View Full Version : Valuing a Winchester 1897?

June 6, 2012, 05:48 PM
I have an 1897 12 gauge full choke serial # 3838xx, which according to
is 1908 vintage. It belonged to my great-uncle, probably since new. I've never seen it fired, and I'd be a little nervous to do so except with light loads (just based on its age).

The action seems to work OK, and the bore looks good. Almost no bluing left, but not horrible rust either (one of the advantages of living in the Mountain Time Zone: no humidity!) The stock and foreend are intact but a bit worn. There's a small spot of pale paint that overlaps the stock and back of the receiver.

The worst thing about its condition is that the mating of the receiver to the barrel/magazine assembly is not very tight: The barrel can move laterally a good 1/2" at the muzzle. I assume they were not like that when new, and this indicates a fair amount of wear? I've never handled another 1897.

Does this gun have any value? I have a couple of old family guns which are shooters, that I want to keep, but this is not one of them. What would you ask if you wanted it to sell fast? Would typical gun shops want to buy this for resale, or would that need an antique specialist?

http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/6223/win97action.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/577/win97action.jpg/)

http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/6083/win97.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/717/win97.jpg/)

June 6, 2012, 06:02 PM
condition is everything on these old guns ....

There are collectors out there that want these guns ...but I think the value on your gun as you describe it is somewhere between ( "not sellable" -
$ 100 ) ...and that's fairly typical on many of the model 1897's ( they made a lot of them )... but I've also seen some for sale - in very good condition - for between $ 500 and $1,000.

and no, I wouldn't shoot it until a qualified gunsmith could tell you what's going on with the receiver to barrel connection / it might be fine ...or something might just be loose...hard to tell.

I'm not a collector or an expert on the model 1897's ( or the older model 1893's ) ...so I don't know if they were blued, or parkerized ...or maybe nickel...

June 7, 2012, 02:24 PM
The Cowboy Match folks really like these, too.
It's the only pump that is rules legal for their style of shooting matches.

Dave P
June 7, 2012, 02:29 PM
If it is a takedown version, it is simple to tighten the barrel. Aught to be a writeup somewhere here ...

and I'll give you 200 for it.

June 7, 2012, 02:41 PM
I see from the receiver it's a takedown and there's a pin below the barrel in front of the forend. They didn't parkerize back then only blued.

June 7, 2012, 06:11 PM
thanks gunsmoke, I did not know ...( if blued, nickel or parkerized..) ...