Winchester 97 US Nickel of Stainless? What?


Henry deButts
October 20, 2012, 05:42 AM
I have a Model 97 with the US Markings "Bomb" on the chamber left side. It has a G.H.D. with emblem crossed cannons on the left side of the stock, serial # 9383XX and it is all stainless steel or nickel, (not sure), I was wondering; when this gun was produced? and where? what field units it was issued to? Also what these markings meant on the left cheek of the stock, and on the reciever of this Model 97 shotgun?

I was wondering if it was for a military supply depot, a navel unit, parade gun, a fielded military unit or something like that?

Here's some other data on the gun:
On side of barrel at receiver:
MODEL 97 Winchester 12 GA.
2-3/4 CHAM.
CYL.Bottom of receiver @ magazine: E 9383XX
Overall length: 40"

What do I have here? :confused:

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October 20, 2012, 10:19 AM
Made in 1941.

All of them I've seen from that era have been highly polished blue like this one from 1943-1944.

Henry deButts
October 20, 2012, 01:01 PM
I have read that some of these were made in nickel or stainless...
was that for rust proofing? Or marine use?:confused:

Tom D
October 20, 2012, 02:29 PM
Actually, your Model 97 was made in the latter half of 1942. There should be a two digit barrel date (e.g., "42") stamped on the underside of the barrel near the receiver.

Mostly trench guns are found in that serial number range. And all the Military Model 97 shotguns left the factory with a blue finish.

The GHD mark is the inspector's mark, and the crossed cannons mark the Military acceptable mark.

Is the barrel CYL bore marked and are there three transverse grooves on the underside of the barrel near the muzzle? If so, it's a trench gun barrel.

October 20, 2012, 02:36 PM
Re finished in nickel and very pretty but worth less than original finish would have been in any condition.Could be just polished steel if it was kept oiled.

October 20, 2012, 02:56 PM
Hard to tell from the pics, but I guess it looks like bare steel to me. ( the bluing wore off )

October 20, 2012, 03:50 PM
That would be my guess too.

Somebody polished all the bluing off.
Take a cold blue pen and touch an out of the way spot.
If it is polished carbon steel, it will blue.
If it's nickle it won't.

FYI: There were no stainless steel guns made by anyone that long ago.
And especially a Winchester Model 97.

The first production stainless steel firearm was the S&W Model 60 .38 Spl revolver introduced in 1965.


October 21, 2012, 08:40 AM
Looks like standard carbon steel with the blue either worn off of polished off down to bare metal to me as well.

Some of the 1st runs of Rem 700's in 7mm rem mag had stainless barrels that were coated with a black finish that actually pre date the S&W revolvers by a couple of years. Shooters weren't ready for stainless barrels back in the 60's.

October 21, 2012, 09:09 AM
According to the Blue Book, Winchester sold some Model 12 shotguns with stainless barrels between 1926 and 1931. They also said the OP's gun was made in 1941, so ymmv on the dates etc.


October 21, 2012, 10:41 AM
AND Winchester put some stainless barrels on a few model 70s from pre war on. Some .220 Swifts have them and are marked.
But on that 1897 SG I put it on a 24" screen and it looks like it was steel wooled all over.

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