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  1. #1
    Member CarrieD's Avatar
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    Winchester 1897 malfunctioning

    I have an old Winchester 1897. C prefix, made in 1897. It's been giving me grief with feeding and is fast outstripping my patience with it, what with it resisting every single remedy I have tried. So far nobody has been able to help.

    When I run the action it will feed a shell into the lifter, but then when I close the action it spits out another shell into the air.
    To date I have adjusted the fit of the lifter acting on the cartridge stops, I have replaced the left cartridge stop and soon the right too. However nothing works.
    I frequently lose a full half my tube to these problems. I can only hope someone here can help, lest I find myself giving up on the damn thing and pitching it into the back of my safe to be forgotten.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Sometimes they're just plain worn out. I wouldn't have one any more because of the lack of parts available and too many possible breakdown points... Why not get a newer one or a different model?
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member rcathey's Avatar
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    I’d have to agree. Unless of course this one has some great family or historical importance.

    Find an E model in good shape and it’ll outlast you. They’re fine firearms and as such they got USED. They can take it if you start with one in good shape.

    They’re not all that expensive, considering. $600 would but you a nice one.

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    Debris behind the shell stops that impede their movement, worn stops and/or weak springs will cause such problems as you're having. Remove and clean the stops and the recesses in the reciever thoroughly. Look for excessive wear on the stops and/ or burrs or any roughness on the ends that would cause it to hang on the rim of the shell instead of sliding smoothly over it. A light stoning to polish the ends wont hurt, just dont get happy and remove too much. Be sure the hinge works freely and smoothly and isnt worn out. Also check spring tension to see that is sufficient to overcome any drag and fully extend the stops.

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    Contributing Member NORTHOF60's Avatar
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    You didn't say what gauge the shotgun is, or shell length you are using. Have you verified the chamber length? If you try to chamber a 12 gauge 2.75 " shell into a short chamber, say 2.0", everything might look good on the outside, but the action will not lock properly (and yes, you can still fire it).

    Some do, some don't; some will, some won't; I might ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NORTHOF60 View Post
    You didn't say what gauge the shotgun is, or shell length you are using. Have you verified the chamber length? If you try to chamber a 12 gauge 2.75 " shell into a short chamber, say 2.0", everything might look good on the outside, but the action will not lock properly (and yes, you can still fire it).
    A C prefix will be a 12ga and all 12ga 1897's had 2 3/4" chambers.
    The 16ga was introduced with the E series in TD only, they had 2 9/16" chambers until the mid-late 20's, IIRC.

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    Contributing Member NORTHOF60's Avatar
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    Many sources say the the Model 1897 12 gauge was available in both 2 3/4" and 2 5/8" chamber length until 1927, when the 2 3/4" chamber became standard.
    Some do, some don't; some will, some won't; I might ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NORTHOF60 View Post
    Many sources say the the Model 1897 12 gauge was available in both 2 3/4" and 2 5/8" chamber length until 1927, when the 2 3/4" chamber became standard.
    Yeah I know, I've read those "sources" too. Shotgun chambers dont have shoulders like most rifle/pistol chambers do so accurately measuring depth is tricky without the proper gages. Forcing cone length varies from one maker to the next and even guns made by the same company will have variances. All 12ga 97's were made with 2 3/4" chambers regardless of series early or late production. That was one of many improvements over the model 1893, which had 2 1/2" chambers, IIRC

    Go measure some 12ga 2 3/4" shells sometime, both live and fired. You'll find that all live 2 3/4" shells have an OAL of 2 1/4" give or take a 64th. Fired hulls will be somewhere between 2 5/8 to 2 11/16". This includes some 60's era paper 6 segment fold crimp shells.
    IIRC, paper roll crimp shells have a slightly longer loaded OAL than fold crimp but fired length is right in there with modern plastic hulls.
    All my 97's are pre war, the oldest made in 1905. It should, according to many sources have the short chamber. A live Remington 12ga 3" shell measures slightly over 2 3/4" in length. It will drop right in the chamber of the old 1905 E series TD and the bolt will go into battery just like it does on an empty chamber. It may have had the forcing cone lengthened at some point in time but I doubt it.
    Last edited by vintage hunter; 01-07-2020 at 08:55 AM. Reason: Correct a typo

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    Contributing Member NORTHOF60's Avatar
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    I don't rely on fired or live ammunition - I have chamber gauges.
    Some do, some don't; some will, some won't; I might ...

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