Winchester Model 1897 Restoration


February 18, 2013, 09:03 PM
I picked up an beat up old Winchester model 1897 shotgun, and I was wondering what I should do to restore it? Or if I should leave it as it is? It seems to be in good working order but most (almost all) of the bluing is gone. Has a little lite rust here and there. The stock/fore end should also be refinished. I am not very familiar with this particular shotgun so if anyone had any tips for me it would be appreciated!

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February 18, 2013, 09:08 PM
Clean the metal with 0000 Super-Fine grade steel wool & oil.

Clean the wood with 0000 Super-Fine grade steel wool & Lemon Oil Furniture Polish.

If it moves, oil it if you can get too it.

If you can't get too it?
Do not try to take it completely apart until you have the proper gunsmith screwdrivers.
And a book or website to tell you how to get it apart and put it all back together.

Most 97's have never been completely apart since they left the factory 100 years ago, and still work pretty good.

No point in starting now unless something is broke and has to be replaced.


February 18, 2013, 11:03 PM
You may want to get the chamber length verified. There seems to be a lot of different opinions on what length chambers Winchester actually used on the 1897 and when, especially with the 16 or 20 gauges. One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.

February 19, 2013, 01:11 AM
They made a whole bunch of them unless you have a black diamond in the stock I would refinish it. My father has a family hand me down that had no finish left either but it worked he sent it off to someone in AZ who reparked it and gave it a cowboy action job. Now the rifle looks and shoots like new. Its amazing that it is the same gun I shot as a kid.

Mat, not doormat
February 21, 2013, 10:35 PM
One trouble spot that's worth addressing, if you're taking the stock off, and refinishing it, is to make sure that it's not oil soaked, particularly at the wrist. Oil weakens wood, and 97s are none too strong right there in the first place.

I've forgotten exactly what's involved in drying out a soaked stock, but IIRC, it involves mineral spirits, cat litter, and about a week. Google would probably serve you well.

February 21, 2013, 11:02 PM
I have heard that some people spray gunscrubber and then an air hose to clean out the action, followed by gun oil.

February 26, 2013, 09:27 PM
I have a model 12 that has been in the family since it was purchased new in 1918. It had been stored improperly and needed some work. I sent it to Simmon's in Olathe, KS for refinish / reblue and it came back looking like new. They're not fast and they're not cheap, but for bringing winchester's back to life I highly recommed them.

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