what to do RE: Winchester Model 1897


.22LR
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:17 pm
Location: Wisconsin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:47 am
I have a Model 1897 too! Take Down model, 1913 birth year but not nearly the same condition as some of the posts here :( .
My father bought it used (probably just after WWII) for pheasant hunting in SD. I remember tagging along as a kid in the late 50s & early 60s either pheasant hunting in SD or rabbit hunting in MN. The one I have DID NOT live a sheltered life. As many have said, these shotguns were tools. The stock was cracked and my Dad repaired it by tightly wrapping wire around the entire wrist portion of the stock. I thought it looked kinda cool. In my late teens, I was hunting with some friends and experienced an accidental discharge! No one was injured but my faith in the safety of using this shotgun was greatly diminished. It languished in the bedroom closet of my parent's house for many years. After my father passed away, my younger brother "inherited" the gun. He and his college roommates decided that the broken stock needed modification and hacked it off into a "pistol grip"! Maybe they thought that their neighborhood wasn't safe enough and they need something to "meet BGs at the door". They didn't do a very professional job :x . Fortunately the "Bubba"ing stopped there (for a while). Again, this relic languished in a series of closets for several years. When I retired from the military, I took possession after scolding my brother for neglecting and maiming Dad's gun. Sadly, I have to admit that I haven't done much to make things better.
Having not forgotten the AD of years gone by, I decided to find out what was the cause and get it fixed (or better still, fix it myself). Between online guides and YouTube videos, I learned the proper disassembly process and dug into my refurbishing project. Most of the disassembly went well. I took photos along the way to help with reassembly (always a good plan). Eventually, I reached a point where the internal components weren't coming apart as described in the guides. It took a while but I determined that the Action Slide Hook Screw had somehow gotten damaged and try as I might, I was unable to remove it from the right side of the receiver. I spoke with an old retired gunsmith from our gun club about the issue. He understood the problem and gave a few possible options but the way that the screw had broken, there was no way to get purchase on it and back it out. As a last resort, I had to drill an "escape portal" in the left side of the receiver (ouch!) and once that was done, the broken screw merely fell out! Of course, that left a gaping 3/8" hole in the receiver. At the time, Numrich Gun Parts didn't have a replacement screw in stock, so I fabricated my own 8-) .
With the gun completely disassembled, I was able to clean the years of neglect out of the nooks and crannies of the components. Once reassembled, everything seemed to work properly. I don't know for sure but I'm of the belief that the broken action slide hook screw had, at least, a small part to play in the AD that I had experienced.
Phew, this story is getting long isn't it? Anyway, now I'm at the part related to the subject. I don't believe that there is much in the line of collector value in this shotgun and I doubt that there is much in the line of cash value but I could be wrong. There's nothing anyone would call "pristine" about this gun, not to mention the left side of the receiver being ventilated with the 3/8" hole that I drilled :roll: . I'm wondering just how much head shaking and eye rolling might result from my suggestion that I further modify (some might say "continue to Bubba") this 1897 into the Riot Gun configuration (20" barrel) or more drastically, an 18"(or 20"), pistol gripped, home defense weapon? The barrel shortening would be done in a professional manner. In the case of the Riot Gun configuration, I would need to procure a replacement stock. For the latter, I would fabricate the grip.
So, what says the forum?
Sleeper

.270 WIN
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:44 pm
Location: Nova Scotia,Canada
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:27 pm
Well its your gun,so you can do as you want. :)

The gun as you say, has no collector value,but has value to you as it was your Dad's gun.If it were myself ,I would do no more damage to it ,than has already been.If it were me, I would try to restore it to the shape it was in when your Dad used the gun afield,all those years ago.Not prefect,but a good serviceable field gun. :)

Just my thoughts on the subject. :)
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20g
Posts: 901
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:06 pm
Location: Central Louisiana
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:00 pm
Sleeper, I experienced an AD with my uncle's '97 when I was about ten. He had left the gun propped in a corner outside my bedroom. I was home alone and began handling the gun. Don't recall racking it, but I probably did because BLAM!, there is a black hole in my mattress, electric train beneath the bed is scrape. Could be I pressed the slam fire button. My uncle took the blame for being so careless. I was severely tongue-lashed by my Mom.

Your idea to reduce the '97 to a riot gun configuration is doable, or as 28 gauge advised, have it restored as best you can. It will still be a part of your Dad's remembering.
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.22LR
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:17 pm
Location: Wisconsin
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:04 am
Thanks to both 28 gauge and redryder for your replies. I will now have to decide what degree of "nostalgic value" I wish to maintain for this shotgun.

I will say that with 28 gauge's suggestion of restoration to original configuration, this gun would again resume "languishing" in my gun locker waiting to be passed down to the next generation. I don't hunt much (if ever) anymore and have shotguns that are much better suited for shooting clay targets.

If redryder's suggestion is applied and I have the gun "reduced to the '97 to the riot gun configuration", at the very least, it will live outside of the gun locker. While I hope that the need for "home defense" remains low for my current place of residence, a shotgun with a 20" barrel is much better suited for that purpose.

I think that I may have just made my decision. I do like redryder's comment that with whatever I choose to do, "It will still be a part of your(my) Dad's remembering." Perhaps I'll proceed in a way that will allow for a "change of heart" i.e. save the barrel shortening to the very end.

Thanks for the replies and suggestions.
Sleeper

.22LR
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:17 pm
Location: Wisconsin
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:03 am
Well, I started the ball rolling on this project! I ordered an unfinished replacement buttstock from Brownells. Hopefully, I'll have it by the middle of next week. I imagine that there will be some inletting required as well as a bit of sanding to fine tune the fit. Since it is unfinished, I should be able to get a pretty good color match with the action slide foregrip. After that I'll see about re-bluing. I'll be saving any destructive mods for the very end. I can post some pics as I go along.
Sleeper
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20g
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:06 pm
Location: Central Louisiana
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:05 am
Good choice, although requiring more work and expense. I suspect you will not mind those concerns.
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.22LR
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:17 pm
Location: Wisconsin
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:47 am
redryder wrote:Good choice, although requiring more work and expense. I suspect you will not mind those concerns.

Not too worried about the work. RE: the expense, it was just over $63 shipped. Initially, I thought that was a bit high BUT after looking around the internet, Ebay, GunBroker, Numrich and a host of others, Brownells had the best price. Local collectors may have been an option but my experience with prices at gunshows not to mention admission price and fuel costs to and from, lead me to believe that I still got the best price. I could be wrong.
Once the hands-on process starts, I'll post some pics.
Sleeper

.22LR
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:17 pm
Location: Wisconsin
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:17 pm
The unfinished replacement stock has arrived but I've yet to start working on it. I don't think that there will be any difficult work to make it fit. I had to get a 1/4" x 20 bolt from the Hardware Store as the original was long gone. The stock is a little "proud" where the wrist meets the rear of the action but that shouldn't be an issue. I will have to mount a buttpad as the blank did not come with one nor was it drilled for mounting. I have a few generic buttpads that I can choose from and I will make one of them work. In a perfect world, I would get a Winchester butt plate (and I will seek one) but a padded one, like a Kickeze would make for more comfortable shooting. I will post some pics when I have something to show.
Sleeper

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