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

August 17, 2019
9:09 pm
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Kingston, WA
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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

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
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August 17, 2019
9:29 pm
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Kingston, WA
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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

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
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August 17, 2019
9:42 pm
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Kingston, WA
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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

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
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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.

August 18, 2019
9:26 pm
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Narrow Gauge Kid
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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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