Norinco M97 - Pros and Cons?


I'm looking to buy my first shotgun. While at the fun store, I held a couple Mossbergs, some Remingtons, and even an old Ranger model 30.

So far, I've decided I don't like pistol grips, even with a stock on it. Not sure why, but it just didn't feel right on the shotguns.

They had an M97 in trench configuration in the cowboy section of the store, and I've always loved the look of the old Winchester trench gun. I asked to hold it, and I was very impressed. Not heavy, but not light either. I had been concerned about busting the top of my hand open when the bolt comes out while pumping, so that was the first thing I checked. I decided it wouldn't be an issue, because I wouldn't even be able to fire it if I had my hand high enough on it to actually hit myself. They have it marked as used, but it's a very clean gun, and the wood and bluing look very well kept. There's only some slight discoloration near the muzzle, but I think it would come out with a good cleaning. Surprisingly, it has no serial number, which is odd considering it had to have been imported. I've heard mention that M97s produced after a certain serial number are much better quality than the older ones, so I can't check that if there's no serial.

So here's my pros and cons. I welcome your feedback, and am looking forward to it.

Historic look
No disconnector = slamfire capability :laugh:
Feels good, points well

2.75" shells
Limited upgrade ability - Fixed magazine capacity
Possibly hard to find parts
$450 - Same as a new modern shotgun
Possible con - no serial number

I would opt for a Mossberg. The tang safety is a feature that I appreciate in any of my long guns. Parts are fairly easy to find, and they make an excellent shotgun. My Mossberg 500 has served me well despite the numreous "torture tests" it's been through and the extreme conditions under which it was fired.

I haven't seen anything that Norinco made that I like other than the AK 47.

Mossberg would be my next choice. I do like the tang safety. My only concern was trying to operate the safety with a pistol grip, but that doesn't matter since I decided I'd prefer not to have one. Which model would you suggest I look into?
I have a Mossberg 500 that has served me well. I've also used a Mossberg 590 while in the military. Both are excellent shotguns.

just passed my grandfathers browning(belgin made and sold through montgomery-ward for$30.00 in 1929) to my grandson, had a 32" full choke bbl. was a great shotgun and still works like new. i saw grandad drop a deer at 100yds. with#1 buck but not good on squirl unless you like splattered fur and blood on the side of the tree! great duck and goose gun! have seen browning rangers in pawn shops for around $100.00 just my .02cents:pleasantry:

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