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Model 1897 Forearms
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August 24, 2018 - 4:40 pm
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Folks,

Would someone please educate me on Model 1897 / 97 forearms and action slides?

  • Around what serial number did the forearms change from 3-screw to no-screws?
  • How are the “no-screw” forearms held on?
  • Are the 3-screw and no-screw action slides interchangeable?

And one more, related question:

I still regularly shoot my old 1902-vintage Model 1897 12-ga Trap Gun. On the trap field last evening, I managed to break off a piece of the 3-screw forearm wood (I have the piece) and crack the forearm wood itself (still together, but cracked). My gun is a take-down, and I had it together without the magazine tube properly seated. When I pumped the action (which then jammed), I may have stove the forearm into the magazine band, causing it to break / crack. And, yes, I feel pretty stupid 🙁

I can send the forearm off to an outfit like Simmons to be properly repaired, but are there any recommendations for others – who may be more experienced with old wood repairs like this one? (I see Wright’s are out of business.)

More info: Years ago I picked up a proper high-grade trap forearm (wood only), but it’s for the “no-screw” action slide – which is the reason for all my questions. If the action slides are interchangeable, a temporary fix would be for me to pick up one of the “no-screw” ones and use it with my spare forearm wood – until I can get the other one properly repaired.

TIA,

Tom 

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August 24, 2018 - 4:55 pm
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It is very common for the wood to crack on the early guns with the 3 screws. Also the screws can back out and cut your hand.  This may be why Winchester made the change?  Hopefully Bert will answer your questions.  I think the change was around 1919 ???  I believe the very late guns used the same forend as the model 12.

If I had the gun I would glue it back together.  Many will chime in about what glue to use but the real truth is that any wood glue will work.  Elmers or titebond is fine and it won’t hurt the finish.  Others will go on about you have to have water proof glue.  You don’t.  All stocks have no finish on the inside, even the varnished guns, and there are a lot of areas where water could get in. Glue it and then oil it.

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August 24, 2018 - 5:42 pm
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Tom,

Winchester made the change from the 3-screw slide handle stock to the no-screw style when the “D” series was introduced.  All of the pre “C” and “C” series guns have the 3-screw slide handle.  The transition from the “C” series to the “D” series occurred in June 1904 near serial number 247000. 

The slide bar assemblies can be interchanged between the “C” and “D” series guns, but they are not marked the same.

Bert

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August 25, 2018 - 3:55 pm
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Bert H. said
Tom,

Winchester made the change from the 3-screw slide handle stock to the no-screw style when the “D” series was introduced.  All of the pre “C” and “C” series guns have the 3-screw slide handle.  The transition from the “C” series to the “D” series occurred in June 1904 near serial number 247000. 

The slide bar assemblies can be interchanged between the “C” and “D” series guns, but they are not marked the same.

Bert  

Thanks Bert.  I know you have told me this before but my memory isn’t what it used to be.  I might even have it written down somewhere but I can’t remember where?

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September 8, 2018 - 3:23 pm
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OK, so here’s another question. I just picked up a lot of parts and there is a Model 1897 / 97 take-down operating slide assembly in there. Only the rod doesn’t carry any Winchester markings — actually no markings at all on the outer surface.

On the backside, which is hollow — not solid as on my Winchester-marked ones — there is a small “E” and a small “1” or “I” inside a triangle.

Any of you have an explanation?Confused

TIA,

Tom

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September 8, 2018 - 7:19 pm
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Tom,

Winchester stopped marking the visible side of the slide bar somewhere near serial number 790000 (late 1924), well into the “E” series production.  I am still trying to pin down a tighter serial number range in my research survey, but finding the guns in that serial range is slow.

The “E’ marking could indicate that it was intended for an “E” series gun.  The other marking is more than likely an inspector’s stamp. 

Bert

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September 9, 2018 - 1:06 am
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Thanks, Bert,

When Winchester stopped marking the slide bar, is that when they started “hollowing out” the back of the bar, too?

Thanks,

Tom

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September 9, 2018 - 1:25 am
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Tom,

I do not know when that happened, but it would make sense that the change was made coincident with the making the slide bar thinner.

Bert

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February 5, 2020 - 6:14 pm
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So I’m brand new to this site and old Winchesters.  I picked up a very crusty 1897 at a show, (last few hours, seller knocked off 100$ immediately)  Standard 30″ field gun, 1911 manufacture by serial number.  Takedown model.  Seems functional.  I need a forearm, gun has only the metal slide with no wooden overlay.  I found a used one online with the same finish as the butt, but the ad states “solid frame”.  Is there a forearm difference between TD and solid guns?  Goal is a functional restoration.

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February 5, 2020 - 10:49 pm
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Most of the solid frame Model 1897 shotguns were “C” series (or earlier), and will not work on your “E” series Model 1897.

Bert

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February 6, 2020 - 5:54 pm
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Bert H. said
Most of the solid frame Model 1897 shotguns were “C” series (or earlier), and will not work on your “E” series Model 1897.
Bert  

Bert, I have a solid frame E series #733910. I am a little confused as to what he has or needs?  Screws or no screws.

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February 10, 2020 - 3:41 pm
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My reading leads me to believe its a “no screws” forearm.  There are no screw holes in the steel slide anyway. This is the one I am looking at.  Description is a little weak.  https://www.gunpartscorp.com/products/998480

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February 10, 2020 - 6:25 pm
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This is a no screw forend from an E or D.  Here is a picture of a 3 screw.

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February 10, 2020 - 10:44 pm
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Then it will work on my “E” takedown gun?   The only reason I’m set on this one is the finish is so close to my existing buttstock.  Incidentally, how does this attach over the metal slide?  Only by the metal ring on the front of the slide?  I really appreciate the advice, these forearms aren’t cheap, I don’t want to do this more than once if possible.

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February 11, 2020 - 10:04 pm
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red61cj5 said
Then it will work on my “E” takedown gun?   The only reason I’m set on this one is the finish is so close to my existing buttstock.  Incidentally, how does this attach over the metal slide?  Only by the metal ring on the front of the slide?  I really appreciate the advice, these forearms aren’t cheap, I don’t want to do this more than once if possible.  

I believe that Bert answered that question not to long ago?

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February 16, 2020 - 8:51 pm
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Chuck said

I believe that Bert answered that question not to long ago?  

Yea, ok, thanks for that.  For anyone interested, assuming the forearm I bought is in fact from a solid frame gun  (no screws) it fits on my takedown gun beautifully.  I’ll just leave it at that.

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February 17, 2020 - 3:37 am
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The forearm doesn’t care if the frame is solid or take down.  What matters is the hardware you have is either for a 3 screw forend or a no screw forend.  I don’t know how to answer your other technical question on how to assemble the pieces but Bert explained this in a recent post.  Do a search and you should find it.  Maybe there is a Youtube video?

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February 26, 2020 - 4:58 am
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I recently just got a model 1897 manufactured in 1902, its a c series. The receiver has a 4 digit serial number stamped on the left side of the receiver above the trigger guard. The gun does not have any military markings at all. Does anyone know what this is from? I have a hunch its a rack number for a police department but I haven’t found any evidence to support that theory. I highly doubt its one of the few guns that were sent to the WWI theater that were not marked but in curious to see if any of you might know.

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February 27, 2020 - 2:10 am
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Hello Andrew,

The 4-digit number on the left side of the receiver frame is definitely not a “serial” number. Without actually seeing the marking, I cannot even guess what it might be. What is the serial number on the bottom of the receiver frame? What is the configuration of the gun (e.g. barrel length and choke marking)?

You are correct in that it is not a WW I gun., All of the Model 1897s purchased by the U.S. government for WW I were “E” series guns.

Bert

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December 26, 2023 - 4:26 pm
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You guy’s are great and I appreciate your posts.  I’m looking for original stock for my 97  S # C 259103

Im hoping to find a 3 screw forend, and a butt plate . the stock has a square notch cut at the bottom where the butt plate would mount. Not sure if this was original, but I haven’t seen one like it.

Im hoping to find some additional web sites to search for parts or any info on the butt plate

thanks 

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