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So I've got an 1897 Winchester from 1922 in 12ga 2 3/4" chamber, it's a takedown with a 28" barrel. Marked as a mod choke but I believe someone cut 2" off the barrel as a dime rolls down the whole way with ease. Thought I remembered reading somewhere that if the forcing cone was still set up for a roll crimped shell instead of star, the plastic would have been shredded where the crimp was when firing. Took it out today with some cheap federal target shells from Walmart to put a few rounds through and see what it did, there were no tears in the plastic whatsoever. I'm hoping to put slugs through it on occasion, but iirc the older, shorter cone for the roll crimp is the reason why they don't recommend it on original due to causing a pressure spike.

Is the fact that the plastic was untorn on the target shells a sign that I should be fine to run slugs on occasion, or are there other tests I could do myself to see if the cone has been lengthened before bringing it to a gunsmith? Intending to boil and card it but I want to hold off until I know if the cone should be modified or not.

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In the early 20's the standard 12 gauge chamber was 2 5/8". Not exactly sure the exact date or even year, I have read/heard 1922, 1924, etc. I do know that the 3" magnum came out in 24, but not certain if the 2 3/4" chamber was made standard at the same time, I've read and heard that too.
It wasn't necessarily that the forcing cone was "cut" for roll crimps. 2 3/4" shells made with roll crimps "fit" a little better in a 2 5/8" chamber...but that is not a good way to conclude the chamber length or whether or not it has an extended forcing cone. Easiest way to check for an extended forcing cone is to look in the breech. You wont have any trouble seeing it if it was cut and lengthened. Best thing to do, since your gun dates to the time it could be 2 5/8" is to take it to a smith and have it lengthened.
You could also try removing the barrel and taking a photo looking into the breech as best you can and post it. If it is clear at all I can tell you if it was cut with a lengthening reamer. Definitely have it checked though and don't shoot any slugs until you know. It's really not a good idea to shoot any 2 3/4" shells because they will produce more pressure and recoil and beat the gun up. I have seen several cracked stocks on older shotguns due to this. Best to have it lengthened anyway...this helps to further reduce recoil and can improve your pattern.

Edit: sorry, to answer your question directly...no, the fact that the crimp is not "torn" or otherwise showing any damage is NOT the okay to go ahead and shoot whatever you want in it!!! Have it checked for certain. FWIW, prior to the 2 3/4" standard chamber the 12 ga was 2 5/8", the 16 was 2 9/16" and the 20 was 2 1/2"

Last edited by msinc; 06/01/23.
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I will definitely try and get a picture when I get off work today.

I could've sworn the 1897's all had a 2 3/4" chamber from the get go, and that was one of the updates in addition to closing off the top of the receiver made compared to the 1893 though.

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[Linked Image from cdn.discordapp.com]

Finally got the bore shot from the breech. You can feel the cone with your ring finger and it feels fairly subtle, a little under a half inch long roughly before the bore is at its primary diameter. It's definitely not got the appearance of a straight shot though either, but an unfired 2 3/4" shell plunks down to the rim with much ease with the gun taken down.

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Originally Posted by msinc
In the early 20's the standard 12 gauge chamber was 2 5/8". Not exactly sure the exact date or even year, I have read/heard 1922, 1924, etc. I do know that the 3" magnum came out in 24, but not certain if the 2 3/4" chamber was made standard at the same time, I've read and heard that too.
FWIW, prior to the 2 3/4" standard chamber the 12 ga was 2 5/8", the 16 was 2 9/16" and the 20 was 2 1/2"

According to several sources, the 2-5/8" 12-gauge chamber was standard in the Model 1893, but in the 1897 was 2-3/4". Mine is a take-down model made in 1910, according to the serial number, and it has a 2-3/4" chamber. Bought it from my first wife's grandfather, and he certainly didn't have the chamber lengthened--and neither did I.


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