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Determining what's the correct thing to do?
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Santa Clara, CA
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November 7, 2022 - 6:15 pm
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I am of the understanding that “Condition” and “Originality” are the chief determining factors in the value of Winchesters.  I recently purchased a very nice special order Single Shot that is out of the “Winchester Letter” period.  The rifle matches the “Special Sporting Take Down” description. It appears to have had some obvious sight changes and there is no way of knowing what sights it actually left the factory with.  My thinking leads me to installing sights that were “standard” for that time period, for that model and avoid impractical upgrading of the sights.  I know that “Condition is Everything” and fancy sights are cool, but having an “original rifle” should be almost as important.  What are your views?   RDB

 

 

 

  

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November 7, 2022 - 6:49 pm
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Roger,  If you’re talking about the one with the Lyman 103 tang sight, which is “newer” than the rifle, I already recommended a Mid-Range Vernier; in fact, among factory sights, the only other appropriate choice would be the one called a “Graduated Peep Sight.”  What you can sell the 103 for will just about pay for one of the factory sights.  Doesn’t this have a factory globe front sight?  If so, it’s probably original to the gun.

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November 7, 2022 - 6:52 pm
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Having period correct sights whether they be original or upgraded “shouldn’t make a negative difference”.  HAving a nice mid range or long range sight (original and not repo) on a single shot “should” only enhance the value…..But then again, there are those who think that if it doesn’t letter to the T, then its an abomination; and anything outside of the letter range will always be suspect!

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November 7, 2022 - 7:04 pm
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Manuel said
Having period correct sights whether they be original or upgraded “shouldn’t make a negative difference”.  HAving a nice mid range or long range sight (original and not repo) on a single shot “should” only enhance the value…..But then again, there are those who think that if it doesn’t letter to the T, then its an abomination; and anything outside of the letter range will always be suspect!

  

Though it can’t letter, it’s not hard to make a good guess as to what the original customer would have selected for sights.  A Special Sporting Rifle would probably have been ordered with the best factory sights, which are the two I named.  If the gun was a plain-Jane standard model, the same sights would not be appropriate.

The 103 was probably installed because the original had no windage adjustment (unlike the best Stevens sights, as well as non-factory sights like the Soule, that did). 

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November 7, 2022 - 10:14 pm
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I never considered the 25-35 to be a target cartridge and I thought a globe front sight would be difficult to see in a hunting situation.  Maybe on the open plains or in Australia, but not in a wooded area.  Wouldn’t be the first time I thought wrong.  And just F.Y.I. the Lyman 103 is marked “D”.    RDB

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November 7, 2022 - 10:42 pm
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rogertherelic said
I never considered the 25-35 to be a target cartridge and I thought a globe front sight would be difficult to see in a hunting situation.

  

If the original customer merely wanted a “deer rifle,” hard to believe this would have been the gun he ordered.  .25-35 isn’t one of the traditional BP target cartridges like .32-40, but it would have made a fine woodchuck, prairie dog, etc. cartridge. 

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November 7, 2022 - 10:55 pm
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rogertherelic said
I never considered the 25-35 to be a target cartridge and I thought a globe front sight would be difficult to see in a hunting situation.  Maybe on the open plains or in Australia, but not in a wooded area.  Wouldn’t be the first time I thought wrong.  And just F.Y.I. the Lyman 103 is marked “D”.    RDB

  

Hi Roger, 

I believe the “D” code is the correct code for the model 1894 in calibers 32-40 and 38-55.  Would you be interested in selling it? If so, please let me know

Don

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November 7, 2022 - 11:02 pm
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Thanks Clarence for pointing that out.  I have never had the opportunity to shoot Woodchuck or prairie dogs and that thought never entered my mind.  That makes sense.  Do you use target sights as opposed to just open sights.  On a learning experience here.  Fortunately I am still teachable, it’s my memory I have trouble with.  RDB

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November 8, 2022 - 1:07 am
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rogertherelic said
Thanks Clarence for pointing that out.  I have never had the opportunity to shoot Woodchuck or prairie dogs and that thought never entered my mind. 

  

Don’t really know how much of a “thing” prairie dog hunting was in the period this gun was built, but woodchucks were a HUGE thing in the North East from the late 1880s on, that inspired many innovations in cartridge & rifle design.  Most serious hunters used high-power scopes, but no doubt there were exceptions.  Pretty much a thing of the past, after subdivisions replaced dairy farms, & coyotes (an invasive species in the East) moved in.

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November 8, 2022 - 5:24 pm
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Since you have no way of knowing what sights came on the gun I would be happy with any period correct sights.  If you plan on shooting it you need to consider at what range and what you can actually see through.  Standard iron sights are hard for me to use at 100 yds or farther. A peep type tang sight helps me with something like a Lyman ivory bead front.

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November 8, 2022 - 5:40 pm
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Thanks for the replies.  This is a learning experience for me. About the time I think I am getting to know something, I find there is a lot more I don’t know.  After a little more searching I discovered a few more Single Shots from this era of production.  Rock Island Auction Co. has an auction in Dec. that has many fine single shots from this time period and more than one carries the 103 Lyman.  Unfortunately the 103 is not a sleek looking sight as I see it.  I would consider trading the 103 “D” for a comparable condition Winchester Mid Range.  PM will work.  RDB

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November 8, 2022 - 6:03 pm
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rogertherelic said
  Unfortunately the 103 is not a sleek looking sight as I see it.  I would consider trading the 103 “D” for a comparable condition Winchester Mid Range. 

  

Rather dumpy looking, but a fine hunting sight.  Not introduced until 1916.  Your gun is earlier, is it not?  If it ever became a factory option, it was after the SS went out of production.

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November 8, 2022 - 10:23 pm
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clarence said

  

Rather dumpy looking, but a fine hunting sight.  Not introduced until 1916.  Your gun is earlier, is it not?  If it ever became a factory option, it was after the SS went out of production.  

The Lyman No. 103 was available before 1916, and it was a factory special order option for the Single Shot.  I have seen it listed in the Single Shot ledger records for at least a few dozen Single Shots that are in the letterable range.

Bert

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November 9, 2022 - 4:33 am
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Again, it appears I was previously misinformed as to what was available at the time this rifle was produced.  Also, we have know way knowing how long it remained in inventory before it was actually ordered and shipped.  I will search for a “S” marked 103.  The “D” marked sight does’t seem right, to me.  In the interim I believe I will make do with the Winchester Mid-Range Vernier Peep I have acquired.  Thanks to all for your help.  RDB

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