Polish

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by cointoss2, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. cointoss2

    cointoss2 Guest

    warpig883
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    (12/29/01 9:30:30 pm)
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    I was at the local gunsmith today getting a copy of his FFL to send to some guy who gave me a .22 for way more than it is worth and sitting in the corner is a beat up old girl. I peered around the shadows trying to make out what it was. The light was playing tricks on my eyes making the shadows look like figures of John Browning beckoning to me. I slowly walked over in awe and picked up a genuine Winchester 1897 shotgun. I asked the feller behind the desk if it would take Heaven or Hell to get it out the door from him. He replied it belonged to a fellow who brought it in to be cleaned. It had been sitting in the guys chicken coop for years and years. bees had built a hive inside it. He had the barrel clean and most of the action. He was going to strip it down tonight and soak it good. The lovely brown patina is long gone. The old warhorse is wore down to a fine silvery finish that reflects images of hunting days gone by and angles accompaning John Browning on a hunt in the Utah hills. The barrel measures 29 1/2 but the smith said it has been cut down and is a cylinder choke. Did they make them longer than a 30" barrel? The wood is battle scared and has a repair with the glue starting to chip out. No idea when she was made but she looks OLD. Rode hard and put up wet comes to mind.

    Anyway I ask him if it can be bought. He said what will I give. I told him not over $100.00 cause it is pretty rough. He said he will check with the owner and he thinks I can get it cheaper that what I said. He told me it would be a good wall hanger. If I buy it I will be shooting pheasants with it. That old girl was not made to hang on a wall and I would not ever disgrace her by doing so. I will find out next week.
    We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans... -- Bill Clinton, US President (USA Today, 11 Mar 1993, page 2a)

    Edited by: warpig883 at: 12/30/01 8:03:08 pm

    polishshooter
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    (12/30/01 11:24:39 am)
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    Geez, Pig, $100 is a STEAL in my book...if it's functional or just needed minor parts replacement...hell, I'd consider it even if it wasn't...but that's me.....

    You can still get parts for it from Gun Parts and Sarco, and Boyds in Mitchell right there makes replacement wood looks just like the original (I wish I would have read their address in SGN BEFORE I stopped in Mitchell TWICE while I was in SD, I woulda picked up a set and saved shipping...)

    What did the barrel have stamped on it for choke? The original Cylinder Bore was 26 rr 28"...but I believe they had a full or extra full in 32"...it may be cylinder now, but doubt it was originally....

    I'd cut it down like mine...only to 20" not 18" like mine...if it is indeed stamped "CYL" you'd have a nice fake riot, and it would pattern the same as it does now, if cut, there is no choke anyway...

    Is it a takedown? If so, you may have to tighten the sleeve, do you remember how I showed you on mine? Only one notch at a time til it's tight again...

    If I was to use it for Pheasant I'd carry it just like I do when I "jump shoot" Rabbits with mine....empty chamber...and "slack-slack" on the jump...it's much safer, and it's so slick with practice it's just as fast...for deer I carry one up the spout, but with a special carry where the web of my right hand is RIGHT against the hammer, the half-cock is NOT a safety, and must be lowered completely then back to half, not lowered to half from full cock, or it could fire with a hard pull, or if it caught caught on a cornstalk or briar or something...

    I'm thinking of making up my own "owners" manual and keep it with the gun, so after I'm long gone and the old girl is STILL firing away some owner down the line doesn't shoot himself with it...with the '97, you HAVE to watch the muzzle, not just lip service, especially when loading/unloading...but it was designed in an era when safe gunhandling was supposed to be second nature, and you KNEW your weapon...kinda like the Colt "5 shot" Peacemaker....

    And don't worry, if there is NO finish left, you can get a "Nice Brown Patina" finish pretty easily, just use WD 40 as a protectant, and put it away in a damp closet for about 6 months....

    BTW, are you sure it's not a worn NICKEL finish? It was pretty popular back then...

    When was it made? Give me the serial number and I'll get you close, even though Winchester numbers are NOT exact, no matter what books you use...BUT it will be within about 5 years at least....
    We must make war as we must; not as we would like. - Field Marshal Kitchener, 1915

    polishshooter
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    (12/30/01 11:32:57 am)
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    And oh yeah, make sure it isn't a '93...even if it is, it's be worth it, they are pretty scarce, BUT you'd have to handload for it, lighter loads or BP, they were designed for BP only, milder steel...I may try to find a 93 at the next show, they are still available as "sleepers," from guys who know they are only for BP, but do not know about "Cowboy Action Shooting" yet...they are going up in price FAST....

    It SHOULD say the Model on the slide bar, but if not, you can check it with the serial numbers...you CAN tell them apart if you have it side by side with a 97 you know is a 97, BUT by itself, is easy to confuse...

    If it was a 93, I'd DEFINITELY cut it down, refinish it, then SELL it as a 93 (of course) for a premium to a "Cowboy" shooter, if I wasn't one myself....(You can use a 97 for Cowboy too, but a 93 is more realistic, especially for the guys who load BP 12 guage rounds...)
    We must make war as we must; not as we would like. - Field Marshal Kitchener, 1915

    Flhunter
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    (12/30/01 3:00:44 pm)
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    Great story and info!!! Makes me want one now.

    warpig883
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    (12/30/01 8:07:12 pm)
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    Polish I don't know any more details on it than what I posted. He was nervous cause I had picked up a customers gun so I did not get to get intimate with it. It is a '97 and not a '93. I am guessing when the honey comb is cleaned out of the action she will probably shoot fine. How did Win. mark their chokes? If I did cut it down it wouldn't be as short as you prefer maybe down to 26" that is the ideal shotgun length for me.
    I will find out more next week.
    We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans... -- Bill Clinton, US President (USA Today, 11 Mar 1993, page 2a)

    polishshooter
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    (12/30/01 8:13:43 pm)
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    Hey Pig I've been thinking...unless it originally was a 32" barrel, and I have NEVER seen one, just heard about them, mebbe ADoc would know fer sure....I DOUBT it's been cut if it's 29 1/2"....it prolly is a 30" barrel measured wrong...How did you measure it?

    The proper way is to make sure the action is closed, then put a cleaning rod down the barrel until it touches the bolt face, then mark the rod, and measure how long it is...

    If it was just measured from muzzle to receiver on the outside, there could be your 1/2"...

    If it is stamped "Full" on the barrel, I DOUBT it's been cut...Who'd cut only 1/2" off? Even if it had a polychoke at one time, I believe it would be shorter if it was cut off...mine was a 26" CYl that Gramps had the polychoke on...and if I just cut it off, it still would have been around 24"....they get rid of the choke before mounting it...

    And if it was cut to get rid of a "Bulge," you'd think it would have been farther back too...

    I'm going to go fondle, er...MEASURE mine, that's right...I KNOW it's 18 1/2," let me see what it measures from the outside...I had the 'smith cut it at the 1/2" not 18" even, just so if I ran into some yahoo cop that didn't know how they were measured, he would still find at least 18".
    We must make war as we must; not as we would like. - Field Marshal Kitchener, 1915

    polishshooter
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    (12/30/01 8:34:27 pm)
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    Hey Pig, there it is!

    My barrel measured from the muzzle to the front of the reciever on the outside measures EXACTLY 18"...

    ...but when I grabbed the cleaning rod off of a 91/30 on the rack and stuck it down and measured it like you are SUPPOSED to measure it it measures actually...18 3/4"...(I'm pissed, I PAID for 18 1/2" )(Actually I'm kinda happy with the guy's work, I remember telling him I wanted 18" measured on the OUTSIDE so there was no question and he cut it RIGHT ON for that...so technically I could lose another 3/4" and still be legal...(Or technically, not NFA..)

    Anyway, I BETCHA the 'smith didn't measure it with the rod, but on the outside, and it really is a 30" full choke barrel...measure the diameter to be sure, or try to drop a dime down it...one will go down mine, which IS Cylinder...

    You can measure Doubles and Singles from the outside, since the reciever face IS the bolt face, but on pumps and autos, the barrel is recessed into the receiver some...the length of the threads on the barrel at least....
    We must make war as we must; not as we would like. - Field Marshal Kitchener, 1915

    warpig883
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    (12/30/01 9:27:35 pm)
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    Polish, I have always just stuck my tape measure down the barrel with the bolt closed and read the reading at the end of the barrel. The smith measured the outside from the end of the barrel to the edge of the reciever. He tried a dime it was very sloppy went right in and rattled around. Did Win. use *** marks for chokes or did they just stamp FULL or whatever on the barrel?
    We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans... -- Bill Clinton, US President (USA Today, 11 Mar 1993, page 2a)

    AntiqueDr
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    (12/30/01 9:50:10 pm)
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    The 1897 was an improvement over the 1893, although the two look very similar. A big giveaway is the top of the receiver - the '93 is cut away and ejects more or less upward while the '97 is closed and is purely side ejection.

    One thing to check on ALL '97s is the slide lock. Releasing it requires moving the forend forward slightly - this is accomplished by the recoil when fired. Takedowns were offered from the second year of production on (in 12ga), and the gun was made in Field Grade, Trap Grade, Pigeon Grade, a Brush Gun, Riot Gun and Trench Gun.

    The standard 12ga barrel would have been 30" full choke, other chokes were available throughout production. Special order barrel lengths up to 32" in 12ga. The Brush Gun was unique in that it had a factory 26" cylinder-bore barrel. BE AWARE that Damascus barrels WERE offered on the 1897 - check it before you go shooting pheasant!

    The slide arms were marked with the model number up until about 1912 or so, then they were unmarked. Choke markings are spelled out. "CYL" "MOD" "FULL" etc on the left side of the barrel at the receiver. Later guns after c.1912 have the choke marking closer to the rest of the barrel marking, but it is still spelled out - no codes.

    There were quite a few special order features for the 1897, particularly in the higher grades. One of the best I've had was a Pigeon Grade Black Diamond Skeet Gun, I was a fool to part with it but I just had to have the 1886.
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