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Winchester Model 63 SN #1 (?)
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May 23, 2022 - 4:59 pm
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I saw a couple weeks ago that Win 63 SN 1 was coming up for auction, and while it seemed a bit of a curiosity, I didn’t give a lot of credence to this being the real #1, for reasons detailed below.
 
Here is the link to Rock Island’s photos and a Youtube video:
 
I now see that the gun sold for $26,438! (+ buyer’s premium?), so I’m wondering if I missed something.
 
Issues I see with the gun are:
 
1.  The barrel is 23″, while it was my understanding that ALL the early guns had 20″ barrels, same as the Model 03.  The 23″ barrel was then introduced a few years later for marketing purposes, as the perception in the public was that a longer barrel was more accurate, and while there was an overlap period, eventually all barrels were 23″.
 
It would be interesting to see if there is a barrel date…
 
2.  The SN font doesn’t look right; usually the “1’s” have a horizontal bar at the bottom – see #122 here, for example:
 
3.  In the Model 03, there is a small button below the takedown screw, which is depressed to more easily unscrew it.  This was carried over to the first thousand or so Model 63’s, then the button was eliminated as unnecessary.  You can easily see in the video at 4:36 that purported SN 1 doesn’t have this button, or a visible tang, for that matter.  This could be an idiosyncrasy of a prototype, but it looks wrong.
 
4.  Generally, the sides of the receiver & stock don’t look right – The wood tapers down toward the receiver on both ends, and also at the front of the fore end where it meets the fore end cap.  On a normal 1903 or 63 the wood stays flat until it meets the metal, on both front & back.  Also, the rear section of the receiver lines up flat with the front section, whereas on a normal 1903 or 63 there is a taper in the metal.  There is also normally a taper in the metal toward the front of the receiver.  Finally, the loading hole is not right.  Again, all this could be indicative of a prototype design, but since there was really no change in these areas from the 03 to the 63, it looks wrong.
 
By comparison, here’s SN 8, which looks more correct:
 
5.  The bolt does have what appears to be an extra pin(?) in it, see top left corner of ejector window.
 
So, it looks to me that this is either a prototype, or someone’s custom stock & receiver.
 
Not sure I would have paid $26K+ for it….
 
Thoughts?
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May 23, 2022 - 8:11 pm
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That price proves (in the fat-cat auction world) its originality.  Do you think the reservations you enumerated so much as crossed the minds of the “lucky winner” & the other bidders?  All that matters in this world is that RIA’s “experts” found no reason to dispute its authenticity, so case closed. 

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September 24, 2022 - 5:09 pm
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It depends on whether you are a collector who can afford such things, or you are a common man shooter who just likes the Model 63 rifle over others.  Lord knows you can buy good BRAND NEW rifles for much less than a decent Model 63 costs.  But those new rifles have no soul.  The model 63 has it in spades.  Since I am not a collector, all I have to say is all the best to the collector who was able to ad that one to his/her collection.

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