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1897 riot gun value?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by batex, May 16, 2009.

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  1. batex

    batex Member

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    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?
     
  2. .45Guy

    .45Guy Member

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    Well, seeing as some folks are willing to pay ~$500 for a Norinco knock off these days I'd say go for it.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  4. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    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
     
  5. batex

    batex Member

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    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.
     
  6. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    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.
     
  7. owlhoot

    owlhoot Member

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    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.
     
  8. Dimis

    Dimis Member

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    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
     
  9. rjheff

    rjheff Member

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    Should a Riot Gun barrel be marked Riot on the barrel?
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The 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/c...ory/images/rogers/win_sg/979096_trench_3l.jpg

    Trench Gun Receiver marking:
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/c...ory/images/rogers/win_sg/979096_trench_4l.jpg

    Trench Gun Butt plate:
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/c...ory/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
     
  11. Tom D

    Tom D Member

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    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.
     
  12. rjheff

    rjheff Member

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    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.
     
  13. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    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
     
  14. Spot

    Spot Member

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    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
     
  15. Spot

    Spot Member

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    Batex, if you can, go ahead & buy what you can.
     
  16. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    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
     
  17. rjheff

    rjheff Member

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    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?
     
  18. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    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
     
  19. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    :)
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2009
  20. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    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.
     
  21. rjheff

    rjheff Member

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    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.
     
  22. Spot

    Spot Member

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    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.
     
  23. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    :)
     
  24. rjheff

    rjheff Member

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    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.
     
  25. Tom D

    Tom D Member

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    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.
     
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