This is a very fine example of a scarce WWI Winchester Model 1897 Trench Gun manufactured in 1918. It has the correct WWI style solid frame receiver, six-hole handguard with narrow gauge wire sling swivel and the high comb stock. The shotgun falls into the generally accepted serial number range of approximately 620000 to 730000, for WWI US Army contract trench shotguns, and although this one is not "US" marked, most original issue WWI trench shotguns were not originally "US" marked. Winchester also offered these in their catalogue, however, so we cannot guarantee it to be a U.S. purchase. The left side of the bayonet lug portion that surrounds the barrel is marked: "PAT. Jan. 15. & Mar. 19. 1918," and the barrel has the typical two-line Winchester patent and address markings located on the left side followed by "12 GA." and "cyl". The pump handle slide bar is correctly marked "MODEL 1897/-WINCHESTER-/TRADE MARK REG. IN U.S. PAT.OFF." A single oval Winchester proof is stamped on the top of the barrel just ahead of the receiver and again on top of the receiver. The serial number (686698) is located on the underside of the receiver in front of the ejection port. The stock and slide handle are walnut, and the stock, as noted, is an unmarked high comb version that is fitted with an original Winchester black plastic buttplate with the Winchester logo in the center. The pump handle and stock have an oil finish. This Trench Gun is complete with a commercial pattern Winchester 1917 bayonet and leather scabbard. The bayonet is only marked with a circled "W" proof directly in front of the cross guard. The length of pull is 14 inches.
Very fine with 80% of the original blue finish remaining overall, the front portion of the bayonet lug area showing most of the blue loss, and the perforated heat shield turning a brown patina the full length on top. The rest of the shotgun shows edge and high spot wear overall, and more blue loss is on the front and rear edges of the frame and the trigger guard bow. The stock and handguard are both in very fine condition with minor handling marks, light pressure dents and dings on the side, and a small section of finish loss on the heel of the stock in front of the buttplate. The bayonet itself is in excellent condition with an original unsharpened blade, and the leather scabbard has been painted black overall. Mechanically excellent.
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