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Ongoing education about markings and stampings
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April 28, 2024 - 4:16 pm
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A perk for coming to this site is the opportunity for ongoing education.  I’ve been the recipient of that education since I’ve joined.  My only complaint is I can’t remember it all – and that is not improving.

When we evaluate the originality of various Winchesters, the various markings (barrel addresses, caliber stamping, proof marks etc.) receive close scrutiny.  Determining whether such markings are, “right” can be a puzzle.  This often occurs with high condition rifles that are represented as all original.  Both the evaluation of the originality of the markings as well as the finishes can be tough challenges.  One of the great things here is the opportunity of many sets of eyes to take a look.

This morning I was looking at a high condition M1886 at RIA.  

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/4091/34/winchester-deluxe-model-1886-lever-action-rifle

There’s some high quality photos and I was able to increase the size of the photo of the barrel markings to a large image while maintaining good clarity.

I notice a lot of variability in the stamping.  Some of it very deep.  Some of it very shallow.  Some examples:  The, “D” in manufactured – about half of it is missing.  My thought it that is a function of a broken die?  The E in, “HAVEN” – part of the bottom section is quite short, where in other E’s, it’s quite long.  

So, a worn die?  Perhaps broken in spots?  Variability in the pressure used during the stamping – why some parts are much deeper and some much more shallow?  Or, clues to non-original stamping?

What else do others see that give them pause or provide a clue?  Or do others see it as right as rain?

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April 28, 2024 - 4:42 pm
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Steve,

My immediate (and first) impression of that rifle was… Turnbull.  I am not of the opinion that it has original factory finish on it.  A check with Turnbull’s shop records would be in order before bidding on that rifle.

Bert

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April 28, 2024 - 5:15 pm
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I agree.  When I see case colouring that vivid and of that pattern, I immediately think Turnbull as well.  All original finish Winchesters in my experience, even with little original finish, have deeper and consistent barrel addresses.

When an auction house uses the term original—take it with a grain of salt.

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April 28, 2024 - 5:27 pm
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Bert H. said
Steve,

My immediate (and first) impression of that rifle was… Turnbull.  I am not of the opinion that it has original factory finish on it.  A check with Turnbull’s shop records would be in order before bidding on that rifle.

Bert

  

Interesting.  Very likely the case.  We know that often with Turnbull, a restoration included new barrel and new wood.  Wouldn’t a Turnbull restoration that included a new barrel – include a barrel with stampings more uniform than this one?

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April 28, 2024 - 5:33 pm
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My Feelings only; It’s pretty obvious the stampings have been re or double struck, the lettering is way to course.

W.A.C.A. life member, Marlin Collectors Assn. charter and life member, C,S.S.A. member and general gun nut.

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April 28, 2024 - 6:25 pm
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steve004 said

Bert H. said

Steve,

My immediate (and first) impression of that rifle was… Turnbull.  I am not of the opinion that it has original factory finish on it.  A check with Turnbull’s shop records would be in order before bidding on that rifle.

Bert

  

Interesting.  Very likely the case.  We know that often with Turnbull, a restoration included new barrel and new wood.  Wouldn’t a Turnbull restoration that included a new barrel – include a barrel with stampings more uniform than this one?

  

I would like to see the bore on that rifle… I suspect that it will not match the exterior condition.

Bert

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April 28, 2024 - 6:25 pm
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Henry Mero said
My Feelings only; It’s pretty obvious the stampings have been re or double struck, the lettering is way to course.

  

That certainly makes sense.  It seems odd Turnbull would turn out something that looked like that?  Unless he was trying to use the original barrel and double striking some of the letters was the only course of action.  

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April 28, 2024 - 6:31 pm
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steve004 said

Henry Mero said

My Feelings only; It’s pretty obvious the stampings have been re or double struck, the lettering is way to course.

  

That certainly makes sense.  It seems odd Turnbull would turn out something that looked like that?  Unless he was trying to use the original barrel and double striking some of the letters was the only course of action.  

  

That rifle may not be a full Turnbull restoration.  Someone else could have sent the receiver frame to his shop to be recased, and then did the remainder of the work.  I own a restored high-wall that has a receiver frame & part that were sent to be recased by Turnbull, but the rifle was restored elsewhere.

Bert

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April 28, 2024 - 8:23 pm
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 Question, does Turnbull still send out his case color work to someone else? Who did Roger send his case color work to? Most restorers out source special work. Engravers, stock work, checkering, case hardening and barrel people age out. Restorers usually keep their names a secret especially if their good. T/R

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April 28, 2024 - 8:29 pm
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TR said
 Question, does Turnbull still send out his case color work to someone else? Who did Roger send his case color work to? Most restorers out source special work. Engravers, stock work, checkering, case hardening and barrel people age out. Restorers usually keep their names a secret especially if their good. T/R

  

I know for a fact that Roger’s Restoration sent his case color work to Turnbull. Roger was the person who restored my old high-wall.

Bert

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April 28, 2024 - 8:39 pm
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TR said
 Question, does Turnbull still send out his case color work to someone else? Who did Roger send his case color work to? Most restorers out source special work. Engravers, stock work, checkering, case hardening and barrel people age out. Restorers usually keep their names a secret especially if their good. T/R

  

Some yrs ago, there was a company in the NE that specialized in this work, but not sure Turnbull used it.  The CC process was once so well-understood & widely-practiced that makers of even the cheapest boy’s rifles used it; now, if not a lost art, a rather exotic one.  I was just looking at photos of Miroku’s ’73 repro; everything up to Miroku’s usual high standards, except the CC, which was abysmal.

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April 28, 2024 - 9:26 pm
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  Back when I mistakenly thought I could restore a gun I would like and keep, I had a 76 Dlx  done by Roger and the case was good. A fellow collector had a 73 22cal takedown done a year later and not so good. If all are done by the same person then it’s not an exact science. I soon learned to pay up and buy original.

 Over the years I’ve tried to find imperfection on restored guns to spot them quickly. The problem is they learn from their mistakes and correct them, some get better at it, some age out and get worse. If the gun is minty and done by a true craftsman you will have to hold it in your hand. Even then I was fooled by a British re-case. I prefer a gun that shows honest age. T/R

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April 29, 2024 - 12:50 am
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TR said If all are done by the same person then it’s not an exact science.
  

Depends on experience of workman.  In the old factories, same workmen probably did the same job every day, compared to modern shops where it’s done as a special job when the need arises. 

But I too prefer a gun that shows honest age.  No sympathy for those who get fooled by their mania for “new/old” guns.

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April 29, 2024 - 3:18 am
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TR said
 Question, does Turnbull still send out his case color work to someone else? Who did Roger send his case color work to? Most restorers out source special work. Engravers, stock work, checkering, case hardening and barrel people age out. Restorers usually keep their names a secret especially if their good. T/R

  

I met Doug’s engraver a few years ago at the DSC show. He may have moved on but he’s not in danger of “aging out” anytime soon. In my opinion he was very good and apparently had a few decades of quality work ahead of him. Some of the “stampings” I saw were cut by hand but were better quality than what we’re seeing here. I don’t know if they have stamping dies but I suspect they do. In any case they will verify if they did the work. They do restoration work, not fakes. At that time Turnbull was doing his CCH work in-house, pretty sure he had his own stock department as well. 

 

Mike 

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April 29, 2024 - 4:58 pm
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TR said
 Question, does Turnbull still send out his case color work to someone else? Who did Roger send his case color work to? Most restorers out source special work. Engravers, stock work, checkering, case hardening and barrel people age out. Restorers usually keep their names a secret especially if their good. T/R

  

Roger may have done the case work early on but most was done by Turnbull.  Roger would then age it back some.  The big tell for me on Roger’s guns is the red wood stain.  He and I argued about it on several occasions.  Roger was right that it was reddish when manufactured but not so much when it was 100 years old.  He had the stain special made and all I know is that it was alcohol based.  He would never say who made it.  I still see one of his employees on occasion at the range or in the gun shop.  I will ask him about this.  I have been trying to get Walt’s records to see which Winchesters he had Roger re-do.

I have made the same mistake about keeping a record on all the small facts that I had learned over the years.  Now I have forgot so much.  I really wish I could find Roger’s records.  Not sure if his paperwork went with his equipment?

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