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April 20, 2024 - 1:12 pm
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From time to time I see rifles with British proofs. Was wondering what others think about them diminishing value.

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April 20, 2024 - 1:43 pm
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For me, they do not diminish value; they just tell the story of the firearm’s travels. Others may see that differently.

BRP

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April 20, 2024 - 1:54 pm
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Blue Ridge Parson said
For me, they do not diminish value; they just tell the story of the firearm’s travels. Others may see that differently. 

Exactly; maybe the gun traveled to India, East Africa, or some other Brit colony, & if so, it was lucky to survive the tropics.              

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April 20, 2024 - 2:04 pm
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Foreign proofs are just like the round barrel vs. octagon barrel values. They tend to hold back the value because the majority of American collectors want guns that have American history i.e. Cowboy and Indian, the guns they saw as a kid in the Western movies. There are collectors that will want proofed guns just like the round barrels. That can change as the taste of collectors change. As the old collectors disappear and the new generation take up collecting it can change.

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April 20, 2024 - 2:11 pm
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I don’t mind them and actually consider them additive.  However, I think the conventional wisdom is they can detract from the value.  

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April 20, 2024 - 2:38 pm
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I prefer  without them, but if I came across one, in a configuration or caliber that I don’t have, and the price is right, I would add it to the collection.

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April 20, 2024 - 3:16 pm
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  Along with the British proofs came British features, especially in the large caliber guns, the 76 and 86. Shotgun butt, short magazine, short barrel, and round barrel were very practical for big game hunting in their empire. So if you collect American West Winchesters these guns by the proof went some where other than the American West. Couple that with the British features that are less popular and value goes down. .This happens to engraved Winchesters that have foreign names, monograms, or patterns. 

 I would pay more for a 66 carbine than a 66 musket with Turkish markings for two reasons. The 66 carbine could have gone west and the carbine by design was more suited for the American West. I realize others have a different perspective but my experience from selling British proof guns has been negative. T/R   

    

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April 20, 2024 - 4:05 pm
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  The rich British hunter that went on safari upon his return would take the guns to a gunsmith for cleanup.  The British gunsmiths in the era where very good using many of the same processes in finish. They did that with double rifles, shotguns, and Winchesters. After a ride in a ship, train, and maybe an elephant, they wanted them to look like new and they did.

 I owned a 86 in 50-110 for 10 years before I realized it had been refinished. It’s not easy to tell especially if it was done 100 years ago by the best gunsmiths in the world for rich people. T/R

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April 20, 2024 - 4:10 pm
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Interesting you tell about the negative experiences selling TR, watching the auctions they do seem to not only to sell for less, but have lower pre auction estimates than an unmarked gun.

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April 20, 2024 - 4:31 pm
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TR said
  Along with the British proofs came British features, especially in the large caliber guns, the 76 and 86. Shotgun butt, short magazine, short barrel, and round barrel were very practical for big game hunting in their empire. So if you collect American West Winchesters these guns by the proof went some other than the American West. Couple that with the British features that are less popular and value goes down. .This happens to engraved Winchesters that have foreign names, monograms, or patterns. 

 I would pay more for a 66 carbine than a 66 musket with Turkish markings for two reasons. The 66 carbine could have gone west and the carbine by design was more suited for the American West. I realize others have a different perspective but my experience from selling British proof guns has been negative. T/R   

    

  

I am in agreement with TR on this one.  I personally don’t like British proofs.  Your mileage may vary…

I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder

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April 21, 2024 - 3:51 pm
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For me a foreign proof adds interest and helps tell the history of the gun. Most of the guns I collect were built too late to have taken part in the “Wild West” so they do not detract for me. 

 

Mike

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April 21, 2024 - 5:09 pm
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Given the option of identical rifles without British proofs or a rifle with British proofs I will always take the rifle without the extra government “graffiti” on it.  I guess that makes me a little biased.  I do own a number of British proofed rifles simply because they are rare and a non-proofed specimen has not come along yet to fill the collection hole but I consider them merely placeholders at best, just like a gun that has been re-blued or one that Bubba has carved his initials in the stock.  Those are also part of the history of a firearm which I do not care for.

While I do enjoy the provenance of firearms and the individual history of specific rifles, they are better viewed in someone else’s collection as I prefer to collect specimens as close as possible to how they left the factory.  For military firearms I also prefer specimens that have not been arsenal overhauled (and so marked) even though they may have languished on a rack during the war and never issued.  I collect guns, not stories but that is just me, everyone has their own opinion and collection criteria, that’s why we are such a great and diverse group.

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April 21, 2024 - 6:17 pm
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I’ll tell ‘ya what, I’ll gladly give You a reduced price for all them thar ferin’ proofed Winchesters. Obviously being Canadian I prefer the Brit’ proof marks, they tell a story , the gun has been there and done that, like the carbines that were involved in the sinking of a German u-boat during the 1st w.w..  Not all guns that were shipped to British colonies were British proofed however. I have a ’66 s.r.c. that was shipped in 1883, to “Oil Rivers Protectorate” on the Niger Coast of west Africa, which was a British colony at the time, it is not British proofed. I love the history of these guns more than the prospect of one that beat around the praries , getting wore out lying across a saddle. Just personal preference.

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April 21, 2024 - 6:59 pm
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I have never understood the bias against British proof marked Winchesters.  I particularly like the button magazine round barrel shotgun butt configuration found on many British rifles.  There’s a good chance it might have seen use on the Continent.  

There’s this “mystique” about the Old West, that if it doesn’t have proof marks, then it stayed in the country, and might have seen use in the Old West.  If you collect anything with condition—probably not.

And, there were shootouts from time to time in areas other than the Old West.  Here’s a reference to an altercation in which Winchesters are specifically mentioned in Norfolk, Connecticut, mid July 1895.  This was a summer community for wealthy New York City residents at the time.  Look at the base of the second column, “A Battle with Burglars”.

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April 21, 2024 - 7:12 pm
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mrcvs said
I have never understood the bias against British proof marked Winchesters.  I particularly like the button magazine round barrel shotgun butt configuration found on many British rifles.  There’s a good chance it might have seen use on the Continent.  

There’s this “mystique” about the Old West, that if it doesn’t have proof marks, then it stayed in the country, and might have seen use in the Old West.  If you collect anything with condition—probably not.

And, there were shootouts from time to time in areas other than the Old West.  Here’s a reference to an altercation in which Winchesters are specifically mentioned in Norfolk, Connecticut, mid July 1895.  This was a summer community for wealthy New York City residents at the time.  Look at the base of the second column, “A Battle with Burglars”.

  

I read the story – it didn’t make Winchesters look very good – a Winchester armed citizen fired three shots at the burglars, “with no effect” and then tried to fire another shot and the rifle, “refused to fire” Embarassed

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April 21, 2024 - 9:31 pm
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And, there were shootouts from time to time in areas other than the Old West.  Here’s a reference to an altercation in which Winchesters are specifically mentioned in Norfolk, Connecticut, mid July 1895. mrcvs said  

Child’s play compared to the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892, the Great Coal Strike of 1902, the Hatfield-McCoy Feud & others, Battle of Blair Mt. in 1921, etc.  Winchesters may not have been the only guns used in such fights, but they probably outnumbered the others.

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