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1897 16 gauge
April 9, 2016
7:05 pm
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Barry knight
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hello, 

I'm looking at purchasing an 1897 16 gauge and can't determine what it's official name is (bush, pigeon). Also, I'm a little sceptical of its originality. From what I've determined, it's a 20 inch barrel, measured 18 1/4 from muzzle to breach with a tape measurer, and the manufactured year : 1899. The serial number is C 908 34. Everything I've read suggests this to be an anomaly (OK that's a stretch) but I can't find a similar gun out unless its a 12 gauge. Did someone saw down the barrel? It has the sight pin. The butt stock has been padded with rubber, but the original stock could be under it. It appears to have a pistol grip. The stock handle is rounded and clearly defined. I know this is rambling on, but thank you if you have the time to give me your professional insight. Cheers!

April 9, 2016
7:25 pm
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Kingston, WA
Forum Posts: 9682
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Barry,

The serial number identifies it as a January 1900 production gun. I have never found or seen a Model 1897 Riot Gun in 16-ga, all of them were 12-ga guns. Therefore, tt is extremely likely that the barrel has been cut down. What is the choke marking on the barrel? What is the exact distance from the muzzle face to the sight bead? If the rubber pad is removable, take it off and check to see if it still has the smooth steel butt plate. The Cody Firearms Museum records office has the original factory ledger record for this gun, but it will cost you $70 to get a letter if you are not a member.

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
High-walls-1-002-C-reduced2.jpg

April 11, 2016
5:18 pm
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Barry knight
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Thank you for the quick response, Bert. I was able to get the markings on the barrel: 16 and the word Full. I will unfortunately forgot to check the length from the muzzle plate to the bead but I that would put it under 18 1/4 inches for sure. The gentleman swears that the gun was not altered and seems surprised that I would ensunaute that it is. Hmmm, sounds fishy, but perhaps it was custom ordered that way back in 1900? Also, when I investigated the butt I couldnt see any visible screws to remove it from the stock, but he assured me that it could. I wish I would  have gotten photos but my phone died at the meeting.  I told him 300$, does that seem offensive to ask? Thanks again. Barry

April 11, 2016
5:24 pm
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Barry knight
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BTW, the serial is 908 45 , marked with a C (that I got right). I don't know if that changes anything. When I was looking through the serial catalogue it put this gun around 1899..1900 like you said. Did I interpret that correctly? Thanks again, Bert.

April 11, 2016
5:44 pm
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Barry knight
Guests

Also, Bert, the forearm has screws though it. They look older and authentic. They do not look shotty or unprofessional, however, I've read that they could have been used to repair it. There are older well oiled cracks on the forearm as well. They are subtle, but on inspection you can see  them. Again, I want to add that the gun is solid and feels good. The forearm doesn't feel lose or compramisable. But, this must affect the value of the gun if this has been altered (like the barrel) from its original state, which I fully understand, is over a hundred years old... Jeez, that's some history when I say it out loud. I really appreciate your feedback whether its factual or personal. 

Barry

April 11, 2016
6:43 pm
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Kingston, WA
Forum Posts: 9682
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April 15, 2005
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Barry knight said

Thank you for the quick response, Bert. I was able to get the markings on the barrel: 16 and the word Full. I will unfortunately forgot to check the length from the muzzle plate to the bead but I that would put it under 18 1/4 inches for sure. The gentleman swears that the gun was not altered and seems surprised that I would ensunaute that it is. Hmmm, sounds fishy, but perhaps it was custom ordered that way back in 1900? Also, when I investigated the butt I couldnt see any visible screws to remove it from the stock, but he assured me that it could. I wish I would  have gotten photos but my phone died at the meeting.  I told him 300$, does that seem offensive to ask? Thanks again. Barry

Barry,

I asked you to measure the distance from the muzzle face to the front sight bead... it should be exactly 1/2".  However, I can already assure you that the barrel has been cut down (shortened) by at least 8-inches.  The "FULL" choke marking is the clue.  Originally, the barrel was 28-inches long.

$300 was too generous of an offer... that gun is not worth even $200. 

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
High-walls-1-002-C-reduced2.jpg

April 11, 2016
6:45 pm
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Kingston, WA
Forum Posts: 9682
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April 15, 2005
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Barry knight said

BTW, the serial is 908 45 , marked with a C (that I got right). I don't know if that changes anything. When I was looking through the serial catalogue it put this gun around 1899..1900 like you said. Did I interpret that correctly? Thanks again, Bert.

Barry,

It was manufactured in the year 1900.

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
High-walls-1-002-C-reduced2.jpg

April 11, 2016
6:56 pm
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Kingston, WA
Forum Posts: 9682
Member Since:
April 15, 2005
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Barry knight said

Also, Bert, the forearm has screws though it. They look older and authentic. They do not look shotty or unprofessional, however, I've read that they could have been used to repair it. There are older well oiled cracks on the forearm as well. They are subtle, but on inspection you can see  them. Again, I want to add that the gun is solid and feels good. The forearm doesn't feel lose or compramisable. But, this must affect the value of the gun if this has been altered (like the barrel) from its original state, which I fully understand, is over a hundred years old... Jeez, that's some history when I say it out loud. I really appreciate your feedback whether its factual or personal. 

Barry

Barry,

All of the "C" series Model 1897 shotguns were made with a 3-screw slide-handle stock, and they are very frequently found with cracks in them.  Winchester redesigned the slide-handle so that no screws were needed to attach it to the slide bar, and redesignated it the "D" series.

Yes, the cracked slide-handle stock negatively affects the value, as does the cut down barrel, and the altered butt.  Another thing to consider is the fact that it is chambered for a maximum 2-9/16" shell. Modelrn 16-ga shells are 2-3/4", and are not safe to shoot in that old gun.

Quite frankly, the gun is worth maybe $150 as a parts donor.  $300 is twice what it is worth, and the owner/seller can act as "surprised" as he wants to... while you walk away from it.

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
High-walls-1-002-C-reduced2.jpg

April 12, 2016
8:13 pm
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Barry knight
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Bert, you're my hero. Thank you for the sound advice, guess I will have to keep my search open for the perfect Winchester shotgun. Other that the model 1897, any suggestions? 

April 12, 2016
8:32 pm
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Kingston, WA
Forum Posts: 9682
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April 15, 2005
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Barry,

There are lots of decent Model 1897 shotguns out there to choose from, and it is my personal favorite in the Winchester shotgun line-up.  If you wnat one in 16-gauge that you can shoot, it will need to be a Model "97" marked gun, and it needs to be marked "2 3/4 CHAM" on the left rear side of the barrel.

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
High-walls-1-002-C-reduced2.jpg

June 2, 2019
7:01 pm
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ShadowSix
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Barry,

My Nephew has an 1897 Winchester 16 ga. Cylinder choke, that his is selling, if you're still interested 

November 15, 2019
9:17 pm
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Starrman
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How much is your nephew asking?

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