Update: Handled the gun this week. It turns out the barrel is cut 2" short, the stock is broken at the wrist, and it looks and feels like it hasn't been cleaned in 30years. It probably sat in someones closet for that time. No rust and the action locks up tight, but now I am nervous about it. I checked the chamber ring for any damage and there was none, and the ejector spring is solid. There is a little wiggle in the takedown if you grab the action and the base of the barrel and really work it. Guy is only asking $175 for it and am wondering if this is a good project gun.
Joined: 21 Jun 2009
Location: western n.y.
usually , the action can (barrel) be tightened with the adj ring . even so , is not a major . When you open the action , right below the wormy looking travel slot is the lock bar . If it sticks out a little and isn't broken , the action should remain locked at full and half cock . (no matter how hard you try to unlock it ) . That's the most critical . The hammer has an opening that allows the lock to recede at fire , that's why the action can unlock . Stocks get lots of oil etc as they age and can crack - makes a fun project . There is only the thru bolt to unscrew and the stock comes off . As long as the action lock works and the barrel isn't bulged out (rare) , the gun should be ok . The barrels are plenty thick for tubes .
_________________ fins , feathers , furs and a loud Beagle howl - life's little treasures . bill & molly the beagle
Update: the 16ga Model 97 I am looking at is made in 1908. Definitely short chambers. I have several old boxes of 2-9/16" papers that would run through it fine. It is 28" barrel and all original. Pretty brown patina, but that doesn't bother me. I'll look into the chamber reamer. That might be a good solution.
I have a 16 ga Winchester 1897, built in 1913, an "E". I was aware that pre WWII 16 ga guns were commonly chambered for 2 9/16 roll crimp ammunition. Therefore I felt compelled to measure the chamber in my shotgun.
Because the '97 has a 2 piece chamber, measuring the chamber is a bit tricky. The chamber ring in the action is 0.162" thick, and that has to be added to the chamber length measured in your '97 barrel.
When Winchester revised the 1893, the action opening was enlarged to accommodate 2 3/4 shells. However, it seems that a 2 3/4 chamber would have been a special order, as most earlier made '97's did not have a 2 3/4 chamber. This applies to 12 ga and 16 ga shotguns.
I believe that after around 1931, all Winchester 1897 and Model 12 shotguns were made with 2 3/4 chambers. Most 16's before that were 2 9/16. 12 gauge were 2 5/8, a roll crimp standard.
It was mentioned above, and I'll restate, the standard shotgun chamber in the early 1900's was not measured like a chamber is measured today. IOW, it is a tad short. The forcing cone of a 2 9/16 chamber will start a bit before that, close to 2 1/2". This was intentional, as this patterned and sealed better with the components of the day, paper hulls and fiber wads. Also, this short chambering suited black powder shells.
It's pretty safe to assume that earlier 16 Winchester shotguns were mostly 2 9/16. I choose to load shortened hulls and roll crimp for my ammunition. I couldn't justify buying a 16 ga long forcing cone reamer.
Most of the early 12 ga '97 shotguns were 2 5/8 chamber, also a bit on the short side. I have a long forcing cone reamer for 12 ga, and that is how i modified the chamber on my 1897 to accommodate 2 3/4 ammunition. Felt recoil is less. And patterns improve when this is done. As stated above.
Shooting 2 3/4 ammo in a short chamber isn't recommended IMHO, but isn't exactly dangerous or unsafe. Yes, the hull opens up into the forcing cone, but modern shells are plastic and are thin at the mouth. Pressure rises somewhat, but from what I've read, doesn't rise significantly. IOW it doesn't double or anything like that. Probably a 10% increase at most. Felt recoil does increase, noticeably. For just about every instance where this subject is discussed, an increase in felt recoil is mentioned.
I did question why felt recoil could and was increased, yet chamber pressure was not. The "pinch" of the forcing cone in a short chamber occurs early enough to increase the felt recoil, but occurs somewhat after peak chamber pressure.
This increase of felt recoil is not good for the shotgun. More strain is put on the action and locking lug, and the wrist of the stock gets an extra hit. As a result, the butt stock cracks in the wrist area.
If we skip forward a century, shotguns today have a lengthened forcing cone to accommodate steel shot. The "standard" 5°, less than 1/2" long forcing cone is not ideal anymore. Various sources seem to conclude that around 3/4" is good, and anything over 1" is too long.
Ideally, your ammunition should match the chamber/forcing cone, but modern ammunition with it's one piece plastic wad with it's protective shot cup is very forgiving. Goose hunters regularly shoot 3" ammo in their 3 1/2" shotguns without any noticeable loss in performance.
Anyways, that is my opinion after doing research and shooting. I regularly shoot my 12 ga '97 in Cowboy Action, as I prefer it to a SXS Coach gun.
Joined: 01 Dec 2005
This is late, but shortstroke says:
a guy i used to shoot with had a 16 ga model 12 that was marked 2 3/4 but it was actually 2 9/16 inch so he had the chamber opened up. he never knew it was marked 2 3/4 I think it was an old riot gun version that held 7 shells
If it was marked 2 3/4 and he, or somebody, measured it at 2 9/16, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts (bad odds these days, I guess) that somebody forgot to account for the chamber ring, which is around 3/16 inch long.
Didn't know there was a 16 gauge riot gun version of the 97.
I have measured over a hundred forcing cones on 12 gauge shotguns made in the Thirty's, Forty's, Fifty's, and early Sixty's that were marked 2 3/4 inches. Over half of the chambers were not a full 2 3/4 inches. The two piece chambers on model 12's and 97's fooled me in my youth. Just as an added observation. I have never measured a Browning Belgium 16 gauge A5 that had full 2 3/4 inch chamber even though marked 2 3/4 inches. I have measured over 70 of them. Every Japan made 16 gauge A5 I checked had a full 2 3/4 inch chamber. Nitro-Express mentioned felt recoil. I agree. If your gun doesn't have one, a full length chamber with the proper forcing cone is a felt recoil reducing marvel.
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