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Model 97 Trench Gun correct?
January 21, 2018
1:17 am
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Virginia
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I am new to the organization and new to Winchester shotguns.  I am looking at what is advertised as a "strong" 97 trench gun for an upcoming on-site auction.  I reviewed as much as I could find on the forum and Canfield's book for reference and question whether this gun is correct, a mix-master, or modified from a riot gun.  From the on-line posted photos here is what I see.

- serial number E945132 as marked on receiver, 945132 on barrel

- appears to be takedown but the pin at the muzzle end of the tube is missing and the hole appears plugged.

- fluted stock with strong WB cartouche in box, Ordnance escutcheon below the cartouche on left side of butt stock. Black plastic butt plate

- U.S. and flaming bomb on left side rear of receiver and bomb on top of barrel above proof mark just in front of receiver

- all metal is blued, barrel length listed as 20 1/2 inches, barrel extends beyond end of bayonet adaptor, no visible markings on bayonet adaptor

- barrel marked 12 gauge, 2 3/4, CYL

- hand guard appears to be 4 row holes

I would appreciate any input on this gun.  Thanks

Mac

January 21, 2018
3:22 am
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Hello Mac,

It is in the correct serial number range for it to be a WW II Trench Gun. Based on your description, it appears to be a correct Trench Gun with the exception of one item... It should not have a "WB" cartouche on the butt stock. Lt. Colonel Waldemar Broberg (W.B.) was relieved by Colonel Guy H. Drewry (G.H.D.) in May, 1942. Serial number 945132 was not manufactured until late August of 1942 per the original Winchester serialization records.

Bert

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January 21, 2018
3:52 am
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Bert thank you for the quick response. Is there any plausible explanation for the cartouche discrepancy other than this gun is the product of a parts project? Anything else I should be aware of in terms of red flags when I see this gun?

January 21, 2018
4:10 am
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No, there is no plausible explanation. I would check the barrel. Take a small mirror and an LED flashlight and look for the 2-digit year number stamped on the bottom of the barrel just forward of the receiver... it should be "42".

Bert

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January 21, 2018
4:13 am
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Virginia
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Thank you sir.  Will do.

January 21, 2018
2:34 pm
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January 21, 2018
4:46 pm
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The one on the auction appears to be 100% correct. The only thing that bothers me is the factory applied ord. bomb on the bbl. I would imagine an early gun to have the hand stamped variety, but the gun appears to be pretty nice and should bring big $$$. Mine,  is # 955552, PR 3-24-1943. It has a "42" dated bbl. as most of them do. My Trenchgun is drippy mint, and was sold by a PD as it has a very small JPD 6 on the pistol grip. Barely noticeable unless you know it is there.

Mac, take Berts advice. I think the shotgun in question may have been re stocked as many of these shotguns are missing their original stocks or have an incorrect handguard.

There are a lot of these put together types as they have a tendency to be very expensive. I know, as I used to collect them.  Big Larry

January 21, 2018
6:33 pm
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I believe the 97 trench gun in the link that tionesta1 posted is correct.  Even the closed flame ordnance bomb mark on the barrel is correct.  The open flame ordnance bomb mark starts to disappear in the 929,xxx serial number range and by the time Winchester reached the serial number of the gun on Gunbroker, (E933,xxx), the closed flame mark was being used exclusively.

January 21, 2018
7:36 pm
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tionesta1 said
what about this one? Correct?

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/737182557  

Al,

It looks correct to me.  The serial number indicates that it was manufactured in February of 1942, which makes the "WB" cartouche correct.  I suspect that it will have a "41" marked barrel.

Bert

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January 21, 2018
10:40 pm
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One on GB might be fun to watch, nice gun and it seems to be getting lots of bids.

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January 22, 2018
2:45 pm
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thanks.  I don't know anything about the model 97 Trench guns, (but know a lot more now thanks to the responses from you experts).  It will be interesting to see what the gun on GB sells for.

Al

January 28, 2018
7:28 pm
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Virginia
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FYI I will report back on the WW II era 1897 "Trench Gun" with the incorrect stock inspector cartouche after the upcoming auction and let you know what it goes for.  In the meantime I am looking at another auction with a 1897 Riot Gun.  Here is what I see in the photos:

- serial number on the breech E645115, no visible serial number on the barrel (is this a concern?).

- solid frame.

- no Govt./martial markings.

- barrel marked 12 GA CYL with no shell length indicated (so what size shell can go in this?).

- Listed as 20" barrel with overall length of 39"

- I believe this is a 1917 production gun based on the serial number.

- Gun looks in decent shape per the photos (I am not qualified to judge %)

My interest in it is as a shootable commercial riot gun correct for the period.  Any discrepancies or potential "gothca's" that I should be aware of.  Thank you in advance for sharing your wisdom.

Mac

January 28, 2018
8:18 pm
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Mac,

Model 1897 serial number 645115 was manufactured in January of 1917 (serial number 645018 was the last one made in 1916).

Solid frame guns only have the serial number on the receiver frame.  Winchester did not begin marking the chamber length on the barrels until early 1930.  Prior to that time, all 12-ga guns were 2-3/4" and the 16-ga guns were 2-9/16".  In early 1930, the 16-ga guns were changed to 2-3/4", and were marked accordingly.  Sometime in the late 1930s, Winchester began marking the 12-ga guns with the chamber length.  Throughout the entire Model 1897/97 production, the 12-ga guns were manufactured with a 2-3/4" chamber.

I already had serial number 645115 listed in my survey as a Riot Gun, with no comments (which means I believe it is correct).

Bert

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January 28, 2018
8:44 pm
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Bert,

Again thank you for your prompt and informative reply.  Very educational as I am learning as I go.  I am reading the "Red Book...4th edition" to see the range of value, will see what happens.

Mac

November 15, 2018
5:17 pm
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I just received the description of a 1897 "trench gun" in upcoming local auction.  Following is the quoted description for review and comment.

"WINCHESTER M1897 "Trench Gun", pump action repeating shotgun, 21" Brl, 12 ga., 2 3/4" chamber, cyl. bore, Parkerized, take-down model, all matching numbers, no disconnector, WINCHESTER mark on top of barrel and proofmarks on brl and rcvr., ordnc Bomb on top of brl., serial number on bottom front portion of rcvr.  SA w serial number on rear portion, ventilated steel handguard (4 row) w bayonet adapter, sling swivels, "W.B." w Srngfld. Arsenal cartouche on left side of stock, "U.S." w ord. bomb on left side of rcvr., hard rubber "Winchester Repeating Arms Co." buttplate, w 1917 REMINGTON bayonet and scabbard, leather military sling, DOM 1917/1918, WW I U.S. Military issue, believe reworked at Springfield Arsenal in early 1940's, SN 637239."

I have not seen the gun and photos won't be available for several weeks.  The above information appears to describe a WW I era 1897 serial numbered gun with WW II era markings.  Could this be a legitimate arsenal rebuild or some other plausible explanation for a correct 1897 trench gun?  Please take a careful read of the description and provide your thoughts.  Thanks.

Mac

November 15, 2018
7:54 pm
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Yep, a rework, and they are not as collectible nor worth the $$$ of an original. What is a Smgfld cartouche? It would not have a WB cartouche. Stock is off a WW2 gun. Handguard is also WW2. It's a parts gun and not an arsenal parts gun.  Big Larry

November 15, 2018
8:27 pm
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Mac,

It is a "put together" piece parts gun, not Winchester or arsenal work.

First, all WW I Trench Guns were solid frames, and the serial number you mention is too early for WW I. Winchester never Parkerized any of the Model 1897 (or Model 97) Trench Guns. The barrel should be 20-inchs versus 21". "WB" marked guns (in early WW II production) were all equipped with the 6-row ventilated heat shield. It was the "GHD" marked guns that had the 4-row heat shields.

Bert

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November 15, 2018
8:34 pm
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Virginia
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Big Larry and Bert,

You confirmed my suspicions.  Thank you for reading the description of the gun as provided to me.  I appreciate your shared wisdom and knowledge.  Another one that I'll pass on.

Mac

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