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  1. #1
    Plinker

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    Winchester 1897 Stiff Action

    Hello,

    I recently acquired a 1908 manufactured Winchester model 1897 12ga shotgun. Iím not very familiar with this model and, in fact, the one I have is actually the first one Iíve ever held in my hands.

    The action seems to be very tight on it. It takes considerably more force to run the slide rearward and forward when compared to something like a Remington 870. The previous owner said that when he got the shotgun it was almost stuck closed and he had to work it free by disassembling and cleaning/lubing the bolt and carrier.

    Since I canít look at it and say for sure whether everything was re-assembled correctly, and since it is 112 years old, I am considering taking it to a gunsmith who knows what heís looking at to check everything out and make sure it is safe to shoot and functions properly.

    My questions are 1) Can anyone recommend a good gunsmith who would know his way around this shotgun? And 2) Does anyone have any idea why the action is so tight?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Grandmaster T.Lex's Avatar

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    I inherited a 1930 vintage 1897 with the opposite problem - everything seemed too loose. I'd love to recommend the 'smith who cleaned it up and confirmed it was good to go, but he's retired.

    Personally, the guys at ZRTS in Noblesville have done other, more modern, smithing for me and I've been very pleased. I'd at least take it to them to have a look at it. My sense is that they'd tell you whether they could help before charging you anything.
    Resident Warning Shot Statist.

  3. #3
    I still care....Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    I recently acquired an older Winchester that had sat in a closet in the garage for years. Everything about the action was way to stiff.

    Some diligent cleaning and lube took care of this.

    Oils will evaporate over time and leave a sticky film. Dismantle it as you can and use a good gun scrubber on all the bits. Apply a good gun oil of your choice to "ALL" moving parts and reassemble it. Even money it is just fine.
    AKA..Thor. Odin son. God of thunder.
    But you can call me John.....Force.

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  4. #4
    Plinker

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    Iíll check them out, thanks for the recommendation! Theyíre pretty close to where I live.

  5. #5
    Plinker

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    Quote Originally Posted by churchmouse View Post
    I recently acquired an older Winchester that had sat in a closet in the garage for years. Everything about the action was way to stiff.

    Some diligent cleaning and lube took care of this.

    Oils will evaporate over time and leave a sticky film. Dismantle it as you can and use a good gun scrubber on all the bits. Apply a good gun oil of your choice to "ALL" moving parts and reassemble it. Even money it is just fine.
    Glad to hear yours came out alright. Iíll clean and oil as much as I can and see how it feels afterwards.

  6. #6
    I still care....Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by comm2679 View Post
    Glad to hear yours came out alright. Iíll clean and oil as much as I can and see how it feels afterwards.
    I have over time put together some ways to get oils/lube deeper into lever/pump guns without completely stripping them down. Makes this task a lot easier.
    AKA..Thor. Odin son. God of thunder.
    But you can call me John.....Force.

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  7. #7
    Grandmaster Leadeye's Avatar

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    Old guns with old steel need more lube and attention. CM has the right idea, so if you can't find a smith and your gun is a take down model like most are, remove the front and stock and then soak the receiver section is diesel or kerosene. This will usually loosen everything up after which you re assemble and lube back up. Personally on old guns I use Ballistol. You can find good UTube videos on how to take down the Model 97, it's not a hard process. Best of luck, and keep that old iron shooting!
    Where's the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering Kaboom.

    Marvin the Martian

  8. #8
    I still care....Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leadeye View Post
    Old guns with old steel need more lube and attention. CM has the right idea, so if you can't find a smith and your gun is a take down model like most are, remove the front and stock and then soak the receiver section is diesel or kerosene. This will usually loosen everything up after which you re assemble and lube back up. Personally on old guns I use Ballistol. You can find good UTube videos on how to take down the Model 97, it's not a hard process. Best of luck, and keep that old iron shooting!
    Never thought of the deep soak but then I do not work on these old pieces at anywhere near your level of involvement.
    AKA..Thor. Odin son. God of thunder.
    But you can call me John.....Force.

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  9. #9
    Grandmaster Leadeye's Avatar

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    I'm lazy, it's an easy, cheap, start to any old gun project.

    You've probably got a parts washer with Stoddard solvent in it, that would work better than anything.
    Where's the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering Kaboom.

    Marvin the Martian

  10. #10
    I still care....Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leadeye View Post
    I'm lazy, it's an easy, cheap, start to any old gun project.

    You've probably got a parts washer with Stoddard solvent in it, that would work better than anything.
    Yes I do. And I just changed out the solvent....

    AKA..Thor. Odin son. God of thunder.
    But you can call me John.....Force.

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