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March 7, 2023 - 4:34 am
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Picked up a Winchester 97 solid frame in kind of rough shape I was planning on converting it to a trench so I wasn’t looking for perfect.  It is a 30″ barrel with a serial number is 65238.  Considering it is a low number now I am thinking instead of converting it I should look to maybe try to get it cleaned up.  There is one odd modification to the gun someone at some point removed the wood pump in the front and welded on a steel pump grip.  It is a pretty stout job and it has a nice positive feel.  I can’t imagine it is the best if the gun starts getting warm and it probably adds some weight.  I don’t see any marks for military use on the gun and I can’t imagine why someone would go though the effort to make this change.  Should I look to convert it back to a wood grip?  I kind of think the metal grip would look nice as a trench gun.  I am not a collector, however it is tough to bring myself to cut or modify anything.  Any suggestions?  I have included some pictures of the pump and how it is attached.   

Thanks much.

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March 7, 2023 - 4:53 am
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Chris,

The slide handle stocks on the early production Model 1897 shotguns were fragile and very frequently cracked or split.  I suspect that is what happened to your gun, and somebody remedied it by making a metal replacement.  It looks like they welded it to the slide action bar.  If that is the case, it will require replacing the entire slide assembly to fix the gun.  The issue is that finding an original early production slide bar and slide handle stock will be a daunting task (and expensive).

Accordingly, if the gun cycles and shoots as it is today, I would be inclined to leave it as is.

Bert

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March 8, 2023 - 1:14 am
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Bert,

 

Thanks for the feedback.  As far as getting a slide action bar and slide handle stock are there places you would recommend watching for them to turn up?  I am not in any major hurry to find the parts and would like to restore the shotgun if I can.  In the meantime I will get it in the shop to have it checked out.  

Would a later model slide action bar/slide handle stock work on the gun?  At least are the parts compatible?

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March 8, 2023 - 1:47 am
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I would watch ebay for the parts.  Later production parts will work, but you need to find & replace everything except the barrel.

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