I recently purchased a Uberti 1873 Cattleman, and tonight I go pick up my 1873 Texas Brush Popper, now I need to select a shotty to go with them. Is there a good 1873 shotgun being made out there? If not, I guess the 1893 or 1897?
A double barrel is the closest to that time period that you will find. An exposed hammer sxs is the gun of the era. Stoeger makes good ones. There were also some Russian guns brought in in the '70s and 80's by Universal Sporting Goods in Fla. That are good solid guns. Baikal makes a version (Bounty Hunter) that is solid and built like a tank (weighs about as much as well).
For hammerless, Stevens 311s are good, solid CAS shotguns and usually inexpensive if you find them. If not Stoeger makes a good coach gun. I personally don't like the chinese ones.
If you want to go with a pump or lever, The chicopies of the winchester 87 and 97 are not bad after a little work. But, they do not compare to an original Winchester. If you go the original route just remember that the Winchester 1897 was a $100.00 gun before CAS made it a desirable commodity.