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M1876 .50-95 - how do you feel about the inscription?
May 23, 2020
3:25 pm
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https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/_A__WINCHESTER_1876__50_WINCHESTER_EXPRESS_LEVER_A-LOT479520.aspx

A M1876 in .50-95 always catches my attention.  Here is one with a special order magazine and it has a nice amount of case color.  It's really pretty decent.  The kind of piece I would enjoy owning.  Then, I get to the, "inscription."  It's very very old - presumably from 1884.  We often comment about the stories these rifles have to tell, and wish they could actually tell them.  Here we have our wish come true, the rifle is able to tell a tale - and a good one at that.  I'm sure the thrill the owner felt shooting that big 600 pound grizzly with his big new .50 caliber Winchester was high adventure and excitement.  I wish I had been there.  On the other hand, someone took a nail and scratched some words in the stock.  I am curious about how others here feel about it.  Does it add, detract or are you neutral?  

May 23, 2020
3:38 pm
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I like the rifle, and am neutral on the stock scrawling.

Bert

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May 23, 2020
3:52 pm
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Thinking out loud:

Something like that is almost believable, because it doesn't reference something famous, like a fight. 

On the other hand, why scratch that in a perfectly nice rifle you are proud of?  Even back then?

Further, even if the carver was not lying more recently in an effort to boost value of the gun, he could have been lying back then, in order to boost his image among hunting peers.

Did Caspar have a newspaper back then?  If so, would this have been worthy of an article?  More provenience, if so.  Might even get a name.

Finally, maybe it's straight up legit.  I guess I'd have to side with Bert and go neutral. 

May 23, 2020
6:21 pm
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Huck Riley said
Thinking out loud:

Something like that is almost believable, because it doesn't reference something famous, like a fight. 

On the other hand, why scratch that in a perfectly nice rifle you are proud of?  Even back then?

Further, even if the carver was not lying more recently in an effort to boost value of the gun, he could have been lying back then, in order to boost his image among hunting peers.

Did Caspar have a newspaper back then?  If so, would this have been worthy of an article?  More provenience, if so.  Might even get a name.

Finally, maybe it's straight up legit.  I guess I'd have to side with Bert and go neutral.   

I can think of two scenarios where I would be thrilled with inscription.  The first would be if there were substantial provenance - such as a published story with a picture of the owner holding the rifle with his foot on the grizzly.  The other scenario would be if I owned the rifle because it had been handed down through my family and the original owner was a relative.

I doubt it has been faked to increase the value.  First off, I don't believe the value is increased.  Secondly, I have a hard time picturing someone taking a decent and collectible rifle (that is already quite valuable on its own) and crudely scratching it up.  I will say that as a conversation piece, it gets high marks.

May 23, 2020
8:10 pm
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Huck Riley said

On the other hand, why scratch that in a perfectly nice rifle you are proud of?  Even back then?
   

Because you're a stupid slob, as common "then" as now.  "Crude"?  To the stupid slob who did it, I'm sure it looked like nice work, like the pocket-knife checkering jobs we've all seen!  Esp. after (probably) he'd downed a quart to celebrate his exploit.   And though this was an expensive gun, stupid slobs aren't prohibited (unfortunately!) from acquiring nice things.

But I do think it most likely records an original event, not something made up in later times.

May 23, 2020
11:10 pm
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The inscription is the least of its problems.

Bob

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May 23, 2020
11:22 pm
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1873man said
The inscription is the least of its problems.

Bob  

Do tell. 

I'm not a 76 guy, but I'm always interested in hearing experts on how to see issues.

May 23, 2020
11:31 pm
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This has noting to do with a specific model. Look close at the finish of the receiver. Look close at the elevator stamp. This is what you should be looking at with any model.

Bob

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May 24, 2020
12:05 am
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1873man said
This has noting to do with a specific model. Look close at the finish of the receiver. Look close at the elevator stamp. This is what you should be looking at with any model.

Bob  

Bob - Thanks for lending us your sharp eyes.  I recall thinking it odd there was no mention of a factory letter on this one.  It seemed odd given it is a .50-95 and has a special order magazine.  In looking closely at the elevator, I can see there is an older stamping underneath.  A question would be whether the previous stamping was .50-95 or something else.  Also, case color is a fragile finish.  Given the blue wear and weathering of the blue, it would be easy for me to believe the case color is not original finish.

I always learn something when I make a post here.  Usually more than one thing. Cool

May 24, 2020
12:06 am
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1873man said
This has noting to do with a specific model. Look close at the finish of the receiver. Look close at the elevator stamp. This is what you should be looking at with any model.

Bob  

Maybe scratching the stock was to create a diversion! 

May 24, 2020
12:09 am
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clarence said

Maybe scratching the stock was to create a diversion!   

Indeed.  And as far as my experience goes, it was fairly effective.

May 24, 2020
12:27 am
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1873man said
This has noting to do with a specific model. Look close at the finish of the receiver. Look close at the elevator stamp. This is what you should be looking at with any model.

Bob  

I'm not defending this gun.  I'm trying to learn. 

On the finish, would you say that it was refinished after it had pitted/corroded?  Or is it something else you are seeing?  You'd think a guy would try to polish out or remove corrosion before applying a new finish.  But if I'm guessing you right, he didn't do that.  Anyway, it does look like a new finish on old metal.  The colors do look good to me, though.  Not garish, like DT.  

As to the elevator, I see both numbers "5" have a faint echo of a mark to their outsides, respectively.  This could not be a factory flub?  I don't know how they are put on, but if they are struck, like with a hammer, I can understand a "skip" that looks like a ghost mark.  I've done things like that while chiseling steel.  Also, the ghost mark has the same little hash lines in it, just like the main character.  

May 24, 2020
1:56 am
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DT knows how to age back the color if he was trying to fool you guys.  His new guns look like new guns.  Garish maybe but not fake.

May 24, 2020
2:06 am
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This piece perplexes me.  The rough inscription makes it a character piece.  It is a dominant feature.  As such, to add brighter case colors seems like going in the opposite direction. 

May 24, 2020
3:02 am
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I can’t see what you’re seeing on the elevator but the case colors caught my eye as did the buggered screw heads. Fore end cap looks a bit odd. Seems to me this is one of those guns where conditions of different areas don’t match. Could be lighting but the pics seem quite good. I like the gun but would be afraid to put much money in it.

 

Mike

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May 24, 2020
3:17 am
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Interesting that there's no Cody letter or even mention of such. 

"CONDITION: Excellent overall. 95% original thinning blue on barrel." Don't know about the rest of you, but in my opinion calling this 1876 condition "Excellent" is a stretch. 

Not sure I buy the grizzly story crudely scratched in the stock. I would consider this a negative without further supporting documentation. 

My opinion is that there's just too much to be taken on faith to pay any substantial money for this piece. 

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May 24, 2020
3:28 am
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Do muzzles look like that, on our left, where it looks like inner steel with an outer layer?

May 24, 2020
12:14 pm
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steve004 said

Bob - Thanks for lending us your sharp eyes.  I recall thinking it odd there was no mention of a factory letter on this one.  It seemed odd given it is a .50-95 and has a special order magazine.  In looking closely at the elevator, I can see there is an older stamping underneath.  A question would be whether the previous stamping was .50-95 or something else.  Also, case color is a fragile finish.  Given the blue wear and weathering of the blue, it would be easy for me to believe the case color is not original finish.

I always learn something when I make a post here.  Usually more than one thing. Cool  

Steve004

Can you tell me what is special order about this magazine? Further, and kind of related, I’m still perplexed on the 1/2 magazines and how they are retained in the forearm cap. So interested in this statement. Not doubting you, just trying to learn. 

As for the stamp, I know there are new stamps out there  that are slightly different from original and even each other. It looks like it was a 50-95, but could have been a “new production” that was restamped, rounded corners and aged. The new repo blocks have a slightly different stamp and font. 

As for the CCH, old color can become vibrant with a good clear coat. This particular receiver looks to have it applied to help the colors pop. Just my opinion. 

As for the graffiti on the stock, with the refinish on the stock, don’t think we’ll ever know when it was added with certainty. 

I always enjoy reading the critiques , helps me learn. You all are a wonderful group. 

May 24, 2020
12:46 pm
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JustinG said

Steve004

Can you tell me what is special order about this magazine? Further, and kind of related, I’m still perplexed on the 1/2 magazines and how they are retained in the forearm cap. So interested in this statement. Not doubting you, just trying to learn. 

As for the stamp, I know there are new stamps out there  that are slightly different from original and even each other. It looks like it was a 50-95, but could have been a “new production” that was restamped, rounded corners and aged. The new repo blocks have a slightly different stamp and font. 

As for the CCH, old color can become vibrant with a good clear coat. This particular receiver looks to have it applied to help the colors pop. Just my opinion. 

As for the graffiti on the stock, with the refinish on the stock, don’t think we’ll ever know when it was added with certainty. 

I always enjoy reading the critiques , helps me learn. You all are a wonderful group.   

The M1876 routinely came with a full magazine.  A half magazine would have been special order.  The vast majority of M1876's that were made had full magazines.  

May 24, 2020
12:53 pm
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TXGunNut said
I can’t see what you’re seeing on the elevator but the case colors caught my eye as did the buggered screw heads. Fore end cap looks a bit odd. Seems to me this is one of those guns where conditions of different areas don’t match. Could be lighting but the pics seem quite good. I like the gun but would be afraid to put much money in it.

 

Mike  

When I click on the close-up photo that shows the elevator, and then I click again to enlarge it, and then I click again, and then I click it again, I get a really close image.  In that image, I can see the remains a former caliber stamping.  To me, it looks like the former stamping was 50-95.  Now whether this somehow happened at the factory (e.g. the first stamping was thought to be too light) or it happened way latter as part of a, "freshening" of the rifle.

As I mentioned previously, I find it very odd there is no letter or reference to a letter for this rifle.  That aspect makes me very suspicious (if not cynical, Bert Wink) that it was originally shipped as a .50-95.

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