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I just picked up this 1892 and need help
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April 19, 2024 - 5:24 pm
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Hello All, 

I just picked up a model 1892 takedown in 32-20. The old fella I got it from had it for 52 yrs. I know this for a fact because he provided me with the original receipt which I kept with the rifle. He related the story of how he got it as well. A salesman of some sort pull into the gas station he was working at. The salesman needed gas and had little money and asked the fella if he was interested in any of guns he had with him. They had tags so apparently he was selling them ( the company was “North American Enterprise“ out of London, Ontario.) He looked at the guns and choose “that old cowboy gun” (his words). 

  I came across the gun locally and made an appointment to see it. When I arrived I met the old fella, I asked his age – 84. I asked why he was selling to which he replied he was purging his belongings so his wife had less to deal with.

 On to the rifle. It’s a model 1892 takedown in 32-20 made in 1903. The stock has been refinished as the wood around the tang is low. There is also a repaired crack in the fore stock. Now on to my question. The metal of the receiver and barrel have essentially no bluing left. The gun is in very, very good overall condition. The bore is also in very good condition. I received the correct ammunition with the rifle and I paid US $660 for the gun. Now my question is what should I do with this rifle? I have a modest collection of old winchester lever guns and they are my favourite. Normally I would just leave it the way I found it but this one is different. I realize it has little collectable value to anyone but me. The thing is this is a rare gun I believe. I can’t change the past but I can determine it’s future. Should I restore this rifle? Get it properly professionally reblued by someone like Turnbull?   Opinions wanted. I have good photos in the sun that clearly show the condition but I don’t have anyway to put them up. If anyone can assist it would be appreciated. This site and the guys on it are an invaluable resource. Thank you in advance.

one thing to add. It appears that someone cleaned of the bluing that was left on the receiver and the barrel. I’m not sure why they left the gun all silver and unprotected but it’s been this way for at least 52 yrs. 

Chris

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April 19, 2024 - 7:17 pm
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You will definitely get lots of opinions, and yes, photos would help. Others will offer but you can send me photos at saxdogg “at” hotmail.com and I’ll post them for you.  

Where you go with it from here, in my opinion, is directly related to what the rifle means to you. A collector will want to keep it in “as is” or original condition…someone else might be fine with restoring it and making it a “new” heirloom….lots of options, none of them ultimately “wrong”… do what will mean the most to you.

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April 19, 2024 - 7:54 pm
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Chris Scott said
Should I restore this rifle? Get it properly professionally reblued by someone like Turnbull?  

IF you can afford it, nothing would be better, given the cond you describe.  But Turnbull & others in his class don’t do “half-way” jobs, so the tariff isn’t likely to come in under several Gs.  Loss of bluing doesn’t hurt my feelings if the steel is smooth & unpitted, but the refinished stock could be hard for me to take, depending on how much sanding was done. 

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April 20, 2024 - 6:13 pm
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clarence said

Chris Scott said

Should I restore this rifle? Get it properly professionally reblued by someone like Turnbull?  

IF you can afford it, nothing would be better, given the cond you describe.  But Turnbull & others in his class don’t do “half-way” jobs, so the tariff isn’t likely to come in under several Gs.  Loss of bluing doesn’t hurt my feelings if the steel is smooth & unpitted, but the refinished stock could be hard for me to take, depending on how much sanding was done. 

  

Turnbull would certainly not refinish the wood.  He would put new wood on.  For me, refinished wood is fairly undesirable but especially so if it is below the metal.  If I had the rifle and felt ok about the metal, I would consider searching ebay and gunshows for some original wood.  Pictures will help a lot.

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April 20, 2024 - 10:23 pm
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Here are the pics Chris sent…

 

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April 20, 2024 - 11:13 pm
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I would find a replacement stock and leave the rest as is. The stock on there is horrible, butchered.

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April 20, 2024 - 11:24 pm
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Chris-

A Turnbull restoration would include at the very least new wood and probably a new barrel and involve the aforementioned stack of Benjamin’s. A good quality rebluing and new wood can be had for less but when Doug and his guys get done you’d have a nice showpiece. Did you try out some of that ammo? How does it shoot?

 

Mike

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April 20, 2024 - 11:33 pm
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That’s exactly how I don’t want a stock to look – severely undersanded at tangs.  Replacement stocks won’t enhance the functioning.  This is a using gun.  If the stocks are not unsightly to YOU, use it as it is.  

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April 20, 2024 - 11:45 pm
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steve004 said
That’s exactly how I don’t want a stock to look – severely undersanded at tangs.  Replacement stocks won’t enhance the functioning.  This is a using gun.  If the stocks are not unsightly to YOU, use it as it is.  

  

Steve-

I believe at least one previous owner of this rifle scrubbed off the rust and applied a fresh coat of varnish (after a bit of sanding to remove dents and scratches) every other year or so. You’re right, it was used and maintained as a tool. This gun has character that would be lost in a restoration. I’d like to have a gun restored by Turnbull someday, this one could be a viable candidate. Tough call.

 

Mike

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April 21, 2024 - 12:11 am
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TXGunNut said

I believe at least one previous owner of this rifle scrubbed off the rust and applied a fresh coat of varnish (after a bit of sanding to remove dents and scratches) every other year or so. You’re right, it was used and maintained as a tool. This gun has character that would be lost in a restoration.

Not the kind of character that results from hard but honest use; that was swept away when the sandpaper came out.  Working tools don’t require “beautification,” which the heavy-hand with the sandpaper imagined he was doing. 

This is the kind of wreck that would probably sell for more at a local auction of miscellaneous “rustic junk”–old farm & yard tools, butter churns, milk cans, etc–than any gun auction.

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April 21, 2024 - 2:42 am
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It doesn’t work for us as collectors, Clarence. It probably seemed like needed maintenance for the owner at that time. I’ll respect that even if It doesn’t meet today’s standards. I study old guns to learn more about the people that used them. Gun refinishing was part of maintenance for guns that were used hard, every day. The guns I use every day aren’t pretty but when they need to be refreshed a bit they’ll get it. They are always ready to protect me, I’ll take care of them.

 

Mike

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April 21, 2024 - 3:17 am
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It doesn’t work for us as collectors, Clarence. It probably seemed like needed maintenance for the owner at that time. I’ll respect that even if It doesn’t meet today’s standards. I study old guns to learn more about the people that used them. Gun refinishing was part of maintenance for guns that were used hard, every day. TXGunNut said

What I dispute is that sanding the wood constituted “maintenance”–and it has nothing to do with the special, narrow, perspective of being a “collector.”  If the wood looked dried out, application of linseed oil or varnish would constitute “maintenance,” but sanding crosses the line between maintenance & what I was calling “beautification”; in the eyes of a fool, that is.  The vast majority of hard-used old guns, the ones used as tools, were NOT subjected to this kind of abuse, so there’s no reason to consider it a normal aspect of caring for a gun. 

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April 21, 2024 - 5:53 am
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Thanks for the replies. Well, the stock is terribly ugly in my opinion. The gun is in good working condition and that is where my question comes in. It locks up tight, has a good bore and is a takedown model. It seems to me it deserves some love to bring it back to its glory. I am just unsure of the best path forward. My other option is to just sell it and recover my money. 

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April 21, 2024 - 1:25 pm
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Chris Scott said
Hello All, 

I just picked up a model 1892 takedown in 32-20. The old fella I got it from had it for 52 yrs. I know this for a fact because he provided me with the original receipt which I kept with the rifle. He related the story of how he got it as well. A salesman of some sort pull into the gas station he was working at. The salesman needed gas and had little money and asked the fella if he was interested in any of guns he had with him. They had tags so apparently he was selling them ( the company was “North American Enterprise“ out of London, Ontario.) He looked at the guns and choose “that old cowboy gun” (his words). 

  I came across the gun locally and made an appointment to see it. When I arrived I met the old fella, I asked his age – 84. I asked why he was selling to which he replied he was purging his belongings so his wife had less to deal with.

 On to the rifle. It’s a model 1892 takedown in 32-20 made in 1903. The stock has been refinished as the wood around the tang is low. There is also a repaired crack in the fore stock. Now on to my question. The metal of the receiver and barrel have essentially no bluing left. The gun is in very, very good overall condition. The bore is also in very good condition. I received the correct ammunition with the rifle and I paid US $660 for the gun. Now my question is what should I do with this rifle? I have a modest collection of old winchester lever guns and they are my favourite. Normally I would just leave it the way I found it but this one is different. I realize it has little collectable value to anyone but me. The thing is this is a rare gun I believe. I can’t change the past but I can determine it’s future. Should I restore this rifle? Get it properly professionally reblued by someone like Turnbull?   Opinions wanted. I have good photos in the sun that clearly show the condition but I don’t have anyway to put them up. If anyone can assist it would be appreciated. This site and the guys on it are an invaluable resource. Thank you in advance.

one thing to add. It appears that someone cleaned of the bluing that was left on the receiver and the barrel. I’m not sure why they left the gun all silver and unprotected but it’s been this way for at least 52 yrs. 

Chris

Hello Chris,

What is the serial number of the rifle please?  I would like to add it into my research survey.  Your rifle is far from rare by any measure.  I would agree that the butt stock could be replaced for about $200.  After that I would just keep it as it is and enjoy shooting.  

Michael

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April 22, 2024 - 12:03 pm
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Just for clarification, there are far more than one competent Winchester gunsmith in the business.  Most will do the exact work to your firearm that you ask for, rather than a one-size-fits-all total high dollar restoration.  And it won’t take two years to see your precious firearm again.  At least three of them spend a fair amount of time on this forum.  Mark

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April 26, 2024 - 8:23 pm
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Well, in this particular game I have a little skin. The OP’s takedown 92 is in far better condition than the tub toy I picked up at a local show some years ago:a solid frame 25-20 rifle built in 1929. Not only had the wood been sanded down beyond recovery but the whole shebang had been hot blued after plugging the scope side mount holes.  I took pity on it and shelled out $400  because the post-Kleanbore barrel was like new inside.  It came with a nice repro Lyman tang sight, so I took it to the range and amazed myself with half a box of factory 86 grain rounds. The gun shot better than I could hold. 

While you can look for a take-off original set of stocks that may or may not fit the rifle without too much working on the inletting, I chose to have Scott May order a new set of good straight grain Black walnut replacements and fit them professionally to the barreled action. I’ve never been sorry. (I also had him weld up the scope mount holes, rust blue the barrel and re-blue the other metal to match after restoring the overpolished steel to approximate a factory-like level of reflectivity.)

Yes. the work took 2 years but Scott only charged me $700 and that included his cost for the wood and a new set of replacement screws. $1100 in the rifle and it’s a favorite shooter. If I’d been more knowledgeable at the time, I’d have had the buttplate, lever and forearm cap color case hardened. 

Point: replace the wood and keep the steel lubricated. A little antiquing of the wood with a bike chain and an awl, with a little black pore filler under a “pre-64” varnish, knocked back with 4-0 wool….. 

- Bill 

 

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April 26, 2024 - 8:35 pm
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Zebulon said
While you can look for a take-off original set of stocks that may or may not fit the rifle without too much working on the inletting, I chose to have Scott May order a new set of good straight grain Black walnut replacements and fit them professionally to the barreled action.

 

That “5%” remaining inletting required on “95% finished” replacement stocks probably requires more skill than I possess, though I’ve never tried it.  The master stockmaker it was my great good fortune to meet 50 yrs ago has told be he’d rather start from a blank than any semi-finished wood.

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April 27, 2024 - 3:05 am
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clarence said

Zebulon said

While you can look for a take-off original set of stocks that may or may not fit the rifle without too much working on the inletting, I chose to have Scott May order a new set of good straight grain Black walnut replacements and fit them professionally to the barreled action.

 

That “5%” remaining inletting required on “95% finished” replacement stocks probably requires more skill than I possess, though I’ve never tried it.  The master stockmaker it was my great good fortune to meet 50 yrs ago has told be he’d rather start from a blank than any semi-finished wood.

  

I claim no expertise in inletting but, while Scott is fully capable of producing fine custom rifles from the blank, I could not have afforded the work. What has always impressed me about him is his versatility (he can work in both metal and wood)  and (at one time) his willingness to do small jobs as well as full custom guns. I don’t know where he ordered the wood or how much inletting was required but the result was splendid.  A vague memory is Brownell’s. 

I’m told Scott has since been hired by Beretta to run its custom shop so I expect his ability to take on other work is limited.  

- Bill 

 

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April 27, 2024 - 4:36 am
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Its a neat rifle and fun cartridge to shoot, but not particularly rare in the grand scheme of things.  Probably wouldnt put a lot of $$ into it with a full-bore restoration.  

If it were mine, and I wanted to keep it, Id take the wood off and find replacement forearm and buttstock (some thats been used but not abused), remove the wood, plug the bore from both ends after adding some oil to keep it from rusting, then throw whats left on a tin roof in the sun and leave it for a couple of weeks then roll it over to the other side for a couple more weeks until a light rust builds up on the metal, enough to dull the effects of the metal cleaning that was done in the past, and leave it till its aged to perfection.  Then clean it up by knocking down the surface rust with some OOOO steel wool and oil, then throw on some better and matching wood.  What could it hurt?  It’ll be a brown gun, but that may have more eye appeal than what has now.     

CH

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April 27, 2024 - 10:15 am
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1892takedown said
Its a neat rifle and fun cartridge to shoot, but not particularly rare in the grand scheme of things.  Probably wouldnt put a lot of $$ into it with a full-bore restoration.  

If it were mine, and I wanted to keep it, Id take the wood off and find replacement forearm and buttstock (some thats been used but not abused), remove the wood, plug the bore from both ends after adding some oil to keep it from rusting, then throw whats left on a tin roof in the sun and leave it for a couple of weeks then roll it over to the other side for a couple more weeks until a light rust builds up on the metal, enough to dull the effects of the metal cleaning that was done in the past, and leave it till its aged to perfection.  Then clean it up by knocking down the surface rust with some OOOO steel wool and oil, then throw on some better and matching wood.  What could it hurt?  It’ll be a brown gun, but that may have more eye appeal than what has now.     

CH

  

That’s one way to do it but I think you can get an equivalent result in the shop without subjecting the small and internal parts to uncontrolled corrosion. 

I’d wipe on a browning solution, one designed to create or restore a patina, and follow the directions on the bottle. If memory serves, this involves killing the process by lightly scrubbing the steel with 0000 wool soaked in oil.  The replacement wood can then be installed after some judicious aging as mentioned above. 

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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