Model 97 stock configuration.
Q: I have an 1897 Winchester in 12 gauge with a 26-inch factory cylinder-choke barrel. The serial number is 550XXX. I acquired it around 15 years ago, and I've never seen one before or after with an English stock. The butt and forestock match for wood and finish, so they appear to have been made at the same time. Is this some sort of factory special order?
A: True, the standard Model 97 came with a pistol-grip stock, but English-stock guns could be had on order. I have seen a number of them, so while interesting and having added value, they are not super-rare. FYI, your 97 was made in 1913. It might be worthwhile to contact the Cody Firearms Record Office at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (307-578-4031, cfmrecords@ centerofthewest.org). For a fee, it can research your Winchester and send you what info it has on it. By the bye, I just came back from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. The firearms collection is world-class, and the other sections of the museum, mainly treating on the history of Buffalo Bill Cody and other aspects of the West, are absolutely wonderful. I don't think I've seen more Frederic Remington paintings in one place.