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1897 Variations in Barrel Markings and Buttpads
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Narrow Gauge Kid
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August 17, 2019 - 2:38 pm
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Hello,

I’ve had a hard time finding definitive information in one place for some of the variations of the Model 1897 since I am not aware of a definitive book that’s been written.  I was particularly curious about the following:

What variations were there on the buttpads that were standard over the years and when were there changes made?  Did they correspond to the C/D/E models?  I’ve seen rubber, flat steel and a checkered steel on different early versions but was unsure what is original vs replacement.

What changes occurred on the barrel markings (both proof markings and the patent information) in the early years leading up to when the barrels were marked “Model 97”?

On the brush models, my understanding is that the solid frame versions had a magazine capacity of 4 – was this also the same for the takedown model?

Thank you for any guidance.

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August 17, 2019 - 9:09 pm
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I will attempt to answer your questions based on the information I have accumulated in the research survey I have in progress for the Model 1897;

What variations were there on the buttpads that were standard over the years and when were there changes made?  Did they correspond to the C/D/E models?  I’ve seen rubber, flat steel and a checkered steel on different early versions but was unsure what is original vs replacement.

The earliest Model 1897 shotguns were equipped with a smooth steel butt plate with a widow’s peak at the top.  This was a carry-over from the Model 1893.  During this period, the higher grade guns were usually equipped with a black hard rubber butt plate with the Winchester logo.  The standard grade guns could have been special ordered with the black hard rubber BP.

Beginning in late 1903  (December), the checkered steel butt plate (the same type later used on the Models 64, 65, 70, and 71) replaced the smooth steel BP.  The hard rubber BP was still used on the higher grade guns, and as special order on the standard grade guns.

Beginning in mid March 1906, the black hard rubber BP replaced the checkered steel as the standard use item.

Throughout the early years, a Jotsam or Silvers recoil pad was offered as a special order item on all grades of the Model 1897.  They were very rarely ordered. In 1922, the Winchester patented solid red rubber pad was offered on special order.

Winchester continued to use the black hard rubber butt plate through WW II, when it was changed to a “composition” material with the same logo on it.  The only change to the black hard rubber BP was the elimination of the widows peak just before WW I.

Bert

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August 17, 2019 - 9:29 pm
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Your next question is more difficult to answer…

What changes occurred on the barrel markings (both proof markings and the patent information) in the early years leading up to when the barrels were marked “Model 97”?

The first barrel marking change occurred in June 1998 (Patent date June 14, 1898), and appears on the Take Down variation only.  The October 16, 1900 patent date was added when the action locking/unlocking mechanism was changed. Proof marking began in July 1905.  I have not yet tried to determine exactly when each of the various barrel marking changes occurred other than the change to “MODEL 97” and the addition of the chamber length marking.

Winchester began phasing out marking the Model designation on the slide bar and moving it to the barrel in June 1924. That stated, a fair number of the solid frame Riot Guns manufactured through 1928 are found with a slide bar marked “MODEL 97”.

Beginning in March 1930, Winchester began adding the “2 3/4″ CHAM” marking on the barrel. There was an intermix of this marking until September 1930, when all barrels were marked with the chamber length.

Bert

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August 17, 2019 - 9:42 pm
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Your last question is much easier to answer…

On the brush models, my understanding is that the solid frame versions had a magazine capacity of 4 – was this also the same for the takedown model?

No, it was not.  The Take Down Brush Guns had standard (5-shell) length magazine tubes versus the shorter 4-shell tubes found on the Solid frame Brush Guns.

Bert

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Tom Doniphon
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August 17, 2019 - 10:45 pm
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FWIW, the font of the 12 gauge mark on the barrel changed from a script style to a block style around the beginning of 1918.  I’m not sure if the other gauge marks also changed the font style as I don’t keep track of those.  And if I recall correctly, around that same time the period after the CYL bore mark was also dropped.

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August 18, 2019 - 9:26 pm
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Bert and Tom,

 

Thank you both so much for the replies.  This has greatly enlightened me on determining what is correct as I look at a given example.  For all the variations out there, it’s a shame that no one has done a solid book (and Madis spent so little time on it in his book…).

 

Best Regards,

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March 8, 2022 - 5:05 am
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What are the barrel markings early 1897’s that left the factory in about  July 1897?  SN around 38000

 

Thanks,

 

Ingo,

Snohomish, Wa

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March 9, 2022 - 2:27 am
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Hello Ingo,

See the attached picture… it is serial number 45287.

Bert

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Ingo
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March 9, 2022 - 6:05 am
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Hi Bert

who are the better qualified smiths to restore early 1897s?  Trumbull is too $$$

best regards 

Ingo

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March 9, 2022 - 1:04 pm
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Ingo said
Hi Bert

who are the better qualified smiths to restore early 1897s?  Trumbull is too $$$

best regards 

Ingo  

I do not know anyone that “specializes” in restoring the older Model 1893/1897 shotguns. 

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March 26, 2022 - 5:26 am
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Hi Bert,

do you have images of the barrel markings on the bottom?  this is for fixed frame, Cody museum confirmed your images on the top with SN 37XXX

Best Regards,

Ingo

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March 27, 2022 - 12:14 am
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Ingo said
Hi Bert,

do you have images of the barrel markings on the bottom?  this is for fixed frame, Cody museum confirmed your images on the top with SN 37XXX

Best Regards,

Ingo  

I do not have photos of the underside barrel markings… yet.  I am working on putting together a detailed article discussing the Model 1897 (much like the article I researched and published on the Model 1893).

Bert

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April 9, 2022 - 2:06 am
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Hi bert, i have a question about a “G man” 1897, i have a serial number that is 1923, but on the butt stock on both sides is stamped “G” and also a G stamped by the hammer, i am cuious if this is an actual like irs issued gun or if this is a parts gun, i will get pics, just for now i am curious.

 

Thx, Joe

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April 9, 2022 - 2:54 am
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Joseph Cicchiello said
Hi bert, i have a question about a “G man” 1897, i have a serial number that is 1923, but on the butt stock on both sides is stamped “G” and also a G stamped by the hammer, i am cuious if this is an actual like irs issued gun or if this is a parts gun, i will get pics, just for now i am curious.

 

Thx, Joe  

I am not familiar with the term “G man” as it relates to a Model 1897 shotgun… can you please explain?

Please send the pictures to me at – Win1885@msn.com

Bert

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April 9, 2022 - 11:46 am
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Check your email bert and thanks !

 

Joe

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April 9, 2022 - 6:34 pm
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Joe,

Pictures received and reply sent.

Bert

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June 16, 2022 - 7:20 pm
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Have a 1897 mfg date of 1898 that has a plain 25″ barrel that is parkerized. It has the letters “AL” on the left side of the receiver towards the bottom. It is also stamped on the barrel upside down below the barrel marking “12”. Anyone know what it means?rn   

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June 16, 2022 - 11:32 pm
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TROY2187 said
Have a 1897 mfg date of 1898 that has a plain 25″ barrel that is parkerized. It has the letters “AL” on the left side of the receiver towards the bottom. It is also stamped on the barrel upside down below the barrel marking “12”. Anyone know what it means?rn   

  

What is the serial number on the bottom of the receiver frame.  Is it a Solid frame or a Take Down?  Can you provide pictures of it?

I suspect that the barrel has been cutdown (shortened), and the parkerized finish is positively not factory original.

Bert

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