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1895 Winchester 30-03. Value?
September 30, 2015
6:49 pm
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I am looking at an 1895 Winchester rifle, 30-03, made 1903 at a local pawn shop. Original but overall smooth worn finish, about 50%, nice solid wood, good bore but shows pitting. Has the Lyman 21 receiver sight with lever. Asking $1100. What do you think?

October 1, 2015
1:49 pm
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Great Basin
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It's very difficult to estimate a value without pictures.  Condition is going to have the biggest impact on the value of this rifle.  You describe it as having a smooth worn finish and a pitted bore.  Those issues are certainly going to hurt the value of the gun, making it more of a shooter than a collector gun.  Conversely, the Lyman 21, if complete, will add value to the gun.  In good condition, these sights sell for $350-$400.  If the sight is missing any parts, as many are, parts are nearly impossible to find and quite expensive if you do find them.  Check to see that it has the pointer for elevation and the small, flip up sight aperture.   

Also, keep in mind that the 30-03 is the least desirable cartridge in the 1895 lineup.  It has basically been obsolete for a century and is very difficult to find correct ammo for today.  Buffalo Arms does occasionally make a run of them with reformed cases, but it has been quite a while since they had any available.  If you reload, you have a couple of options.  You can fire form 270 brass or use the slightly shorter 30-06 case and 220 round nose bullets seated shallow to approximate the length of the 30-03.  I have couple of 30-03's in my collection.  If I don't have the correct ammo for them, I will occasionally shoot the new factory light 30-06 ammo produced by Hornady or Fusion.  The bullet has to "jump the gap", but with the reduced loads, I don't believe shooting a few of these will damage the gun in any way.

Any gun is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.  For me, this gun would be priced at least a couple hundred too high.  Others may say even more than that.  Of course, I'm kind of partial to '95's, with 19 of them in my collection.  If you really want the gun, make him an offer and see if he's ready to deal. 

October 1, 2015
4:27 pm
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Thanks, I thought the 1895s were pretty expensive guns. I will hold off. They started at $1700 and lowered the price to $1100 out the door, so they probably are not going to go lower now.  The sight is complete. The Blue Book lists them high, and that is what pawn shops go by.

October 2, 2015
2:21 am
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Great Basin
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Again, it's really hard to estimate a value without pictures.  It may be a better gun than I envision from the description.  The price may not be out of line if the pitting in the barrel is minor and the model 21 receiver sight is original to the gun.  If the serial number is under 60,000, you can have a serial number search done by Cody to see if the sight is original.  If you like the gun and the price, don't let me talk you out of it.  My free advice is worth what you pay for it.  If you do decide to buy it, share some pics. 

October 2, 2015
5:25 am
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I don't see where bullet jump with 06 ammo would be a problem.  I shoot reduced loads with 110 grain carbine bullets in my 06 and they have a long jump to the rifling but shoot well. The problem is that Blue Book, they list a 50% 1895 at $2500.

October 2, 2015
1:25 pm
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Great Basin
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I don't have a strong opinion about "jumping the gap" in a 30-03 with 30-06 ammo.  I shoot 30-06 ammo in both my 30-03's.  I only mentioned it because the debate about it has relegated that particular caliber to the "ugly stepchild" of the 1895 lineup and effects its value.  At Cody this year, I overheard a boy who was looking at a Deluxe 1895 in 30-03 telling his dad how beautiful the gun was.  His dad's reply was, "Beautiful gun, terrible caliber".  That seems to be a common opinion of the 30-03 and why it doesn't seem to hold its value very well.  By the way, I bought that gun and have shot 30-06 ammo through it.

I agree that overinflated values in the Blue Book is a real problem for collectors.  Sellers understandably want to use it as a basis for pricing their guns and then buyers have to try to convince them that the market wont support those prices.  $2500 for a 50 percent standard '95 is ridiculous.

If you like the gun and the price, buy it. 

October 2, 2015
2:45 pm
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Kingston, WA
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In the soon to be published 4th Edition of the Red Book of Winchester Values, Larry and I have a standard Model 1895 Sporting Rifle in the 30-30 Gov't caliber listed at $1,445 in 60% condition, and at $2,087 in 70% condition. With a $2,500 price tag, it needs to be very near 80% condition.

Bert

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October 2, 2015
2:59 pm
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The Blue Book contains full RETAIL prices. And then some. I don't have a copy of the book in front of me but it states this in the opening pages. 

October 2, 2015
4:46 pm
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Bert H. said

In the soon to be published 4th Edition of the Red Book of Winchester Values, Larry and I have a standard Model 1895 Sporting Rifle in the 30-30 Gov't caliber listed at $1,445 in 60% condition, and at $2,087 in 70% condition. With a $2,500 price tag, it needs to be very near 80% condition.
Bert

Over $600 increase for 10% increase in finish. That's about about a 50% increase in value for 10% more finish. Plus its really hard to figure percent of finish, with areas of no finish, faded blue, and thinning blue. At any rate $1100 out the door does not sound bad for this gun with the Lyman 21 sight. What pleases me is that when I held this gun I thought about how excited its new owner must have been 112 years ago. New, powerful cartridge to take on his big game hunting adventures. This was probably not a gun for the local deer hunter, but more likely for the serious hunter/adventurer who may very likely have used it in exciting times and places. A gun I can hold and shoot and share whatever its unknown adventurous past may have been.

October 3, 2015
12:27 am
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I think the Lyman 21 is worth $350 if in good shape, it may have been added later in life. Impossible to know if it is too late to letter. Hard to say for sure without pics but it doesn't sound like a rotten deal to me.

October 3, 2015
5:45 am
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wolfbait,

I'm guessing if the starting price was $1700, the pawn shop has $850 in it. You're getting down there now. If the sight is complete, you've got an insurance policy on the buy.

Sounds to me you want more than a gun to resell, you want a gun to enjoy. That's what's this is all about......enjoying the guns.

Stick $900 in one pocket, and $200 in the other and give it your best shot ! Plunk the 900 down on the counter and see what happens.

One man's opinion here, and you're not short of those.  Good luck !

Bill

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