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Low End Price for Shooter?
January 8, 2021
1:35 am
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LD
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Greetings,

 

This appears to be a highly knowledgeable community and I’ve learned a lot about these fine lever actions rifles in my reading. 

I’m not in a position to collect, but I am hoping you could advise me on what the low end price might be for a 1873 or 1892 in mechanically sound condition to be used as a shooter. Obviously, I wouldn’t be picky on cosmetics or vintage, though chambering in one of the more commonly available cartridge would be strongly preferred. 

Thank you

January 8, 2021
3:25 am
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Seems to me that that’s actually a pretty tall order, LD. I’m not sure what constitutes a “low end price” but mechanically sound “shooter” 1873’s and 1892’s seem to start in the $1500 neighborhood. That may or may not get you a good bore. I’m not sure what constitutes a “commonly available cartridge” these days but the 25, 32, 38 and 44WCF cartridges are not exactly common in the best of times. The 1873 is sometimes found in 22 rimfire chamberings but they generally command a premium. There are reproduction 1892’s chambered for 38 Spl/357 Mag and 44 Rem Mag for example that are quite affordable and fun to shoot with ammo that may someday be common again. There are also repro 1873’s but I’m not very familiar with them and I think they’re a bit pricey for what they are.

I think the most affordable Winchester lever “shooters” are probably 1894’s or 94’s. Just because you like shooters doesn’t mean you’re not a collector. I’m a huge fan of “shooters” and I’ve had lots of fun with them and learned quite a bit about Winchesters by tinkering with and shooting them. If you’re not fussy about originality a decent “shooter” 94 starts around $500 and can easily be found in 30 WCF, formerly found on the shelf almost anywhere ammo was sold. 32 Spl and 38-55 are a bit less common and ammo is still somewhat available. 

Most bang for you buck is probably Winchester .22’s. They aren’t generally leverguns but decent bolt guns can be found under $200. Many perform almost as well as purpose-built target rifles. 

Lots of exciting choices, happy hunting!

 

Mike

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January 8, 2021
3:44 am
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LD said
I’m not in a position to collect, but I am hoping you could advise me on what the low end price might be for a 1873 or 1892 in mechanically sound condition to be used as a shooter. Obviously, I wouldn’t be picky on cosmetics or vintage, though chambering in one of the more commonly available cartridge would be strongly preferred. 

Review "sold" listings on Gun Broker.  Plenty of refinished or otherwise "messed-up" guns there, but don't expect sellers to point that out.  For shooting, forget the '73s.

January 8, 2021
3:52 am
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LD,

What do you consider the amount of shooting you would be doing?

Bob

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January 8, 2021
4:12 am
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Mike, you were generous with your time and effort in answering LD.  It is good to see you and others on this forum who show such kindness. 

January 8, 2021
6:13 pm
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What period of rifle do you want?  Modern or 1890's?  Older guns may have more pitting but pitting will still shoot if there is sufficient rifling left.

I agree with all that Mike said but an 1894 in 30 WCF may be the most common but it is more powerful and in these days the ammo is a lot harder to find than just a year ago.

January 8, 2021
7:24 pm
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Chuck said
I agree with all that Mike said but an 1894 in 30 WCF may be the most common but it is more powerful and in these days the ammo is a lot harder to find than just a year ago.  

Of course, but that won't do if as he said he's specifically looking for a '73 or '92.  Much easier to find a reliable '92!

January 9, 2021
1:40 am
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clarence said

Of course, but that won't do if as he said he's specifically looking for a '73 or '92.  Much easier to find a reliable '92!  

Clarence - have you had poor luck shooting 73's?

January 9, 2021
1:45 am
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Readily available ammunition is a very tough one these days.  With .30-30's going for about $100 for a box of 20, what constitutes readily available cartridges is a real quandary.  I saw a distributor had .38-55 Winchester factory ammo recently for $40 a box.  As far as the '92 cartridges, they are hard to find.  I would say under normal circumstances, .44-40's are more commonly available.  When (and if) we will have normal circumstances again is anyone's guess.

January 9, 2021
2:21 am
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I really hate to say this but unless you have a large stock spent cartridge cases, bullets, powder and primers, your are probably going to be out of luck within the next ten to twelve months.  With covid AND the new administration, these items are going to be expensive, if not impossible to find.  THIS HOLDS TRUE FOR ANY AND ALL CALIBERS.  Be prepared my friends, things are changing faster that ever before.

January 9, 2021
3:14 am
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steve004 said

Clarence - have you had poor luck shooting 73's?  

What I'm getting at is that nothing compares to the smoothness of a '92!  Not every '73 is balky, but many are. 

January 9, 2021
4:59 am
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FromTheWoods said
Mike, you were generous with your time and effort in answering LD.  It is good to see you and others on this forum who show such kindness.   

Thank you. LD is potentially at a very exciting time in the life of a collector. New collectors are the future and lifeblood of our hobby. We don’t need pristine examples to enjoy what Winchester collecting offers us. We need guns we can shoot, study, and imagine where they have been and who they have been with. I’ve only been collecting 5-6 years and I still love my “shooters” even though I try very hard not to add any more to the herd. It’s hard to resist a well-worn honest Winchester. I hope LD finds one he can enjoy.

 

Mike

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Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
January 9, 2021
1:12 pm
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  LD, The word "shooter" has been used to describe a gun with no collector value, if that's the case don't go there. Most of the time if you pay just a little bit more you can get a honest original gun with natural patina in working shape. The pistol caliber rifles such as 1873's and 1892's fit the bill, they are cheap to reload and the brass is readily available. Reloading is like a hobby inside a hobby, fun when you load them and fun when you shoot them. With some help picking out a entry level collector gun you will save yourself and your wallet from making your first mistake.

 In today's market an entry level 1873 in 38-40 can be bought for $1200, couple that with some simple loading tools and you've got two hobbies. Take your time and use the expertise of the people on the Forum to help you select a gun. At this point you don't know what a deal is, you need some help, join the Association.

 Fixer-upper guns turn into money pits with no real end value, they can be fun but any money invested is usually not recovered. T/R

January 9, 2021
1:37 pm
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clarence said

What I'm getting at is that nothing compares to the smoothness of a '92!  Not every '73 is balky, but many are.   

I can't argue with that.  Over the years I've preferred 92's over 73's.  I've also lucked out as the 73's I've had have fed well.  As I write this I think of a '92 .38-40 I have.  It is the very slickest I've owned.  I've had it to the range many times and it is so smooth, you're not conscious you've levered a fresh round in the chamber.  It's such a non-event that it doesn't register in your brain that you've worked the action.  I've actually paused and opened the action to insure there's a fresh round in the chamber.  It's amusing as I had a friend shoot it and I watched him do the same thing!  So... no argument from me on the smoothness of the '92.

January 9, 2021
1:39 pm
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TXGunNut said

Thank you. LD is potentially at a very exciting time in the life of a collector. New collectors are the future and lifeblood of our hobby. We don’t need pristine examples to enjoy what Winchester collecting offers us. We need guns we can shoot, study, and imagine where they have been and who they have been with. I’ve only been collecting 5-6 years and I still love my “shooters” even though I try very hard not to add any more to the herd. It’s hard to resist a well-worn honest Winchester. I hope LD finds one he can enjoy.

 

Mike  

Nothing but agreement with me here on your comments.  I know exactly what you mean about how hard it is to resist the well-worn honest Winchester.  

January 9, 2021
3:44 pm
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steve004 said

  So... no argument from me on the smoothness of the '92.  

I was very surprised to find this true even of a foreign made copy, Rossi I think, I handled at my club last yr.  If it had been well broken in, I wouldn't have been so surprised, but this gun, though it had been bought used, was in like-new cond! 

January 9, 2021
3:54 pm
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clarence said

I was very surprised to find this true even of a foreign made copy, Rossi I think, I handled at my club last yr.  If it had been well broken in, I wouldn't have been so surprised, but this gun, though it had been bought used, was in like-new cond!   

The action design is certainly a good one - one of the best in my opinion.  I have some 86's that are darn smooth too Wink

January 9, 2021
11:56 pm
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I still think that LD needs to give us more info as to what he wants. 

In my neck of the woods primers and brass are the only components that are hard to find.  I just bought 49 rounds of 38-55 reloads today for $40.  So if I don't shoot it as is I can use the primers, brass and bullets.  They also had a few factory boxes of 30 WCF made a couple decades ago.  Since I don't have a 30-30 I didn't look at the price.

January 10, 2021
12:31 am
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Chuck said

In my neck of the woods primers and brass are the only components that are hard to find.

Good, I won't worry, as I have a flintlock.

January 10, 2021
6:37 pm
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clarence said

Chuck said

In my neck of the woods primers and brass are the only components that are hard to find.

Good, I won't worry, as I have a flintlock.  

Ah, Clarence I doubt you worry much at all.  Laugh No matter what happens I'm OK for a few years. 

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