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New Guy with Riotgun Q
July 14, 2016
10:35 pm
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Hi,  Just joined the forum and have a question in regard to a Model 1897 I'm considering buying.  The shotgun is a Mod. 1897 with replacement stock and is described as:  20" barrel marked "cyl": serial number "D" over 348349 on both the barrel and receiver (it's a take down); and has "U.S" stamped on the receiver (right side) and barrel (right side).  However, there are no flaming bomb stamps.

I've read that all trench and riot guns of the WW I period were solid frame and not take down ones, but this gun, made in 1906-07 appears to be legitimate with the "cyl" marked 20" barrel, and "U.S" stamps. My question is, did the military use take down frames during this peroid (WW I or before)? 

Any help would be appreciated.  Also, I want to thank all of you for helping keep historical guns and rifles alive and interesting! My first two rifles, given to me as a kid were Winchesters (a .22 single shot bolt action and a Model 94, 30-30 always simply called "the deer rifle"...).

Thanks,

Steve

July 15, 2016
1:39 am
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Hello Steve,

Model 1897 serial number 348349 was manufactured in November of 1906. As such, it is extremely unlikely that it is a legitimate WW I Riot Gun. The odds are 99.99% that it has been illegitimately marked with the "U.S." markings. All of the WW I Riot and Trench Guns were made with solid frames.

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
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July 15, 2016
2:05 am
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Thanks Bert.  I appreciate it, as I have been looking for information for a few days and debating the purchase; and, I had a feeling it wasn't legit.  Steve

July 15, 2016
2:34 am
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There are 100 fakes to every real legit Riot or Trenchgun from WW1 and most WW1 shotguns are seriously lacking in condition. However, that said, they are a collectors prize and very high premiums are paid for them. I had a very mint, US marked WW1 Trenchgun that came from a big name collection. I paid a little over $4,000 for it and auctioned it off for over $13,000. The WW1 US shotguns are one of the most faked Winchesters there is. Buyer Beware. Listen to Bert. He knows his stuff.   Big Larry

July 15, 2016
4:04 am
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Thanks Big Larry,  I appreciate your help and will be careful in looking for one.  I know a little about 1911s and 1911A1s, but this is new to me. I appreciate your and Bert's help and advice.

Steve

July 15, 2016
3:16 pm
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Used to be a martial arms collector with a substantial collection of all US weapons. Saved a few, but most are gone now. Big Larry

July 15, 2016
5:33 pm
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Bert H. said
Hello Steve,
Model 1897 serial number 348349 was manufactured in November of 1906. As such, it is extremely unlikely that it is a legitimate WW I Riot Gun. The odds are 99.99% that it has been illegitimately marked with the "U.S." markings. All of the WW I Riot and Trench Guns were made with solid frames.
Bert  

Actually, there was a 1917 Navy contract for 300 takedown Model 1897 riot guns.  And there was another contract for about a dozen 1897 takedown riot guns for the Signal Corps.   I've never seen one myself.  This information is from Jeff M, a very seasoned US Military shotgun collector.  Big Larry knows who I'm talking about.

July 15, 2016
8:46 pm
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Thanks Tom,

Would you by chance know the dates of the orders or the serial no. ranges?  Thanks for your input.  I went ahead and bought the gun anyway, as it is in good shape/tight and under $300.  I always wanted one of these since I was a kid, so now that I'm in my second childhood, I bought it...

Steve

July 16, 2016
2:08 am
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Steve, the Navy contract for riots was made in August 1917.  There was a Signal Corps contract the same month, then another Signal Corps contract in Nov. 1917.  These contracts are referenced in Bruce Canfield's book on US Military Shotguns.  I don't think Bruce mentions that they are takedown models, but my source claims the contracts called for takedowns.  These three contracts only account for about 324 riot guns.  There were many more, some with factory Military markings which were all solid frame guns.  These riot guns would have all been E prefix serial number guns probably in the 650,000 to 675,000 serial number range.

July 16, 2016
3:01 pm
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SML said
Thanks Tom,

Would you by chance know the dates of the orders or the serial no. ranges?  Thanks for your input.  I went ahead and bought the gun anyway, as it is in good shape/tight and under $300.  I always wanted one of these since I was a kid, so now that I'm in my second childhood, I bought it...

Steve  

Tom D said

Actually, there was a 1917 Navy contract for 300 takedown Model 1897 riot guns.  And there was another contract for about a dozen 1897 takedown riot guns for the Signal Corps.   I've never seen one myself.  This information is from Jeff M, a very seasoned US Military shotgun collector.  Big Larry knows who I'm talking about.  

Yes I do, and we used to have a great relationship until I sold my collection. He was my Guhru for US shotguns and probably has forgotten more than any of us know. Yep, Jeff M. is the man.  Big Larry

July 17, 2016
5:06 am
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I want to really thank everyone who responded to my questions.  I appreciate ya'll and also want to say thanks for making me feel at "home" here, even though I'm still a guest on the forum.  It's important for folks like you, who love collecting, to continue on in research and debate. It's important, because what we're talking about is a part of American history that could be lost otherwise. Steve

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