SOLD FOR: $2586
Model: 97 Riot Gun, Takedown Frame
Serial Number: 920250
Year of Manufacture: 1945
Caliber: 12 Gauge with 2 3/4” Chamber
Action Type: Pump Action Shotgun with Tubular Magazine
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “MODEL 97 – WINCHESTER – 12 GA. / -TRADE MARK-” and “CYL.”. The right side of the barrel is marked “-MADE IN U.S.A. WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CONN.-” above patent dates. The top of the chamber and the top of the receiver are both marked with ovalled “WP” proofs. The proof on the top of the barrel is double-struck, both proofs are accompanied by punch-marks (see Our Assessment). The bottom of the receiver is marked “E / 920250” and the receiver extension is marked “920250”. The left of the receiver is marked “U.S.” and with a flaming bomb proof. The left of the buttstock is marked “G.H.D.” in box over a crossed cannon Ordnance wheel.
Barrel Length: 20 3/4?
Choke: Fixed Cylinder Bore
Sights / Optics: There is a silver-colored bead at the front of the barrel and a shallow groove at the front of the receiver which serves as a sighting plane.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece walnut with grooved slide handle, smooth semi-pistol grip, straight comb and checkered black hard rubber buttplate. The stocks have some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The most notable marks are in the sides of the buttstock behind the grip. The finish is thinning at some edges. There are no chips or cracks in the wood. The LOP measures 13? from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has a small loss at the toe. Otherwise, it has light wear with well defined checkering and lettering. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: We believe this shotgun was factory refurbished.
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright. There are infrequent spots of light erosion and some stubborn fouling in the bore, mostly toward the muzzle-end. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates an 8 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 90% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. There are some scattered light nicks and scratches. There is wear on the bottom of the lifter and the front of the trigger guard assembly consistent with loading. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this shotgun is in Very Good condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, and is smooth. This shotgun will slam-fire as designed. We did not fire this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Photocopies are included from the August 1945 edition of “The American Rifleman” and Bruce Canfield’s “Complete Guide to United States Military Combat Shotguns”.
Our Assessment: The Winchester 1897 was designed by the famed John M. Browning and quickly became one of the most popular shotguns in the world, serving the United States military in both World Wars and popular with law enforcement agencies across the country. In its military role, the 1897 served in a few configurations. There were some long-barreled field guns which were used both for aerial gunnery training as well as for recreation at officer’s clubs, some of which had clays ranges. There were Trench Guns which had heat shields and bayonets, intended to provide buckshot firepower in trenches and other close-quarters situations. There were also Riot guns which were typically used for guards at bases, supply dumps, and stateside at various factories and facilities deemed essential to the war effort.
Both during and after the war (in fact, also between the World Wars), these shotguns saw various repair and refurbishment programs, some performed by arsenals, some by individual armorers, and some by Winchester. In August of 1945, “The American Rifleman” indicated that there were a number of surplus shotguns which would become available after the guns had been “individually inspected, repaired, and classified as to condition”. Bruce Canfield also notes in his book on military shotguns that “Winchester received a government contract in late WWII to refurbish some Model 97 (and Model 12) military shotguns. It is believed that any of these guns re-worked by the factory under the contract that required refinishing were reblued rather than being parkerized. Some reblued M97 trench guns will evidence added punch marks on the receiver and barrel, and some collectors are of the opinion that these marks indicate factory reworked shotguns. While unproven, this theory seems logical.”
This takedown frame riot gun has all the hallmarks of a Riot gun which was refurbished by Winchester right at the end of WWII. The gun looks great and will be a wonderful addition to a collection. Plus, Winchester 97s are a hell of a time to shoot and everyone should have one, why not make this one yours? Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud