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Old April 18, 2019, 12:31 PM   #1
buck460XVR
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In the Rain with Dad's model 97

When my dad returned home after his stint with the Marines in the South Pacific, one of the first things he did was buy a good shotgun. It was used and almost 30 years old when he bought it in 1945. It was his only firearm for a dozen years and he used it for upland game and deer. When I turned 12 in 1966, I used it for hunting deer also, since the rifles(other than his) went to my mom and two sisters that also hunted. He continued to use it for Pheasants/grouse and waterfowl up until the mid seventies when he bought himself a model 1100. It then sat in his closet until he died and I inherited it. Just for old times sake and in his memory(he's been gone for 14 years), I still occasionally use it for pheasants and turkey. Since it only shoots 2 3/4" shells, turkeys gotta be pretty close. This one today was a 12 yards in the pourin' rain. I didn't think it was too bad for a 65 year old guy using a 102 year old gun..

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Old April 18, 2019, 01:12 PM   #2
eastbank
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GOOD JOB. I guess that debunks the new thoughts that turkey and deer have Teflon hides and feathers and old school rifles-shotguns will not take them.
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Old April 18, 2019, 04:06 PM   #3
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How old was the turkey? Haha, that just seemed to fit when you were listing ages.

That's a darn good looking picture you shot. I know zilch about turkey except that all I've ever heard is that it is difficult to get that close. How did you get that close, is the downpour of rain and associated noise and possible sense-masking the key?
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Old April 18, 2019, 04:48 PM   #4
Chuck Norris
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I have its twin inherited from my dad. I have been thinking it needs to go on a turkey hunt.
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Old April 18, 2019, 05:35 PM   #5
jmr40
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Nice old gun. It's probably full choke, most of them were back in the day and I bet it does a good job even with 2 3/4" shells. I have 3 older shotguns belonging to my dad, grandfather and great grandfather.

The older ones are no longer safe to shoot although one appears to look good. But with damascus barrels I just retired it. As a kid I hunted with it quite a bit before finding out about the barrels.

But I try to get dad's gun out for at least one hunt each year. He too was a WW-2 vet and it is a war trophy. When the Germans surrendered dad was in a small German village. They had just searched each home and confiscated all weapons and were preparing to destroy them. There was a gun shop in town and dad picked out an FN made SXS 12 ga. with the price tag still hanging on the trigger guard. He built a wooden box and mailed it back home.
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Old April 18, 2019, 06:32 PM   #6
buck460XVR
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Originally Posted by jmr40 View Post
Nice old gun. It's probably full choke, most of them were back in the day and I bet it does a good job even with 2 3/4" shells.
Yep, full choke. Back in the day of paper hulls, roll crimps with an overshot card, and no shot cups, full chokes were generally thought to be a necessity. And since there were no legitimate interchangeable choke systems, and back them folks generally only had one shotgun, Folks generally just stuck with a full choked scattergun for hunting. This used to be why SxSs were so popular back then also......two chokes in one gun! My Grandpa bought a Fox model B 16ga. when he came home from France after WWI. It's still my go to Pheasant gun. It too is over a hundred years old and still shoots sweetly.

Because of it's age and sentimental value, I rarely use the 'ol 1897, but I feel I owe it to the gun and my dads memory to take it out occasionally and use it for what it was designed.....and it still works very well for that intent. I hope someday my son will take down a long beard with it too, just to pass on the tradition.
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Old April 18, 2019, 06:35 PM   #7
1MoreFord
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So many of the yout's of today are so willing to tell ya that it takes a 3" or 3-1/2" 12ga to kill ducks, geese, and turkeys but somehow they were all killed back in the days their ancestor's were using black powder muzzle loaders. I can tell you from experience that duck hunting and turkey hunting in Arkansas was harder when I was a kid than it is today and still people killed them. Geese were so scarce nobody I knew even tried to hunt them. As usual it's not the gun but rather the hunter's skill that matters.

ETA - My Grandfather's old Model 12 has killed squirrels, ducks, turkey, and deer that I know of. Most likely rabbits, doves, and blackbirds too. Back in Grandfather's day a blackbird pie was a welcome addition to the menu too.

Good job with the '97.

Last edited by 1MoreFord; April 19, 2019 at 04:41 PM.
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Old April 18, 2019, 09:43 PM   #8
bamaranger
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just grand

What a great story and a job well done with an heirloom firearm.

Not to sidetrack the thread, but what load are you using in the old gun? Not that it would have mattered at 12 yds!!!!!

Winchester is loading a standard pressure, 12 gauge, 1-1/4 oz XR turkey load that uses the same technology as their excellent 3" and 3-1/2 loads. I have bought some for my grandad's 1921 Savage pump, but hav not patterned any yet.
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Old April 18, 2019, 10:51 PM   #9
stinkeypete
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Beautiful old gun and good job with the turkey.

My experience turkey hunting is limited to two styles:

waking up in the dead of night, sneaking to my pre-scouted spot, settling in, waiting for the sun to come up, calling hard for hours like I read in the books, being mocked by turkeys

Vs

Wake up, get coffee, go sit in the little ravine 300 yards behind the barn and a turkey walks up and shouts “come on! Shoot me!”

I do like it, but turkey hunting is maddening.
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Old April 19, 2019, 01:09 AM   #10
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Nice! I have an 1897 pretty much just like that one.
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Old April 19, 2019, 08:01 AM   #11
buck460XVR
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Originally Posted by bamaranger View Post
What a great story and a job well done with an heirloom firearm.

Not to sidetrack the thread, but what load are you using in the old gun? Not that it would have mattered at 12 yds!!!!!
I borrowed some of these from my son's Pheasant vest this year. They patterned very well and worked well. I shot one to pattern the gun before season and I shot one to get my bird. I don't think the old Winnie cared. It's a strong action, one reason they were so popular for so long. With the few years I have left to Turkey hunt, it will probably be my go to combo from now till then. At my age, it's getting harder to do the run and gun style I grew to love and just carrying a 26# bird a half mile up hill and and down ravines along with a gun, a seat and a backpack to get back to the jeep is a challenge. If it kills me, I'll die happy.


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Old April 19, 2019, 09:55 PM   #12
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Something I have thought and said more than a few times when out in nature. I love that you are using your dad's gun still. I will be using my grandfather's Winchester 67A to teach my younger boys to shoot with iron sights as they get older. Then they will hunt grouse with it. There is a certain connection between generations when we use the guns our parents used for the same purpose.

Congratulations on the beautiful bird. Hope you have many more seasons to enjo that shotgun.
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