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Old April 22, 2011, 06:39 PM   #1
Hardcase
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Winchester 1897s

I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I've had a pair of Winchester 1897s for some time and, well, I haven't really done much with them. And now it's gonna bite me in the butt.

A couple of my buddies asked me if I wanted to go shoot sporting clays tomorrow. Now, the last time I seriously shot at anything airborne, I was a Webelo Scout. I'm not really worried about how embarrassed I'll be at my terrible score and I'm not worried about being the guy with the hundred year old pump shotgun in the middle of a squadron of thousand-odd dollar Italian over/unders.

No, what I'm worried about is that these shotguns ought to be a whole lot easier to cycle than they are. I figure that I'm gonna have one sore shoulder when I'm done - I don't want to have two!

Here's what I figure: both of these guns go back to before World War I. And it's pretty likely that they both have turn of the century lubricating technology crusted up inside of them. So my question for the '97 experts is how far should I take the guns down to clean 'em out? There's something like a hundred parts in there and I don't want to end up with an antique 3-D jigsaw puzzle.

For what it's worth, one was my great grandpa's and the other was my grandpa's. Like I've said before, I come from a long line of packrats. Sometimes it pays off.
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Old April 22, 2011, 06:58 PM   #2
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The '97 is pretty simple, really.

http://marauder.homestead.com/files/Model97down.html
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Old April 22, 2011, 07:03 PM   #3
Hardcase
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Simple is my mantra. Thanks!
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Old April 22, 2011, 07:28 PM   #4
bedbugbilly
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Hardcase- I had a 97 once that wasn't a "shooter" - in fact, the trigger was all buggered up. I took it apart and "parted it out" - was very surprised at the interest in the parts and was glad they went to folks that could use them. You won't need to be embarassed . . . I have a feeling your buddies will look on in awe and want to shoot them! After all, how many chances are they going to get to do that? I felt the same way when I took my 101 year old Colt Special to the range to shoot out here in AZ for the first time. Kind of felt silly standing amongst all the high techies . . . but was surprised at the interest they showed. I ended up letting several of them shoot it and they thought it was a hoot. One guy had never shot a revolver before and he was in his 40s. And yes, I outshot several of them with my AS (probably luck). Good luck with the clays and I hope you'll let us know how it went!
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Old April 22, 2011, 08:07 PM   #5
Hawg
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Just remember the bolt lock is recoil operated. If you don't fire it you have to push the pump handle forward just a hair to unlock it before you can work the slide.
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Old April 23, 2011, 07:25 PM   #6
Hardcase
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Both guns cleaned up neat as can be, once I got the 70 year old axle grease out of them. Since they both have steel buttplates, I stopped by the store and got a slip-on recoil pad.

I had a blast. We ended up shooting skeet, which was just fine with me. One of the guys had shot quite a bit in a league, but 20 years ago and the other one hadn't shot clay pigeons at all...just quail and ducks. Anyway, I think I held my own with a hundred year old gun that has a full choke. I may have missed more than I hit, but I did catch a few doubles and got close enough that I think that had the old 97 had a more open choke, I would have broken more than not.

Everybody had fun, the weather was great and, to be honest, even if I had missed every single bird, I would have had a good time.

Thanks, guys, for the advice and, just to let you know, the slides are smooth enough on both guns that I can run them with two fingers.
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Old April 23, 2011, 08:01 PM   #7
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Cool beans. Glad you had a good time.
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Old April 26, 2011, 12:52 AM   #8
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My 1897...

<Deleted>

Sorry thought I was making a new thread...
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Old April 26, 2011, 04:53 AM   #9
Bill Akins
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Sounds like you had a great time Hardcase. And it gave you a good reason to clean the old '97's up internally too. I've been thinking about that gun for some time. Never had one but like its lines. I've heard that you can hold the trigger down and just pump the action and it will fire each time it's pumped. Is that true?


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Old April 26, 2011, 05:07 AM   #10
Hawg
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Quote:
I've heard that you can hold the trigger down and just pump the action and it will fire each time it's pumped. Is that true?
Yes it's true. Model 12's will do it as well as Ithaca 37's and there's a Remington that will but I forget which one.
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Old April 26, 2011, 09:17 AM   #11
Hardcase
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Heheh, just what Hawg said. In fact, I accidentally did that on one of the doubles. Didn't take my finger off the trigger when I pumped it. Needless to say, I was waaaay behind the second clay.
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Old April 26, 2011, 09:45 AM   #12
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Glad to hear you had fun bustin' clays with the 100 year old iron! I'm far from bein' a '97 expert, but when my daughter and I started shooting SASS, she "just had to have one." So, I, being the cheap b*****d that I am, lurked on GB until I got a 1907 D Model for $220 shipped. I then committed blasphemy among many by using a pipecutter to shorten it down to 19". (Yeah, yeah, I took a file and made it nice afterwards ). I've had it down to parts only once since then. Most times, I just remove the barrel (take-down model) and clean the bore thoroughly, then shoot some Ballistol in the action area and clean it out with a rag and some Q-Tips, then lube 'er back up.

I've heard many in SASS complain about the durability of the '97 ("you gotta have three -- one to shoot, one for back-up when it breaks, and one in the shop"), but so far (knock on wood), this one's been takin' all we can give it.

Heck, I'd take it (even in it's shortened state) to shoot skeet, if asked.....
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