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Philosopher

Questions about recent acquisition: Winchester 1897. NOW a restoration project! UPDATES!

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Posted (edited)

Just acquired a Winchester 1897 from a fellow gun club member. Met outside to maintain our “social distance” so as to not pass any viruses. The shotgun is in pretty decent condition overall, good mechanically but the old finish on the wood has become “gummy” with age. Believe it or not, there IS checkering under there! Need to refinish the wood and repair a partial split in the forearm.

 

It's a take-down model, with a 30 inch barrel. The serial number (469XXX) indicates it was made in 1911. The numbers on the receiver and barrel assembly match. This is a series “E” as indicated by an “E” stamped above the serial number. Barrel is marked “FULL” near the breach end.

 

The gun has some of the features of a “Trap” model, but is not marked “Trap Gun” on the bolt. It does have a thin, checkered forearm and a checkered English straight grip stock. The top of the receiver and barrel are stamped or scribed in a pattern that I presume is intended to reduce glare. The pattern on the barrel is scribed into the barrel itself, it is not a raised rib.

 

My question is just what version of the 1897 do I have here? Here's a few pictures to aid in your cogitations.

 

 

 

 

Winchester 1897 full 1.jpg

Winchester 1897 right receiver 1.jpg

Winchester 1897 top 1.jpg

Edited by Philosopher
updated title

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My guess is that it is a Black Diamond Trap that the bolt has been replaced on. Or a standard gun that someone added Black Diamond wood and barrel.

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From what I can see in your pictures you have a black diamond 97. Look just behind the receiver on the stock there should be a black diamond there.. You have to disassemble the gun to find the trap gun engraving, later model don't have it. 

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The Black Diamond was the only straight stocked 97

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2 hours ago, Goody, SASS #26190 said:

My guess is that it is a Black Diamond Trap that the bolt has been replaced on. Or a standard gun that someone added Black Diamond wood and barrel.

Is the bolt marked with a serial number anyplace?

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Not that I am aware of.

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What you have is a beautiful gun!   I strongly urge you to shoot a match with it.  There is a possibility that you will love shooting a long barreled shotgun.   I got myself a 30" full choke 97 just cuz I wanted to have one.   After shooting exactly 1 match with it, the 20" one I'd been using became my backup.

Long barrels rule!

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To remove the gummy stuff from the stock use a water based citrus cleaner. Its a household cleaner found in any grocery store.We used to use it on old military arms that had been coated in cosmoline. Does a great job of removing gunk and won't hurt the gun. Just spray it on and wipe off with cheesecloth or paper towel.

kR

PS I think we used to use one called Orange Clean.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Rough 'N Ready Rob said:

Brake the gun down, may say trap on the inside of the action rod near the end.

 

 

Just took it apart and checked the action rod as you suggested. Here's a photo of what it looks like.

 

You Sir, are a wealth of 1897 knowledge! I couldn't find anything, anywhere, on the internet that suggested that the Trap models were marked anywhere but on the bolt.

 

 

image.png

Edited by Philosopher
Added info

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4 hours ago, Tennessee Snuffy said:

Pretty, Pretty Please don't chop the barrel off!!!!

 

let me know before you make that bad mistake.

 

Thanks

 

That had occurred to me before Rough 'N Ready Rob suggested an alternative location that it might be stamped "Trap". If it  was a Mixmaster of parts I might have cut it. Now that I know it's "correct" I'll clean it up the wood but make no alterations beyond that.

 

I am NOT a barbarian!

 

;)

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yup , clean it shoot it then decide what you want to do with it , there are some of us out here that would love to come across a straight stocked 97 , just sayin , 

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About the question of cleaning the "gummy" wood,  Mechanics hand cleaner such as Go-Jo will do a great job on that.

Blackfoot :FlagAm:

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Posted (edited)

A couple of old 1897 stocks came my way and I used them to practice my wood refinishing "skills". 

 

If the butt stock is a trap stock, it should have a black ebony inlay, in the shape of a diamond. (Me doing my Captain Obvious thing). You don't want what you're using to strip the finish to lift that.  The gummy surface is old linseed or some kind of wax. I suspect that the stock is oil filled as well.

 

I had a real dirty one, and as per a Midwayusa video, I used Acetone. I recommend it. It does a very good job of removing oil from the wood. Another good tool is a heat gun. Warming up the surface of the wood softens the "gummy stuff" and lets you wipe it off. That would be my first step. If you are lucky, that may be all that is required. I also watched a video where they boiled the stock in water, I've never tried this, sounds like it would work. 

 

Bottom line, you don't want to damage the wood. BTW, 100 year old walnut is hard and it will crack and chip if you do something silly.

 

Check for cracks, the wrist area is pretty thin and longitudinal cracks are common.  

 

Everyone seems to have their own method of reapplying finish. On the last couple I've used boiled linseed until the pores were filled, and then followed with a coat or two of Tru-Oil. Tung oil may be a better choice for the base coat, I'll be trying it next. 

 

xMWJ5zS.jpg

 

There are still some streaks of oil left in the wood, but most has been removed. Several soakings of acetone.

 

g6eus6n.jpg

 

Blow out repaired, refinished and back on the shotgun.

 

SSgPaft.jpg

 

Another resurrection, brass cross pin in wrist. This one looked more like a piece of firewood than a gun stock.

 

BB

 

Addendum: I found this picture, it shows the diamond, and it shows a crack above it. This is a fairly typical crack, the pinned stock in the picture above had twins, one on each side, and the crack through the trigger cutout.

 

GSaSJAN.jpg

Edited by "Big Boston"

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Posted (edited)

Big Boston: thanks for the excellent advice, especially regarding the ebony inlay.

 

The finish that is currently on the stock does not appear to be original. It's much closer to a thick shellac or varnish than an oil finish. I removed the stock from the action just last night and I'll try and get a couple close-up pictures of what the finish looks like.  The good news is that I can't see any cracks where the the stock is inlet to fit the action.

 

Whatever's on the stock is so THICK and DARK that I have no idea if an ebony inlay is present to not! I do have some mineral spirits on hand, maybe I'll give an area of the stock a quick scrub to see if I can thin out the "tar" a bit.

 

This is going to be a "slow reveal", I'm afraid.

 

OK, here's the promised pictures. 

 

Is there a black diamond inlay under the finish???!! What do YOU think?

 

Stay tuned!

 

 

Stock left 1.jpg

Stock right 1.jpg

Closeup left 1.jpg

Edited by Philosopher
added pictures

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Posted (edited)

I'll be watching too. That is a real good find, be careful with the recoil pad as I think that is a original Winchester put on at the factory. I'm sure the person you bought that from may be having second thoughts.

Edited by Rough 'N Ready Rob

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I'm sitting in the Stem Cell Transplant Unit at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, hopefully getting ready for a stem cell transplant.  And found these pictures of the Black Diamond Trap I picked up at a gunshow close to 20 years ago.  An old gentleman well into his 80's approached our Cowboy Action Display table and indicated he had some shotguns to sell.  He told us that he had been collecting Winchesters for many years and 2 years earlier he passed on a number of rifles to family members.  Sadly within the 2 years all the guns he had given to relatives had been sold. After interviewing the two of us he sold this Black Diamond to me and a 1897 Pigeon Grade to another fellow at prices we couldn't refuse.  It was apparent that it was more important that the guns went to good homes than the dollars they brought in.  We were certainly in the right place at the right time.   

IM000358.JPG

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That one is in nice shape! I've only gotten close to a black diamond once in all the years I've frequented gun shops. Owner purchased it and it was headed for his safe.:blush:

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Thanks to everyone who has shared pictures of their model 97s. Those are some beautiful guns!

 

Tried out the paint thinner on the stock finish. Removed NOTHING after giving it a good rub with a paint thinner soaked rag. 

 

My bottle of citrus-based paint remover is arriving via Amazon this next week. I'll give that a try on the areas of the stock well away from where a black diamond inlay may or may NOT be.

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I see the pictures of Grey Beards Black Diamond shotgun.   I thought that all Black Diamonds had straight stocks,  not the pistol grip.   Maybe I was told wrong?   Let me know  Bullett 19707

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I've got a bottle of "eco friendly", citrus-based paint stripper in-bound from Amazon, supposed to arrive Thursday.

 

HOWEVER, I mentioned my woodworking project to a neighbor last night (from a safe distance). Turns out he had a half can of full power, HAZMAT grade, paint stripper! The type that requires you use gloves and have lots of ventilation.

 

Going to go to work on the area of the stock away from the area a black diamond inlay might be to test the effectiveness of the stripper against whatever substance is on the stock and fore arm.

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Posted (edited)

The combined efforts of the eco-friendly paint stripper and the "destroyer of worlds" paint stripper have revealed the truth!

 

 

 

left  side before.jpg

left side with stripper.jpg

left side diamond 1.jpg

left side diamond 2.jpg

Edited by Philosopher
messed up adding the images, fixed it
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On 3/28/2020 at 7:11 PM, Bullett Sass 19707 said:

I see the pictures of Grey Beards Black Diamond shotgun.   I thought that all Black Diamonds had straight stocks,  not the pistol grip.   Maybe I was told wrong?   Let me know  Bullett 19707

 

Bullett,

 

Here is a pic of a 1907 Winchester 1897 Black Diamond Trap shotgun that I currently have.  It has a pistol grip stock as well as a very nicely done vent rib.

 

 

IMG_0215.jpg

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Thank You Buckeye Pete,  I have learned something new.   What a nice looking shotgun,  you should be very proud.    Thanks for sharing your picture.   Bullett 19707

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Posted (edited)

I recently acquired a Black Diamond Trap made in 1908 with a matted barrel, I shot it last week at our local match and I really like it. Mine says Trap gun on the bolt as well as on the back side of the pump. Mine how ever has a cut stock with an aftermarket butt pad, and has been reblued at some point. Mine does have the standard small cracks on both sides of the stock. It shot great at the match and I may use it as my main shot gun. I also have a 26 inch norinco I had been using and I stopped using the 1938 one with the 32 inch barrel I first used when I discovered as a left I like 97s.  I need to do the acetone treatment on mine as it looks to have soaked up a little oil as well over the past 100 years or so.

 

Congrats on your find I think you'll really enjoy shooting it. Some people may rib you a bit about being able to poke the targets over with the barrel but it's all in good fun. 

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Edited by Denali Dan

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