View Full Version : value of Winchester 1897 trench gun

July 21, 2010, 10:20 PM
My local gunshop has a pretty good looking 1897 (not sure the actual year but ww1 era I'm sure). Its a gun I've always wanted and I can't settle on a chinese reproduction. They're asking $1250 but I get my own prices because I'm a good customer and have friends there. What's a good price to offer? Are the OG bayo's hard to find? Thanks for any and all info on these tough old pumps.

July 22, 2010, 05:39 AM
1250 sounds exceptionally good for an original trench. Just me, but I never low dough real friends. They are worth more than any gun I might get and I want them just as happy as I am with any deal.

If it is indeed a straight gun. Finding '97s from either war that haven't been messed with is pretty tough.

Books will tell you serial ranges. War 1 guns will be solid frame.

I am not too good at acronyms, so I do not know what 'OG' stands for. The U.S. 1917 Enfield bayonets that mount on the trench handguards are pretty common and in the 100+ range like about every other bayonet. Nice U.S. scabbards add to that usually.

Good luck with it, JT

July 22, 2010, 10:23 AM
Thanks, I think I'll inquire this afternoon about all the details of the gun. At shows I've seen similar trenchguns go for 2k and up. I don't usually low-ball them too bad, but io am a "collector" and have been shopping there for 15 years. You're correct though, a good friend is truly worth more than any amount of money. A brother is priceless. Oh, and I'm a vointage VW guy- OG means original. Thanks for the reply

Mike Irwin
July 22, 2010, 11:13 AM
Be aware.

Trench guns have been deliberately faked in the past.

Also, Winchester riot guns have been modified by later owners to trench gun specifications.

Make sure you know exactly what you're getting.

July 22, 2010, 11:30 AM
Thanks, Mike Irwin. Duly noted. The gun belongs to the shopowner, I'll go get all the info on it this afternoon or tomorrow morning and I'll post it. I can probably get it for $1100.

44 AMP
July 23, 2010, 01:01 PM
The Chinese trench guns are going for $8-900 at gun shows around here. Original M97 guns are at a premium. And like Mike says, there are a lot of "fakes". They may be good M97s, but they didn't start life as trench guns. So, the collector value isn't there.

Lots of guys in the business don't know what to check, and honestly believe what they are selling is the real thing. They aren't deliberately trying to rip you off, they just don't know the difference. And they paid for a real trench gun, to start with, so if they bought a fake, better be able to proove it.;)

Repo bayonets are in the $100-150 range, the last time I looked. Originals? I have no idea. I have one around here someplace, but I'm saving that for something....someday, :rolleyes:

Mike Irwin
July 23, 2010, 01:07 PM
"They aren't deliberately trying to rip you off, they just don't know the difference."


I'd say that's the exact same way that a lot of the "fake" trench guns started out.

Someone owned one, maybe even a commercial riot gun (Winchester made lots of them) and decided that it would be neat to have a trench gun. Parts were readily available after World War II.

July 24, 2010, 01:33 AM
Good info guys, really. Think I'll do a lot of checking on this thing for sure. Definitely won't be an impulse buy. Any specific things to look for?

July 24, 2010, 03:05 AM
OG actually means original gangster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O.G._Original_Gangster

Anyway, good luck with your search.

July 24, 2010, 08:05 AM

I don't recall seeing war 1 guns that were re-works.

To explain, after ww2, some '97s and 12s that were originally riot guns ( and a FEW longer barrelled mod. and full choked ) were converted to trench at U.S. arsenals. To do this work a shim had to be added under the forward section of the handguard to compensate for the barrel taper. Most if not of the re-works were then parkerized. I have a Model 12 that was so converted and has the arsenal stamps to go with it. The quality of such work is a good tip as to originality. But I digress - always wanted to say that.

An original built trench barrel has NO taper and is a fit to the handguard with no shims. As you look down the muzzle, there should be no shims between the barrel and handguard. The space on a fake is big enough that you will immediately notice the shimming if you are looking for it.

The 6 rows of holes hand guard will have 'Patent applied for' markings on the left side. It is possible for it to have had a replacement Winchester 'W' marked 6 or 4 rows of holes guard installed prior to war2 re-issue. But at that point, I would really want to make sure it was an original W-W guard in the first place.

Or, for 1250 or less, it sounds like a fun shooter at a not unreasonable price if the 'trench work' looks good. After all, it is a Winchester, not a Norinco.

If you pick it up, you will have to get some all brass hulls - Mag tech - and reload for it. You really have to hear the 'CHING' they make as you eject them. I reload mine with OO and Herco. A real PITA, but the cool factor in watching those shiny brass hulls go flying ( and showing off! ) is worth it.

Good hunting, JT

July 24, 2010, 12:48 PM
JT-AR-MG, I have studied Winchesters for more years than I care to admit and also study US military arms. I have never heard of an arsenal building trench guns from riot guns. Do you have a source I can go to to study more on this conversion? I am not saying yours isnt original, but could it have been an arsenal redo on a riot gun that someone later on converted to a trench gun? As I said earlier I have studied these things extensively and have determined the more I study the less I know for sure.

July 24, 2010, 05:57 PM
Reference pages 101 -104 Canfield's 'A Collector's guide To United States Combat Shotguns' Andrew Mowbray/publishers.

This for Model 12 info. '97 re-work info also contained elsewhere in book.

Page 149 contains toughest photo of all to bear. Shows a 1966 group of what looks like 75 - 100 indigenous troops with their Green Beret instructors practicing with '97 trench guns prone! Photo credit/ Special Forces at War - An Illustrated History. Those didn't come back I'll bet.


July 24, 2010, 06:12 PM
JT thanks, I have this book and has been years since I read it, so will have to refresh my fast fading memory.

July 24, 2010, 10:25 PM
Saw a bunch of converted riot guns at the gunshow today, I see what you mean about the handguards! I haven't been back to the corner gunshop yet but my memory is telling me its an original they have down there. Will find out for sure monday.

July 25, 2010, 01:49 PM
I've had two of them come and go in past years. One was a solid frame WWI piece and I assume it was for real. The other was of WWII vintage and I got if from Beldan's so I would bet that it was the real Mc'Coy. TBH I didn't care for the hand guard and bayonet lug and sold it too.I still have an original riot m-97 with the 20" cylinder bbl takedown that was made in 1940 and is a fine SD to have in the house. Elmer Keith called them "the greatest alley cleaner of them all". I wonder what he would think of some of the high tech weaponry available nowadays ? :).

July 28, 2010, 01:47 PM
If its an authentic, original, unmodified 1897, then his price is about half of what its worth.

July 30, 2010, 06:24 AM
Aside from military markings, (which I don't know the specific ones other than a flaming bomb or "US) a riot gun could be made into a trench gun by adding the bayonet lug / ventillated handguard since the barrel lengths either are the same or the riot gun could be shortened if need be. I have a friend who supposedly bought a ventillated handguard, but he of course claimed he had a trench gun where the handguard was removed. In either respect, caveat emptor for such guns. $1100 sounds like a good price to me as well.

July 31, 2010, 10:19 AM
It does have the "flaming bomb" and "US" markings. I took it down off the back collector's rack of the shop and talked to the shopowner. He said as far as he's been able to tell, its legit. The outside of the barrel has a small amount of pitting, but the bore doesn't look too bad. I'm going to get some pictures of it on my cellphone next time I go down there.

July 31, 2010, 12:15 PM
Serial # 650,000-695,000

Trench Gun
98% 3,500
95% 2,400
90% 1,400
80% 1,000
70% 800
60% 700

Trench Gun w/ Military Markings
98% 5,800
95% 4,350
90% 3,000
80% 1,800
70% 1,500
60% 1,250

This is from 29th edition of Blue Book of Gun Values.

This may/may not reflect real world price. I think I would use this as an "insurance" value. Adjust accordingly. It should give you an idea of the range of value.:D

July 31, 2010, 02:20 PM