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Nickel plating opinions wanted
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February 6, 2021 - 3:26 pm
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Just wondered what your thoughts are on the value of nickel plate on an average 1873. What percentage do you think it adds to the value?

To my eye worn nickel is less attractive than worn case color or blue. But then again nickel was an upgrade. What are your thoughts?

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February 6, 2021 - 3:48 pm
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The 73 and 76 are the 2 guns that nickel can look bad since the grain of the metal of the receiver is vertical and the grain in the side plate is horizontal causing the nickel to flake along the grain which makes the gun look odd. It also depends on how it aged. If the steel that gets exposed is fairly rust free it will look a lot better than when it rusts and turns dark and when it does it has a lot of contrast causing it to stand out. I have a couple nickel guns and bought them because of other features that made them stand out and they had a good look. I would never buy a nickel gun just because its nickel. Here is one.

Bob

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February 6, 2021 - 3:56 pm
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Nothing looks uglier to me than peeling, flaking, nickel–like an old prostitute gone to seed.  I say prostitute, because that’s what a nickeled gun reminds me of–a floozy wearing too much make-up, cheap jewelry, & gaudy clothes.  A totally brown gun, on the other hand, retains its dignity, & a gun worn down through honest use to gun-metal grey I find quite attractive.

On top of that, restoring a decayed nickel finish creates a major problem–it can only be removed without damage to the steel by reverse electrolysis.

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February 6, 2021 - 7:10 pm
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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February 6, 2021 - 11:34 pm
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I think the majority of collectors frown on nickel.  Particularly so if the condition is as Clarence describes.  I like the rarity factor of it.  I have a full nickel plate M1873 SRC.  I think it is fairly uncommon.  

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February 7, 2021 - 12:41 am
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Steve,

4% of the guns according to my research were nickeled which is just slightly less than the guns that have half mags at 4.2% of lettered guns.

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February 7, 2021 - 1:29 am
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1873man said
Steve,

4% of the guns according to my research were nickeled which is just slightly less than the guns that have half mags at 4.2% of lettered guns.

Bob  

Bob – Thanks for the information.  I assume more rifles were nickeled than carbines?

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February 7, 2021 - 1:44 am
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Steve,

60% carbine vs. 40% rifle with a few muskets in there. Carbines were used a lot harder and so they got plated more for protection.

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February 7, 2021 - 3:00 am
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1873man said
Steve,

60% carbine vs. 40% rifle with a few muskets in there. Carbines were used a lot harder and so they got plated more for protection.

Bob  

Bob – that is interesting.  I have to confess it had not really been on my radar screen that nickel plating was sometimes ordered for utilitarian reasons.  I have always assumed the motivation to order plating was cosmetic.

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February 7, 2021 - 5:14 pm
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So if only 4% had nickel one would THINK it would add value. However only 4% had half mags and for me a half mag detracts.

Or is it just me?

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February 7, 2021 - 5:37 pm
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[email protected] said
So if only 4% had nickel one would THINK it would add value. However only 4% had half mags and for me a half mag detracts.

Or is it just me?  

I like half mags but probably the majority of collectors like full mags.  There are buyer’s for both however and there are enough guys out there who like special order features (including nickel) that you will sometimes see a premium price paid.  Particularly at auctions that are  dependent on who shows up.  

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February 7, 2021 - 5:43 pm
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For me half mag is a detraction as well. The trifecta is half mag, round barrel with shotgun butt.

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February 7, 2021 - 5:52 pm
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1873man said
For me half mag is a detraction as well. The trifecta is half mag, round barrel with shotgun butt.

Bob  

Bob,

You just describe a large number of the 1873 rifles that were exported to the U.K. and Australia.

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February 7, 2021 - 6:09 pm
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1873man said
For me half mag is a detraction as well. The trifecta is half mag, round barrel with shotgun butt.

Bob  

Sounds like a very nice rifle to me 😉

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February 7, 2021 - 6:17 pm
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Steve,

I look at the gun from a collectors view point and I look at the value. The full mag, full octagon and crescent butt are the top dogs, now if I looked at a gun from a shooters perspective I would like a half mag and shotgun butt for the lighter weight and ease of shouldering the gun.

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February 7, 2021 - 6:45 pm
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1873man said
Steve,

I look at the gun from a collectors view point and I look at the value. The full mag, full octagon and crescent butt are the top dogs, now if I looked at a gun from a shooters perspective I would like a half mag and shotgun butt for the lighter weight and ease of shouldering the gun.

Bob  

I agree Bob.  What we see are American and British viewpoints too.  A round barrel or half octagon would lighten the front end of the gun even more for a more balanced gun for hunting applications.  I collect the guns first and shoot secondly.  My mentors were all dealers so I was taught to buy the guns that were the best for resale.  To me the hunting style looks like something is missing.

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February 7, 2021 - 7:46 pm
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1873man said
Steve,

I look at the gun from a collectors view point and I look at the value. The full mag, full octagon and crescent butt are the top dogs, now if I looked at a gun from a shooters perspective I would like a half mag and shotgun butt for the lighter weight and ease of shouldering the gun.

Bob  

Maybe it’s because I was a hunter first, I can’t help but look at most any gun as a potential hunter.  It’s been in my blood since I was a pre-schooler.  I have mainly bought what I’ve been attracted to – which hasn’t worked out to much of an investment strategy.  It helps that that was not my intent.  If you’re always buying for someone else, there’s not as much fun to be had.  Of course, if one’s preference is octagon barrels, full magazines and crescent butts, you will do well.

This brings back a memory from over 40 years ago.  My family was a hunting family and my Dad, my uncles, grandfather, great uncles, cousins, close family friends and neighbors, all pursued whitetail deer in the deep woods.  When I was a young man I was already trading my modern deer rifles for antique Winchesters.  I recall I had traded off some modern deer rifle for a Winchester M1886 .40-82 – octagon barrel, full magazine and crescent butt.  It was a brown gun with a few deep dings in the wood.  It was no prize.  I recall my Dad and my uncles looking at and neither were impressed.  It wasn’t a collector, so by default, it was a shooter.  They were very unimpressed over the prospect of lugging that thing through the woods.  I think they viewed it as being about as practical using a big rock.  The 86’s in the family that had been used had been my Dad’s .33 (half magazine, shotgun butt) and my grandfather used a .45-90 – round barrel, half magazine.  I was the only one to ever use a M1892 or a M1895.  There were M1894’s used but I don’t recall a single one that wasn’t a carbine.  There were Savage 1899’s used but not a single one with a 26 inch barrel.  So, that’s how I developed my particularly blood type.  And like blood types, it hasn’t changed 😉

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February 7, 2021 - 8:06 pm
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Steve,

That maybe the the reason for my collecting preferences. In Southern Wisconsin its always been a shotgun only deer hunt. We always hunted our own land and never went to northern WI where its rifle. If it had been rifle I might of got into hunting deer with Winchester rifles when I started to collect. Dad had a Winchester model 12 and I being the youngest got the hand me down 20ga bolt action. This area went rifle finally in 2013 but by then my collecting habits were set.

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February 7, 2021 - 8:13 pm
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steve004 said If you’re always buying for someone else, there’s not as much fun to be had.

So true–that’s the dealer’s mentality.

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February 7, 2021 - 8:45 pm
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1873man said
Steve,

I look at the gun from a collectors view point and I look at the value. The full mag, full octagon and crescent butt are the top dogs, now if I looked at a gun from a shooters perspective I would like a half mag and shotgun butt for the lighter weight and ease of shouldering the gun.

Bob  

Though I don’t dispute the truth of this, it makes absolutely no sense to me–that the most common configuration should be the most desirable.  Aside from how special features may improve a gun’s performance & appearance, such features obviously make it scarcer than the standard configuration…which proves how irrational the “collectors view point” is.

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