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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My father has an old Win 1897 pump/hammer 12 gauge (serial number says it was made in 1910)from his grandfather. I told him of a crazy idea I had to take this beauty to South Dakota in 2010 and shoot a pheasant or two with a 100 year-old gun. He likes the idea.

Here's where the questions begin: I plan to have the gun thouroughly checked by a smith...anything in particular I need to have checked before firing the gun? It slides and functions fine to my uneducated eye. I plan to handload some low pressure ammo to feed the gun...any opinions for specific pressure ranges, velocity, etc.?

I would love to use this gun for sentimental family reasons, but don't want to risk ruining it. Anything I might be overlooking?
 

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This shotgun is about as strong as you are going to find in a shotgun, the little brother of this shotgun, the 1893 was built right at the start of the switch to smokeless powder, it was a little weak for smokeless, 1897 was redisgned with what smokeless was proving capable of doing in mind. It also served in the trenchs in one war, and saw service in at least a couple more. I have not really looked, but I would be surprized to find the loads for buck shot back then are really close to what it is loaded to today!

besides that anything loaded in a 2 3/4 length shell is loaded so as not be dangerous in lesser shotguns!

That said if you have any worries at all get it checked out!
 

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You have gotten great advice so far, and I second it!

The ol' 97 is a tough old customer that can handle your needs.

Have a smith that KNOWS 97's check it out though...

Make sure it ejects well. The left extractor can be an Achilles heel at times on '97's and it can weaken ejection if broken....

Probably more important than the gun is the user. If you are used to a hammer gun all is well.... If you are not, then practice before hand is a good idea... The safety notch (some call it half cock) gets a bad wrap these days as un-safe... I will tell you it is safer than modern safeties! You need to practice with it though. Pratice lowering the hammer from full cock to safety until you are happy with yourself for sureness. Practice with hammer down on safe on clay birds prior to hunting, cocking the 97 AFTER calling pull..... The ol '97 is kind of like a stick shift car, and you can't do well if you are only trained on an automatic transmission..

When a '97 is assembled and tuned correctly it gives up nothing to its modern counterparts for toughness and dependability and "it will dance on the grave" of many more popular pumpguns when "longivity" is factored in! Years back, Winchester even advertised it!

Learn the outside hammer and you will give up NOTHING on your hunt and you will gain rich "nostalgia" to boot using exactly what your grandfather did....

Slidehammer
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I really appreciate the feedback gentlemen. It is very reassuring to hear that I can use this gun after some practice and a little tune-up. I will practice until I am comfortable with the hammer so I can be prepared for a flushing bird. Thanks a bunch guys.
 

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This is not really a reply, it is a question. I have a Winchester Model 1897 in my possesion [but not immediately at hand], I believe it to be a take-down model. My question is this: I need information on how to take it apart [ie take it down] and also how to take it apart for cleaning. Thanks.
 

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RobbyG said:
This is not really a reply, it is a question. I have a Winchester Model 1897 in my possesion [but not immediately at hand], I believe it to be a take-down model. My question is this: I need information on how to take it apart [ie take it down] and also how to take it apart for cleaning. Thanks.
Push the pin partially through at the end of the mag. tube. Hook your finger around the pin that is sticking out and turn the mag tube until it stops. Briskly slide the forend forward until the action slide bar clears the receiver. Hold the receiver in one hand and the barrel and receiver extension in the other hand, and turn in opposite directions. Turn 90 degress and the gun will take down. ---- Re-assemble in reverse. Make sure the action slide bar doesn't slip down and scrape the receiver when your puting it together.

Taking a 97 apart for cleaning is fairly straight forward. Just put it back together in reverse of taking it apart. It's easier to take guns apart if you figure out how they function.

Regards;
Rod
 

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They are nick named thumb busters for a reason, make sure it is pointed in a safe direction before putting the hammer in half cock with a live round in the pipe. If that hammer slips from your thumb and drops the recoil will make the hammer tang rip your thumb open and the knuckle. (don't ask how I know this)
 

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Im actually considering bringing my old '97 back out to go for crow and other small game you can still use lead for

I'll take pics but at last count the previous owner had burned 76 small crow icons and 26 duck icons into the stock,...was going to restock but somehow she looks like she should,....

an old hunting gun :D
 

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heres the pic,.went out today and got # 77



(the marks are seen in the stock behind the wrist and above the small rock)

Date of Mfg. 1952
 
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