Manufactured late in 1918, this is both a scarce and very fine example of a U.S. M1897 Winchester Trench Gun. A military-specific refinement of the 1897 Riot Gun, the 1897 Trench Shotgun defined the American military combat shotgun through the 20th century. Seen as the answer to the problems of night fighting and trench raiding, a slide-action shotgun could fill a close-quarters space with flying lead. The Winchester and its counterparts were so harshly regarded by the enemy that the Germans threatened to summarily execute American shotgunners on capture, claiming the shotguns were "calculated to cause unnecessary suffering" in violation of the Hague Conventions. A single bead sight is installed on the bayonet lug, with a 6-hole ventilated heat shield, cylinder marked choke, 2 3/4 inch chamber and standard markings, "(ordnance bomb)/WP" stamps on top of the barrel. The early style "PAT.APPL.FOR" marking is present on the bayonet lug. The frame is stamped "U.S./(ordnance bomb)" on the right side and "WP" on top, slightly offset to the left. Fitted with a ribbed forearm and a smooth pistol grip stock, with a brown leather sling, checkered Winchester buttplate, and a 13 5/8 inch length of pull.
Very fine, with 75% plug of the original blue finish, showing some cycling and edge wear, a small amount of spotting and light handling marks. The wood is also very fine, with a number of light scratches and dents, and the sling shows some light cracking and verdigris. Mechanically excellent.
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