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How does one know if a Lyman 21 sight is factory original?
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April 26, 2022 - 10:01 pm
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Who can explain this, possibly even with photographs?

All I have heard is the difference Is that there would be bluing in the drilled holes of a factory original installed Lyman 21 sight.

BUT, a little cold blue in a hole could deceive, especially within a hole.

AND also, many receivers were not blued, but case coloured.

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April 27, 2022 - 2:22 am
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Ian,

Nearly all of the Winchester’s that have a factory installed Lyman No. 21 were blued… only a small number of Model 1886 rifles with a case colored receiver frame are found with a Lyman No. 21 sight. Keep in mind that the Lyman No. 21 sight was introduced just a few years before Winchester ceased case color finishing the Model 1886, and that none of the Take Down Model 1886 rifles were case color finished.

The vast number of Lyman No. 21 receiver sights were installed on the Model 1895/95, and Models 1892 & 1894… which were all blued.

In regards to your question about how to tell, the vast majority of the people who drilled & tapped a Winchester after the fact to mount a Lyman No. 21 (or No. 38) did not apply cold blue to the raw (in the white) threads they tapped in the receiver frame. That stated, the workmanship quality of the holes & threads is almost always the dead giveaway. On a Winchester dilled & tapped hole, the threaded area does not start at the surface of the hole. Instead, the hole is neatly countersunk (vertical countersink), with the threads beginning at the bottom of the countersunk section.

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
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April 27, 2022 - 12:21 pm
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 I was told by other 86 collectors that many factory installed Lyman 21 sights had a couple small platinum range dots on the elevation scale applied by the the factory. These represented a speciific distance. Several of the 86’s I owned that lettered with a 21 had them. Is this true? T/R

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April 27, 2022 - 4:15 pm
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Bert H. said
Ian,
Nearly all of the Winchester’s that have a factory installed Lyman No. 21 were blued… only a small number of Model 1886 rifles with a case colored receiver frame are found with a Lyman No. 21 sight. Keep in mind that the Lyman No. 21 sight was introduced just a few years before Winchester ceased case color finishing the Model 1886, and that none of the Take Down Model 1886 rifles were case color finished.
The vast number of Lyman No. 21 receiver sights were installed on the Model 1895/95, and Models 1892 & 1894… which were all blued.
In regards to your question about how to tell, the vast majority of the people who drilled & tapped a Winchester after the fact to mount a Lyman No. 21 (or No. 38) did not apply cold blue to the raw (in the white) threads they tapped in the receiver frame. That stated, the workmanship quality of the holes & threads is almost always the dead giveaway. On a Winchester dilled & tapped hole, the threaded area does not start at the surface of the hole. Instead, the hole is neatly countersunk (vertical countersink), with the threads beginning at the bottom of the countersunk section.
Bert  

THANK YOU, Bert!  This is information I did not know and is most welcome!

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April 27, 2022 - 9:10 pm
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Is it acceptable to ask a seller to remove the Lyman 21 sight prior to a purchase?  How should one tactfully broach this subject?

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April 27, 2022 - 11:20 pm
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mrcvs said
Is it acceptable to ask a seller to remove the Lyman 21 sight prior to a purchase?  How should one tactfully broach this subject?  

Talking about internet listings?  Doing so would be pointless if you’re expecting him to render judgement on the originality of the holes.  Even if you mean inspection by yourself, the screws may be hard to remove, so there’s the possibility of damage from a slipped screwdriver.  Doesn’t seem practical to me.  If the gun can’t be lettered, the installation looks right, finish on gun & sight match, that would be good enough for me if I liked the gun enough to buy it. 

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April 27, 2022 - 11:35 pm
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I am wary of anyone with a screwdriver – unless you are my gunsmith.  I would expect sellers to be wary of me if I was holding a screwdriver.  I suppose it might come down to how motivated the seller is to move his gun.  It might also depend on how serious you look as a buyer.  If for example, you are laying the cash on the table, and you’ve made it clear that if the screw holes look right, and that is the only thing standing in the way of a final sale… you might get some receptiveness.

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April 28, 2022 - 12:10 am
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steve004 said
I am wary of anyone with a screwdriver – unless you are my gunsmith.  I would expect sellers to be wary of me if I was holding a screwdriver.  I suppose it might come down to how motivated the seller is to move his gun.  It might also depend on how serious you look as a buyer.  If for example, you are laying the cash on the table, and you’ve made it clear that if the screw holes look right, and that is the only thing standing in the way of a final sale… you might get some receptiveness.  

Those are exactly my thoughts!

 

and so, with regards to a serial numbered Model 1894 in the non letterable range, 354,000 and above, what impact does it have if the following is discovered post porchase?

1.  Lyman 21 sight removed and discovered to be factory.  How much does the originality factor add to the firearm?

2.  Sight removed and clearly after market.  Does the value of the Lyman 21 sight offset the loss in value due to the post production hole drilled in the receiver?  If not, which I suspect, how much does that negatively affect valuation?

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April 28, 2022 - 1:10 am
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mrcvs said
 Does the value of the Lyman 21 sight offset the loss in value due to the post production hole drilled in the receiver?  

To me, a pragmatist, it does.  As for the originality factor, only a factory letter “counts,” if your object is to prove it to someone other than yourself. 

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April 28, 2022 - 1:16 am
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steve004 said  If for example, you are laying the cash on the table, and you’ve made it clear that if the screw holes look right, and that is the only thing standing in the way of a final sale… you might get some receptiveness.  

Unless the price was very high, that argument wouldn’t sway me if I were the seller–too many other less persnickety buyers ready & willing to buy it without insisting on that condition.

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April 28, 2022 - 1:41 am
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TR said
 I was told by other 86 collectors that many factory installed Lyman 21 sights had a couple small platinum range dots on the elevation scale applied by the the factory. These represented a speciific distance. Several of the 86’s I owned that lettered with a 21 had them. Is this true? T/R  

I have heard the same thing, and maybe recalling incorrectly but think its also mentioned in one of the Madis Books.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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April 28, 2022 - 2:25 am
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I only have one Winchester in my collection that wears the Lyman 21 sight.  It is too late to letter, but it does have the two dots and has the correct “D” code.  It looks to have been on this rifle for a very long time and there are no wear marks on the barrel indicating that there was ever a different sight mounted on the barrel.  I’ve never removed the sight to inspect the holes and don’t really care to either.  Whether factory installed or not, I am happy with it.

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Don

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April 28, 2022 - 9:33 pm
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deerhunter said
I only have one Winchester in my collection that wears the Lyman 21 sight.  It is too late to letter, but it does have the two dots and has the correct “D” code.  It looks to have been on this rifle for a very long time and there are no wear marks on the barrel indicating that there was ever a different sight mounted on the barrel.  I’ve never removed the sight to inspect the holes and don’t really care to either.  Whether factory installed or not, I am happy with it.

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Don  

That’s a very nice looking rifle and in a desirable chambering.  My money is on that Lyman No. 21 being factory installed.

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April 28, 2022 - 10:43 pm
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Maverick said

I have heard the same thing, and maybe recalling incorrectly but think its also mentioned in one of the Madis Books.

Sincerely,

Maverick  

In my experience looking at Lyman 21 and 38 sights on 1895s, there’s a transition in the 60000-70000 s/n range from most (apparent) original examples having the two dots to most not having them after.  I’m sure there are exceptions, but I don’t remember seeing one that didn’t have the dots on the third and sixth mark in the elevation scale, regardless of the rifle or the chambering.  Lyman’s catalogs and advertising of the time also show the two dot inlays and they appear to be at the third and sixth marks as well on what I’ve looked at.  I believe the two dots were already on the sights before they were installed.

There are some that have assembly numbers that match the assembly numbers on the rifles they were originally installed on.  I noticed this before on loose sights that were for sale and wondered about it until finding one on an auction site that’s pictured on page 211 of the 1895 book.

There have to be quite a few out there that have been replaced in the life of the rifle, and quite a few taken off based on the rifles out there with the extra hole.

Regards

Brad Dunbar

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April 29, 2022 - 3:06 pm
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The small platinum range dots were used on Lyman No. 21’s beyond just Winchesters:

https://i.imgur.com/ZHNA7kn.jpgImage Enlarger

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April 29, 2022 - 3:22 pm
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The Lyman No. 21 (and No. 38) is one of my favorite sights. 

https://i.imgur.com/5e0AEoq.jpgImage Enlarger

One factor that counts for a lot is the finish wear on the sight matching the finish wear on the receiver.  For my standards, this is the biggest factor that makes it, “right.”

On occasion, the holes can be right but the sight is not, “right.”  This can happen when the original sight was removed long ago, and later someone finds a sight and installs it.  You wouldn’t necessarily know this has happened unless the finish/wear difference makes it obvious.  

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May 8, 2022 - 5:23 am
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I have found this to be an exceptionally interesting topic of discussion and have never seen the Lyman sight and whether correct discussed in such detail – lots of intelligent and knowledgeable collectors here on the Forum – sure a good place for even the old guys to learn. I guess I have been lucky over the years and always had guns with the climbing Lyman sight which lettered. After following this discussion, sounds like a musem letter is the best way to know for sure. 

95dlx3.jpgImage Enlarger95dlx1.JPGImage Enlarger95ltr.JPGImage Enlarger

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May 8, 2022 - 12:50 pm
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Burt Humphrey said
I have found this to be an exceptionally interesting topic of discussion and have never seen the Lyman sight and whether correct discussed in such detail – lots of intelligent and knowledgeable collectors here on the Forum – sure a good place for even the old guys to learn. I guess I have been lucky over the years and always had guns with the climbing Lyman sight which lettered. After following this discussion, sounds like a musem letter is the best way to know for sure. 

95dlx3.jpgImage Enlarger95dlx1.JPGImage Enlarger95ltr.JPGImage Enlarger  

Yes, the factory letter is the best way to determine if the Lyman 21 receiver sight is original to the firearm and, if not mentioned in the factory letter, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of it NOT being factory original and, even if factory original and omitted in the factory records, collectors will regard it as a later addition.

I suppose if it appears in the way the factory installed these, as Bert described above in this thread—and the very answer I was seeking—then it could be deemed to be factory original.  And was omitted in the factory records and the subsequent factory letter.  But many, if not most, collectors will still remain skeptical, despite the overwhelming evidence.

The reason for this thread was how does one determine if a Lyman 21 sight is original absent a factory letter, such as a Model 1894 rifle post 353,999 serial number production.

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