View Full Version : Winchester Model 97 Takedown - Instructions for Replacing Barrel?

January 23, 2011, 08:46 PM
I have a 1940s Winchester 97 takedown, 12 gauge with a 30" full choke barrel. It's in decent shape, but I have decided to replace the existing barrel with a 20" cylinder bore from Numrich.

I ordered the parts diagram with the barrel, but before I tackle the project I was wondering if there are any issues I should be aware of, tips for removing the old barrel, etc.


January 25, 2011, 11:13 AM
To remove the barrel from the takedown extension a special jig/tool/holder is usually required to prevent cracking the extension. If you just try to twist it off, it usually warps and or cracks rendering it unusable.

The holder looks a little like a frame jig as it supports the extension on all sides as well as from the inside of the magazine ring.

Unless it is a collector grade shotgun, the easiest way to get a 20" cylinder bare barrel is to cut the original barrel back and add a new bead. Barrel swaps on the 97 were accomplished by changing out the entire front half, not by changing just the barrel.


January 25, 2011, 05:47 PM
Joat -

Interesting. Perhaps I ordered the barrel before thinking this through. :o

However, there's some history behind this shotgun and I would like to have the ability to restore it to original condition, so I think I will see what I come up with. By takedown extension I assume you mean the piece that the barrel and magazine tube go through which is just in front of the receiver when the shotgun is assembled?

Is this the jig you are referring to?


January 26, 2011, 12:01 PM
That is it. I couldn't remember where I'd seen it or I'd have posted a link to it,:o.

As they said, it is still possible to distort the extension even using the correct tool if you over do it, or the dang thing just doesn't want to come apart

You should be able to find a front section for sale that doesn't have any sentimental value. When I was cowboy action shooting, I had at least 1 spare "front end" rat holed for a project that never came to be.


January 27, 2011, 01:36 AM
You can have a spare barrel fitted with an extension and swap the pump/tube section back and forth, if necessary.
Care must be exercised to minimize creating some issue with the screws or barrel notches etc.

A barrel most likely will need to be fitted to the frame with proper fit of an adjusting sleeve, and then may very well need fitting to the chamber ring in the frame to correct any off-center alignment. Brass can tend to catch in the low side of the chamber ring and inhibit or block extraction.

You need someone familiar with gunsmithing these classic Winchesters, like me.


January 29, 2011, 09:22 PM
Seems this is like a lot of projects, gets more expensive every time you turn around.

It's a long gun, so I can ship USPS insured. What do you think the likely range of costs would be to have you remove the old barrel and replace it with the new one, including return shipping to 83843?

In the meantime, I think I will introduce the extension to some Kroil.

January 30, 2011, 04:30 PM
The AGI video on 1897 shotguns discusses why takedowns should not swap halves.

The fired case can get stuck in the chamber.

That is a VERY good video.
When I take a 97 apart, it is while watching that video.

January 31, 2011, 02:07 PM
There is a world of difference between fitting another barrel and just "swapping halves".
It is typical that any barrel assembly tried on another non-matched frame will likely not be a proper fit, but most don't need a video to convince them of that fact, once they hear from a few shooters about the nature of the 97 beast.

The AGI video information and sampling of some of the video information out there from supposed "experts" has me noticing gaps in the information or incorrect information being supplied- sometimes to the point that makes me consider the knowledge of the presenter as "half-baked".

I would wish that any information out there for consumption was comprehensive, complete, and correct, but sadly- that is not the case in many instances.

Barrel swapping is a job that should have professional input due to the specialized tooling and expertise/experience required to ensure fitting that duplicates factory work.


February 1, 2011, 10:21 AM
"Swapping halves" is the simplistic statement that does not cover the detail and work done before attempting the swap.

A second front end can be fitted to an existing receiver to allow a simple swap. It is cheaper and easier to fit a complete front end to a 97 than to change out the barrel. All fitting is done on the non serial numbered part and if a catastrophic occurrence happens, (something breaks), the original front end is still available for use.

There are several 97 smiths out there that can do the work for either a barrel swap or fitting a new front end. Including Coyote Cap (http://www.coyotecap.com/index.html) who does a lot of work on 97s for SASS/Cowboy Action Shooting folks.