Correct WWII U.S. Marked Winchester Model 1897 Riot Gun, MFD 1942-1945

SOLD FOR: $2726.01

LSB#: 230218SH001

Make: Winchester

Model: 1897 U.S. Riot Gun, 97

Serial Number: 930757

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1942-1945

Gauge: 12 Ga. 2 3/4? Shells

Action Type: Pump Action Shotgun, Tube Fed, Exposed Hammer

Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “MODEL 97 – WINCHESTER – 12 GA. / -TRADE MARK-“. The left side of the chamber is marked “2 3/4 CHAM / 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 bottom of the barrel has “42” date code. The top of the chamber and the top of the receiver are both marked with ovalled “WP” proofs, there are punch-marks by each proof (see Our Assessment). The bottom of the receiver is marked “E / 930757” and the receiver extension is marked “930757”. The left of the receiver is marked “U.S.” and with a flaming bomb Ordnance mark. The left of the stock has a boxed “W.B.” cartouche and a crossed-cannons Ordnance mark.

Barrel Length: 20 3/4”

Choke: Fixed Cylinder Bore

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a silver-colored bead at the muzzle. There is a shallow sighting groove in the top-front of the receiver.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece walnut with a grooved slide handle, thick-wrist semi-pistol grip, straight comb and checkered black hard rubber Winchester buttplate. The stocks have some light nicks and scuffs. There is a thin crack at the rear of the trigger guard. The LOP measures 13 1/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has light wear, mostly around the edges, with well defined checkering. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good-plus condition.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: Factory Refurbished

Bore Condition: The bore is bright with no erosion. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 10 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 90% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There are scattered light nicks and scratches. The gun shows general light handling and operational wear. The screwheads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are generally clear, the US and Ordnance markings in the receiver are worn. Overall, this shotgun rates in Very Good-plus condition.

Mechanics: The action functions properly. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: After observing the Great War for the first three years, it became clear to the U.S. that serious close-range firepower was needed in trench warfare. The Model 1897 Trench grade was an evolution of this idea. The pre-existing Winchester Model 1897 was modified by adding a perforated steel heat shield over the barrel which protected the hand of the user from the barrel when it became over-heated, and an adapter with bayonet lug for affixing an M1917 bayonet. They were so effective and brutal in combat that the German high command once announced they would execute any US soldier captured with one in his possession. The 1897 Trench Gun would go on to see service in the second World War all the way through to the Gulf War and Riot guns would be used by various law enforcement agencies for decades after WWII.

In 1944 it became apparent to the U.S. that while there were available shotguns, many were not in acceptable condition. The guns had either been acquired under blanket procurement and were not the proper type, saw abnormally hard use and were not properly maintained, and others had just been in use for too long due to there not being replacements available. The military deemed that many of the weapons were in need of a major overhaul and initiated a factory service program with Ithaca, Remington, Savage, and Winchester which included trench and riot guns.

We think that this is one that was overhauled at the Winchester factory. Bruce Canfield notes in his book “Complete Guide to United States Military Combat Shotguns”, that “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”. It certainly does seem logical looking at this example. This WWII-range gun’s bluing is great, the Winchester proofs are crisp, and the US markings are worn, such as would be seen on a gun which went through a refurbish program after they had been applied. The gun appears to have seen light use since being refurbished, in Very Good-plus condition. This is a nice military 97 that will be tons of fun to shoot at the range and will be a nice addition to your collection. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Correct WWII U.S. Marked Winchester Model 1897 Riot Gun, MFD 1942-1945
Correct WWII U.S. Marked Winchester Model 1897 Riot Gun, MFD 1942-1945