'97 Winchester at LGS


loose noose
June 11, 2014, 07:34 PM
I've just checked out a Winchester Model '97 at my LGS, he's asking $400.00 the bluing on the barrel appears to be about 85% and the receiver is fairly well patina, but no rust. The action is very smooth. The stock shows some wear, but not excessive, no cracks, chips or anything to deter from it. The barrel is (appears) full length and is full choked so I doubt that it was ever cut etc.

Now my question is should I get it at that price, or is that kind of high? It definitely could use some TLC.

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June 11, 2014, 07:38 PM
Those are really nice guns.

I can't help you on price, but if you do buy it, do please make sure the sear is in good shape. Get the gun checked out by a pro and repair as necessary.

June 11, 2014, 07:46 PM
If it's as good as it sounds like?

Buy it post-haste!

They are few and far between in good condition anymore!


June 11, 2014, 07:55 PM
There are 27 for sale here, starting at $450 http://www.gunsinternational.com/Winchester-Model-97-Shotguns.cfm?cat_id=788 They didnt bring this much before the Cowboy action shooting started. The ejector spring is easy to break, but it was a quick repair on the one i pick up years ago.

loose noose
June 11, 2014, 10:20 PM
I got the serial number just a little while ago it is 202XXX which would have had it made between 1902-1903. Now is that 2 3/4" or is it 2 5/8"?

June 11, 2014, 10:36 PM
My understanding is all 97 12 ga were 2 3/4".

The 16 ga were the ones short chambered then.

Same with Model 12's and Browning A-5's.

But, I could be wrong.


loose noose
June 12, 2014, 10:19 AM
I thank you RC, in fact I'll be heading back down to that LGS to get that shotgun just as soon as it opens 0930 hours this morning. And thanks to all the other people that contributed, I'll be posting pictures just as soon as I get it back here.

loose noose
June 12, 2014, 03:58 PM
Went down to my LGS and picked up that gun, looked down the bore and it looked fairly smooth using a bore light. Got it home and took the pictures, not bad as you can see below.





June 12, 2014, 04:45 PM
A sweet one for sure.

Be sure to get that sear checked!

loose noose
June 12, 2014, 06:39 PM
Thanks Moxie, I already completely disassembled it and every thing checked ok even the sear. Will take it out in the early morning and shoot it, (low base trap loads) as it is now 110 degrees out here. Be glad when winter gets here. Also I ran some dummy rounds thru it and they all cycled perfectly, so I think I'm in business. It sure had a lot of hard plastic in the bore just forward of the chamber, but I got all that out.

June 12, 2014, 07:51 PM
With a worn sear, hammer cocked, a slight jolt can set that 97 off.

June 12, 2014, 08:05 PM
Well at least with plastic wad residue in the barrel, you know somebody has been shooting 2 3/4" shells in it without incident. :D


Maj Dad
June 12, 2014, 08:37 PM
I have one from the 40's that is tighter'n dick's hatband. I shoot trap with it since it's a 32" full choke barrel and I can't hunt ducks with it anymore since it's not able to use steel shot. Beautiful guns, work of 19th century art :D

loose noose
June 13, 2014, 12:58 PM
Took the '97 out this morning 0630 (the temperature was already 85 degrees) shot some hand thrown trap thru my Trius One Step, hit all 10 with out a hitch. Problem is that thing sure does kick with that steel butt plate, but I'm going to leave it on as it gives it character. Note I was only using low base 1 ounce loads of number 8 shot. Any way I'm quite pleased with that little shotgun.

June 13, 2014, 04:06 PM
loose noose: IMHO I think You got a deal on a great Shotgun. I think mine fit`s me as good or better than any shotgun, I have ever used. And I think a 97 WIN is one of the best looking and working shotguns ever made. I hunt with mine several time a year and love to shoot a few clay birds with it when I can. I am happy for You.

June 13, 2014, 05:05 PM
Here is a little food for thought. i have a couple of the 1897s. one made in 1926. My gunsmith friend checked the chamber to see of it was short, and it was a tad shorter than it needed to be for 2 3/4". Doesnt mean yours is, but i had heard this was not uncommon.

He took a chamber reamer and lengthened it a bit to where it should be for modern smokeless shells. I was not worried about it on my 1897 made in the early 50s, but the mid-20s one i had checked out for piece of mind. now i use it and enjoy shooting it.

June 13, 2014, 08:29 PM
Looks great, I've always wanted one of those.
shot some hand thrown trap thru my Trius One Step
Never seen that trick before ;)

loose noose
June 13, 2014, 09:32 PM
I should have clarified, foot thrown trap, as I do have to step on it in order to get to function.:D

June 14, 2014, 10:17 AM
The term slam fire originated with the 97. :D I have one that belonged to my dad (1917) in about the same condition. Mine has 2 barrels that came from the factory as SN's match the receiver, a common option as many people used them as slug guns for deer. I'm sure you know that it is possible to fire the gun on the forward stroke with pressure on the trigger. Don't do that. :eek: If the chamber is 2 5/8" it won't matter if you use 2 3/4" shells. It's been proven by tests that short chambers increase chamber pressure by only about 10% max. If you have a 8000 psi load, your PSI increase will be about 800 or less. Try to stay below 9000 psi. Be safe.



I don't pay a lot of attention to prices but I think you did fine.

loose noose
June 14, 2014, 02:07 PM
I don't intend to shoot anything but low base dove and quail loads, and occasionally my 7/8-1oz. trap loads, so far the 2 3/4" shells seem to work perfectly fine as far as ejecting, and feeding, and firing goes. Note when I disassembled the receiver I found a lot of dried oil/grease and whatever, inside but no rust. I'm seriously thinking about completely restoring this gun to like new condition, as I have no intentions of ever selling it.

Further I noted that most model 12's and model 97's need a forend wrench to get the fore piece off, mine is simply attached via 3 screws, kind of neat, if I do say so myself. I guess that was the advanced ingenuity of 1902-1903.

loose noose
June 15, 2014, 01:29 PM
Tell me what is the opinions from the collectors of completely restoring this arm to like new condition?

June 15, 2014, 01:35 PM
IMO: That ones a little far gone in the finish department to make a whole lot of difference collector wise if you refinish it.

I have done a lot of similar condition Winchester .22 pumps for a friend & myself, but not refinish them.
Just card all the rust and dried oil off.

The 'Grey Ghost" look of a well used but perfectly operating old gun has a certain appeal to me.

See this about that:

If you do it, make sure the refinisher knows you don't want a high-gloss polished 'Weatherby" bluing job and high gloss stock finish.

There is a guy here in Kansas who does that to every old Winchester he gets hold of, then tries to sell them at gun shows at inflated prices.
And they look simply horrid!


June 15, 2014, 01:45 PM
The reason the '97 (and clones) is so venerated in Cowboy matches is because it is the only repeater allowed.

June 15, 2014, 01:49 PM
And then they use it as a single-shot and manually load it each shot. :D


loose noose
June 15, 2014, 06:43 PM
Believer me I'm quite aware of the Cowboy Action Shooters, it's actually called a "tactical reload". The bluing I'm going to have done with a local gunsmith, I'll do all the polishing etc, as I know the better the polishing the higher the gloss. As far as the stock and fore piece go, I'll completely do that myself as I like a satin type finish, in fact I just started the wood, which has some nice character once you get thru the crud build up on it. I've got some Formby's Tung Oil finish that I will use on it when I get it ready.

loose noose
June 26, 2014, 09:10 PM
Below hopefully are the finished product that I so laboriously worked on. It still won't post the pics as it states I've already posted them in the other post "Formby's Tung Oil" go figure.

loose noose
June 27, 2014, 09:58 AM
Below are some different pics of the same gun, hopefully these will be able to be displayed.




I guess there is more than one way to skin a cat.

June 28, 2014, 11:07 AM
lose noose: It looks to me like You did a great job, on Your new 97 Win shotgun. My Son and I like Win 97`s so much that we bought two of thoes Chinese copys. And both of them have worked just great. I was raised shooting my Grandfather`s 16 gauge 97 Win, so I have had a love affair with the 97 Win Pump, since I was just a kid. Again I hope You enjoy Yours and never let it get away from You.

loose noose
June 28, 2014, 07:45 PM
Thank you cpt-t, I plan on holding on to it, I've always liked the older Winchester guns, in fact I've got a Model 12 made in 1931, and Winchester model 62 .22 rifle made in 1941. I've been looking for a model 1893 Lever Action Shotgun, but they are far and few between, the ones I've found want a small fortune for them.

June 28, 2014, 08:17 PM
That might be a Winchester Model 1887 lever-action shotgun you are looking for?
Or a Model 1901?

The 1887's were all black powder 10 ga or 12 ga guns.
Neither were strong enough for smokeless powder.

The 1901 was made in 10 ga only.


loose noose
June 29, 2014, 10:23 AM
I believe you're right there RC, any way it's been a long time since I've even seen one, and like I said the price was out of this world. I was aware of the black powder, as I do have an ample supply, and have loaded bp for my CAS days shotgun, rifle, and handgun.

June 29, 2014, 02:41 PM
I bought a '97 after watching the movie "The Wild Bunch". This is by far my favorite shotgun of 6, I own. It is a blast to shoot and friends always want to use it. Mine is a take down with an 18" barrel (bought it that way) made around 1931.:)

June 29, 2014, 03:03 PM
My 97 is about 25 years newer but was used in WWII and later became a guard gun( wish it still had the trench barrel.)

It uses 2 3/4shells and I can shoot 4 before the 1st hits the ground.

Be aware the hammer can be cocked by a tree/bush branch if woods/brush hunting.
Debris can also block the hammer if carrying hammer back.

Great buy on a fine old shotgun that is definitely a piece of American history......the Germans tried to get them declared "Against the rules of war" as the 97 was very potent in trench warfare.

loose noose
June 30, 2014, 10:24 AM
Content, not too many trees out here in the desert, but thanks anyway. I took it out early Saturday morning and patterned it. I don't believe I'll be using it out here for shooting quail as it shoots a really tight pattern with it's full choke. They must have really made them extra tight back then. I used 7/8oz. as well as 1oz. and they both patterned right in the center at 30 yards with about 65-70%, reckon that's why I use a .410 and a 20ga. for quail.

I noticed right after I got it and took it out and shot some (10 rounds) of trap using my Trius One Step, that the vast majority of targets I hit were really smoked, and it didn't seem to make much difference on how far I let them go out either.

I still might be able to use it for Chukar later in the season when they start flushing way out there. My Lab is getting a bit old so I think he might be getting a bit senile in his flushing ability, not quite as quiet as he usesd to be.:D

June 30, 2014, 12:43 PM
loose noose: Your 97 should make a great Chukar shotgun. I have never been where they hunted them. But I use mine alot for Pheasents and Parrie Chickens, with that long full chock barrel, I usually can take all the time that I need, even if the birds are flushing wide late in the season. I have used my 97 for just about everything and it performs extremly well on every thing, I have used it on. I am a snap shooter with a shot gun , so I have to watch it for some times my Old 97 just gives me to much time, to think about things, and I will make the shot to comlacated and I will miss. Just because I have to much time and I am mentally making to much out of a fairly easy shot. I am really happy for You, that You got your old 97.

June 30, 2014, 07:29 PM
Congratulation loose noose, that is a very nice shotgun. I wish I someday see one of those for real.

June 30, 2014, 07:37 PM
Those tight full chokes made a lot of sense back in the day when shotgun shells were loaded with fiber & card wads with roll crimps.
Lots of stuff in the shot column to scatter the pattern.

Not so much now with plastic shot cup wads, harder shot, star crimps, and maybe even shot buffer.


June 30, 2014, 08:31 PM
Wish we could get a large enough Quail population to start hunting them.(hunt on private 60 acres)
Only 2 smallish coveys so far and the predators are keeping them in check.

That is very good shooting with a full choke on your part, experience is everything!

I like the finished product very much. Looks as good as many I've seen much newer
, well done.

loose noose
July 1, 2014, 11:00 AM
Never thought of that RC, but you've got a good point, as always. I'm truly getting an education here in my old age. :D

Incidentally Content, the secret to keeping a good population of quail, out here is keeping the coyotes in check. I used to hunt quail with a Savage model 24, the .222/20ga version. Naturally I used the 20ga for quail, and the .222 for coyotes. Seemed to work really good, not to mention just hunting them on the side, as we used to get any where from $10.00 to $30.00 for a good pelt. One thing I don't have any control over is the Road Runners, they definitely take a toll on the young quail, and they are protected. Believe me they are a vicious bird if ever I saw one. BTW thanks for the compliment on my "97.:)

July 1, 2014, 11:33 AM
Our quail started declining here in eastern Kansas when the state introduced wild turkeys.
There are practically none now, where there used to be several coveys in every hedge row, on every farm.

The state says the turkey's have nothing to do with the decline.

But ever see a flock of turkeys line up and march across a field eating everything that gets in front of them?

Baby quail & eggs in nests wouldn't stand a chance!

I'm not convinced coyotes even make a tiny impact on them.
We had coyotes everywhere back on the farm 50 years ago.
And more quail then you could shake a stick at every year.

Hunting quail & coyotes was about all I got done growing up.

The quail are gone now, and the Turkeys have replaced them!


July 1, 2014, 01:28 PM
If you want a top notch restoration, I recommend Simmons in Olathe, KS. They specialize in Winchester '97's and 12's. They brought my M12 back to life. They are however neither fast nor cheap.



loose noose
July 1, 2014, 03:41 PM
Sorry to hear that RC, too bad the illustrious fish and game with their highly educated guesses, would stay out of the conservation game. There would be a lot more game in this country for sure. If this wasn't a gun forum I'd tell ya what they did here on the Colorado River a few years ago.

jfurlong, I do believe I did a top notch job on that 1897, as well as on a model 12 I did about a year ago, but thanks for the advice.

July 2, 2014, 12:04 AM
Thanks for the tips.

We just started seeing Coyote sign last year and usually try to lure them in after it is too dark to hunt deer. No success yet but we are all beginners!

We are "blessed" with several flocks of Turkey. Roughly three groups of 25-30.
Get my limit every year. They are amazing to watch crossing the creek.
Scouts, flankers then the rest cross, very organized.

The land owners wife does not let us hunt Coons and they may be eating the Quail eggs and young too.

I like to carry the Savage in .30-30/20ga on walks after deer season to thin the Crow population and hopefully bag a Coyote.

Good luck with the 97, hope it serves you well.

July 4, 2014, 06:06 PM
Loose Noose, my comment was not intended to disparage your work, and i apologize if it was taken as such. I was simply passing on my satisfaction with a restorer whose work exceeded my skill and expectation. Congrats on the '97.

loose noose
July 4, 2014, 07:01 PM
jfurlong, no problem, and thank you for the compliment. I really didn't take that as a disparaging word any way.:D

Jim K
July 5, 2014, 12:41 AM
IIRC, the original finish on those guns was rust blue, which is an easy (but a bit tedious) finish to apply. Done right, it gives a very nice appearance to an older gun.


loose noose
July 5, 2014, 11:15 AM
Jim K, I'm not entirely certain but I believe that is what he did, a rust blue. I'll find out for certain Tuesday when I have to go back and see him, on a different project altogether.

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