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Pricing a reblued 94 SRC
June 19, 2013
7:57 pm
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In a group of other guns, I acquired a 1894 Saddle Ring Carbine (mfg 1925) that has been reblued. Despite what is a tragedy to me, the work is of very high quality, and according to the family who inherited it, was done by a very well-known smith in Southwest Oregon in the late 60's. The barrel "NICKEL STEEL", does show some graduation toward "plum". The wood shows normal wear and tear for a gun this age well-cared for, and does not look as if it was sanded and/or refinished at the time of bluing. Rear sight is a King (short elevator), front is original.

With two fine pre-64 '94 carbines (one .30-30, and one .25-35), and a SRC in original condition with some exceptional provenance, I do not feel I need to keep this one that looks like it came out of the 1925 hardware store yesterday. I am in a quandary as to how to price it for sale.

My thinking is that someone looking for a very good "shooter" pre-64 '94 would MUCH prefer a SRC (for "authentic cowboy" reasons), and therefore I should price this gun a bit higher than what I would pay for a nice (not perfect) '94 standard carbine made in 1958 or so. Those guns show up around here for $450 or so. Very good to excellent ones approach $600.

Am I low? High? My strategy out of whack or on the money?

June 19, 2013
10:04 pm
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I suspect that it will not be difficult to get $450 - $500 for it, but I would not expect much more than that.

Bert

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June 20, 2013
9:11 am
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Thanks for the reply. Once in a while my gut feeling is the right feeling.

June 20, 2013
4:23 pm
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Spitpatch,

Just reading your post and read the comment about the SRC with "exceptional provenance". Any story there you would care to share? Sounds like a special gun. If you don't wish to elaborate, no worries, just curious.

Cheers,

Matt 🙂

June 21, 2013
8:04 pm
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Howdy Matt,

I appreciate your asking, and I appreciate your discretion.

My older '94 SRC is in the upper 40,000 serial range, denoting it as 1895 mfg.

It was obtained from a ranch family near Lewistown, MT, and the handwritten note (substantiated by the family) that came with it states:

"Winchester Mdl 94 .30-30 cal, owned by "Flopping Bill Cantrell"- DHS Ranch employee who was employed by Granville Stuart's D-S Ranch, N.E. of Lewistown Mt. (Enforcer)"

A full-length hair-on calf-hide scabbard, with braided rawhide came with the gun. The gun is in very fine shape for an early carbine, with mint bore, and showing evidence of hard work, scabbard and pommel-carry, and conscientious care.

When purchased, the note was considered a curiosity only, and perhaps only minor documentation of this being an authentic "working gun" on a Montana Ranch. Of course, being raised in Montana, I certainly know about Granville Stuart. I had no inkling who "Flopping Bill Cantrell" was, and really didn't care for a few years. In the course of events, I happened to show the gun (and note) to a friend, who said "Flopping Bill" was a "Somebody" in Montana History.
'
Ensuing research revealed that William ("Flopping Bill") Cantrell was indeed employed as a Stock Detective on Granville Stuart's ranch, and actually is mentioned (more than once) in Stuart's journal (autobiography). In the years around 1884-85, he was actually a ruthless and stone-cold killer of rustlers, with a tally that will shake you to your foundations.

This gun of course is of later make, and chances are that it killed more deer than men (if any). Flopping Bill's nickname ostensibly (at least in written record) comes from his early employment on the frontier as a woodcutter: Chopping wood, "they'd just flop open" goes the story.

Other accounts say he may have been an epileptic, and without notice might fall down and "flop" for awhile. Epilepsy is not a reputation attribute for a man-killer, and therefore the wood-chopping source for the name may well have been Cantrell's own "adjustment" toward his moniker.

He died ignominiously: run over by a train.

June 21, 2013
11:14 pm
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spitpatch said
Howdy Matt,

My older '94 SRC is in the upper 40,000 serial range, denoting it as 1895 mfg.

Model 1894 serial number 40,000 was manufactured in April of 1898.
Model 1894 serial number 49,999 was manufactured in October of 1898.

Your SRC was manufactured sometime between those two months. I highly recommend contacting the CFM and obtaining a factory letter.

Bert

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June 22, 2013
10:13 pm
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Well! Certainly not the first time the Blue Book is all washed up. It shows end of year assignment for 1895 at Serial Number 44359.

It shows end of year assignment for 1898 at Serial Number 147684.

Which begs another question regarding Cody Museum letters, particularly in regard to Model 1876's: chances for variability/error/inconsistency?

A rumor persists that the records for some models ('76's in particular) can be very erratic. My own experience with a Cody letter on a good, original '76 indicate this as well. Your thoughts/experiences, Bart?

June 23, 2013
6:05 am
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Spitpatch,

Thanks for taking the time to give us that very interesting history of your carbine. Something like that sure adds to the gun something special to the gun for the owner. What I read I found interesting b/c this is not the first time I have read something about the DHS Ranch. That was a real big outfit in the late 1800s in Montana. If I recall correctly, I thought I saw a Colt SAA that came put of there once. Can't recall 100% for sure though. Thanks for sharing. Great read about ol' Flopping Bill. Poor way to end things, under a train. Love to see a photo of the old gun if you have time or the inclination sometime.

Cheers,

Matt

June 23, 2013
10:08 pm
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spitpatch said
Well! Certainly not the first time the Blue Book is all washed up. It shows end of year assignment for 1895 at Serial Number 44359.

It shows end of year assignment for 1898 at Serial Number 147684.

I recently wrote an article (published in the WACA "Collector" magazine) that discussed the early Model 1894 serialization records, and the corresponding errors that exist in most of the published documents (and internet websites). The more recent Blue Books have two sets of dates, the old (inaccurate) and the corrected PR dates. The correct (accurate) Winchester serialization charts can be found in "The RED BOOK of WINCHESTER Values", co-written and edited by yours truly.

Bert

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June 23, 2013
10:14 pm
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spitpatch said
Which begs another question regarding Cody Museum letters, particularly in regard to Model 1876's: chances for variability/error/inconsistency?

A rumor persists that the records for some models ('76's in particular) can be very erratic. My own experience with a Cody letter on a good, original '76 indicate this as well. Your thoughts/experiences, Bart?

There is very little in the way of inconsistencies or "erratic" information in any of the records at Cody Firearms Museum, including the Model 1876. The "erratic" information is in most cases, a result of the ledgers not matching the infomation published by past authors. Having examined a large portion of the records at the CFM, I find them to be quite accurate.

Bert

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June 24, 2013
8:08 am
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It was my oversight (and misplaced faith) to reach for my handiest copy of the Blue Book (and not the newest one that happened to be in the other room).

Your enlightenment as to the two separate mfg date lists is considered valuable and "eyebrow raising" to say the least, and the "new" list shows indication as "Polishing Room SNAS". I'm now curious as to the background information regarding this heading.

In regards to Cody letter inconsistencies, I probably failed in clear expression of what I meant. I have no reason to believe the records at the museum themselves are inconsistent unto themselves (supporting your examination of them).

My concern was communicated to me by a number of collectors in this pursuit far longer than myself, who relate accounts of (and own) "lettered" guns that no experienced examiner would dispute as original and unaltered, and yet the Cody letter disagrees with particular features of that gun (caliber, barrel type, etc.). The disparity for some reason manifests itself a bit more often (according to them) with the 1876 Model. Some speculation leans toward interpretation of the original ledger, but not all instances are easily explained this way.

June 24, 2013
9:14 am
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Everyone makes mistakes. Even the records keeper. I have a 1960 vintage S&W M48 no dash, 8 3/8" bbl., that is listed, in the factory ledgers as a 6" K-38. Roy Jinks researched this revolver twice to make sure it was correct. It is not a parts gun, as you cannot make a 38 out of a rimfire 22 magnum. The records keeper must have has a bottle of Jack Daniels the night before and was asleep at his ledger. Big Larry

June 24, 2013
9:39 am
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spitpatch said
My concern was communicated to me by a number of collectors in this pursuit far longer than myself, who relate accounts of (and own) "lettered" guns that no experienced examiner would dispute as original and unaltered, and yet the Cody letter disagrees with particular features of that gun (caliber, barrel type, etc.). The disparity for some reason manifests itself a bit more often (according to them) with the 1876 Model. Some speculation leans toward interpretation of the original ledger, but not all instances are easily explained this way.

While some of the errors could have been a misinterpretation of the information in the ledgers, more often than not, the reason the ledger does not match the specific gun in question is do to the gun being altered after the fact. Keep in mind that any "experienced collector" can be fooled by the handy work of a talented gunsmith or restoration expert. Another thing to keep in mind is the average age of a Model 1876... it could have been altered 100-years ago, and today it would look like it was original work. I suspect that at least some of the Model 1876s that are believed to be original, but will not letter, are not original... regardless of what the owner/collector wants to believe.

Bert

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June 24, 2013
10:30 am
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spitpatch said
Your enlightenment as to the two separate mfg date lists is considered valuable and "eyebrow raising" to say the least, and the "new" list shows indication as "Polishing Room SNAS". I'm now curious as to the background information regarding this heading.

The background information behind the "new" Polishing Room (PR) information being added to the Blue Book is simple. David Kennedy (the former CFM curator) supplied the information to Fjestad in an attempt to reeducate the masses. The Polishing Room serialization records have been in the possession of the Buffalo Bill Historical museum since the late 1970s, but were essentially unknown to nearly everyone. I became aware of them approximately 10-years ago, and I suggested to David that they become more public. Today, the CFM research office can provide a SNA (serial number application) letter for several million Winchester firearms that can not be factory lettered. To give you an example, Model 1894 serial numbers 1 - 353,999 can be factory lettered (the SNA date is included on the letter), but you can get a SNA letter for serial numbers 354,000 - 1,352,066 . You can view the entire list of the available SNAs here - http://www.bbhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Serial-Number_Winchester-list.pdf

Bert

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June 24, 2013
2:12 pm
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So when will the blue book stop publishing 2 sets of numbers, the wrong numbers and the right numbers. It just confuses everyone.

June 24, 2013
8:26 pm
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wolfbait said
So when will the blue book stop publishing 2 sets of numbers, the wrong numbers and the right numbers. It just confuses everyone.

I can not answer that question, but like you, I would very much like to see them stop publishing the bogus information.

Bert

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June 25, 2013
11:08 am
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The Blue Book crew must have some reasoning to continue to include the "old list".

Without more information, I would refrain from calling that information "bogus" without hearing their reasoning, perhaps accompanied by specific definitions and origins of each of the two lists.

The very real possibility exists that the "old list" DOES have some basis in source documentation from the factory ledgers, and is not useless ("bogus"), and therefore SHOULD continue to be published, along with clarification specifics of what each list precisely represents.

My only disappointment at this point is the lack of such clarification and source specifics for each list.

June 25, 2013
11:59 am
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spitpatch said
Without more information, I would refrain from calling that information "bogus" without hearing their reasoning, perhaps accompanied by specific definitions and origins of each of the two lists.

The very real possibility exists that the "old list" DOES have some basis in source documentation from the factory ledgers, and is not useless ("bogus"), and therefore SHOULD continue to be published, along with clarification specifics of what each list precisely represents.

My only disappointment at this point is the lack of such clarification and source specifics for each list.

I strongly disagree with your statements above.

In further explanation, the original DOM information that is in the Blue Book is identical to what George Madis first published back in the early 1960s. Where exactly George got it from is not 100% clear. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that the information that George Madis used has been positively proven to be erroneous for the Model 1894 (and many other models to a lesser degree). Per the PR records, serial number 1674 was absolutely and positively the last Model 1894 in made the year 1894, and serial number 53941 was absolutely and positively the last Model 1894 in the year 1898. Both the original Winchester factory PR records and the warehouse ledger records confirm it.

Just so you can better understand where I am coming from, I have spent many years collecting Model 1894 DOM data (yellow sheets, factory letters, and the more recent research sheets), and thus far, I have documented well over (500) Model 1894s in the serial number range of 1 - 353,999. In every single case above serial number 1674, the PR records and the warehouse ledger records do not agree with the charts and tables found in Madis' books, or the Blue Books prior to them including the PR SNA list.

Why Fjestad continues to publish the old data in the Blue Book is true mystery to me, especially in light of the fact that it conflicts so significantly with the PR SNA data. Personally, it is my belief that it has not been removed because it would cause or create a lot of questions that they (Fjestad) do not have the answers to. I was actually pleasantly shocked when they made the decision to add the PR SNA data.

In summary, I can and will tell you without a single shred of doubt, that the older DOM data in the Blue Book (and other documents) is bogus information!

In regards to your disappointment about the lack of clarifying information in the Blue Book, I will suggest that you contact them and let them know.

Bert

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June 26, 2013
10:57 pm
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I regret that my expressed point of view toward my OWN reserved judgment was interpreted as some sort of challenge toward another's convictions.

I wrote:

Without more information, I would refrain from calling that information "bogus" without hearing their reasoning, perhaps accompanied by specific definitions and origins of each of the two lists.

You write:

Where exactly George got it from is not 100% clear.

We are in complete agreement that the source of the old list is undefined.

With an undefined source, I choose to refrain from calling the information bogus (or useless, as I clarified). I do not challenge your choice to call it so, despite your agreement you know not where this information came from. Certainly you present information of integrity (that once again, I do not challenge) to suspect it as not the true list of actual manufacture dates.

Our difference lies only in my unwillingness to throw away something that (if we knew the source) may indeed hold some value. I'm on an information quest, not a competition for accumulated knowledge: to dispose of information without knowing its origin would not (for ME) be the best research practice.

Regards,

Bruce

June 27, 2013
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Bruce,

There is no need for regret. I personally did not interpret your response as a challenge to my convictions, instead I viewed it as an on going and polite discussion. My counter reply was simply meant to be a continuation of the discussion.

With that cleared up, the following comment(s) are intended in the same vein... a continuation of a friendly discussion. My comments were not ever intended to be a challenge of any type, but instead were intended to provide what I know to be the truest (accurate) information in regards to the Model 1894 production dates.

When I stated

Where exactly George got it from is not 100% clear.

that was my polite way of saying that George did not do his research very well, and that he published numbers with no verifiable or documented source. The fact of the matter is that there are no factory records or other verifiable documents from which he could have derived the year ending serial numbers that he published. It has been suggested that he used a DOM list that was provided to him by a past Winchester employee, but there is no proof of that, or of the list. What we do have available to us (Winchester collectors) via the Cody Firearms Museum, are the original factory serialization records books (serials 1 - 1352066), and the warehouse ledger books (serials 1 - 353999). Both sets of records agree and compliment one another, and conversely, they both disagree with what George published, and with the older information in the Blue Book.

Many people mistakenly believe that I have a vendetta or ax to grind in regards to George Madis, but that is far from the truth. I greatly admire what he did for the Winchester collecting community, and his passion for the hobby. However, I am not one to perpetuate information that is flawed or verifiably inaccurate.

Bert

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