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Thread: How does Winchester's 1897 shotgun bereech bolt lock?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    How does Winchester's 1897 shotgun bereech bolt lock?

    I have Browning's isometric cutaway drawings on the first page of his patent application. It appears that the shell carrier pivots from its rear on its carrier pin. Front of carrier secures breech bolt by mating to a projection under the front of the bolt. So instead of the breech bolt locking itself to the receiver or to a barrel extension, it locks to the carrier that locks to . . . what?

    Pivoting shell carrier is held in position by the carrier pin (.250-inch pin??). The pin doesn't appear to be sturdy enough to be the single part that allows carrier to lock breech bolt while withstanding the cumulative stress of having 500k shot shells run through its 1897 action.

    The carrier has several projecting portions of it that do several things. I do not understand what are the functions of some of these lugs and projections. I would think that it would be a good idea to have the back or the bottom rear of the carrier abut the rear of the 1897's receiver. What I mean is that something at the rear or bottom of the carrier behind its carrier pin should mate to the receiver to accept the stress of firing. And the carrier pin should serve as a pivot pin, perhaps accepting a small amount of firing stress. But I cannot confirm that the rear of the receiver has mass necessary to support the carrier during firing the shotgun.

    Not having disassembled a Winchester Model 1897 pump shotgun, I request help in understanding how the mechanism locks breech bolt for firing.
    Itís so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then donít say it. Sam Levinson

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Mine's been chugging along since 1909. I've never taken it apart because it always works. You've piqued my curiosity so I 'll study it and get back.
    Thomas

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  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    The rear of the carrier mates with the receiver. Both are machined with matching radii. The pivot pin is only a pivot pin and carries no load. The back thrust is transferred to the carrier in the front and is then transferred to the frame in the rear. The carrier is a solid chunk of steel able to withstand this loading. There is no sound in the gun world quite like a '97 shotgun being cycled and brought to battery. I keep a short barrelled one in my bedroom.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    The radius on the back of the carrier mates wth a mortise in the frame to bear the load from the bolt head. Sort of Peabody plus......
    I'm still not taking mine apart, though!

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I remember reading that P.O. Ackley barreled a 97 to 30-06 and it took it just fine. They are plenty strong and heavy. I too keep mine handy but 870's by the bed.

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Many thanks, guys. Would I be correct to say that for you to see how carrier abuts frame was obvious - and would be obvious to me if I had an 1897 to examine?
    Itís so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then donít say it. Sam Levinson

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Clark's Avatar
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    ~20 years ago I told the late gunsmith Randy Ketchum, that I had been separated from my childhood 97 Win.
    He had a deal for me. One and a half 97s for $75 + $7 tax, all I had to do was swap enough parts.
    There are about 50 parts in a normal gun, but the 97 has about 100.
    I got the AGI video. That helped me. The gun shoots now and I sold the extra parts to an FL pawn shop owner who has since deceased.
    When my father died 7 years ago, I got my childhood 97 back.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I saw a guy shooting 3" magnums from one. It was a late vintage 12 ga and I don't think it had a 3" chamber- did they?

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  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    I don't know how you could pound 3 incher into a 97. A lot were not even 2 3/4! Pressure goes from the breech bolt to the carrier to the frame. I have one that has been used by 5 generations in the family since 1923.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    A 3" shell will chamber in a 2-3/4" chamber. There's just nowhere for the crimp to go when you fire it.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    That's evidence of that guy's idiocy and the 97's strength. I hunted away from him after that.

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  12. #12
    Boolit Master Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    I don't know how you could pound 3 incher into a 97. A lot were not even 2 3/4! Pressure goes from the breech bolt to the carrier to the frame. I have one that has been used by 5 generations in the family since 1923.
    I was always told that the shotguns were brought to protect the 4 masted schooner, the C.S. Holmes, during the Seattle dock strike.
    But the serial number on my 1897 shotgun is 1939 and the dock strike was in 1934.

    And my grandfather's heroism during a bank robbery is challenged by a copy of the 1907 Klondike News, where all grandpa did was find on of the bags of Gold.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    I remember reading that P.O. Ackley barreled a 97 to 30-06 and it took it just fine. They are plenty strong and heavy. I too keep mine handy but 870's by the bed.

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    Texas by God, you may have caused severe damage to my bank accounts.
    ***
    You report this rebarreling, and I remember reading the same information somewhere in Ackley's two-volume book of [I cannot remember the name off hand]. During a chat with Joe Hasser, he mentioned in passing that 97s do chamber 12 gauge 3 inch shot shells and can fire them - well, a few of them, anyway - without harm. He warned me to pay close attention to ammunition to avoid a problem. He also praised 97s as having exceptionally strong lock up compared with most other shotguns. I suspect he was referring to longevity rather than brute force strength.

    During World War II AAF bomber gunners and fighter pilots trained with 12 gauge shotguns and clay pigeons to acquaint them with holding on where the the clay bird would be when the bird shot arrived a target's distance from shooter rather than where it was at the instant of the shot. Quality (brand name) shotguns were acquired - double guns, pumps, semiautomatics. It was discovered that double guns failed relatively rapidly while good quality pumps and Remington Model 11s would go half to three-quarters of a million rounds before requiring significant servicing.
    ***
    Having triggered memories of 97s design durability, I have begun thinking of heavier/thicker 20-24 inch rifled barrel, all brass 12 gauge 2.75-inch cases and perhaps my 775-grain conical that I use in my BIG bore muzzleloaders - or some sort of variation of the bullet. . . . Oh, my. Just what I need. Another BIG bore rifle that will cost thousands of dollars, to be used on what animal for which I don't have several rifles that are well suited for that animal?

    I may need to be handcuffed to a car with no wheels until this urge passes.
    Itís so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then donít say it. Sam Levinson

  14. #14
    Army air core used lots rem 11s for gunnery school. My grandfather flew his fifty missions in a b-17 and was a gunnery instructor for the ballence of the war in Texas. Kinda funny the amount of John browning designed ordnance that was and is being used by the us military.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Naphtali- build that .72 cal pump rifle and enjoy! I've wanted to do a 12 or 20 bore rifle in a single shot using brass cases and real boolits, too. A solid frame 97 would be great to use if found - they are rare around here.

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