View Full Version : Inheritence...Cool

February 12, 2002, 11:58 AM
Saw Dad this weekend and he "permanently loaned" me Great Grandpa Earl's Winchester model 1897 16guage shotgun.

I just started getting into hunting and busting clays. Dad thought I would get some use out of it. This thing has no lubrication and it takes all of my strength to pump the action.

Just wanted some educated comments and tips on what I should do to get the gun in shape and what should I expect from a gun this old. Other than the intrinsic value of Great Grandpa's Gun, do I have a good gun?

BTW - last patent date on the bbl is 1910. What does this tell me?

February 12, 2002, 12:30 PM
Iterations of the 97 were produced all the way up to 1957. All that can be told from your patent date is the gun was made after 1910.

Good clean and lube, corrosion control......AND get it checked out by a competant gunsmith familiar with that gun.

Happy shootin.


Dave McC
February 13, 2002, 07:03 AM
A very nice Heirloom. Do the right thing and have a decent smith go over it,clean and lube, and show you the right way to do so.

Then, with the Smith's OK, shoot the thing with milder loads. A trap load of 7 1/2s in this will be an outstanding bird load, IMO.

BTW, a 97 was part of my crew equipment is the late unpleasantness in SEA. Very reliable....

February 13, 2002, 08:43 AM
Beware of the likely 2 9/16 inch chamber vs. current 2 3/4 inch shells. I don't think that there is a really good cure for this other than to seek out the shorter shells for your gun. Reaming the chamber does not make the thing feed any better. I don't know when the 2 3/4 inch chambers started to show up on Winchesters, but I do know that a good number of Model 12's (the successor to the Model 97) were made with 2 9/16 chambers. They do not work with 2 3/4 inch shells either.

February 13, 2002, 10:59 AM
Thank you for the info.


I had no clue about the cartridge issue. I will have to have a smith tell me what he thinks when I have him go through the gun. Dad gave me about a dozen purple colored shells which I assume are 2 3/4. He said he thought those would work, but Dad is not gun competent.

Who would be able to run down a year of manufacture for me if I had all of the information available from serial numbers, pat. dates, etc.?

February 14, 2002, 02:54 AM
So that you'll be able to pass it along to the "next" generation!

Just inherited Grandad's Rem 11 from 1949, the year my ma was born. Won't get shot very much, but always nice to know I have it!

Harley Nolden
February 14, 2002, 06:19 AM

There is a caution with this shotgun, in that, there is no disconnect and should you pump the action with the trigger held back, it will fire. CAUTION

If you would like the assem/disassem, W/photos, send me an eamil address and I'll mail them.


Uncle Red
February 15, 2002, 03:54 PM
I just ran across this sight. They have "mini shells" that you might be able to use in those shorter chambers, if that is in fact what you have. Regards. -UR.


February 16, 2002, 01:19 AM
I have a Model 1912 which was made in 1913. It is a 16ga. with the 2 9/16 chamber. I got a lot of information directly from Winchester. I just e-mailed them with my request for an owners manual and they sent me copies of that and a serial number listing by year also. They were very helpful. I would however have a gunsmith look at yours and see if it is shootable. I enjoy shooting my 12 ga m12 as it has the 2 3/4 chamber. Winchester sure knew how to make them back then. Too bad they don't reproduce them now! I understand that a chinese company is making copies of the 1897 but they are very poor.

February 19, 2002, 12:01 PM
Been off the net for about a week. You guys are such a source of information. I appreciate every bit of it. The more I get into this hobby, the more I enjoy the company of kind people. Much Thanks.

February 19, 2002, 01:27 PM
By the way fanattic I just noticed that you are only located a few miles west of me. I am in Elkhart. Where do you go to shoot? My son and I really enjoy shooting some clays but cannot find a trap range around here?

February 20, 2002, 11:46 AM

I actually grew up in Elkhart. Right now I'm just playing with hand thrown clays at a farm off of Birch and C.R. 6.

My Great Uncle was a terrific gunner long before I was old enough to know any better. He shot clays at a local range in Elkhart. I don't remember where, but I'm sure it's still there. Let me talk to my Dad and find out where it is and I will post it ASAP. Someday, I may give it a try myself.

Good to see fellow members nearby.