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WWI & WWII Model 1897/97 Trench Gun Production dates??
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November 16, 2020 - 2:42 am
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Does anyone have the serial number ranges for WWI and WWII Model 1897/97 Trench Guns?

My WWI is S/N E733016 (Not sure what the “E” prefix signifies?) and my WWII is 805934

Both are US Marked and I acquired them several years ago from a very good friend who was a Winchester and Military collector.

I am reading that during WWII commercial 1897/97’s were acquired by the government and converted for military use.

On page 7 of the Poyer book “U.S. Winchester Trench and Riot Guns and other U.S. Combat Shotguns” the last S/N listed in his serial number column happens to be my S/N 733016

Thanks in advance!

Tom Graham - Prescott Valley, Arizona

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November 16, 2020 - 2:58 am
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Tom,

Unfortunately you have a pair of Fake Trench Guns.  

1. S/N 733016 – manufactured August 1920… well after WW I ended.

2. S/N 805934 – manufactured November 1925… way before WW II began.

WW I Trench Guns were manufactured in the 669000 – 705300 serial range.

WW II Trench Guns were manufactured in the 919600 – 960000 serial range.

 

Bert

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November 16, 2020 - 3:02 am
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Bert,

Trying to be sure I have this right….

How does Poyer include my serial number 733016 in his book relating to WWI Trench Guns?

And did the government not purchase civilian/commercial guns to convert for WWII??  

Last question, did the government produce additional Trench Guns between WWI & WWII??

Tom Graham - Prescott Valley, Arizona

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November 16, 2020 - 4:38 am
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THREEDFLYER said
Bert,

Trying to be sure I have this right….

How does Poyer include my serial number 733016 in his book relating to WWI Trench Guns?

And did the government not purchase civilian/commercial guns to convert for WWII??  

Last question, did the government produce additional Trench Guns between WWI & WWII??  

Tom,

In response to your first question, I have no idea where or how Poyer came up with S/N 733016 as a WW I Trench Gun.  The fact that it was manufactured in August of 1920 precludes it from being a WW I gun.  I suspect that Poyer was unaware of what its actual date of manufacture was.

Question #2… No, Winchester did not purchase civilian/commercial guns to convert for WW II contracts.  Winchester was very quickly able to supply the U.S. Government with all the guns they ordered. 

Question #3… The answer is again No.  The U.S. Military still had thousands of WW I procured Trench Guns still in their armories/inventory at the onset of WW II.  In early 1942, they ordered new guns from Winchester.

Bert

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November 16, 2020 - 2:17 pm
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Bert,

OK on the POYER confusion, I am just relaying what he has in his book.  

When I purchased this one the seller handed me the Poyer book opened to the page with S/N 733016 listed……at the time I had no reason to doubt him.  I suppose I should have done more research…..and so should he.

I have read in a couple different sources including Poyer that the government purchased pre-owned or used guns from shops and civilians to help with the war effort regarding shotguns.  But I am not the expert here.

Tom Graham - Prescott Valley, Arizona

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November 16, 2020 - 5:27 pm
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Poyers book is way off and has many mistakes. If you want a good book on Trenchguns, I would advise you get get any of Mr. Bruce Canfields fine writings on military shotguns.  Big Larry

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November 16, 2020 - 5:31 pm
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Ma

Bert H. said
Tom,

Unfortunately you have a pair of Fake Trench Guns.  

1. S/N 733016 – manufactured August 1920… well after WW I ended.

2. S/N 805934 – manufactured November 1925… way before WW II began.

WW I Trench Guns were manufactured in the 669000 – 705300 serial range.

WW II Trench Guns were manufactured in the 919600 – 960000 serial range.

 

Bert  

Make it clear, that number is for M97 trenchguns. The M12’s went into the 1,XXX,XXX range. The Jarhead.

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November 16, 2020 - 6:20 pm
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Big Larry said
Poyers book is way off and has many mistakes. If you want a good book on Trenchguns, I would advise you get get any of Mr. Bruce Canfields fine writings on military shotguns.  Big Larry  

Canfield says WWI below Ser.#750,000 and WWII above Ser. #900,000.  These numbers are in the book he wrote for Winchesters in the Service.  I do not have his shotgun book.  Canfield says the Military contracted Winchester to start making trench guns in November of 1941.  He also says that the Military had 21,000 trench guns in inventory from WWI.  He further states the majority of these were Winchester 1897’s.

The only Poyer books I have are the ones that Craig Riesch co authored on the Garand and the Carbines.  I knew Joe but Craig is my mentor on all things military from the Civil War to Vietnam.

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November 16, 2020 - 6:42 pm
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Tom, can you post some photos of the US markings on your shotguns?

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November 17, 2020 - 12:21 am
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Here are photos of 733016 will post the other one shortly……

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Tom Graham - Prescott Valley, Arizona

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November 17, 2020 - 3:18 am
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Here is 805934

https://i.postimg.cc/8zG2krYh/IMG-4552.jpgImage Enlarger

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Tom Graham - Prescott Valley, Arizona

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November 17, 2020 - 3:44 am
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Tom,

S/N 733106 is positively a Fake marked gun.  The “U S” and flaming ordnance bomb stamps are not authentic.  See the pictures I have posted below.  Note the shape of the flaming bomb on each as compare to your gun.

Bert

WW-I-Ordnance-mark-669225-Trench-Gun.jpgImage EnlargerWW-I-Ordnance-mark-669351-Trench-Gun.jpgImage EnlargerWW-I-Ordnance-mark-669728-Trench-Gun.jpgImage EnlargerWW-I-Ordnance-mark-672558-Trench-Gun.jpgImage EnlargerWW-I-Ordnance-mark-675157-Trench-Gun.jpgImage EnlargerWW-I-Ordnance-mark-675262-Trench-Gun.JPGImage EnlargerWW-I-Ordnance-mark-678675-Trench-Gun.jpgImage EnlargerWW-I-Ordnance-mark-679235-Trench-Gun.jpgImage EnlargerWW-I-Ordnance-mark-679366-Trench-Gun.jpgImage Enlarger

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November 17, 2020 - 3:57 am
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Agree with Bert on sn 733106..  Also, there would not be a flaming bomb on top of a WWI barrel.  And, the buttstock sling swivel is not correct.

On the other gun, someone went crazy with fake markings.

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November 17, 2020 - 3:58 am
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Tom,

I do not know what the full story is with serial number 805934, but it definitely is not a WW II Trench Gun.  None of the markings on the receiver frame look anything like a WW II military Trench Gun.  Additionally, the steel butt plate is not correct for a WW II Trench Gun.

The attached pictures show both the early and late WW II Trench Gun markings.

Bert

Early…

Ordnance-marking-930480.jpgImage EnlargerOrdnance-marking-931077.jpgImage EnlargerOrdnance-marking-936776.jpgImage Enlarger

Late…

Ordnance-marking-953795.jpgImage EnlargerOrdnance-marking-955674.jpgImage EnlargerOrdnance-marking-955686.jpgImage Enlarger

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July 12, 2022 - 9:05 pm
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So is this one real for WWI serial #705,532 I know the E was the last modification in the series and the most common

Hey how do I insert pictures?

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July 12, 2022 - 9:20 pm
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[email protected] said
So is this one real for WWI 1922 serial #705,532 I know the E was the last modification in the series and the most common

Hey how do I insert pictures?  

Model 97 S/N 705532 was actually manufactured in late December 1918, so Yes, it is very likely a true WW I gun.

As a Guest, you will need to put your pictures on a photo host website, and then post the URL to them here on the WACA forum… or you can send them to me via email

Bert – [email protected]

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July 12, 2022 - 9:42 pm
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Sweet I took a chance.  I sent you pictures if it’s real what would a value be?  Also do the markings on the buttstock mean anything like a military unit or anything? 

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July 12, 2022 - 9:56 pm
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[email protected] said
Sweet I took a chance.  I sent you pictures if it’s real what would a value be?  Also do the markings on the buttstock mean anything like a military unit or anything? 

  

See my email reply… unfortunately, your Model 1897 is not an authentic WW I Trench Gun.  The markings on the butt stock are highly likely to be fake & added when somebody altered the gun to its current configuration.

Bert

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July 12, 2022 - 10:23 pm
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Bummer…at least I only gave $1,200 for it at a local rural action 

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