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1886 Winchester restoration


Zeb Gray, #36839
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A friend has a 1905 mfg. 1886 in .33 WCF that he is thinking of restoring.  The metal has surface rust with no bluing.  The wood lacks any finish.  It has a beyond well worn look, but functions ok.  He has the knowledge & experience to do the job himself.  He'd like thoughts on the value of the gun with a good clean up of metal & wood versus a non-professional, but good restoration.  Thanks.

Edited by Zeb Gray, #36839
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A gun is only original once. The wear tells a story of trails ridden, battles fought, storms survived. To a collector buffing, re-blueing, or refinishing it would lower the value. Guns are not like cars. Restoring like Mark Novak may increase the value.

If he does redo it, it becomes a shooter and not a collectable item. Most collectors would want it as is unless someone has already messed with it.

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Zeb’s rifle has no finish left on the barrel with surface rust and the wood lacks any finish. I don’t think the collector value is not going to be very much. If it was mine I would at least do a little work so it would not be so good ugly!

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Unless your friend has the knowledge and ability to restore the rifle like Turnbull any refinishing or rebluing will hurt the value to a collector. 

 

It sounds like the rifle is already a functioning shooter, and in its original condition, even poor condition it has value to both a collector and a shooter.  Home refinish will remove any collector value and is unlikely to add anything to somebody just looking for a shooter.

Edited by July Smith
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Unless the gun it a total wreck from past shade tree gunsmiths buffing and sanding, I prefer to keep them original. Some folks like to try and make them look like they just came off the Winchester rack. That gets expensive and makes the gun boring to me. An example would be the car that Bonnie and Clyde died in. As morbid as it is, it shows it's history in vivid detail. If all the bullet holes were repaired and the car made to look like it rolled off the assembly line, would folks want to see it? I bet not.

I am all for conservation and Mark Novak is great at showing how it's done. I highly recommend watching his videos. He doesn't refinish guns. He restores them back to their original finish. There is a difference.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM86hA7E1y3vOJuzdqCXh1Q

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Does he plan to use it for hunting or just shooting?  If the former, I'd recommend finding a good supply of jacketed flat soft point bullets....if he can find some.  Hornady used to make a great 200 gr. .338" JFSP bullet, but sadly discontinued it a number of years ago!  Definitely need flat points with a meplat of .250" in diameter.  It is possible to cast or buy lead alloy bullets. At the velocities in the 2000 -2200 ft/sec range, you need hardcast.  If you can find any, a mould that uses gas checks will work well.  Great cartridge!  Can do a real number on wild boar, with jacketed bullets!

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