Winchester 1897 Solid Frame Trench Gun 12 GA Pump Shotgun & Bayonet, C&R

SOLD FOR: $12,525

LSB#: 240507TB006

Make: Winchester

1897 Trench Gun

Serial Number: 

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1918

12 Gauge, 2 3/4? Shells

Action Type: 
Pump Action Shotgun With Tubular Magazine

Barrel Length: 
Nominal 20″, measures 20 1/4″.

Cylinder Bore, Fixed

Sights / Optics: 
There is a brass bead at the front of the installed bayonet lug/heat shield assembly.

Stock Configuration & Condition: 
The stocks are two-piece walnut with a grooved slide handle, thin-wrist semi-pistol grip, high straight comb and checkered black hard rubber Winchester buttplate. There is a sling plate inlet to the belly (there is another swivel mounted to the bayonet lug assembly). There are some scattered compressions. There are some scattered light nicks and scratches in the wood. There are some scattered handling marks. The most noticeable marks are on the buttstock. Many of the marks have colored with age. The LOP measures 14″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has scattered light wear. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: Original

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

Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 90% of its current metal finish. There are nicks and scratches in the metal, mostly on the receiver and bayonet adapter. The bayonet lug has some areas of pitting. There is finish wear on the edges. There is operational wear and there are some scattered light handling marks. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with usable slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this shotgun is in Fine condition.

 The action functions correctly. The trigger is crisp. 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: Included is a Winchester 1917 bayonet.

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. It should come as no surprise then, that it was also popular on the civilian market with many field guns produced. This example is a solid frame model trench gun.

 The U.S. Government also took an interest in the innovative firearm. During WWI a militarized variant of the Model 1897 was accepted for service, known as the “Trench grade” variant, it had an attachment fixed to the barrel which features a bayonet lug and heatshield. There was also a “riot grade” version of the Winchester m/1912 and m/1897 shotguns which lacked the bayonet lug and heat shield attachment, that was adopted for use in WWI. 

 The m/1897 trench guns were put to deadly use during WWI, their effectiveness prompted the German High Command to protest the use of shotguns in combat, the Germans claimed it was a violation of the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare. The protest was likely prompted by the weapons effectiveness, rather than any actual moral scruples and was disregarded by the U.S. Government (this was the same German High Command who used poison gas in battle after all). Both the “riot” and “trench” grade shotguns continued to see use during the Interwar period and when WWII broke out the U.S. Government once again called upon Winchester to mass produce both riot and trench variations of not just the m/1897 but also the m/1912 for military service. They were used extensively in the Pacific Theater against the Japanese where hand to hand combat was all too common and to a lesser extent in Europe. Although its age was starting to show after WWII, the Models 1912  and 1897 would continue to see combat in both Korea and Vietnam. Both shotguns were expertly made and served the needs of American servicemen for nearly half a century.     

This particular specimen is a trench Model 1897 which has seen a rather gentle life and retains a great amount of its original finish. The WWI serial numbers go to E705000 according to Canfield, so this is likely one of the last WWI produced examples. The barrel is fitted with a six hole heatshield with a “PAT. APPL. FOR” bayonet lug. There are no martial markings on this one, another feature of the WWI vintage guns. There has been no end of speculation among collectors as to the reason for unmarked trench guns, but it appears that there were many which were delivered too late to actually make it to the front lines. The end of WWI came as a shock to nearly everyone. At the time, most of the Allied powers believed that the war would continue for at least a few more years. The German offensive Operation Michael had just been halted and the Second Battle of the Marne, the first successful Allied offensive, was just starting. No one would guess that the war would end less than 6 months later. Consequently, there were likely many Trench Guns which had been produced and/or delivered which were never issued and simply remained in the government’s inventory. The Model 1897 “Trench” variant is a very desirable collector piece, so this example would make an outstanding addition to a collection. Please see our photos and good luck!

Some are hot, some are not, but thankfully most can be shot!

Winchester 1897 Solid Frame Trench Gun 12 GA Pump Shotgun & Bayonet, C&R
Winchester 1897 Solid Frame Trench Gun 12 GA Pump Shotgun & Bayonet, C&R