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Winchester Model 97 shotgun Military ?
March 26, 2020
4:34 pm
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Paul
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Hi I just received a Winchester Model 97 12 Ga. shotgun in 2 3/4 30 inch Full S/N E 923958 , barrel says made in New Haven Conn, U.S. of America. There are no marking on the receiver except a circle PW or WP on the left side top. The only thing that is throwing me off on this shotgun is the stock has military markings big square with WRA top and R.S. blow that with the ordnance crossed cannons to the right of the inspector stamp. I have looked on the computer to try and find out something about this shotgun with that inspector mark but I'm unable to locate anything and was hoping someone on this form could let me know what I have military or civilian and a value. If pictures are required I can email them.

Thank you 

March 27, 2020
8:41 pm
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Just to be clear, it is a 30 inch barrel with a FULL choke mark, correct?

The only Model 97 I have seen with a Robert Sears inspection mark and the Ordnance crossed cannons mark on the left side of the stock is a riot gun.  It had no martial markings on the receiver, a fluted buttstock, and no Winchester model marking on the slide.  I don't know the serial number of the gun or whether or not it had an Ordnance bomb mark on the top rear of the barrel like all the WWII Model 97s have.  I assume from these features, including the RS mark, that it was made in 1941 or sometime when Col. Sears was inspector (ca. 1937 to June 1941).   It's possible that Winchester took guns in current inventory that did not have martial markings on the receivers to fulfill initial military contract orders.

Does your shotgun have the Ordnance bomb mark on top of the barrel?  And what is the barrel date (it will be located on the underside of the barrel near the receiver).  You may need a flashlight to see it as the mag tube is often in the way. 

March 27, 2020
9:37 pm
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Kingston, WA
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Hmmm... the serial number indicates that the receiver was manufactured in August, 1941, and if it was a Government purchased gun, it should have a "W.B." cartouche. 

Send pictures to me at - Win1885@msn.com

Bert

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March 27, 2020
10:51 pm
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Bert, you could be right.  But it might be the same situation as with Colt 1911A1s where, notwithstanding Inspector Sears being replaced by Broberg in July 1941, you see the Inspector Sears' RS inspection mark on pistols through October 1941.

I know there was a Military contract for Model 97s made in Jan. 1942.   Need to check to see if there might have been an earlier one under which shotguns like this one could have been procured from stock on hand. 

March 28, 2020
3:22 am
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Paul
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Tom D said
Bert, you could be right.  But it might be the same situation as with Colt 1911A1s where, notwithstanding Inspector Sears being replaced by Broberg in July 1941, you see the Inspector Sears' RS inspection mark on pistols through October 1941.

I know there was a Military contract for Model 97s made in Jan. 1942.   Need to check to see if there might have been an earlier one under which shotguns like this one could have been procured from stock on hand.   

Yes 30 inch barrel and no other marking on the firearm no US , no Flaming bomb and no date on barrel. I just thought it was strange for a firearm with military marking to have a 30 inch barrel. The only thing I can find on the computer is the Trench and Riot guns. I have found that the government did contract for standard , Trench , Riot and stock for training aerial gunners during WWII but really no information on the standard or aerial gunners can be found as to what kind they used. Pictures emailed.

 

Thanks,

Paul

March 28, 2020
3:52 am
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Paul
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Tom D said
Bert, you could be right.  But it might be the same situation as with Colt 1911A1s where, notwithstanding Inspector Sears being replaced by Broberg in July 1941, you see the Inspector Sears' RS inspection mark on pistols through October 1941.

I know there was a Military contract for Model 97s made in Jan. 1942.   Need to check to see if there might have been an earlier one under which shotguns like this one could have been procured from stock on hand.   

I was able to find a little something on the training of aerial gunners at Kingman Airport. They were trained with shotguns and seen a few pictures of soldiers with long barrel shotguns not sure if this will help or not couldn't really tell what kind of shotguns they had but all have what looked to be like 30 inch barrels.   

March 28, 2020
6:29 pm
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Were you able to see the barrel date?  That could be a clue as to whether it is original.

March 28, 2020
7:36 pm
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During the War anything is possible when it comes to the Military's needs for guns.  According to Bruce Canfield's book, Winchester in the Service, there was a number of trap and skeet configurations purchased by the Military for training.  He does say that even these were stamped with the normal inspection marks.

I can't find a reference to R.S. even in the WW I section for the 1897.   In Joe Poyer and Craig Riesch book, The M1 Garand 1936 to 1957, they say the WRA over RS was used on the Garands from about Ser. #100,001 to 120,000 for a "Major Clean and Repair Program" that started after the end of WW II and continued well into the 1960's.  Arsenal re built stock. 

March 29, 2020
2:35 am
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Paul
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Tom D said
Were you able to see the barrel date?  That could be a clue as to whether it is original.  

No no date just says FULL and looks like a 5 and might be something after that but can't get the collar off to see anything else. Bert advised it was a standard 97 and not military since it don't have any ordnance marks on the barrel. The stock is the only thing that strange.

March 29, 2020
6:21 pm
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Paul said

No no date just says FULL and looks like a 5 and might be something after that but can't get the collar off to see anything else. Bert advised it was a standard 97 and not military since it don't have any ordnance marks on the barrel. The stock is the only thing that strange.  

I believe that your gun is a standard gun with an early or arsenal re built stock.  Military guns will have ordinance marks on the receiver too.

March 31, 2020
9:19 pm
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I forgot to mention that during my research yesterday I came across an article I have that Bruce Canfield did for American Rifleman July 1995.  He states that full production for the Military combat rifles never really got started until 1942 and by 1943 they made most of what was produced.  In 1942 they produced 68,808 Military riot guns, 13,405 trench guns, 19,398 training guns for a total of 101,611 from all manufacturers.  In 1943 they produced 2,607 riot guns, 60,896 trench guns, 51,944 training guns for a total of 115,447 guns.  Winchester delivered almost 20,000 trench guns by the time the war was over. There were WW I trench guns that were refurbished and used.  Thousands more were acquired from commercial sources that were converted to the trench gun configuration.  In addition to the Winchester, Stevens, Ithaca, Remington and Savage all supplied guns.  Also about 200,000 civilian donated guns were obtained but most were not the type needed for Military use.

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