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Old 04-16-2013, 12:28 AM   #11
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My grandpa gave me his 97 as well, I removed more dirt from that gun than every other gun I have cleaned in my life put together. I took it to my local gunsmith to have it check and he told me to shoot light loads only, so I wouldn't use it for turkey hunting, you wouldn't be able to safely use a powerful enough shell, it would have to much pressure.
I don't know how good a gunsmith you have, or what the condition of your shotgun is, but mine's 113 years old and I've fired oo buck through it with no problem. You won't find one much older. It's got character, but the action's like butter and it functions like new. I don't believe in using a steady stream of heavy loads in any gun, cause you're only putting unnecessary stress on it, but an original '97 is a strong shotgun that's been used by LE, military and prisons for many years and there's no reason if in good working order why it couldn't be used for turkey. There are still some being used by these entities today. Heck, I carry mine in the woods because of black bear. But they weren't meant to be used with lead shot, or overly powerful loads, which is only common sense.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:42 AM   #12
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The old 97 had short chambers in 12 Ga. Modern shells will fire OK. A problem occurs when the longer shell is fired the crimp becomes tight in the chamber. The additional force needed to remove the spent shells over stresses the extractors and they are often broken. It is easy to have the the chamber "opened" up to accommodate the modern shells.
The 12 gauge Model 1897 chamber has always been 2 3/4" in length. The early 16 gauge chambers were 2 9/16" long. Many are confused by the fact that chambers had shorter forcing cones for paper shotgun shells back then.

A simple way to test the chamber length in a 12 gauge gun is to make a chamber gauge by shortening a fired 20 gauge shell so it can be inserted into the open end of a fired 2 3/4" 12 gauge shell. If it will fit all the way into the chamber, you're good to go. If not, the chamber is too short.

If you try this with a Winchester Model 97 or Model 12, make sure the barrel is correctly installed in the receiver to get a correct measurement.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:56 AM   #13
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Thank you, Ruddy. Nice shotguns- they made more than 1 million of them.

One little quirk about the 97 you should know- these do NOT have a disconnector mechanism. On MOST shotguns, it is pull trigger, BANG, pump, release trigger, pull trigger, BANG.

However, in a gun with no disconnector, if you pull trigger, BANG, hold trigger while pumping, you get BANG as soon as bolt goes fully closed (into battery). You do not need to release trigger and have reset for a second shot. Matter of fact, you can hold trigger down and empty the mag.

And yes, would stay away from steel shot, but should do just fine with any standard 2 3/4" 12 g shell.

There IS a little difference in unlocking the slide- if not fired, push FORWARD then back.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Model_1897

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Old 04-29-2013, 06:48 AM   #14
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<snip>

One little quirk about the 97 you should know- these do NOT have a disconnector mechanism. On MOST shotguns, it is pull trigger, BANG, pump, release trigger, pull trigger, BANG.

However, in a gun with no disconnector, if you pull trigger, BANG, hold trigger while pumping, you get BANG as soon as bolt goes fully closed (into battery). You do not need to release trigger and have reset for a second shot. Matter of fact, you can hold trigger down and empty the mag.

<snip>

There IS a little difference in unlocking the slide- if not fired, push FORWARD then back.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Model_1897
Good point about the disconnector (or lack thereof), since modern shotguns have them. This warning applies to Model 12 Winchesters and I believe to early Model 37 Ithacas.

As for unlocking the slide, don't you mean when the hammer is down, push forward then back? If the hammer is at full cock, you have to push the slide release button on the right side of the receiver. If at half cock, it's locked.

Great Wiki link. Thanks.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:07 AM   #15
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If the hammer is at full cock, you have to push the slide release button on the right side of the receiver. If at half cock, it's locked.
Yep. As said, really like them.
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:59 AM   #16
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Model_1897
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