this gun might be offered for sale in France, and the friend who took the pictures is all excited about it.
Could you give me your honest opinion before he spends too much in case of a fake.
Many thanks in advance.
Serial number is in the 950000 range, but I could not yet persuade him to give me the last 3 digits…
From the pictures it does look to be a late WWII production Model 97 trench gun. The buttstock should be marked on the left side with a GHD inspection mark over the Ordnance cross cannons mark. The one thing that bothers me is that the barrel, and perhaps the receiver also, has been re-blued. The Winchester proof marks on top of the receiver and barrel as well as the Ordnance bomb mark on the top of the barrel should have burnishing around them because they were applied after finish. It might just be the photos, but I don’t see any burnishing around those marks on this shotgun.
Can you get some additional photos of the buttstock and of the proof marks on top of the barrel and receiver?
November 1, 2013
Hard to tell from these pics. I too would like to see the cartouche found on the stock. Yes, some of the late guns have beads professionally ground off. I have # 955552 and the bead is ground off. My M97 is drippy mint and the last of my former extensive US Militaria collection. If the clown selling it won’t give you a complete serial number, I would tell him to kiss off. He may be hiding something. Big Larry
Thank you all for your information, I’ve learned a lot.
The owner is not selling (not to me any way), so he has no incentive to give me anything
However, I managed to get the serial number (by promising I would not publish it, go figure…) and it is a January 1943 Gun (thanks Bert).
My only doubt about this gun was the presence of the ground of front bead, and you have confirmed it is correct for agun of this vintage. All the rest is good to me from the pictures I’ve seen, and the whole question was educational anyway.
This gun has been in France since before 1995 (when selling pump shotgun was outlawed) and the owner is not hiding anything.
I’ll try to get more detailed picture of the stock stamps.
What value does he put on the shotgun? Book value here is close to $10,000 for a 98%+ gun. I bought mine from a friend for a little less than $3,000 and had to make him take the $$$. He wanted to give it to me. I bought most of the accoutrements and ammo from a member here. I also had to find a minty M1917 Winchester bayonet to go with it. Collecting US shotguns is an art in itself. Most all you see are put togethers. Don’t let the bead bother you. It would seem no one knows why they were ground off. A Riot bbl. is quite different than a Trench bbl. They have the beads. Big Larry
The market for these guns is totally different in France, mainly due to restrictive laws on slide action shotgun (blame the cinema… )
Last honest trench gun I saw on sale was offered for $2500 with may be 50% condition.
But these guns are restricted in my country, so you do not really “own” them (if you quit active participation in your shooting club, you have to get rid of your “restricted” guns….).
I do not think that a high condition trench gun would get any more than $3000 here… and the general consensus is this one is refinished.
(However, Winchester 1897 with “long” barrels are now considered antiques here, and free to own, and a $400 gun in your country now sells for 1500-2000 euros in mine… they are being imported in crates these days… )
I do not see anything that would lead me to believe that gun is refinished. Sorry about your restrictive gun laws. We have some here as well do to uneducated morons. I live in Utah, and we don’t have any restrictive laws I am aware of. I even own a duly registered Class 111 Thompson Submachinegun. My relatives live in Italy and he is a retired Border Patrolman and not even allowed to take his guns there when he retired. Thank God I live in the USA. Big Larry, former Marine, and defender of my country.