The “trench gun” may be one of the most interesting gun of World War I. When one hears the word most think of the Winchester Model 1897 fitted with a metal handguard and bayonet adapter assembly.
What some people don’t know is the other shotgun that was issued to the doughboys was the Remington Model 10 pump-action shotgun.
Winchester was at the peak of its production during WWI. This is where Remington made its way in with the Model 10 to fill the demands.
The term “trench gun” was never an official designation but was widely used to denote a short-barrel “riot gun”.
World War I “trench warfare” initially was equipped with Springfield M1903 rifle and Colt M1911 pistol in its small-arms arsenal. However, a special weapon to aid our troops in trench warfare was needed. A conventional bolt-action infantry rifle was too long and lacked the firepower needed to overcome the interlocking trenches and a determined German defenders armed with machine guns.
With a repeating shotgun the soldier in a trench could sweep both sides of it with multiple buckshot rounds. A soldier with a shotgun, can quickly pump and fire, could suppress German trench assaults and clear suspicious dugouts with deadly efficiency.
Another added feature for trench warfare was the implement of the bayonet fixture to the shotgun.
There was some differences between the Remington Model 10 and Winchester Model 1897 in several ways. The Model 10 was a hammerless design that loaded and ejected from a port in the bottom of the receiver. This aided the base reliability of the weapon in adverse conditions.
The Winchester had an exposed hammer, ejection port and a loading port. Both shotguns had a capacity of 5+1 rounds.
The Remington Model 10 trench gun had a 23-inch barrel and was fitted with sling swivels. Rather than use the same metal, one-piece hand guard/bayonet assembly of the Model 1897.
A pretty cool feature on the Model 10, which was ahead of its time was the nearly 100% ambidextrous controls.
The United States military purchased a number of Remington Model 10 with 20-inch (51-cm) barrels for guarding prisoners, and 26 to 30-inch (66 to 76-cm) barrels for training aerial gunners. The Model 10-A was used in limited numbers by the Marine Corps through the 1930s.