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1897 16 ga. Riot configuration?
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January 22, 2024
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January 22, 2024 - 4:39 am
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Hey everybody,


Please excuse me as i am unlearned when it comes to older shotguns. I recently picked up a 1897 from a gun show to carry around in the truck. Its a 16 gauge with 20″ barrel. Initially i thought it was just something somebody chopped but after doing some research i believe it to be a riot configuration. What leads me to this conclusion is that the barrel is stamped with the cylinder bore mark and no signs of a cut barrel and from what i could find only the riot and trench variants came with cylinder bore barrels, both being 20″. 

Also, the serial number (665157E) tracks to 1917, which i found an interesting coincidence with that being the peak of WW1. Upon further reading of forums, i found some confusing and conflicting information that the military at the time was purchasing both 12 and 16 gauge 97s as well as riot and trench configurations, but that the military only bought solid frame models, not takedowns like this one. Could anybody point me in the right direction for finding historical resources about the military history of the 1897s. Also, if the military did in fact have some 16 gauge 97s, would there be any way to find out if mine could have any military history?

Any help is much appreciated!


Kingston, WA
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January 22, 2024 - 5:59 am
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Hello Josh,

The U.S. Government did not purchase any 16-ga shotguns for WW I military use.  All of the Riot and Trench Guns were 12-ga only.  They were also Solid frame guns only.

Winchester did indeed manufacture 16-ga Model 1897s shotguns with a CYL bore barrel (on request) for their standard (Field) grade guns (28-inch barrel), or as standard on the Brush Gun variation (26-inch barrel).

I suspect that if you measure the precise distance from the muzzle face to the dead center of the sight bead, it will not me .50″ (1/2-inch).


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