Action problems on Win. 1897

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by MattMaier, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. MattMaier


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    I have a 1903 Winchester model 1897 that I plan on restoring. One of its issues is that the action slide does not lock when the hammer is decocked. My understanding is that the Winchester pump actions had something called an inertia lock, where the slide would be locked if it was decocked without having fired, and in order to unlock it you had to push forward slightly on the slide.

    Has anyone who owns a 97 had this problem? If so, how did you troubleshoot and fix it?
  2. Spitpatch

    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Well-Known Member

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    Here's help, but no help, but maybe where to find help:

    You are right in your understanding of the inertia lock and how it operates on the '97 (as well as the Model 12). I retrieved my '97 riot gun from the safe, and tested it to verify your understanding (and my previous knowledge). If the operator "eases off" the hammer to complete forward, the action remains locked. It is necessary to push the forearm forward just a bit, and then an audible click can be heard, and the slide will then operate to the rear. In firing the weapon, this "pushing of the forearm forward a bit" occurs naturally without any thought or action on the part of the operator.

    Now: I've not delved into the guts of my '97 or any other, so cannot (without some time investment and minute examination) determine just how that inertia lock operates and what can make it fail, BUT:

    In your shoes, I would check out the SASS website, "The Wire" (sassnet) for Single Action Shooting Society (Cowboy Action organization), and put some feelers out there. Generally, the guys there will literally give you the shirt off their back to help, since "it's the Cowboy Way". '97's are probably the central shotgun for that discipline, and many there have probably dealt with the identical problem you have.

    Good luck with your project.

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