1897 riot gun value?


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batex
May 16, 2009, 02:38 PM
I recently met gentleman and somehow we got to talking about shotguns. He told me that he has 4 or 5 ( I can't remember which) Winchester 1897 riot guns that came out of a correctional institution. He says they are in very good condition mechanically but obviously show wear, especially on the receiver. These guns are not US marked trench guns or military riot guns, but rather commercial riot guns with a 20" cylinder barrel. While there are no federal or military markings on the guns, they all still have an aluminum adhesive property ID tag on the left side of the receiver from the facility from which they came. He said he would sell one to me for $600 if I wanted one. He says the guns are all very tight because of not having been shot much. The one I saw looked nice except the receiver had turned a brownish pantina. Since I've wanted one of these, this seems like a good opporutunity to get one that hasn't been shot much and is original. Is $600 a good price for one of these?

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.45Guy
May 16, 2009, 02:47 PM
Well, seeing as some folks are willing to pay ~$500 for a Norinco knock off these days I'd say go for it.

rcmodel
May 16, 2009, 03:13 PM
If the barrel is marked Cyl and probably also "Riot Gun", it would easily be worth that.

If the choke marking is Mod or Full, it is a more common field gun with a cut off barrel.

Still worth some money, but not as much.

A friend has bought two sawed-off's in very nice shape recently in the $300 - $400 range. Both still have most of the bluing left.

rc

ReloaderFred
May 16, 2009, 04:20 PM
If the gun is tight, and the bore good, then it's worth that. It would be a better deal at $500, but I've paid $400 for 1897's and then had to have the chambers bored to 2 3/4" and the forcing cone polished. Then the barrel cut to 22" and the bead put back on. By the time I was done, I easily had $550 into the gun. Of course, I've paid a lot less for them, too.

If you want it, go for it. You can always get your money back out of it. The actual riot guns don't come up very often, and with the tag, it has some historical interest.

Hope this helps.

Fred

batex
May 16, 2009, 04:50 PM
Thanks for the responses. Here's a little more information. These guns are said to be in original configuration. The barrel is marked "CYL", but I don't recall seeing riot gun stamped anywhere. Also, the one example I saw was manufactured in 1941. I don't recall the serial number exactly but it began with an 845XXXX I believe.

Gordon
May 16, 2009, 05:27 PM
Get the highest serial # if in good condition.A 1941 one would be nice and could fire modern ammo fine. If it is Cherry $600 would be good, if finish is say 70% then $450-500 is more realistic. The correctional data plate adds nothing to value IMHO.

owlhoot
May 17, 2009, 12:33 AM
For reasons that I have never understood the bluing seems to wear off of a 97 very easily. I have three. One of them was purchased several years ago and had perhaps 95% original blue. It was made in 1916. I somehow managed to wear off most of the blue in just a couple of seasons of moderate use. Maybe the bluing was better on the later models. Anyway, the '97 is far and away my favorite pump gun. And if you want the short gun as a home defense gun, I'd say it doesn't get much better than than. You definitely do want the "E" model.

Dimis
May 17, 2009, 12:39 AM
what the difference between the riot guns and the M97 trench gun because ive seen the trench guns go for 1500-2500 :what: both in local shops and on gunbroker

might i suggest a 1897 riot gun group buy:D

rjheff
May 17, 2009, 11:42 AM
Should a Riot Gun barrel be marked Riot on the barrel?

rcmodel
May 17, 2009, 01:20 PM
what the difference between the riot guns and the M97 trench gunThe Trench Gun was a GI issue gun set up with a steel handguard & Bayonet lug.
It would have U.S. stamped receiver & Ordanance Bomb acceptance stamp markings all over it. They bring a lot of money because there are very few of them around that are not fakes.
There were also GI Riot guns with the same markings, but without the handguard & Bayo lug.

The Model 12 & 97 commercial Riot Guns were sold for police & prison use, as well as civilian sales, up until the 1950's, and are more common then a real GI marked Trench or Riot Gun, so bring less money.

Model 12 examples.
Trench Gun handguard:
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/community/gun_inventory/images/rogers/win_sg/979096_trench_3l.jpg

Trench Gun Receiver marking:
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/community/gun_inventory/images/rogers/win_sg/979096_trench_4l.jpg

Trench Gun Butt plate:
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/community/gun_inventory/images/rogers/win_sg/979096_trench_7l.jpg

As for barrel markings?
I think I have seen commercial Riot Guns with "Riot Gun" & CYL 20" barrel markings, but can't swear to it.

GI Riot or Trench guns would have the U.S. & Bombs, and the 20" barrel would be marked CYL only.

rc

Tom D
May 17, 2009, 08:19 PM
No, the riot barrels are not marked "riot."

Most of the WW1 Model 1897 trench guns are not "US" marked. And the few that are have hand stamped markings on the right side of the receiver in front of the ejection port.

By the way, that rubber buttplate with the "US" and Ordnance bomb is not a trench gun buttplate. It's a rubber recoil pad used mostly on Model 1903 rifles for launching rifle grenades.

rjheff
May 17, 2009, 10:52 PM
What is the correct barrel length for a solid frame riot gun? I'm unsure whether my barrel marked 12 GA CYL is a true riot barrel. E Series 620xxx. No US or other Trench markings.
Is the measurement taken from the end of the receiver to the barrel end?
My reason for asking is if this isn't a true riot barrel I might go ahead and add the heat shield/bayo mostly to use the sling.

ReloaderFred
May 18, 2009, 03:00 AM
The correct way to measure long gun barrels, be they smoothbore or rifled, is to close the bolt and measure from the bolt face to the exact end of the barrel. This can be done with a cleaning rod, or anything else that is rigid and will go down the barrel. Run the rod down the barrel until it's resting on the boltface and then mark the end of the barrel on the rod. Measure the distance between the mark and the end of the rod, and that will be the barrel length.

Hope this helps.

Fred

Spot
May 18, 2009, 04:12 AM
I believe that there is a comment (or 2) in The Poor Man's James Bond that speaks of the Winchester 1897 shotgun; something about being able to hold down the trigger while pumping rounds downrange.

A comment (from the book) of "Noise -- Lord, what a noise!" :D

Spot
May 18, 2009, 04:14 AM
Batex, if you can, go ahead & buy what you can.

ReloaderFred
May 18, 2009, 12:55 PM
Yes, you can slam fire the Model 97. You just hold the trigger back and work the slide, but it's not the best way to shoot a shotgun, or any other long gun, for that matter.

Hope this helps.

Fred

rjheff
May 21, 2009, 08:26 PM
Fred-
I did as you said and measured the barrel from the bolt face to the end of the barrel. It is 20 inches exactly. Would that be the correct length for a riot barrel?

ReloaderFred
May 21, 2009, 08:57 PM
rjheff,

I'm not real familiar with the factory riot guns. All my 1897's were either 30" or 32" guns when I bought them.

The barrel should say how it was choked when it left the factory. All my '97's are stamped on the barrels that they left the factory with full chokes.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Fred

1858
May 21, 2009, 09:29 PM
I bought an original riot '97 about 18 months ago (made in 1921) and paid a lot more than $600 for it so that sounds like a great deal. It doesn't say "riot" on the barrel or receiver, just CYL, but it's the original 20" barrel and also came from prison service in Texas. The outside shows some wear from being carried a lot, but the inside of the barrel was/is pristine. I followed Fred's advice and had the chamber cut to 2-3/4" and forcing cone lengthened. It shoots great, looks good and I couldn't be happier with it. It'll be with me till the end.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/shotguns/win97/win97(01).jpg

Here's the brown patina on the receiver that you mentioned ... it doesn't bother me ... it adds character. The plastic butt plate was cracked so I replaced it with a "genuine" '97 steel plate that looks/feels a lot better.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/shotguns/win97/win97(02).jpg

:)

mljdeckard
May 21, 2009, 09:48 PM
We have one in the family that is a 16 ga, beat to snot, including a chip missing from the length of the wood on the pump. A family member borrowed it, was hunting with it, tripped in the mud and blew up the barrel. My grandfather cut it off to just over 19". We keep it around for poops and giggles, I asked my dad about buying a few parts from Brownell's and spending a little cash to have it fixed up. He doesn't think it's worth it, but on the other hand, the collector value is long gone, and it might be nice to have a 16 ga in the family for hunting. I would out of pocket for some parts, and give a gunsmith a couple of hundred to go through the lockwork and re-blue it.

rjheff
May 21, 2009, 10:42 PM
Fred and 1858-
I'm beginning to think this might be a riot barrel. It is 20 in from bolt face and marked 12 GA and CYL just as 1858's is. The serial number puts in 1917-18 time frame. I love the gun. The shell ejection problem seems to be a broken ejector spring. Numrich had them for $2.75. The butt stock varnish is worn through the around the wrist. The fore end is in really good shape.
Thanks for the replies.

Spot
May 22, 2009, 04:16 AM
Yes, you can slam fire the Model 97. You just hold the trigger back and work the slide, but it's not the best way to shoot a shotgun, or any other long gun, for that matter.

Hope this helps.

Fred

Fred,

The comments I posted are from the PMJB; normally I wouldn't slam fire an 1897 unless there was a reason to do so.

1858
May 22, 2009, 06:03 AM
I'm beginning to think this might be a riot barrel. It is 20 in from bolt face and marked 12 GA and CYL just as 1858's is.

rjheff, when I disassembled my '97 for cleaning, I noticed the letter R on the underside of the barrel near the receiver along with a number of proof marks. I don't know if the R stands for "riot" but maybe some folks here such as Fred can confirm whether or not their non riot versions have an R on them.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/shotguns/win97/win97(03).jpg

:)

rjheff
May 22, 2009, 09:38 AM
1858-
Thats the first I've heard of the R under the barrel. I bought several Winchester books since I bought the gun and have been trying to gain a little knowledge along the way.
You sure seem to have a lot of bluing left. Mine is nearly all a soft brown patina.
Thanks and enjoy the weekend.

Tom D
May 22, 2009, 02:42 PM
A Model 1897 shotgun in the 620xxx serial number range would most likely be a pre WW1 gun, not 1917.

Does the bead sight on the barrel look original or added? Put your finger down the barrel and see if it is smooth just under the bead sight. If so, it may just be original. Often this area feels rough when a barrel has been cut down and a bead sight added.

rjheff
May 25, 2009, 04:38 PM
Well it seems that what I have is a cut down barrel with the bead added. I did as you suggested and can definitely feel an edge inside the barrel just below the bead. All in all its OK by me. I love the gun.
Thanks for the input.

joe817
May 25, 2009, 06:24 PM
A thread dear to my heart. At one time I had one of the best U.S. military marked trench and riot shotgun collections in the southwest(sure wish I had them now).
The only ones I could not find were the Ithaca 37, and the Remington Model 10.(in both trench and riot gun configuration).

I may be able to shed a little light on a few of the posters comments.

1858 said: "when I disassembled my '97 for cleaning, I noticed the letter R on the underside of the barrel near the receiver along with a number of proof marks." - According to George madis(publisher of Winchester shotgun collector books), The "R" proofmark on the bottom of the barrel, was a designator "for the wide selection of steels used for various models. The letters M, I, and R were in a square. P was in a circle. It has nothing to do with it being a riot gun.

TomD: if you have a 97 with ser.# 620xxx, it was manufactured in 1917; from ser.#600649 to 622236. 21,587 were manufactured in that year in various gauges(info also from George Madis).

If anyone ever has a question on U.S. marked shotguns, please ask away.

1858
May 25, 2009, 06:33 PM
joe817, thanks for the explanation re the letter(s) on the underside of the barrel.

If anyone ever has a question on U.S. marked shotguns, please ask away.

How would someone know for sure that a '97 is an original riot version rather than a chopped version ... assuming that the end of the barrel has no obvious tool marks and the barrel isn't some odd length?

Thanks.
:)

joe817
May 25, 2009, 06:44 PM
A very valid question 1858. :)

All riot guns(and trench guns for that matter) ONLY came in CYL bore(and so marked on the barrel), plus all front beads were steel...nothing else. In addition, 99.999% of all U.S. Military procured trench and riot guns came in 12 ga, and were ONLY 20" barrels...nothing else.

I guess someone could have cut down a CYL barrel to 20". If that be the case, only verrrryyyyyy closely at the end of the barrel to see if there was any choke at all. If no....then it's a cut down.

Hope that helps.

Tom D
May 25, 2009, 06:50 PM
The serial number table in Madis' book for Model 1897 shotguns is not accurate.

I have three WW1 trench guns, and according to the table in Madis' book, they would have been made in 1920 and 1921. That's not correct. They were all made during WW1, not after.

1858
May 25, 2009, 06:59 PM
All riot guns(and trench guns for that matter) ONLY came in CYL bore(and so marked on the barrel), plus all front beads were steel...nothing else. In addition, 99.999% of all U.S. Military procured trench and riot guns came in 12 ga, and were ONLY 20" barrels...nothing else.

I guess someone could have cut down a CYL barrel to 20". If that be the case, only verrrryyyyyy closely at the end of the barrel to see if there was any choke at all. If no....then it's a cut down.

Hope that helps.

OK ... my '97 has the following features. The barrel is exactly 19-1/2" from the muzzle to the front of the receiver, the muzzle I.D. is 0.728", it has CYL stamped on the barrel near the receiver, the front bead sight looks to be brass and it sits 0.500" from the muzzle with the hole for the front bead running all the way into the bore. The serial number is E7054XX.

So based on your previous post this is a cut down version ... right? If it is a cut down version, it was done well.

:)

joe817
May 25, 2009, 07:03 PM
Hi TomD and welcome to the forum!

3???? What an incredible collection you have there.

How were you able to determine that they were indeed issued during WWI, and not additional pieces procured by the military in '21? Can you provide me with the names of reference books that would have more accurate information? Thanks in advance.

I'll bet Madis would be fuming to hear that the tables of shotguns produced are incorrect.

I'm sure not arguing with you...I just have to go by what reference books I have, you see.

Tom D
May 25, 2009, 08:31 PM
Almost all Military contracts, including those for firearms, were cancelled by early 1919. While some production may have continued for a while, I seriously doubt Winchester continued to make trench guns for the next three years into 1922.

There are known examples of trench guns in the early 700,000 serial number range that were transferred by the Military to the National Guard in 1921. But, according to the Madis table, these were not even made until 1922. In fact, if you believe Madis' serial number table, the vast majority of Model 1897 trench guns were not even made until after WW1. I find that hard to believe.

If you don't believe me, I suggest corresponding with collector and author Bruce Canfield.

1858
May 25, 2009, 08:43 PM
... so joe817, any help with my last post?

:)

joe817
May 25, 2009, 10:09 PM
1858, sorry for delay. Daughter brought the grandbaby over, and all life stands still for him when he's here! :)

As far as the sight goes, I'll have to back pedal a bit. Quoting Madis: "Brass beads for front sights are standard; in high numbers we often see beads of nickel silver or of polished steel. Riot and trench guns have front beads of steel in most cases."

I too have had front bead sights on riot guns where the bead is threaded to the bore then polished off.

Neither the War Department's Technical Manual TM 9-285 or TM 9-1285(Shotguns, All Types; Sept. 21, 1942 and Nov. 25, 1942) make any mention of front sights at all.

Note that I'm only knowledgeable in the military versions. I'll bet the commercial models DID come with brass bead front sights. Is yours a military marked riot gun? Flaming bomb on barrel and receiver; stock stamped G.H.D. or WB? Oak leaves with crossed cannons? Gosh I hope so. Any other unusual markings? If not, chances are it's a commercial riot gun.

Not being able to examine the gun, I can't say for sure if it's a gunsmith worked cut down or not. If it's as clean as it appears, then probably it's not a cut down.

I know that doesn't definitively answer your question, but it's the best I can do. But I hope that helps

joe817
May 25, 2009, 10:21 PM
TomD, woahhhhh buddy! I didn't mean for you to get your dander up! :eek:

And I apologize if what I said was considered an insult by you. And I did not say I didn't believe you. I was simply asking you for YOUR reference material. I don't like having incorrect data which I quote, to be wrong. I'll go out and buy a copy of that same reference material that you are using if you'll tell me what book it is. I like to be factual. That's all I'm saying.

And I know Bruce. Back in the early to mid 80's)when he was doing research on his book about trench guns) we corresponded back and forth several time, and some telephone conversations about several Stevens 520 & 620 perforated handguards I picked up. In fact he may have bought one from me. I think he did, now that I think about it. But that was 23 years ago.

Can you post some pics of your WWI '97 trench guns? I'm fascinated by them. So so rare nowadays.

batex
May 25, 2009, 10:54 PM
As the original poster for this thread, I thank everyone for their discussion and information sharing. I wanted to also let everyone know I ended up getting the gun I asked about. It's an original commerical riot gun that came out of a state prison. The gun is in very nice condition overall and all original except for the recoil pad. I saw three other guns that also came out of the same prison and they also had the same recoil pad. The barrel is marked "CYL" as you can see, but I didn't see any other marks identifying it as a "riot" gun. I would appreciate ideas of it's value. Here are the pics.
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c147/batex/IMG_4124.jpg
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c147/batex/IMG_4125.jpg
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c147/batex/IMG_4129-1.jpg

joe817
May 26, 2009, 12:11 AM
Beautiful gun batex! I'd love to have one again. *sigh*

I've been so long out of collecting riot shotguns that I'd hate to even venture a guess. But I DO know it does have collectors interest. It's a takedown too! Yummy. :)

If it were mine, I'd keep it and not do anything to it except clean it. No mods at all. But then again I look at it from a collectors standpoint. I'll bet you can sell it for more than what you paid for it, someday.

Enjoy!

1858
May 26, 2009, 01:01 AM
joe817, thanks for the explanation ... looking at the muzzle of mine, I'm fairly confident that the barrel is original based on how the bluing has worn.

batex, If you only paid $600 I think you got a very good deal for such a nice, lightly used '97. I notice that your riot version is quite different from mine at the end of the tube magazine. Here's how mine looks but then again it's not a take-down model. You can see the brass front bead sight too. Added in edit: I see that the take-down models do have a different tube magazine arrangement based on the one in the link a few posts down.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/shotguns/win97/win97(08).jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/shotguns/win97/win97(09).jpg

:)

rjheff
May 26, 2009, 01:49 AM
1858
That is exactly how mine looks also.

1858
May 26, 2009, 02:23 AM
That is exactly how mine looks also.

Good!! I'm 99% sure mine is an original riot. I bought it from Collectors Firearms in Texas (http://www.collectorsfirearms.com/) and since they sell some firearms for hundreds of thousands of dollars I got the feeling that they know what they're talking about.

Check out this take-down riot version at Collectors Firearms! (http://www.collectorsfirearms.com/admin/product_details.php?itemID=21751) :what:

Or this one (http://www.collectorsfirearms.com/admin/product_details.php?itemID=26323) ... looks like mine.

rjheff, you commented that you can feel the "edge" below the front bead sight. Mine has the front bead sight mounting hole drilled all the way into the bore and I can see/feel the hole. According to joe817 that's how the riot ones were made.

:)

batex
May 26, 2009, 06:05 AM
1858,
Thanks for posting the pics. It clearly shows the differences between a fixed barrel model and a takedown version which mine is. Mine also as a steel bead like yours at the muzzle end, it's just not noticable in the pics.

Now I need to give this think a good cleaning...

joe817
May 26, 2009, 12:33 PM
Oh dear Lord! 1858, that last pic you just looks exactly like the military riot gun I had. I bought it while I was exhibiting at the Fort Worth Gun Show in 1984.

I paid $185.00 for it...sold it for $310.00 after keeping it for 2 years.

Phew. I'd say collectible firearms are good investments. $2,895. Wow.

Thanks a lot for posting it.

Tom D
May 26, 2009, 03:49 PM
Hi Joe.

No need to apoligize. I didn't take any of your messages as an insult. And, sorry if it sounded like I was getting my dander up. That was not my intention.

In addition to what I already mentioned, I believe there are some Ordnance documents with dates from WW1 or shortly thereafter which may confirm that many of the trench guns are of WW1 mfg. rather than post WW1 mfg. I think Bruce Canfield has copies.

joe817
May 26, 2009, 05:53 PM
Hi Tom, thanks for the reply. I think your knowledge of WWI trench guns far exceed mine(maybe allllllll trench guns for that matter).

At least there are people who I can talk to that appreciate those things. People whose interests in trench/riot guns as a collector piece are few and far between.

So many people I talked to when I was exhibiting at the guns shows, would walk by my table, would see my collection on display and say "oh I know what one of them thangs is. It's a sawed off shotgun. Good shape though. Why would you cut down the barrel of a purfectly good bird huntin' gun?" All I did was smile as they walked by.

My how times have changed.

Bill B.
May 26, 2009, 07:04 PM
As the original poster for this thread, I thank everyone for their discussion and information sharing. I wanted to also let everyone know I ended up getting the gun I asked about. It's an original commerical riot gun that came out of a state prison. The gun is in very nice condition overall and all original except for the recoil pad. I saw three other guns that also came out of the same prison and they also had the same recoil pad. The barrel is marked "CYL" as you can see, but I didn't see any other marks identifying it as a "riot" gun. I would appreciate ideas of it's value.

Very nice 97! Lets just say that clean 97's that have been cut for Cowboy Action are going in the $800.00 range. I would expect that 97 if put on GunBroker would go over a $1000.00. Get a couple of collectors in a bidding war and we all might not have a clue as to what the final value will be. I have seen some on GB that were priced over $1000.00 and I would rather have your 97 than one of them anyway!

pck3
May 26, 2009, 08:20 PM
Okay, I think I have a model 10 (not marked on gun) But it is a Remington 12 gauge the barrel is 19" long. The action loads and ejects through the bottom. Serial # is 39489. This was my dads and he never told me much about it other than to whatch out how hard I pumped it as it will fire if you jack it hard, ( pretty cool I can empty it REAL fast) but thats about it.. My uncle "thinks" that dad carried it in Vietnam, as a Marine in Force Recon, and I have heard about some individual weapons but not sure if thats the story here. I would be interested in any information you fellows may have.. It will probably never come off the wall but still... I will try to post pics in a little bit Thanks in advance

joe817
May 26, 2009, 11:32 PM
pck3, I've looked through all of my documentation, and have very little info about the Model 10. Sorry.

They were made from 1908-1929, and a total of 275,000 were manufactured.

If it fires when you jack the action, and it fires, in my opinion, you have a very worn out and dangerous shotgun to shoot. But that's what my instinct is telling me.

As I know little or next to nothing about it, I defer to other people who do. Wish I could be more help.

pck3
May 27, 2009, 01:36 AM
yeah thats why it will probably live on the wall, but my uncle thought that it was modified specificaly to do that. thanks for the info

rjheff
May 27, 2009, 09:02 AM
Sounds to me like you may be referring to "slam firing." I know nothing of the shotgun you posted about. I do recall seeing shotguns in VN. I want to say I think they may have been 870'S but thats a long, long time ago.
Edit :
Found this:
The most common shotgun was Remington 870; a 12-gauge pump action weapon, still in production today. It got off to a rocky start in Vietnam. The shells initially issued contained 8 "00 buck" pellets. A weapon with #4 buck (41 pellets) would've been more useful. Later as things improved a special adapter was added to help focus the spray of pellets. Other shotguns used included the Winchester Model 12, Steven's 12-gauge and the Ithaca Mod. 37 all pump actions.

Tom D
May 27, 2009, 02:36 PM
The Military did acquire a few thousand Remington Model 10 shotguns during WWI. Most of them were trench guns. I don't beleive they were used much after WWI, and they certainly would have been disposed of before the Vietnam War. IIRC, the serial number range of these WWI Model 10s were well into the 100,000 range (I think in the 150,000 - 160,000 range).

pck3
May 27, 2009, 10:10 PM
since there is no model # on the gun I'm not sure what it is. All I Know is that it is a Remington. Was the 870 ever made with bottom ejection?

joe817
May 27, 2009, 10:36 PM
No pck3, the 870 has always been side ejection since first coming out.

And what you do have is a Model 10.

pck3
May 27, 2009, 11:08 PM
thanks joe187. I appreciate all your help

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