Burgess police gun / pump action shotgun (USA)

Burgess police gun was one of creations of American gun designer Andrew Burgess. He patented his unusual weapon in 1893-94, and established his own company Burgess Gun Co to produce shotguns and rifles of his own design. His rifles are exceedingly rare; his shotguns are slightly more common, and were produced in two distinctive versions, sporting and police / riot gun. Sporting versions were intended for hunting and featured longer barrels and takedown design, with detachable barrel / magazine assembly. Burgess police / riot shotgun was one of the first purposely designed “tactical” shotguns in USA, long before the term was coined for fighting weapons. Advertised as ideal weapons for police, security agents, plainclothes guards and others who might need an easily concealable but powerful weapon, Burgess Police Gun featured unique folding design and short, 20-inch barrel.

Burgess police gun in ready to fire condition
Burgess police gun in ready to fire condition

 

Burgess police gun folded
Burgess police gun folded

 

When folded, Burgess police gun could be carried in a special holster, attached to the cartridge belt, and concealed under a trench-coat or jacket. Once retrieved from holster, a flick of the wrist then brings the gun to the firing position, as can be seen on an animation below.

 

animated fragment from ForgottenWeapons.com video that shows how Burgess shotgun can be brought to action from its holster

 

Burgess shotguns were made for relatively short period of time, between 1894 and 1899, when assets of the Burgess Gun Co were bought out by Winchester in a successful attempt to reduce competition to their own Winchester 1897 riot gun. Most famous user of the Burgess Police Gun was New Your state Penal System, which bought about a hundred of these guns, apparently for use by prison guards and agents that guarded prisoners during their transportation.

Burgess shotgun is a manually operated, pump action weapon. Instead of the most common method of cycling the action through movement of the handguard, which at the time was protected by patents of Roper and Spencer, Burgess shotgun used a reciprocating sleeve, placed around the wrist of the stock. To cycle the action, shooter has to pull back the sleeve, with attached grip and trigger guard, and then push it back forward. This movement unlocks the bolt, ejects the empty shell from the barrel and then chambers next round from the tubular magazine located below the barrel.

 

View on the open bolt and retracted sleeve / grip of the sporting version of Burgess shotgun
View on the open bolt and retracted sleeve / grip of the sporting version of Burgess shotgun

 

Unique folding design was achieved by screwing breech ends of the barrel and magazine tube into singe steel adapter, which is hinged at the bottom to the receiver of the gun. Design of the hinge allows slight vertical movement of the adapter in relation to the receiver, so in uppermost position several lugs at the top of the adapter can engage respective cuts on the underside of the receiver roof, to lock the barrel and receiver together. Assembly was held together by a special spring-loaded latch, located above the breech end of the barrel. To fold the gun, user has to rise the latch, slide barrel assembly down slightly to disengage from the receiver, and then rotate it down and toward the stock. To bring gun back to ready to fire condition, user has to rotate barrel back; upon the end of this movement spring-loaded latch then would automatically lock barrel and receiver together. Tubular magazine was normally loaded through the port at the bottom of the receiver, with bolt retracted to the rearmost position. With bolt in the battery, bottom port was securely closed by a sliding cover, attached to the grip slide, in front of the trigger guard. When in folded position, loaded ammunition was held in the magazine tube by a special spring-loaded catch.

 

patent diagram for folding system of the Burgess Police gun
patent diagram for folding system of the Burgess Police gun

 

Specification Value
Full text name Burgess police gun / pump action shotgun (USA)
Action type manual
Trigger type sa
Overall length, mm 1016
Length, folded, mm 508
Barrel length, mm 508
Weight empty, kg 2.7
Magazine capacity, rounds 6