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30" Full Choke 97. To cut or not to cut?

H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619

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I recently acquired another 97 with a 30" full choke barrel, and I am wondering if I should cut it.   It looks like it's been modified already, so...



It's an overall fair looking gun, and the action is as tight as I have ever seen on a 97, so that's a plus.   The pump grip is also much less fat than I am used to.  Also, I've never seen one with a rubber butt plate.  Must be an aftermarket customization.


But at least they found one made by Winchester.   It's still pretty soft, and it's clearly been on the gun for a long time.  I may keep it instead of trying to find an original style one.


As you can see, it's a full choke, which we all know is not needed in our game, and it's got some weird checkering on the top of the barrel.  No idea why a previous owner would add that and mar up the nice smooth round barrel.

And finally...

A previous owner must have been using this gun to shoot trap, as they stamped the words, "TRAP GUN" onto the bolt.   Added some weird black diamond thingee just behind the receiver too.    Once upon a time, this musta been a really pretty gun, but now, well, I dunno. 

I'm thinking about cutting the barrel back to 19".   What do people think?





And if you know me, you know just how serious I am about all of this.

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As much as I like short barreled 97's, I don't think I would cut it.


Just the mere fact that you are making a Wire inquiry tells me that you ain't so sure you want to cut it........ therefore, I

wouldn't cut it.




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Heh heh heh....

I have long been an advocate of not cutting ANY long barrel shotgun.   If you can't find an original with a short barrel, there are plenty of reproductions.  In fact, my regular main match shotgun is a fairly generic 30" 97.  

I know full well how "special" this gun is.  In fact, I've been looking for a 97 trap model for a while now, and after losing 3 of them to someone else, I finally got this one for a reasonable price.

I really thought two things....

1.   My "advocacy" for long barreled shotguns is well known.
2.  The absurdity of some of the things I said in my original post would make it clear that I was not being serious.

I guess both of those assumptions were invalid.  :)

It may not look all that great, but mechanically, it's probably the tightest 97 I've ever seen.  It will likely become my new number 1 main match gun.

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Well, mo normal "Knee Jerk" reaction to Cut or NOT cut a '97 for our game is to whack that sucker off.  For a garden variety '97 there really is no real "collector" grade.  Winchester only made a Million and a Half of them, and probably the better part of the first million are still in the dark corner of some closets.


I really didn't believe you were seriously asking should you cut it.  Apparently there is someone silly enough to pay 2200 bucks for a '97.  Wouldn't be me.  Ever.  Should be a really nice CAS gun for your style of play.  Have fun with it.


PLUS ONE for Widder.  Seriously. 

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Leave it as-is. But make it your main match gun anyway. There were a lot of long barreled guns in the West. The only caveat to this is "does my club shoot clay birds?" Some do, some dont. If you are shooting at stationary targets choke should not make much difference.

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1 hour ago, Vail Vigilante said:

If you are shooting at stationary targets choke should not make much difference.


My first main match shotgun was a 20" 97.   My secondary was a 19" Parker.  I would often fail to knock down the knockdowns.

When my primary main match shotgun became a 30 Full Choke 97, I found that I acquired the targets faster, and almost never fail to knock down.  Soon got a 30" FF Parker for a secondary.   For ME, barrel length and choke do make a difference.

But I am one of the slowest shooters around anyway.  :)

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when i cut mine , it was a cyl bore , i thought long and hard - i had parted with my other one to a friend and i was thinking i needed a long one for cowboy trap , but then i came onto an ld stevens double for that , ive not regretted it since i did it , just a decision that did not come easy , 

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I have avoided this question so far.  My opinion:


Even though there are huge numbers cutting it seems like a sin.  It is less of a sin if:


  1. Someone else has corrupted it in some way
  2. It is a FrankenChester (like Frankenstein made from many parts or for you less read, like Johnny Cash's Cadillac he got one piece at a time)

It is a mortal sin and you lose your SASS Number and Alias if you inherited it and deface it.

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Okay, for the record, I would NEVER cut this gun.  It's a rare Winchester 97 Black Diamond Trap Gun.   I knew this from the beginning, and have been looking for one for a long time.   I was being silly, or at least trying to be.

I would never cut a generic 97.  My main match one is a 30" full choke.

I LIKE long barrels, for a lot of reasons.

I always tell people, "Don't cut it" when asked for an opinion.

And I'm a Baptist.  I don't believe in mortal sin.  :)

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