Winchester Barrel Trim/Model 97 Shotgun

by Jim Green, Gunsmith on May 4, 2011

I absolutely HATE wrecking a perfectly good gun. Especially an older Winchester model 97 pump shotgun like this. Modifying or changing an old gun most often ruins the resell value of the older shooters.

This gun came into the shop today to have the 30 inch barrel cut down to 22 inches. After unsuccessfully trying to talk the man out of doing it, I conceded as this was a replacement barrel and not the original one to the gun. He was having a hard time swinging the longer barrel onto the target…..  And the gun has been reblued at some point in the past anyways.

Most of the time a shotgun can be trimmed using a hacksaw, but I opted for the lathe instead. I am training a buddy of mine on how to use a lathe.  shotguns don’t normally require this sort of serious precision, but I don’t currently have a rifle barrel in the shop to work with. The barrel was removed and chucked in the spindle head of the lathe. Spiders are small brass tipped bolts that hold a barrel in place and get it to run concentric.

Off comes the 3 jaw scroll chuck and a spider back plate for barrel work is installed. A dial indicator is used to center the barrel to run true.

Next I measured and trimmed the barrel to length using a parting tool.

The barrel is then faced and a crown is cut on the muzzle end.

The new crown gets cold blued to match the finish of the gun. Then it’s off to the mill to drill and tap to install a new front brass bead for sighting. The hole is tiny, a 3 – 56 tap cuts the threads…..

Then the gun is reassembled and test fired. The customer also wants an action job to slick up the gun and make it easier to shoot. This will be tomorrow’s work. He asked for this to be done today once the gun was ready to be picked up. I didn’t do it today because I didn’t have to totally disassemble the gun to do the barrel work. But tomorrow I’ll be elbow deep in Winchester guts. Requesting additional work ain’t a problem at GunWorks.

The barrel went from a 30 inch length down to 22 “.

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