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Model 57 w/ a little Provenance
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August 5, 2017 - 8:54 pm
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Jeff (and all the other M57 lovers out there) 

I was going to share this letter of provenance with Jeff (JWA) at the Cody show along with the rifle it goes with, but since we didn’t get the time I thought I would just post it here. I’m sure there are a few others that might enjoy reading it. This particular M57 is in your survey already. It was purchased by my father from the original owner (who bought it new in 1931) and Dad decided to document the story of the rifle at that time. I find it very interesting and enjoyable to read. It’s not very often we know the history of the rifles we become so attached to. As you can see in the pictures, it has the original sling with the gentlemen’s name on it. The gun has been refinished at some point in its life but is still a nice old 22. Take a minute to read the letter in the PDF file before you look at the pictures. It sure takes you back to a simpler time.

On a side note, this gentlemen, who has now passed on, also had a quite exciting experience a few years after he bought this little rifle. In 1934, Mr. Kafer was a Western Union bicycle messenger and as he exited the front of his workplace to go out on a delivery, he witnessed the Mason City, Iowa Dillinger gang bank robbery. I have a cassette tape my father acquired with Mr. Kafer being interviewed about his recollection of the event. It’s fun to listen to him tell about it. He was in his 80’s when it was recorded. If only the story would have ended with the young boy pulling out his trusty Model 57 Winchester and gunning down John Dillinger with a well placed shot to the heart. Of course, then the gun would be in a museum rather than on my safe.

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August 5, 2017 - 11:03 pm
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Gary,

Very nice… the known history is priceless!

Bert

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August 6, 2017 - 1:31 pm
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Gary,

Nice rifle and associated history.  It is a lucky collector that is able to know the history of a firearm he has collected. 

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Rapid taper, standard taper, extra heavy. All 45 caliber.

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August 6, 2017 - 8:15 pm
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Gary,

VERY cool!  I am sorry I didn’t get a chance to stop back by your table, something came up and I had to leave early on Sunday morning.  Thanks for posting the pictures and the letter.  I have a similar letter from an old gentleman that was the original purchaser of a Winchester Model 61 and love the historical documentation.  I will try to find it and post it here also.

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August 7, 2017 - 6:51 pm
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Gary very nice Model 52, and as Bert stated the history is priceless!  Read the PDF and yes a simpler time and a time when morals and values meant much more so than today.  Thanks for sharing as I for one enjoyed it!

Dave

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August 8, 2017 - 1:09 am
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Gary,

Thanks again for posting your provenance letter.  Here is a similar one I received from a gentlemen when I purchased a very early Winchester Model 61 from him back in 1984.  He was 90 years old at the time I bought his rifle and he passed away in 1989 at the age of 95.  I was always on the prowl for high quality Winchester .22’s and had gotten word that he might have one for sale.  I went to his retirement home in Cave Creek, AZ and was thoroughly “interviewed” by him, I guess to see if I was worthy of his beloved Winchester rifle.  I passed muster (whew!) and he sold me the rifle in the summer of 1984.  I received this letter in the mail soon after.

It is always great to have the back story.  Every time I pick up that rifle I think of Mr. Wolfe.  The 61 is still in at least 98% condition.  The “peep” sight he refers to on the rifle is the Lyman W61 tang sight and it is still on the rifle after 80+ years and I still use the larger aperture as he suggested.  Next time I have it out of the safe I will take some photos and add them here.

 

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August 8, 2017 - 4:17 am
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Jeff

Thanks for posting your letter. That’s a great story and some interesting detail. I wonder if he actually penned that letter, its some beautiful cursive.

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August 8, 2017 - 6:22 am
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pdog72 said
Jeff

Thanks for posting your letter. That’s a great story and some interesting detail. I wonder if he actually penned that letter, its some beautiful cursive.  

No, I am pretty sure it was done on a typewriter with a cursive font, possibly an old IBM Selectric with the interchangeable ball.  He was a very meticulous man though.  I kept in touch with him for several years afterward and would stop in and say hello when I was in the area.  He was formerly an accountant.  The sheepskin case he mentions I kept for quite awhile even though it was rotten and falling apart simply because he said he bought it new with the rifle in the thirties which I thought was pretty cool.  Eventually it ended up in multiple pieces but did its job well since the rifle is unmarred from the many hunting expeditions and traveling in the trunk of his car.

He had one daughter with 4 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren when he passed away in 1989.  No telling how many there are now.  If I ever decide to sell that rifle I will look them up first, I owe him that. 

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August 8, 2017 - 3:00 pm
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Jeff,

That’s what this is all about….

You’re a good man.

Bill

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August 8, 2017 - 3:14 pm
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I have to ask. Did it have its original magazine? 2 groove, 1919 patent date, with a follower marked 22 LONG R? Most of the time, the original has been lost. Thanks for sharing. I covet my M57. No provenance, but a 98% rifle. Now, you need to get his brother. A nice M56.  Big Larry

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August 9, 2017 - 12:40 am
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Big Larry said
I have to ask. Did it have its original magazine? 2 groove, 1919 patent date, with a follower marked 22 LONG R? Most of the time, the original has been lost. Thanks for sharing. I covet my M57. No provenance, but a 98% rifle. Now, you need to get his brother. A nice M56.  Big Larry  

Larry,

It is a 2 groove magazine and says Made in the USA, Winchester, Trade Mark, Pat. Nov. 25 1919. It does not say anything on the follower.

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August 9, 2017 - 10:58 pm
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Nice rifle and a great story to go with it. Reminds me that my first exposure to marksmanship training was at Boy Scout summer camp with bolt action, single shot .22’s. Wish I could recall the exact model but I do think they were Winchesters.

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August 10, 2017 - 1:04 am
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pdog72 said

Larry,

It is a 2 groove magazine and says Made in the USA, Winchester, Trade Mark, Pat. Nov. 25 1919. It does not say anything on the follower.  

BTW, I don’t think anyone told you, that it has a period correct Kerr sling, and they seem to be rarer than the rifle. I looked for many years before I found one for my M60A. These rifles were all shipped with Kerr slings.   Thanks for sharing.  Big Larry

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August 10, 2017 - 1:16 am
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Larry,

The sling is marked “NoBuckl”. Is this a completely separate brand or a model made by Kerr? Either way, it is my understanding that it came with the rifle.

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August 10, 2017 - 10:49 am
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Hi Gary,

Kerr was the manufacturer of the “Nobuckl” brand slings and yours looks original to the rifle.

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August 10, 2017 - 3:10 pm
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pdog72 said
Larry,

The sling is marked “NoBuckl”. Is this a completely separate brand or a model made by Kerr? Either way, it is my understanding that it came with the rifle.  

As a side note, the Kerr slings were made for WW1 Enfields and WW2 Thompson submachineguns. They are longer and wider but almost identical. Big LarryThompson-2-001.jpgImage Enlarger

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August 11, 2017 - 12:17 am
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Good information guys. Thank you.

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