changed all that, and that is when the problems started and the M-93 became the M-97.

The M-93 (as Browning designed it), is and was a very safe gun to fire. It's only two problems being the M-93 had no ejector, (only a carrier stop block) and if you didn't pull the slid back hard enough, there was not enough momentum for the shell to overcome the solid carrier shell flag and because of this, spent (paper) hulls were getting stuck on the extractors and not being able to come out of the breech cleanly.

The thicker frame and open top design of the original M-93, allowed a shooter to push a stuck hull off the extractors and out the open top, by simple pushing upwards on the spent hull at the rear. But to try and re-load the gun this way, would cause the rims of the shells to get stuck on the extractors.

After Winchester got in a lawsuit for patent infringement, they decided to change the look of the M-93 by changing the name to an M-97 and closing out the open top, thinning the frame material (bad idea, as this weaken the frame considerably) and making the old M-93 look like a brand new gun. (which it wasn't)!

Unfortunately, they did not change the patent dates to include a brand new gun, nor did they start production of the re-named M-97 with serial number 000001. They continued the serial numbers where they left off with the M-93, at serial number 32,334 (M-93) and 32,335 (M-97).

The M-97 is the same gun, only the name was changed. Check the patent dates on any M-97, then check the patent dates on any M-93 (and there you have it, proof of the continuation that this is the same gun and thus the very reason why we designated the new shotgun as the M-93/97, because that is what it is).

To make matters worse for the original M-93, Winchester engineers decided to grind off the (working), solid shell flag that Browning designed and replace the solid shell flag with a movable shell flag that was operated by a screw on the right side of the frame, just above the triggerguard. 

The results were that the spent hulls ejected marginally better, but the shell flag system proved totally unreliable, often failing completely and allowing a live round to pitch sideways allowing the right extractor to puncture the primer as the action was closed, causing an out-of-battery discharge and sometimes blowing the gun up, splitting the frame because the metallurgy of the era, was nowhere near as good as the M-93/97.

These problems never existed when Browning originally designed the M-93.

Also, in making a name change, Winchester engineers once again went against the design of John Browning and they REMOVED A SAFETY DEVICE, that being the REBOUNDING FIRING PIN.

What happened by this colossal mistake, and Winchester not correcting the blunder, was history of that change proved the M-97 to be a "Widowmaker" shotgun. When Winchester engineers installed a heavier, FREE FLOATING FIRING PIN, the gun became the killer that it is.   All IAC shotguns enjoy an improved John Browning "safety" rebounding firing pin, this includes the new M-93/97.

We can certainly understand the reasons for the Wild Bunch placing a SASS Sanctioned competition ban on the Winchester M-93 (because of the faulty shell flag system and the dangerous floating firing pin), but not our M-93/97. It was designed to get rid of all the Winchester problems.  

The free floating Winchester M-97 firing pin can discharge the round in the chamber with the shotgun hammer in the safe position. If the shotgun is loaded with a live round in the chamber and the hammer in the 1/2 cocked "safe" position, and the shotgun set down on the buttstock sharply enough that inertia causes the heavy floating firing pin to fly upwards, thus it could hit the primer and fire the round in the chamber.

What caused the name "killer" (or Widowmaker) to be associated more with the Winchester 97, than the Marlin was, because hunters using the M-97 or the early Marlin, did not come home from a hunting trip, and of course the wife (now a widow), would ask for help in finding the husband.

For years and years, accident investigators, over and over would find the hunter with 1/2 his face blown away, or a full shotgun blast to the chest from very close range, caused by a Winchester M-97 that accidentally went off, killing the hunter.  They found the shotgun discharged with the hammer still on safety.

The problem with the free floating firing pin is so bad, that every M-97 built, should be altered to include the light weight, spring loaded, rebounding firing pin design of John Browning.

THIS IS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE M-93 AND HOW IT WAS RENAMED THE M-97 !    Winchester built over a long period of time what should have been called an M-93/97. Because that is exactly what it is.


OUR NEW GUN - - THE M-93/97

This new shotgun is deliberately re-designed, with the same care and attention that went into the new M-87 lever action shotguns.

The plan was to build a shotgun, with all the improvements of the first Norinco and later IAC M-97's, but with the added nostalgia and period correct design of the original John Browning designed M-93.

The new M-93/97 goes back to everything that worked and worked safely, but with new inventions and a lot of modern updates and materials. A prototype was sent to be pressure tested and it passed with flying colors at well over 37,000 lbs. This is due to the heavier and thicker frame and modern steel used for construction and the "superstrong" barrels.

This shotgun was re-designed for SASS Cowboy Action Shooting, and was destined to become the safest, strongest and most reliable pump shotgun to ever exist in SASS.

Unfortunately, there was an agenda to slow down the arms race within SASS, and thus this new shotgun (the M-93/97) was mistakenly thought to be a clone of an M-93, when in fact, it is an (updated) M-97 that happens to only resemble an M-93.

Comments were made that the new M-93/97 shotgun was just a "gamer" gun and therefore could be loaded faster than a 97. The problem is that this statement is a fabrication, because the gun wasn't tested to prove it could not be loaded faster. 

Had this same train of thought on the M-93/97 occurred with the M-87 lever action shotguns, there would never have been any new M-87's to be built. That is why the M-87 was approved. People actually took the time and made the effort to investigate if the shotgun was first off, safe, and second, was it reasonably period correct.

This same thought process went into the building of the M-93/97.

Several Territorial Governors at the SASS Convention, told IAC of the overwhelming approval of the new M-93/97 by straw vote. When IAC heard this, a fax was sent to China to start production of the new M-93/97 the day after the SASS Convention.

The goal was to build 6,000 of them. Our understanding from IAC is that 2,600 were built before word was sent to them about a SASS (Wild Bunch), disapproval of the new shotgun.


We have no choice whatsoever - - we have to sell them to the general public, and let the shotguns prove themselves to be exactly as has been stated all along - - with the exception of a huge amount of investment money is now lost.

Some are going to Western Three Gun (W3G), as the organizers have stated in writing that they will take whatever new shotguns we produce, based upon our past record of building safe shotguns. The same can now be said about NCOWS accepting our new M-93/97's into competition.

We can only hope the owners of SASS will realize the value of these new shotguns and clarify their decision.


"Coyote Cap" SASS life 14184 and Founders Ranch Platinum Member


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