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It’s probably only just a matter of time…
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October 30, 2021 - 11:40 pm
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Anyone want to guess how long it might take for this nice Model 1886 with a possibly aftermarket receiver sight to resurface with it removed and as factory original with a price tag double of what it recently just sold at?

https://www.cowanauctions.com/lot/winchester-model-1886-deluxe-lightweight-take-down-rifle-4094679

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October 30, 2021 - 11:47 pm
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mrcvs said
Anyone want to guess how long it might take for this nice Model 1886 with a possibly aftermarket receiver sight to resurface with it removed and as factory original with a price tag double of what it recently just sold at?

https://www.cowanauctions.com/lot/winchester-model-1886-deluxe-lightweight-take-down-rifle-4094679  

I sure can’t argue with that line of thinking.  The rifle will then, “letter” perfectly. There are guys out there who can do a hole-fill job like that with much skill (because they’ve had so much practice at it!).

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October 31, 2021 - 12:51 am
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  You can not make those holes disappear! I have seen some of the best try and I can still see the repair. If I see a rust spot in that location I look for holes. If I buy an 86 I hold the gun to the light and look down it, any flaw shows on nice blue. T/R

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October 31, 2021 - 1:15 am
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It is a very specific spot that most of us give particular scrutiny when inspecting a rifle.  TR – I will suggest that there are people out there easier to fool than you.  

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October 31, 2021 - 1:22 am
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steve004 said
 I will suggest that there are people out there easier to fool than you.    

Many.

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October 31, 2021 - 1:45 am
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TR said
  You can not make those holes disappear! I have seen some of the best try and I can still see the repair. If I see a rust spot in that location I look for holes. If I buy an 86 I hold the gun to the light and look down it, any flaw shows on nice blue. T/R  

How can you be sure?  Detecting repairs that weren’t good enough to pass this test doesn’t mean there aren’t some that are.  Only absolutely fool-proof test is an x-ray.

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October 31, 2021 - 3:14 am
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  Clarence, you over estimate the ability of the current gun doctors. When I see a doctored gun I try and find out who did it, how he did it, and how to easily spot it in the future. This is where a big gun show is the best school. Lots of high dollar guns to see in hand, people to talk to and and share information. Pictures do not do it!

 When I started collecting I bought guns with flaws, they were cheaper. The flaws bothered me so I paid to have the flaws fixed, they looked right at the time. Later I began to see the repairs. I couldn’t believe that looked right, The gun didn’t change but my eye became trained. I stopped buying guns I need to fix because I can see the flaw 3 feet away.

 The only way you can’t see a hole is if it’s welded and refinished. But then you can see it’s refinished, so who cares. T/R

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October 31, 2021 - 1:31 pm
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TR said
  Clarence, you over estimate the ability of the current gun doctors. When I see a doctored gun I try and find out who did it, how he did it, and how to easily spot it in the future. This is where a big gun show is the best school. Lots of high dollar guns to see in hand, people to talk to and and share information. Pictures do not do it!

 When I started collecting I bought guns with flaws, they were cheaper. The flaws bothered me so I paid to have the flaws fixed, they looked right at the time. Later I began to see the repairs. I couldn’t believe that looked right, The gun didn’t change but my eye became trained. I stopped buying guns I need to fix because I can see the flaw 3 feet away.

 The only way you can’t see a hole is if it’s welded and refinished. But then you can see it’s refinished, so who cares. T/R  

TR said
  Clarence, you over estimate the ability of the current gun doctors. When I see a doctored gun I try and find out who did it, how he did it, and how to easily spot it in the future. This is where a big gun show is the best school. Lots of high dollar guns to see in hand, people to talk to and and share information. Pictures do not do it!

 When I started collecting I bought guns with flaws, they were cheaper. The flaws bothered me so I paid to have the flaws fixed, they looked right at the time. Later I began to see the repairs. I couldn’t believe that looked right, The gun didn’t change but my eye became trained. I stopped buying guns I need to fix because I can see the flaw 3 feet away.

 The only way you can’t see a hole is if it’s welded and refinished. But then you can see it’s refinished, so who cares. T/R  

T/R –

I read your post with interest.  Not to be contrary but I think you have underestimated the ignorance of a sea of buyers out there.  I think on the topic of hidden tap holes, they are often very difficult to spot – for uneducated buyers.  Ok, how many un-educated buyers are there out there?  I contend it is a large number.  Heck, there are buyers who couldn’t spot unhidden receiver sight holes on an ’86 Winchester!  All the dealer has to do is grab a ’64 rifle or ’94 carbine from his table and say, “yeah, Winchester tapped a lot of their rifles for a receiver sight… on the ’86 they did that for the later models.”  I’m thinking of all the Winchester lever actions rifles I’ve seen with Pachmayr pads where the dealer wisely attests to factory original.  These rifles don’t sell to guys like us, yet they sell.

Another point I will make is ample money available to buy guns does not equal knowledge, wisdom or good judgment.  I won’t speak ill of the dead but I am thinking of a collector who amassed a very large Winchester collection.  Many of us know he had plenty of rifles in there that weren’t right.  I would bet there were some lever rifles in there with, “hidden” tap holes. A sea of buyers out there are good at reading catalog descriptions, Blue Books, looking at internet photos and descriptions but a very small minority are walking around with the knowledge that T/R and others here have amassed.  And as I’ve mentioned, this doesn’t mean these guys don’t have money burning in their pockets.  

T/R makes another good point – it’s basically where you are in your collecting career.  T/R mentions he can spot those holes from a good distance but refences a time when he a time when he was not good at it.  Experience comes from attending lots of gun shows, handling lots of pieces, talking to lots of collectors, etc., etc.  This brings back a (painful) memory of a ’86 SRC .45-90 I purchased at a gunshow about 40 years ago.  Yup, didn’t see the hidden Lyman No. 56 tap holes. I was young and inexperienced – walking around a gunshow (i.e. amongst a den of thieves).  I remember I didn’t have enough money with me so I sold two nice Winchesters to dealers at the show to get the cash.  I sold at dealer “buy” prices so took a bath of course.  But an ’86 .45-90 SRC was a Holy Grail to me back then.  I recall talking to one of he dealers who bought one of my rifles and told him what I was going to use the money for.  I remember (clearly) he said, “that sounds like quite a piece – I need to take a look.”  We walked over to the table the .45-90 was on and he picked it up, looked it over, and set it back down.  I KNOW, as T/R suggests, he immediately saw those tap holes.  He set the gun down – didn’t say anything (should have been a clue) and we walked back to his table and he gave me the money for my rifle.  So, here’s this young collector (ME), it sure would have been nice if he would have shared his knowledge with me. But, he was there for profit – if he would have said something – I would have had no reason to sell him my rifle.  Plus, I suppose as a card carrying member of the Den of Thieves, he didn’t want to screw the deal up for his fellow dealer (thief).  Now I know there are different perspectives out there.  The dealers will cry, “Caveat Emptor” and there is a point there.  Even though I was knowingly deceived, I did learn a lesson.  Sometimes when you really pay for a lesson, you really learn it!

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October 31, 2021 - 1:54 pm
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Interesting comments Steve. Can’t argue any of it.

You can have good dealings with sellers for yrs & then there’s that one piece they’ve been waiting to unload & got deceived themselves. The gift that keeps on giving. No thanks.
I will say this about Henry Mero on here, if he knows you, he will take the gun back no questions. If I or anyone else can’t do our due diligence to authenticate original or described condition in hand within a few days, then can’t cry foul. I’ve bought many from Henry & also sent a couple back. Never an issue. These guys are few and far between.

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October 31, 2021 - 2:00 pm
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TR said

 The only way you can’t see a hole is if it’s welded and refinished. But then you can see it’s refinished, so who cares. T/R  

I was assuming that!  If the hole has merely been plugged some way, without a top quality refinish, of course it’s going to be visible!  And merely welding, polishing, rebluing isn’t enough, as the weld rod has to be an alloy that will blue exactly as the surrounding metal. 

As for the ’86 with the rcvr. sight, anyone who’d even consider subjecting the gun to this kind of treatment merely to obliterate those two holes is out of his mind.  That’s a period correct sight that might have been added by the original owner, & while I’d have preferred a tang sight, any gun that’s survived the decades in such great condition deserves to be left strictly alone.

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October 31, 2021 - 2:07 pm
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steve004 said
A sea of buyers out there are good at reading catalog descriptions, Blue Books, looking at internet photos and descriptions but a very small minority are walking around with the knowledge that T/R and others here have amassed.  And as I’ve mentioned, this doesn’t mean these guys don’t have money burning in their pockets.  

To summarize, more money than brains; today, facilitated by the internet, a common phenomenon!

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October 31, 2021 - 2:19 pm
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clarence said

As for the ’86 with the rcvr. sight, anyone who’d even consider subjecting the gun to this kind of treatment merely to obliterate those two holes is out of his mind.  That’s a period correct sight that might have been added by the original owner, & while I’d have preferred a tang sight, any gun that’s survived the decades in such great condition deserves to be left strictly alone.  

I agree with you 100%.  It’s a beautiful rifle with an early Redfield sight, and it’s very likely the original owner had it put on at some time after 1909 when Redfield was founded, but it cannot be an R & R job as that occurred in 1906.

My guess is someone will do a nice job of obliterating the receiver sight holes and sell it for top dollar to a less experienced collector who wants a rifle like this one and doesn’t know what to look for.

I’ve slowly weeded out some of my early purchase problem pieces.  If you don’t have any of those, you probably have not been collecting long enough to be aware of this.  It’s part of the learning curve!

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October 31, 2021 - 2:25 pm
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 Steve,

 A lot of truth in what you say. I really like the last sentence “Sometimes when you really pay for a lesson, you really learn it!” I to have graduated from the school of hard knocks and it takes the fun out of the hobby when you get taken. Many new collectors gave up the hobby for that very reason. 

 I understand a lot of the buyers do not have the experience to see what you and I can. The point I was trying to make is you don’t need a x-ray to see the holes if you have a trained/experienced eye. I would advise any collector to ask for help when buying. I do not go to a gun show alone, it’s to easy to miss something. When you sell that gun, if there’s a flaw the potential buyer will see it before the sale or after, both outcomes are bad. T/R

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October 31, 2021 - 3:32 pm
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clarence said

As for the ’86 with the rcvr. sight, anyone who’d even consider subjecting the gun to this kind of treatment merely to obliterate those two holes is out of his mind.  That’s a period correct sight that might have been added by the original owner, & while I’d have preferred a tang sight, any gun that’s survived the decades in such great condition deserves to be left strictly alone.  

Clarence – I am in agreement with you on this and that was my initial impression as well.  I like the rifle as it sits.  It is improved, as it sits, with the exception of, the “collectability” factor (i.e. what other fussy people think) (full disclosure – I often find myself in that category).  Anyway, I am drawn to the rifle but I wouldn’t want to pay a collector price for it – which is what it sold for.  And as this thread started out, it’s likely the agenda of the the buyer is to turn it into something that will sell for even a higher (unknowledgeable) collector price.  It reminds me of a super high condition .44-40 ’92 SRC I had.  It was all original with the exception of a Lyman No. 56.  I eventually let it go.  There’s a shooter/hunter in me and also a collector.  Those two are often at odds with each other.  In fact, a part of me still regrets letting my ’92 SRC go.  

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October 31, 2021 - 4:27 pm
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steve004 said

Clarence – I am in agreement with you on this and that was my initial impression as well.  I like the rifle as it sits.  It is improved…  

That’s the irony of the case–it was improved for shooting by the addition of that sight!  Meaning it was owned by a thinking rifleman, as opposed to a thoughtless buyer who accepted the factory sights as “good enough.”  It’s the same irony that downgrades all the 54s & 70s that were D&T by serious rifleman to correct the factory’s short-sighted blunder in equipping them with 19th C. sights.

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October 31, 2021 - 5:34 pm
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clarence said

steve004 said
Clarence – I am in agreement with you on this and that was my initial impression as well.  I like the rifle as it sits.  It is improved…  

That’s the irony of the case–it was improved for shooting by the addition of that sight!  Meaning it was owned by a thinking rifleman, as opposed to a thoughtless buyer who accepted the factory sights as “good enough.”  It’s the same irony that downgrades all the 54s & 70s that were D&T by serious rifleman to correct the factory’s short-sighted blunder in equipping them with 19th C. sights.  

Oh, I agree.  I much prefer a receiver sight over rear barrel sights.  And of course, some prefer receiver sights over a tang sight.  There is a lot of difference between a rifle being altered by, “Bubba” vs. as you say, “a thinking rifleman.”  I clearly see the irony here.

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October 31, 2021 - 5:38 pm
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 When I started collecting I found myself standing in front of a gun dealer pointing to a extra hole or added butt plate he would call me a “Purest” and argue that to a practical collector it makes little difference, it’s over 100 years old. Over time I found myself on the other side of the deal and the same dealer would tell me my gun was not collectable, worth far less as a shooter. If you are a purest guns are a lot harder to buy but a lot easier to sell. If you are a practical collector guns are easy to buy but harder to sell. I am currently a “Purest” with the exception of rare and history, then those flaws are just character. T/R

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October 31, 2021 - 5:46 pm
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TR said
 When I started collecting I found myself standing in front of a gun dealer pointing to a extra hole or added butt plate he would call me a “Purest” and argue that to a practical collector it makes little difference, it’s over 100 years old. Over time I found myself on the other side of the deal and the same dealer would tell me my gun was not collectable, worth far less as a shooter. If you are a purest guns are a lot harder to buy but a lot easier to sell. If you are a practical collector guns are easy to buy but harder to sell. I am currently a “Purest” with the exception of rare and history, then those flaws are just character. T/R  

Tom, I totally agree with you.  I’m a purist when it comes to collecting but I am practical with my modern hunting and target guns.  I guess a hundred years from now some collector may be really mad that I modified one of my current shooters.

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October 31, 2021 - 10:11 pm
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Of the many factors to learn and understand, it takes a while for new collectors to understand, “gun show light.”  Gun show light favors the sellers.  It favors those sellers trying to sell something with flaws.  It really favors rifles with, “hidden” tap holes.  It also favors sellers trying to sell rifles with nothing wrong them.  I say that because you can buy a rifle inside a gun show and then take it outside in the sunlight … and wonder what happened to the rifle you purchased 😉

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October 31, 2021 - 10:32 pm
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steve004 said
Of the many factors to learn and understand, it takes a while for new collectors to understand, “gun show light.”  Gun show light favors the sellers.  It favors those sellers trying to sell something with flaws.  It really favors rifles with, “hidden” tap holes.  It also favors sellers trying to sell rifles with nothing wrong them.  I say that because you can buy a rifle inside a gun show and then take it outside in the sunlight … and wonder what happened to the rifle you purchased 😉  

  A small LED bright light and a drop in bore light solves that problem. I carry a Larry light and can scan a gun in seconds, it saves the hassle of trying to take someones gun outside. You see every patch of cold blue like it was painted a different color.

 At Tulsa on setup day only half the lights are on and that’s when the guns are coming out of cases. The lighting should be in your pocket! T/R

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