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Alex C.

Model 1897 16 GA Shotgun

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Hello,

I have a Model 1897 16ga shotgun that belong to my great grandfather. Based on the serial number with a C stamp it was manufactured in 1899.  The shotgun itself is in really bad shape since it sat in a old shed at my family ranch for a really long time.   The stock has a piece broken off and is loose and its missing the but plate. The forearm wood is attached but almost broken into 3 pieces.  Also pretty much the metal is rusted and pitted including the exposed part of the bolt. The action does work but I can not break it down, the mag tube does not even turn and I haven't really tried to force it.

 

I question is that I want to restore it to keep it for my son since its been in our family for 121 years. However, I been told that if I do that then I will ruin its value.  I have no intentions of selling it so I don't care about the value, but I also don't want to ruin it at the same time.

 

I would appreciate and input you have

 

Thanks

 

Alex

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From the description of condition, the current value is next to nothing.
If it was mine, I would probably have it restored as a family heirloom (depending on the cost), or at least have it cleaned up a bit as a wall-hanger.
 

 

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Posted (edited)

From your description, the shotgun has no value....zero value.

DON’T PULL THE TRIGGER.....IT MIGHT BE LOADED

 

Here’s what I’d do to start:

Go on YouTube and check out some restoration videos.

 

It’s going to take a lot to restore the gun, if it can be restored.  Better get an idea of cost before you get into it.

 

Cat Brules

Edited by Cat Brules

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If you edit your profile to show your location you will have no shortage of recommended "97 smiths. There are plenty of them in this game.

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At the Alamo Antique Arms Collectors Assn. in San Antonio. we sometimes are approached by folks either wanting to sell, or have appraised, a "valuable antique firearm that has been in our family since (insert date here)."  Sometimes, what they have is a nice "wall-hanger."  Rare does not always mean valuable.  "Restored," or even "re-blued" guns are devalued in the collector community.  "Ruining" it as a "collectible" may be the only way to make it safe to shoot.  Your description of condition suggests that your 1897 shotgun is in very poor condition.  Original Winchester 1897's in decent shape sell in the neighborhood of $500.  Your "early" '97 is noted for having "mild" steel, which actually wears-down faster than modern-steel "repro" guns.  A gunsmith versed in '97 Winchester shotguns will be able to determine whether your specimen is salvageable.  Whether "restoration" to safe shooting condition makes economic sense is up to you.  A visit to Numrich Arms website will let you see what parts are readily available.  "Gun Stories with Joe Montegna" ran an episode on the Outdoor Channel last year featuring Joe's immigrant Grandfather's (or was it Great-Grandfather's?) 1897 shotgun.  The smile on Joe's face as he fired the "family" shotgun spoke volumes.

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Please show us a couple of “before” or “as found” cell-phone pictures, if it’s not too much trouble.

 

Cat Brules

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Posted (edited)

Run by these two web sites and see the kind of restoration work that is possible on old cowboy guns, if you have $1000 or $3000 or $5000 to spend (all depends upon condition gun is in now).

 

Run-N-Iron

http://www.runniron.com/restoration/index.html

 

Turnbull Restoration

https://www.turnbullrestoration.com/restoration-services/

 

They will give you an estimate for free, though.   "You got that goin' for you."

 

Right now, you have a $50 junk pile, most likely.   With $50 of cleaning, you could have a great wallhanger.  With MAYBE $500 worth of gunsmithing, you could have a $400 shooter.   With an expert restoration, you could have a $1000 shotgun.   With an expert restoration, you could have a million bucks worth of family memories (perhaps, depends upon the family).  Will it EVER be worth what an unfired Model 97 16 gauge Series C shotgun is worth?  NOPE.  It will never be a "collector" piece, because true "collector value" went out the door when the shotgun was stored in the shed.

 

Forget dollar value.  Figure out what your heart tells you makes sense to you. 

 

Good luck, GJ

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708

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I doubt your heirloom has much collector value as you describe it but then it's an heirloom first.  If it were mine, I'd get it to a smith to repair, not restore, sourcing used parts to keep the vintage look. 

 

It may or may not be in good enough shape to be shootable but a good Smith can determine that for you.  If it isn't safe to shoot, you have a great wallhanger that will be a wonderful conversation piece.

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I know some old time trap shooters that send their Win M12 and M42 shotguns to Simmons. Considered "the go-to place" for getting a solid rib or blue as close to original Winchester as possible.  Why not a '97?

https://www.simmonsguns.biz/product/blueing-services/

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Should you need a factory new 16 gauge barrel and magazine tube, I have them.

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