Andrew Burgess is an often under appreciated firearms inventor with hundreds of patents to his name. Perhaps best known for the Colt-Burgess rifle, which was central to the brief Colt-Winchester Cold War, he also had a line of lever actions sold under Eli Whitney’s arms company. In 1893, Burgess would start his own manufacturing company in Buffalo, New York and almost immediately began marketing this shotgun of his own design.
Hitting the market circa 1894, “The Burgess Gun” was a slide action, repeating, take-down, shotgun sold with the slogan “Six Hits in Three Seconds.” The defining feature of the Burgess, unique to this day, is that the slide action is operated from behind the chamber. The trigger, trigger guard, and semi-pistol grip wrist are all mounted on a sliding collar which is pulled rearward by the shooter’s right hand in order to cycle. In addition to being a unique ergonomic experience, this setup means there are to transfer bars or other operating linkages forward of the barrel, making take-down a one-button process.
Locking is achieved by a pivoting steel block, which drops into a shelf in the frame when closed. Like most period shotguns, the Burgess came to add an inertial, hang-fire safety. This prevented the action from being opened until either the gun was fired or a manually operated button, set inside the front of the trigger guard, was pressed.
While only the shotgun was produced for commercial sale in any volume, there were some rifles produced on this same action. Advertisements for the Burgess Gun remain common through the 1890s, with the same etchings being presented as the “New Model 1897” and then the next year the “New Model 1898.” Whether or not there were any significant changes to warrant these, or if they were attempts to keep up in marketing, is presently unknown.