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Old June 30, 2011, 01:02 AM   #1
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Winchester Model 1897 12 Gauge

Does anyone else find a certain appeal to this shotgun. I reall like the looks and how it has a hammer you can decock. It has a cool action and the slam fire is cool. I also like the 1887 Winchester in 10 Gauge. That is a huge shell I would like to have one of both. Anyone ever fire either and what were they like. I really want a 10 Gauge 1887 to tell you the truth. It is a cool shotgun and unique.
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Old June 30, 2011, 09:06 PM   #2
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Hell Yeah, it's a cool shotgun.

My grandfather had one, and it now resides with my big brother.

The tie-in and history as a WWI "trench gun" gives it additional appeal in my book.


"No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson
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Old June 30, 2011, 10:29 PM   #3
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Very appealing. Particularly in view of the fact that they are take-downs.
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Old June 30, 2011, 11:58 PM   #4
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I will comment generally on both shotguns, both guns make good home defense weapons today, holding 5 rounds in the magazine (except for the Italian Win87 reproduction, whcih holds two):

The Win97 is a pump action shotgun and is used extensively today by Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) participants. The cowboy shooters cut the barrel down to approximately 20 inches. The Win97 is a John Browning design and was available in both take-down (most common) and solid frame models. The gun has a lot of parts; about eighty. A good shooter costs about $400-$450, but you will find them selling for less and more. The popularity with CAS cowboys is the reason that these guns sell at that price. They are wonderful, well-made guns. Reproductions of the Win97 are coming in from China (IAC/Norinco) and they are generally pretty good copies, but they certainly are not Winchesters. The original Win 97 was made from 1897-1957....a sixty-year run. The predecessor to the '97 was the '93, which looks the same, but there were important modifications made and the new gun was the '97. For a time back in those days, Winchester would trade the owners of a '93 straight across for a new '97
The Win87 is a lever-action shotgun, also a John Browning design. BE CAREFUL if you get your hands on one. They are safe only for black powder shells. There are reproductions now being made by Norinco in China, distributed in the USA by IAC. So you will see them referred to as IAC or Norinco or IAC/Norinco, etc. The modern reproductions, of course are all made for smokeless shells. The Italian guns, I do not have much use for. Their target market is CAS shooters and they cost more than double the price of the Chinese gun. I have a Chinese reproduction and I find that the fit and finish is quite acceptable. The reproductions are only available in short 20" (or thereabouts) barrels. The originals have longer barrels unless they have been cut. The originals will all have short ~2 1/2" chambers. The original guns will have, on the left side of the receiver, a Winchester Arms Company circular monogram, approximately 2" in diameter. The Chinese guns have plain, unmarked receivers...don't know about he Italian guns. The Chiese reproduction sells for $400-$500 and the Italian Chiappa brand reproduction is double that, I understand. There are not too many of the original Win87's around because their were not as many made and they were made for black powder shells. BP is corrosive and those that exist are not in the greatest shape.

I own both an original Win97 and a Chinese reproduction Win87. Both guns are very nice to shoot, but the Chinese Win87 is a bit rough and has an inherrent issue with ejection, attributable to the original gun being designed for the old 2 1/2" shell length and the Chinese have so closely reverse-engineered or reproduced the gun as to the reproductions now having issues ejecting the modern 2 3/4" length shell. This can be addressed by a GOOD gunsmith who understnads the problem. Unfortunately the CAS gunsmiths DO NOT. Don't send your gun off to one of those characters!! There is an outfit up in Oregon called Pisco Gunsmithing who can address this issue.

Last edited by Wolf Lies Down; July 1, 2011 at 12:14 AM.
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Old July 2, 2011, 01:17 PM   #5
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Wow thanks for all the info WOLF both sound like really cool shotguns. Like someone said I love the 1897's appeal of WWI and WWII. It was the Trenchgun, they also called it and the Tommygun the 'Room Broom' I believe which is an excellent name. The germans wanted to outlaw the use of buckshot in combat they thought it was inhumane in WWI. They hated our 1897's because of a shotguns devistating effect. I rather carry a 1897 is WWI than the bolt action 1903 springfield. I would do the trench work and carry some slugs for further shooting just in case, like a 50-60yd target.
-- I like the 1887 more for nostalgic purposes of watching T2 when younger and thinking, that cool. I also think the 10Gauge is cool.
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Old July 2, 2011, 02:05 PM   #6
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just in case somebody needs to see one...

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Old July 2, 2011, 02:14 PM   #7
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I agree the '97 is a great old classic. My best friend had one when we were growing up. We shot a hell of a lot of rabbits with that long-barrelled Winchester. It was a big gun for a 10-12 year old to tote around the pasture. But I don't remember it ever missing a beat.
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Old July 2, 2011, 02:21 PM   #8
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The Win87 is a lever-action shotgun, also a John Browning design. BE CAREFUL if you get your hands on one. They are safe only for black powder shells

Early ones yes but I grew up hunting with an original 87 using 2 3/4 smokeless shells(but I don't recommend it). Not long ago I loaded it up and didn't realize the one I put in the chamber was a 3 inch magnum. The case head separated but it didn't hurt the gun. I don't know where the shell came from as I don't even own a 3 inch magnum.
I have a Norinco 97 and it's a great shooter also.
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Old July 2, 2011, 06:57 PM   #9
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I want a Norinco 1887. They make em in 12 Gauge right thats standard? Do they still have 10 Gauge's. Its not really popular anymore right. It would defintley be cool to have one though. The 12 would be more than fine. Id put a loop lever on it to flip cock it lol . Nah Id probably just keep it standard.
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Old November 1, 2011, 11:06 AM   #10
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97 Trench Gun!

The Norinco 97 Trench Gun model is quite a package. I lucked out and found a later one, built some time after they started using American walnut for the stocks. I have an original Vietnam-era US M1917 bayonet installed on mine.

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Old November 1, 2011, 03:44 PM   #11
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my winchester model 97 in 12ga. with 30 inch full choke barrel, i take it out several times a year for small game(on nice days) with 1-1/8 oz #6 shot, if i do my part it rolls any thing i shoot at. it,s a lovely old shotgun. eastbank.

Last edited by eastbank; January 24, 2012 at 09:27 AM.
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Old November 1, 2011, 04:44 PM   #12
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My Dad had a few of these, they were heavy to lug around. The model 12 was a better gun and also saw ww1 and ww2 duty. I prefer the Ithaca bottom loader, it is lite and fast. My current HD is a winchester 1300 which I feel is a better gun than the ol 97 was IMHO.
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Old November 2, 2011, 10:55 AM   #13
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Eastbank, yours look a lot better than my two! I still use mine for skeet and sporting clays when the weather is nice. Sure, they're a little heavy, but like you, if I do my job, they'll do theirs.

And it's kind of fun to hear what the boys with the gazillion dollar over/unders with all their fancy-schmancy gear say when I shoot a 20 or 22 on the skeet range. Heck, it's fun to hear what they say when I shoot my Model 50 with the Polychoke (my regular gun)!
Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop - Gus McCrae
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Old November 2, 2011, 02:37 PM   #14
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Never owned a 97, but have used them on and off,here and there. IMO, still one of the best repeaters ever devised.

A couple things....

In 12 gauge, they are a bit heavy in the uplands. The 16s, OTOH, are nigh perfect for that.

The slightly industrial look is part of their charm. New wood can improve both looks and fit.

Downsides include that some 97s are getting tired and need attention from a specialist like Simmons or Nu Line.

And one will only high wrist a 97 while shucking once.

Some 97s have been cursed by The Demon of Short Chambers. Determine your chamber length by having your smith measure it, not by "My grandad and Dad shot the heck out of this with 2 3/4" loads since the Coolidge era". If the chamber's short, use appropriate ammo from Polywad, Gamebore, Ely, etc.

Once past those hurdles, go shoot it.....
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Old November 2, 2011, 08:19 PM   #15
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The Winchester model 1897 aka..model 97's are good solid shotguns. They look like they turn themselves completely inside out when working the action. A agree with Dave, a person will only have to get bitten once with a model 97 before they learn how to correctly hold it when working the action. I could be called slightly prejudice because I like the hand finished firearms much better than any that aren't and built with stamped out parts.
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Old November 3, 2011, 09:33 AM   #16
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Best comment I've heard about the Win97 was....

with "the hammer fullback, sort's looks like the German Shepherd with its ears laid back and snarling."

Mine retired to HD with the 18.5" barrel do have a second 30" barrel (mounted on take-down piece) but need the wood forearm and screw on cap for keep same in place.
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Old November 3, 2011, 05:29 PM   #17
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great gun with sweeet history... true old school
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Old November 4, 2011, 11:14 AM   #18
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They look like they turn themselves completely inside out when working the action.
That may be the funniest (and truest) description of the '97 that I've heard!
Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop - Gus McCrae
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Old November 4, 2011, 11:22 AM   #19
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My dad got one handed down to him and is currently sittin in our gun cabinet.

It was his primary huntin gun until about 8 years ago when he bought his new mossy. the 97 was the first gun i ever shot at about the age of 10.

To this day i still like takin it out and runnin the action several times just to admire it, its an awesome lookin and feelin gun.
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Old November 8, 2011, 09:24 AM   #20
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I recently found a 97 that is a 20 inch "riot" gun in really good condition. The serial number shows it to be made on 1903. It has a stamp on the receiver that reads "safety public committee" . Anyone know anything about the marking? I had a 97 30 years ago and traded it. This one wont get away.
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Old November 10, 2011, 09:52 PM   #21
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Just bought my son the '87 Norinco for Christmas. He's been wanting one since Call of Duty had it as a weapon choice. It's back again in COD MW3, and he's jones pretty bad, lol.

Can't wait to get it out and run a few rounds through it. Am thinking of large looping it, maybe cutting barrel, stock, lol, just like in Terminator. No clue, I'll let the boy decide.
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Old November 11, 2011, 01:48 AM   #22
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We have a '97 also with a 30" full choke barrel, where can I get a shorter barrel?
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