With the design and production promoted by John M. Olin, the Model 21 was one of Winchester’s finest shotguns with regards to quality, reliability and strength. Although technically a production gun, each example was custom-made in terms of configuration, workmanship, quality, and attention to detail.
First 30,000 unit production of the Model 21 began in 1931 and ran to 1959. Even during the lean years of the Great Depression, a double barrel shotgun, offered as a production item, attracted considerable attention in the market place. After World War II, the Model 21 increasingly became a custom-made, lavishly decorated gun. From 1960 to 1993, the Winchester Custom Shop produced about 1,000 Model 21s. Subsequently, Winchester sold the rights to produce the Model 21.
Original Winchester factory records are available for this model from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, from serial number 1 thru 35000.