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But....well...I dunno, and there's no "may" about it, she ABSOLUTELY is old!

I've had a long standing interest in the Winchester 1897. I have some nostalgic attraction to old (and old looking) or classic shotguns. I dont know why. I've always wanted a Norinco copy of the 1897 Trench gun but never pulled the trigger when they were available. I'd seen a few random 1897's in the past few years but I never wanted to drop however several many hundred the folks wanted.

Anyway. As I was strolling through Cabelas today looking on the used gun racks, my eyes stopping every time I saw one of these old ribbed fore ends on a shotgun, passing by several Winchester Model 12's and an old Marlin that had some mismatched stock, I spied this "beauty" if you can call it that. I then spied the price tag and didn't put it back down.

Model 1897 takedown with a 30" barrel and full choke. Serial number puts it to 1910 :) Not bad considering its 105 years old!

There's pitting in the barrel in maybe the last 8 inches or so, plenty of minor scratches in the metal, some dings where the barrel mates to the receiver, but it locks up tight and the barrel to receiver fit is tight as well.v Small ding in the barrel but i cannot see any deformation on the inside. Aside from the few patches of pitting the bore is smooth and shiny. Only blue left is the end of the magazine tube. The wood ain't turrable, one crack down behind the trigger, but I will fill it with epoxy and fix it. Has correct butt plate, and the gun is "all there".

Anyway. Pitting didn't bother me because my immediate thought was "cut it off and make a trench gun clone" but I'm not sure what I'll do, mod it (i know there will be no collector value) or keep it the same. It shoots fine. Probably should have had a gunsmith check it out before I started shooting, but oh well. Cycles fine. I just ran some low brass target load through it since its a full choke.

Oh yeah. $150 was the price. I think I did okay. Should be a fun project or even just a wall hanger!

Yeah yeah Pics! I know its not for everybody, but to me a gun this worn is a thing of beauty. Imagine the stories it could tell?





Gave it a full disassembly and cleaning.



 

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That is a beauty for sure! I'd have picked it up for that price myself. Great find.
I'd have fun shooting it with low brass and enjoy the old girl. Congrats!
 

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Nice old 97. I've got one from 1919 with a 32" Full choke barrel that I have shot a lot of 00 buckshot through it when I deer hunted with dogs. personally I wouldn't cut it........Buy a fake for that.
 

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dr. M, you got a good shooter there. i got one that my grandfather left me and it's almost as old but man does it shoot, i can put a shotgun club pro to shame with mine.

have fun with yours and if you can bag a pheasant with it , and you'll never sell it as long as you live. keep it clean and lubed and enjoy your find, and yes you stole it at that price.
 

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very nice .... congrats on your purchase .... we have an early Winchester model 12 20 ga .... when it was built, it was chambered for 2.5" shells, don't know if that applies to yours or not .... we sent it back to Winchester and they modified it to handle standard 2.75" shells
 

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Great find.

I have my grandfather's 16-ga takedown, and its finish is very similar to yours.

Barrel is marked FULL as is yours, but Grandpa had the barrel cut back a little and a Weaver interchangeable choke tube arrangement added.

I've shot it quite a bit, and I have to say it's quite a slick operating system with a whole lot going on at the stroke of the fore-end. That bolt coming back at your face can be a little disconcerting until you get used to it. ;-)

I'd say leave it alone . . . it's a cool old gun.

JMHO
 

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Gorgeous old shotgun! I've have bought it if I'd seen it sittin' there for that price. Good old guns. They run good, too. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that's the model the Cowboy Action Shooters like so much. Heck, they'll pay anywhere from $500 to $750 for one of those. You stole it!
 

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Gorgeous old shotgun! I've have bought it if I'd seen it sittin' there for that price. Good old guns. They run good, too. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that's the model the Cowboy Action Shooters like so much. Heck, they'll pay anywhere from $500 to $750 for one of those. You stole it!
Not quite that much but you're on the right track. $400-500 is the going rate for a functioning shootable original. In any case $150 is the steal of the day.

Great shotgun. Congrats!
 

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Congratulations on the 97. You can't beat it for that price.
I just bought one a month or so ago.
 

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Maybe he was being super cautious, but a gunsmith advised me to only shoot light field loads in my 1906 version.
Good point. All the guys at our CAS club that own them use them pretty much exclusively for CAS and shoot light loads. I'm not saying you couldn't hunt with one but I wouldn't be shooting any slugs out of one.
 

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Great find. Old guns are so cool. If they could only talk and tell you what they have seen. I like them when they have "patina" on them. Great find. I'd would've given $150 for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Maybe he was being super cautious, but a gunsmith advised me to only shoot light field loads in my 1906 version.
In speaking to a gunsmith acquaintance of mine he said provided the gun is in solid mechanical condition there's no reason it can't handle any standard loads. Don't go running high velocity or 'mini magnums' or anything through it but any standard velocity modern buck or slugs should be fine. They aren't weak by design or anything.

That being said I don't plan to run all kinds of high octane loads through it but would like to be comfortable loading it with buck.
 

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1897s are great. I have two that I use for Cowboy Action Shooting. You got it for an extremely good price. Mine were quite a bit more.
 
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