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1897 coming my way, what to do with it

akinnepa

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Repost of mine from akfiles, figure it's worth it to post here as there are a bunch of members who dabble in the older stuff.

So at the fun shop yesterday and stumbled into someone liquidating an estate. Dropped a Winchester 1897 and Marlin 1894 on a short term layaway.

I'll have pics up when I get them with more info but for now I'm a little perplexed on what to do with the 1897. By the SN#s it dates out at 1905 28" full choke take down 12 gauge. Wood is showing its age at 115 years old, mechanically good or above condition, but it has very little finish left. As far as I know it's not a special one, or even has a ton of value.

With all of that being said, I'm a resto modder for the cheap stuff. (this was a bit more than I wanted to pay for it) I do time period correct mods that would alleviate some defects that stuff that I find has.

So big question is what should I do with this? Assuming that it's nothing special after I do my due diligence to check it's history.

Cowboy action chop?
Trench chop?
Rust blue?
Black oxide dip?
Stock will need some love, has a shitty recoil pad on it now, hopefully not too much is gone to reshape and save it.
 

Story

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With all of that being said, I'm a resto modder for the cheap stuff. (this was a bit more than I wanted to pay for it) I do time period correct mods that would alleviate some defects that stuff that I find has.

So big question is what should I do with this? Assuming that it's nothing special after I do my due diligence to check it's history.

Cowboy action chop?
Trench chop?
Rust blue?
Black oxide dip?
Stock will need some love, has a shitty recoil pad on it now, hopefully not too much is gone to reshape and save it.
I personally appreciate your approach. That said, what does it *want* to be, post 1905?

Barkeep's scatter gun?
Bootlegger's car gun?​
Arkham Asylum Guard gun?​
That'll tell you where you wind up when the dust settles.

My suggestion would be to

1) learn the weapon intimately (starting with that schematic video, see also the appropriate riot gun and winchester subforums at Shotgunworld) then take it out to the range a few times, see how it works with 7 1/2.

2) Embrace that there's no rush, so your mods can be sequential. Start looking for an equally old but better buttstock.

3) Learn how to make a brass bead from sight from a small brass bolt (or donor bead sight) as you'll not want the muzzle naked.

4) As long as it's 26" OAL, you're legal - so that buttstock can be shortened a few inches forward of the current buttline but still well behind the pistol grip.
See bottom for example


5) Whatever you do, post copious pics as you go to this thread.
 

raubvogel

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Burn the original stock and replace it with and AR one because AR. Then put an AR flashhider

If you want to be serious, get a spare barrel in case you want to shorten it. i.e. whatever you do to it, make it reversible.
 

Nihonto Chicken

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What do you want to do with it? Cowboy action, 18.5" barrel and blue. Home defence, 18.5" barrel and park. Trench gun replica, 20" barrel and blue. JMO. Unless you have a strong attraction to cowboy action or military shotgun replicas, I recommend the home defence mods. These old shotguns will generally never be used again for their originally intended hunting purposes, so the mods above will give them a new lease on life, so to speak. I wouldn't recommend this for collectible 90+% originals, but for worn or already modded guns, no foul, forge ahead.

You might consider marking the position for the new bead before you shorten the barrel. A string wrapped around the hammer and the old bead should help properly center the position for the new bead. Good fortune with your conversion, whichever you choose, just be sure to post pics when you are done!

If interested, link below to an 11 minute Paul Harrell video on the Winchester 1897. Perhaps surprisingly, he likes this shotgun a lot for HD.

 

akinnepa

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I personally appreciate your approach. That said, what does it *want* to be, post 1905?

Barkeep's scatter gun?
Bootlegger's car gun?​
Arkham Asylum Guard gun?​
That'll tell you where you wind up when the dust settles.

My suggestion would be to

1) learn the weapon intimately (starting with that schematic video, see also the appropriate riot gun and winchester subforums at Shotgunworld) then take it out to the range a few times, see how it works with 7 1/2.

2) Embrace that there's no rush, so your mods can be sequential. Start looking for an equally old but better buttstock.

3) Learn how to make a brass bead from sight from a small brass bolt (or donor bead sight) as you'll not want the muzzle naked.

4) As long as it's 26" OAL, you're legal - so that buttstock can be shortened a few inches forward of the current buttline but still well behind the pistol grip.
See bottom for example


5) Whatever you do, post copious pics as you go to this thread.
I'll post it up when I pick it up, I'm into it for $400. From a quick look it's just a standard grade, there were plenty of add-ons from the factory that could have been done so I don't want to make any permanent mods until I know for sure.

My cowboy days are done so this may just end up as an old field gun. After I get a better look at how bad the stock looks I may take a few inches off and form ebony with a repro buttplate and do a brass spacer with a spot for engraving on each side. Think victorian era trap gun.

Burn the original stock and replace it with and AR one because AR. Then put an AR flashhider

If you want to be serious, get a spare barrel in case you want to shorten it. i.e. whatever you do to it, make it reversible.
I have enough poodle shooters to do one a day for the rest of the month, I think I'm good.

Everything should be reversible if needed. Black oxide bluing would be the only non period correct thing.


What do you want to do with it? Cowboy action, 18.5" barrel and blue. Home defence, 18.5" barrel and park. Trench gun replica, 20" barrel and blue. JMO. Unless you have a strong attraction to cowboy action or military shotgun replicas, I recommend the home defence mods. These old shotguns will generally never be used again for their originally intended hunting purposes, so the mods above will give them a new lease on life, so to speak. I wouldn't recommend this for collectible 90+% originals, but for worn or already modded guns, no foul, forge ahead.

You might consider marking the position for the new bead before you shorten the barrel. A string wrapped around the hammer and the old bead should help properly center the position for the new bead. Good fortune with your conversion, whichever you choose, just be sure to post pics when you are done!

If interested, link below to an 11 minute Paul Harrell video on the Winchester 1897. Perhaps surprisingly, he likes this shotgun a lot for HD.

An 870 fills my HD needs, this was just a slot in a collection that was open.

As far as vintage scatterguns here's what I have in progress in addition to this one.

20ga Ithaca Flues
12 ga Stevens 5100
Springfield (savage) single
Marlin magnum goose gun
Mossberg 20ga bolt
Jc Higgins 12-20
Remington model 10 (1911 date)
 

Story

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After I get a better look at how bad the stock looks I may take a few inches off and form ebony with a repro buttplate and do a brass spacer with a spot for engraving on each side. Think victorian era trap gun.
I got a box of old shotgun plates, when you make the cut PM me the OAL/width and I'll see if I have anything that fitz.
 

yovinny

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I personally appreciate your approach. That said, what does it *want* to be, post 1905?

Barkeep's scatter gun?
Bootlegger's car gun?​
Arkham Asylum Guard gun?​
That'll tell you where you wind up when the dust settles.

My suggestion would be to

1) learn the weapon intimately (starting with that schematic video, see also the appropriate riot gun and winchester subforums at Shotgunworld) then take it out to the range a few times, see how it works with 7 1/2.

2) Embrace that there's no rush, so your mods can be sequential. Start looking for an equally old but better buttstock.

3) Learn how to make a brass bead from sight from a small brass bolt (or donor bead sight) as you'll not want the muzzle naked.

4) As long as it's 26" OAL, you're legal - so that buttstock can be shortened a few inches forward of the current buttline but still well behind the pistol grip.
See bottom for example


5) Whatever you do, post copious pics as you go to this thread.
I've seen A5 long recoil shotguns give cycling issues with people not holding them tight enough to their shoulder or attempting to fire one from the hip... I cant imagine that cutting the stock off one amounts to anything besides a single shot.. But Im not a big A5 fan so have pretty limited experience..
 

Story

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I've seen A5 long recoil shotguns give cycling issues with people not holding them tight enough to their shoulder or attempting to fire one from the hip... I cant imagine that cutting the stock off one amounts to anything besides a single shot.. But Im not a big A5 fan so have pretty limited experience..
True True True, A5 and Remington 11s are persnickity about changes to their ergonomics - but if he's got a trashed butt might as well WECSOG amIright?
 

yovinny

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True True True, A5 and Remington 11s are persnickity about changes to their ergonomics - but if he's got a trashed butt might as well WECSOG amIright?
I was just referring to your pic with the abbreviated A5. I've seen it a few times before and always wondered the same thing,, about it probably just being an expensive way to turn a nice shotgun into a single shot....lol.

As for his 97',, it would still operate just fine with the same type abbreviation.. ;)
 

Jeff in Pa

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Supervisor at work has an 1897. He shortened the barrel to 24" ( was a 30" cylinder bore) , painted the stock black and cerokoted the metal work dark green.

When he got it, it was beyond worn / trashed. It wouldn't even cycle. It looks good and shoots well.
 

Beerwulfe

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I can't wait to see the pictures when you bring it home.

I am a "bit confused" on your Win 1897 purchase. You say: "With all of that being said, I'm a resto modder for the cheap stuff. (this was a bit more than I wanted to pay for it) I do time period correct mods that would alleviate some defects that stuff that I find has." But you say "I'm into it for $400." That is a killer price as far as I am concerned. I would buy it from ya sight unseen if it is all there.

You don't list the serial number, but if you did a serial number look up to come up with the 1905 date, then I am guessing the serial number is a in the mid to higher end 200,000 range, "D" model (probably early D if in the 260,000 end), Standard 28" Full choke Hunting gun. Depending on the SN range, may have the 3 screws on the front hand guard and shorter action slide like the the "C" Models. If "D" model with the higher range, may have the longer action slide and no screws like the later "E" Models.

Be interesting to see the pictures.

If it is indeed a "D" Model, I would say the Trench gun mod is out.
I would say if your going to refinish, the rust blue will look the best on it. Forget the parkerize or black oxide as a finish. Just my humble opinion.

Buttstock is interesting as to what type you have. Probably the round handle buttstock would be my guess.

Your barrels latest patent date is probably Oct 16, 1900 if its a "1905 manufacture". Before you chop it, if the patent dates on the barrel don't matter to you, let me know if you are interested in a trade. I have some with a 1910 last patent date. I am looking for a matching barrel for (2) of the "D" models I have. Both were hacked on to be trench guns and were screwed up.

FAL's and M1897's are addictive. Just a heads up, you may want to run some snap caps thru it to see if it feeds and ejects correctly or if you need ejector system parts.

Good luck on your project, and look forward to pics.
 

akinnepa

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I can't wait to see the pictures when you bring it home.

I am a "bit confused" on your Win 1897 purchase. You say: "With all of that being said, I'm a resto modder for the cheap stuff. (this was a bit more than I wanted to pay for it) I do time period correct mods that would alleviate some defects that stuff that I find has." But you say "I'm into it for $400." That is a killer price as far as I am concerned. I would buy it from ya sight unseen if it is all there.

You don't list the serial number, but if you did a serial number look up to come up with the 1905 date, then I am guessing the serial number is a in the mid to higher end 200,000 range, "D" model (probably early D if in the 260,000 end), Standard 28" Full choke Hunting gun. Depending on the SN range, may have the 3 screws on the front hand guard and shorter action slide like the the "C" Models. If "D" model with the higher range, may have the longer action slide and no screws like the later "E" Models.

Be interesting to see the pictures.

If it is indeed a "D" Model, I would say the Trench gun mod is out.
I would say if your going to refinish, the rust blue will look the best on it. Forget the parkerize or black oxide as a finish. Just my humble opinion.

Buttstock is interesting as to what type you have. Probably the round handle buttstock would be my guess.

Your barrels latest patent date is probably Oct 16, 1900 if its a "1905 manufacture". Before you chop it, if the patent dates on the barrel don't matter to you, let me know if you are interested in a trade. I have some with a 1910 last patent date. I am looking for a matching barrel for (2) of the "D" models I have. Both were hacked on to be trench guns and were screwed up.

FAL's and M1897's are addictive. Just a heads up, you may want to run some snap caps thru it to see if it feeds and ejects correctly or if you need ejector system parts.

Good luck on your project, and look forward to pics.

SN is 2608xx or close to it as I don't have it yet

Unsure on slide, think the stock has the rounded bottom grip if that's what you mean.

It's all there and functional but didn't run snap caps.

I'm not even sure if the stock was cut, but the plate was removed and a unground grind to fit pad was screwed on.

I'm not up on pricing, this shop is good to me and I know that $400 OTD was fair for it.

The 1894 Marlin in 44 Mag was $425 OTD. Pre push button safety.

That should give a decent idea on what kind of prices I get there.
 

Beerwulfe

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With all of that being said, I'm a resto modder for the cheap stuff. (this was a bit more than I wanted to pay for it)
Excellent price on the Marlin 1894!
I second what Gazz said about the Marlin 1894. Excellent price.

That shop have a website presence? Really good prices on those two and you can't go wrong.

After you get it home is when you would run the snap caps thru to see what small old parts might need to be replaced if it has ejection issues. Remember that it is over 115 years old. With that serial range, believe that it is an early model "D". Yeah, bet has the round butt grip and probably the 3 screw short slide action.

Wonder if it is the take down model where the barrel assembly will twist/swing and slide off forward. If doing a resto, I would rust blue it. Laurel Mountain Forge rust blue is really good with the 1897's and is very forgiving for the do it yourself'er.

Good luck with that. They are fun projects.
 

akinnepa

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Still haven't picked it up yet, but got a better look at it. Stock isn't cut. Just needs a buttplate, the metal one with the lip.

I have around three weeks until I pick it up, I bought a whole bunch of other parts and stuff from them this week, so my wallet is still in shock.
 

Right Side Up

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Ah....1897 Winchester. The gun that bloodied my index finger....holding the trigger back and racking shell after shell through it firing from the hip. Memories from my teenage days.
 

yovinny

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If you examine any of the old pics from the 1920's,, when the Post Offices and mail trains in the mid west were prime targets for road bandits and the Gov put USGI'S on guarding them,, you'll see lots of 1897's... Along with lots of GI's carrying them 'deadman',, holding both the trigger down and the hammer back..
Those old timers didnt mess around....lol
 
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