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My 1897's

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So there has been very little discussion on this "Shotgun" forum about '97's, especially Chinese '97's.  So here goes.

I did not own a '97 and had no desire for one.  To me it wasn't "cowboy", although I did enjoy seeing a skilled person run one.  But then I decided to get into Wild Bunch and needed one, so in 2013 when I was still part-timing with Cimarron I bought one of their TTN-made '97's.  Some of these guns had problems and they don't have a good reputation.  But I was able to hand-pick and run dummies through a gun from the "scratch and dent" shelf (very minor blueing issue) and got it for about $300.  It was a little stiff but worked fine and never gave me any problems.  I didn't shoot it much but tried it for CAS and found that it was "fun".  Later picked up a 30" solid-frame from 1911 in very good condition and started using it.  Then a 24" take-down from 1911, which I had cut to 20".  I was still only shooting them occasionally.  But the '97 guys always say (only half-joking) that you need 3 - the one you are shooting, the one that is at the gunsmith, and I forget what the third was for  :) .  But I had my three.

Then in 2021 I ran across a New in the box IAC "Cowboy" model for $300!!  This would go for over $1K on the SASS Wire.  Deal of the century! The Cowboy was the latest and greatest of the Chinese '97's, with a "CB" serial number prefix.  I got it from a gunsmith/dealer who was having health problems and was retiring.  He obviously did not know the worth of it.  These guns have some innovations that make them much smoother than previous guns, and need no action work.  Well, that's not entirely true.  Originally there were contracted to be 450 of these guns made.  But later, the factory made another 5 or 6 hundred with the leftover parts.  Mine, being s/n CB0009xx was one of those.  Same smoothness, but they mixed CNC and non-CNC parts so the ejection is not nearly as forceful as the "good" ones.  Outlaw Gambler says he can fix that up for me, but since the ejection is satisfactory for now I'm using it, plus I don't like to ship guns.  This thing is so smooth I started shooting it in CAS matches, and found out that I really, really like slam-firing!  It is just so satisfying.  ;D 

Now, I've done very little practice with it, and so I'm no faster, sometimes slower, than with my SxS.  My hands are small so "grabbing 4" is not an option.  I have tried some various techniques.  I can do one in the right hand and 3 in the left, dropping the one into the port before picking it up, but often not very smooth with loading the 3 over the top.  2 over the top is smoother, but you have to go to the belt again.  I can load faster with two in the right hand, but my left wrist is too weak to pick up the  shotgun to get it quickly into position.  So sometimes I'm loading two over the top and then two from the right.  I do fumble a fair amount - need more practice!  But then there is that satisfying slam firing.  I've gotten to where I don't miss much.  So lately I'm shooting about 50/50 '97 and SxS.  Obviously SxS when I shoot BP. 

And then last week - - get an email from local club that an old-time shooter, Blue Thorn, who hasn't shot in years, is selling his stuff.  So I bought his IAC Norinco with Coyote Cap full race action job for $700.  This thing has had very little use and is in excellent condition.  I also sold my TTN '97 for $350 the same weekend to a local shooter who plans to use it for home defense.  After I got it home and compared it to the IAC Cowboy model, they feel just about the same.  The CC (Coyote Cap) gun is possibly a hair slicker.  But I also noticed that the CC gun has had the buttstock cut and a decelerator pad installed, and it is 1 5/8" shorter than the CB model.  It shouldered fine and I ran some dummies through it fine before comparing it to the other and noticing the shorter stock.  I have long arms and usually don't like cut stocks, but this seems okay.  Interestingly, the barrel is also 3/8" shorter than the CB model, which came out years later. 

So now I'm chomping to go try it out, hopefully at the match this weekend, but rain chances are not looking too good.  This club will shoot anyway, as they have some buildings to shoot from, but my guncart is not weather protected.  Perhaps I'll work out of a saddlebag this time.  Anyways, enough talk, here's the new Chinchester by itself, the left side of the bolt where Coyote Cap signed it, and then with the CB model.

Cap'n Redneck:
The third gun sits in your guncart as a spare for the one you're shooting... ;)

Professor Marvel:

--- Quote from: Cap'n Redneck on April 18, 2024, 03:22:43 AM ---The third gun sits in your guncart as a spare for the one you're shooting... ;)

--- End quote ---
If you really really really like something you better get 3.
Because 3 is 2
And 2 is 1

And if you really really really really like something, i guarentee they will stop making it.

Forget who said that…..



 :)  HARUMPFF  ;)

At one time in my Misspent youth, I actually admit to being an aficionado of the ubiquitous 1897.  I had five of the things.  I also admit, at the time I was chasing the Brass Ring and ALL the really FAST dudes were shooting the '97.  Mine were ALL OEM Winchester take-down, cut to Eighteen and a Quarter inch barrel, Recoil Pac onna stock, re-chambered to true 2 3/4 with the forcing cone extended.  Like Abilene, I found them to be really really really FUN!!

My Winchesters were not prone to failure (except the ejector spring) but I did rotate them in service to extend their service life.  Really FUN guns.  HOWEVER:

NOT.  And I repeat NOT Cowboy.  Nope no way.  So, as I became more "seasoned" and exited the race for the Brass Ring, I elected I should become more and more "Cowboy."  Exit the 97s.  Also exit that Heathen Fad Smokeless Propellant.  Enter the Hammer Double.  Hammer Double is a separate thread.  Burma Shave

But Coffinmaker, as we get older aren't we supposed to have a second childhood, or something like that?  You know, buy a 'Vette, etc. ?  :)


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