Model 84 Cooey hinge or break-action shotgun

by Ken Doherty | May 6, 2020
A model 84 Cooey against a tree

Made: 1948 to 1979
AKA: Cooey Model 840, Winchester 370/370A
Type: hinge or break-action shotgun
Gauges: 12, 16, 20, 28, .410 bore
Original price: $23.95 to $27.50 (Eaton’s catalogue, 1948)
Current value: $50-$199 (10-15% less for store-branded models) 

Like many rural Canadian youth, my first real gun was a full-choke, single-shot Cooey Model 84 shotgun. This 16 gauge was used for cottontails, grouse, and ducks. I quickly learned to make the first shot count, and to hold extra shells between my fingers on the gun’s forend. Reluctantly, I returned it to my uncle after I replaced it with a pump.

Last spring, I scooped up what appeared to be my original gun’s twin at a local gun shop for $99. Despite its appearance, however, the gun is stamped as a Ranger — not Cooey!

Researching this story solved that mystery.

The Model 84 was designed and produced by the H.W. Cooey Machine & Arms Company of Cobourg, Ontario. It evolved from the company’s experience crafting quality small-rifle parts during World War I; their post-war introduction of the Cooey Canuck/Ace, a single-shot, bolt-action 22; and contracts to produce Iver Johnson Champion shot guns throughout the Great Depression.

A reputation

Unveiled in 1948, Cooey’s signature single-barrel shotgun quickly earned a reputation as well made, simple, reliable, practical, and affordable. Its distinguishing features include a rounded forend with tension spring release, a separately cocked hammer, a three-pronged trigger guard, and a concave receiver at the stock end.

The family sold the business to Olin Corporation in 1961. Cooey was placed under the Winchester Western Division. The Model 84 evolved into the Model 840, and the Winchester 37A and 370. Production continued until the plant closed in 1979.

Cooey also produced shotguns for major department and hardware stores under those brand names. So, the classic 84 also exists as: Champion, Sureshot (Sears), Mercury, Hiawatha (Marshall Wells), Ranger (Eatons), and Sears Model 684.

Collectors abound, as evidenced by the Cooey Machine & Arms Collectors Facebook group.

So, if it looks like a Cooey…

Originally published in the April 2019 edition of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine.

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Comments

  1. Mario Allain wrote: My first hunting gun! Handed down by my grandfather, and one I still use from time to time... Never thought I'd ever see it profiled.
  2. Jeff wrote: Great guns. For beginners or anyone who likes to shoot. Got a .410, 20 and 12.
  3. John Lea wrote: I have two Cooey 84s a .410 and a 12 gauge. I cut the 12 gauge barrel to 24" and have taken Roe deer with it. These guns were well made and are still worth considering if you want a decent single barrel shotgun.
  4. Robert George wrote: My Cooey Model 84 single shot 12 gauge 30 inch barrel #43202. About what year would this have been made?
    • Alesha Howran wrote: Robert, From http://www.gunsopedia.com/Cooey_model_84, it would appear your model was made between 1903-1967.
  5. Danny Byrd jr wrote: I own a cooey winchester model 370 single shot 12ga shotgun with the 36in barrel. Unfortunately the forearm cracked and unrepairable. I you could please let me know what the wood of this firearm is made of
    • Alesha Howran wrote: If you contact the manufacturer you should be able to get this information and more about your firearm. https://www.winchesterguns.com/news/winchester-guns-canada/winchester-canada-service-and-repair.html
  6. Douglas Pelley wrote: I just read your comments about the Cooey shotguns branded under other names I have one that a young fellow sold claiming it was a Spanish "Mercury" shotgun. When I went to look at it I clearly recognized that it was a Cooey, and must have been marketed under a "Mercury" business name. I tried to convince the young fellow that it was a Cooey, but he was having none of it, and sold it to me at a very good price. Do you have any information on the "Mercury" store or business? This is the first Cooey shotgun I have seen marked "Mercury." I would love to know the History of the Mercury branding.
    • Jason Bain wrote: Ken Doherty provides the following response: You’re quite right that the Cooey Mercury is distinctly different from the Spanish Model. The Spanish Mercury single is usually in 10 gauge and much more ornate with engraving, checkering on pistol grip and fore-end, and recoil pad. The Cooey made Mercury is a classic Model 84 with just another name. According to some members of the Cooey Collectors group, the Mercury Model was made for the Woodward’s Department Store which operated in British Columbia and Alberta. Nice find!
  7. Wedge wrote: I have a H W cooey 12ga with a 36” barrel with a 17000 serial number what’s the age and value. It’s in good shape. Thanks.
    • Jason Bain wrote: Thank you for the inquiry. Ken Doherty responds: "While there were 1.9 million Cooey Model 84s and 840s produced between 1948 and 1979, very few actually had serial numbers stamped on them. Plus, there are no company production records showing annual serial numbers available. Since yours has H.W. Cooey stamped on the side of the receiver, it was produced between 1948 and 1961 before the company was sold to Olin/ Winchester. A member of the Cooey Collectors Facebook Group estimates yours at a little more than the halfway point. In terms of value, the highest price for Cooey’s relates to their rarity. So, the 28 gauge, .410s, and 20 gauge 84s retain the highest value, with 28s recently sold in the $500- $700 range. While 12 gauges are the most common, your 36” barrel is the rarest and most collectible and could fetch $300 or more depending on its condition."