March 21, 2013
Hello, first post here. For years I had wanted a .236 (6mm) Winchester-Lee straight pull rifle..first a military musket..then as my taste in firearms changed..a sporter. I haven’t came across too many over the years..and the ones I have seen usually had gas pipe bores from the early fast burning hot nitro powders and that fast 7 1/2" twist. Finally I came across one.. Dealer said it had a fancy grained checkered stock..I had never seen or heard of this before..dealer said he would reduce price on account of rounded lands looked worn. I had to make installment payments on this one, and as I waited, I found a book on early Winchester bolt guns at G.S. I read where there were a few of these 1895 sporters with checkered stocks.
When final payment was made and rifle arrived..it was everything dealer said it was and more! First thing I did was look up serial #…It wasn’t listed! Darn..aftermarket checkering! Then I re-read chapter..in a later paragraph it states..Of those rifles with checkered stocks..three were stocked in fancy English walnut…the very first serial # listed was mine!
Bore is very fine..those "worn" rounded lands it turns out are Metford rifling! I nearly sent it back to dealer..you see, I had always wanted to try cast-bullet shooting in a Metford bore..and I thought a 6mm would be a fun cast bullet gun..but now I had second thoughts..was this too rare to actually shoot? A quick call to dealer, and explaning my desire to only shoot cast..he assured me that with care, any lead-bullet shooting shouldn’t hurt it..why not enjoy it?
So I decided to keep it, and finally try and make my dream come true of getting a 6mm Lee-Navy to shoot..I haven’t time to go into that aspect now..but in a future post, I will tell of the most frustrating..hair pulling attempt to get this old rifle to speak I have ever had in all of my long handloading experience.
December 22, 2012
I have chased a Lee Navy for years and in 2007 was very close to buying one. I wanted one as a shooter, for accuracy experiments with modern 6 mm bullets. I even located one of Winchester’s test mules. But around 2007, a collector-shooter was reported to have been killed shooting one.
That ended my need to have one. On the "better safe than sorry" principle, I chose to believe the internet rumor and put my $ in single shots. Since then, I have learned that the rumor was apparently correct, but I still do not know that the rumor is true.
According to the rumor, there is some sort of flaw in the design of the bolt & striker. If some internal part fails, the striker can be blown backwards out of the bolt. In the rumored case, the striker was said to have been blown through the shooter’s eye & into his brain.
Another part of the rumor said that Winchester produced some kind of shield that was fitted to the back of the bolt to prevent this sort of accident. Apparently some rifles were retrofit with the shields and others were not.
I do not believe that the existence of this rumor has had any impact on the collectibility or value of either the Navy Musket or the Sporter. But before you pull the trigger too many times, Please investigate the rumor and all the implications.
I should also note that the Lee Navy is not the only design blessed with a rumor like this.
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