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So when and how did the, "Deluxe" term originate?
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January 16, 2022 - 11:17 pm
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This was a tangent topic on the, “Border Rifle” thread.  The, “Deluxe” term has been around a long time.  It is often used to describe special order features on rifles such as checkering or what Winchester called, “fancy” wood.  We also find it commonly used to describe specific models.  For example, Winchester called the pistol grip checkered version of the M64, the “Deer Rifle.”  However, most collectors, dealers and reference book writers call it a, “Deluxe.”  As Bert helpfully pointed out, Winchester called the pistol grip checkered version of the M71 the, “Model 71 Special.”  

George Madis books have been around for over half a century.  He used the, “Deluxe” term heavily.  Both to describe fancy treatment as well as specific models.  In, “The Winchester Handbook” for the Model 71 he writes:

“Rifles designated as, ‘Deluxe’ models were provided with checkered, straight grain walnut, sling swivels and a leather sling.  Deluxe models also have a capped pistol grip.” 

Did the Deluxe term originate with Madis?  We also see this term used with other brands of rifles.  With Winchesters, I’ve occasionally seen the term, “Deluxe, Deluxe” (e.g. to describe a pistol grip checkered M71 with 3x wood).  

I am fascinated that the term Deluxe has become so prominent and the actual terms Winchester used such as, “fancy” and, “special” are rarely used.

I know George Madis interviewed a lot of Winchester employees.  Is it possible they were using the Deluxe term as a descriptor and that’s where they picked it up.  

Was this term formally used in the catalogs of other firearm companies to describe their higher grade rifles and shotguns?  I can’t recall off the top of my head.  

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January 16, 2022 - 11:45 pm
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As you know Steve we’re usually on the same page. I prefer to use the terms Winchester applied in their catalogs. Fancy sporting rifle, Deer rifle, etc. there’s no confusion then. That my opinion.

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January 16, 2022 - 11:58 pm
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Steve,

I cannot speak as to why George Madis used the term “Deluxe” or if he was the person who started the trend, but I can definitely state that Winchester never did. None of their catalogs or salesman literature ever used the term “deluxe”. In the early years of Winchester, the catalogs listed them as “Fancy” Sporting Rifles, and in later years the terminology was changed to “Special Sporting Rifle”. The first use of the term “Special” was for the Winchester Single Shot “Special Sporting Rifle” and the “Special Single Shot Rifle” in the 1886 catalog.

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January 17, 2022 - 12:49 am
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 I think the term Deluxe as it refers to a Fancy Sporting Rifle was coined by an old gun collector having a senior moment. When he couldn’t think of the three words he spit out the word Deluxe and it stuck. Or it could have been Bubba the gun smith after a long day of smoozing guns decided to buy a Fancy Sporting Rifle. He went to the local hardware store and said “I want one of dem dar Deluxe rifles”. Or it could be because it’s one word instead of three. T/R

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January 17, 2022 - 1:01 am
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I never use the terms “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” anymore.  It’s completely subjective and, I think, bad practice to do so.

As a beginning collector, I was surely prone to do so, finding a “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” rifle to be mouthwatering, to say the least.  As my collecting expertise has evolved, I believe it’s nothing short of bad form.

For example, here’s a letter for a Winchester Model 1892 in my collection.  I was asked recently if I considered it to be “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” as it contains, according to the inquiring individual, eight special order features.  That assigned number “eight” is completely subjective.  I’m sure we can agree that the shotgun butt and 1/2 magazine are special order, as is the pistol grip stock and checkering.  But is the rubber composition of the butt plate also special order in 1896?  What about the round barrel, as it was less common at this time than the octagon barrel, even though the latter was at a premium?  What about the lettered sights, Lyman combination front, leaf and rear?  Is this considered special order with this combination?  What if the sights were original, but not mentioned in the letter, as is often the case?  

Also, a “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” rifle would have many interpretations.  Sort of like describing your vehicle with no clarification.  Is it an F350 Ford or a Mini Cooper?  A synopsis of the letter and/or observed characteristics leaves much less to subjective interpretation.

 

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January 17, 2022 - 2:31 am
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Just to throw more fuel on this fire (discussion), most of the features found on a Fancy Sporting Rifle (or Special Sporting Rifle) are NOT special order. 

Specifically, a Pistol Grip stock with checkering, or the XX or XXX Walnut, as those were the standard (catalogued) features.  1/2 octagon barrels, and 1/2 or 2/3 length magazine tubes were not special order… they were optional (no extra cost) features.  Non-standard sights were special order items, as was engraving, plating, carved stocks, cheek piece stocks, stocks with special dimensions, Swiss butt plates, etc.

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January 17, 2022 - 3:35 am
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Bert H. said
Just to throw more fuel on this fire (discussion), most of the features found on a Fancy Sporting Rifle (or Special Sporting Rifle) are NOT special order. 

Specifically, a Pistol Grip stock with checkering, or the XX or XXX Walnut, as those were the standard (catalogued) features.  1/2 octagon barrels, and 1/2 or 2/3 length magazine tubes were not special order… they were optional (no extra cost) features.  Non-standard sights were special order items, as was engraving, plating, carved stocks, cheek piece stocks, stocks with special dimensions, Swiss butt plates, etc.

Bert  

I bought my first checkered Winchester in 1967 – I had never seen a checkered Winchester lever prior to that. The gun came from Harold McCallum, known as Mr. Winchester, who had an extensive collection, not just levers, and serial number 8 of a lot of models. The gun I bought was a high condition 86 in 45-70 and to my dad’s dismay I had spent every dime I made over the course of a long and hot South Dakota summer. Mr. McCallum referred to the gun as a deluxe and I asked him why. His response was straight forward and simple. He said that collectors refer to guns with H-style checkering as a deluxe and guns with the lesser pattern checkering which Winchester noted as I-style as semi-deluxe. I am thinking Winchester made a factory deluxe in the Model 65 – but I don’t remember things that well anymore – Bert would know.

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January 17, 2022 - 3:46 am
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mrcvs said
I never use the terms “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” anymore.  It’s completely subjective and, I think, bad practice to do so.

As a beginning collector, I was surely prone to do so, finding a “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” rifle to be mouthwatering, to say the least.  As my collecting expertise has evolved, I believe it’s nothing short of bad form.

For example, here’s a letter for a Winchester Model 1892 in my collection.  I was asked recently if I considered it to be “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” as it contains, according to the inquiring individual, eight special order features.  That assigned number “eight” is completely subjective.  I’m sure we can agree that the shotgun butt and 1/2 magazine are special order, as is the pistol grip stock and checkering.  But is the rubber composition of the butt plate also special order in 1896?  What about the round barrel, as it was less common at this time than the octagon barrel, even though the latter was at a premium?  What about the lettered sights, Lyman combination front, leaf and rear?  Is this considered special order with this combination?  What if the sights were original, but not mentioned in the letter, as is often the case?  
Also, a “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” rifle would have many interpretations.  Sort of like describing your vehicle with no clarification.  Is it an F350 Ford or a Mini Cooper?  A synopsis of the letter and/or observed characteristics leaves much less to subjective interpretation.

 

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I will keep referring to guns with H-style checkering as a deluxe and those with I-style checkering as semi-deluxe. So will most all the old time collector because that is just the way it has always been. A gun does not have to be checkered to be nice – how about a non-checkered engraved gun? How about this one? It is not checkered at all but it is a pretty darn nice Model 1894!

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January 17, 2022 - 3:53 am
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Burt Humphrey said

I will keep referring to guns with H-style checkering as a deluxe and those with I-style checkering as semi-deluxe. So will most all the old time collector because that is just the way it has always been.

Same here, thats how my dad referred to them all the time.  In that same vein, I call an unchecked pistol grip a semi-deluxe as well.  To each is own.  

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January 17, 2022 - 4:53 am
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1892takedown said

Burt Humphrey said
I will keep referring to guns with H-style checkering as a deluxe and those with I-style checkering as semi-deluxe. So will most all the old time collector because that is just the way it has always been.

Same here, thats how my dad referred to them all the time.  In that same vein, I call an unchecked pistol grip a semi-deluxe as well.  To each is own.    

I have been calling them same since the late 70s when I became interested in old guns! Deluxe and semi deluxe, what ever you call them, it’s the same meaning. Just like the wood grading with Xs, Marlin never used them, but I hear Marlin collectors putting an X grade to stocks. McDonalds says Big Mac, Burger King says Whopper, still a hamburger! Call it what ever you want!

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January 17, 2022 - 5:12 am
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cj57 said
 McDonalds says Big Mac, Burger King says Whopper, still a hamburger! Call it what ever you want!  

Incipient heart attack?

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January 17, 2022 - 1:38 pm
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Similar comments can be said about the, M1892 and M1894, “Trapper” carbines.  These terms have been in use for as long as I can remember.  I think we mostly agree that these terms came about as these old Winchesters started to become collector items.  These terms have a certain, “ring” to them and enhance desirability.  With each term, I am left wondering who was the first collector to, “coin” the term – “patient zero” so to speak.  It had to be someone.  

I started to learn these terms as a teenager and felt some satisfaction as I steadily mastered them.  I spent the next many decades not knowing they were not technically accurate terms and were basically, “slang” used among collectors.  This has led me become more of a purist.

The other interesting topic is what constitutes, “special order.”  In another thread, we discussed Winchester M1894 carbines.  For a period of time, a shotgun butt was $2 extra.  During other periods there was no charge for it.  When there was a charge for it, it really wasn’t, “special” order, it was simply an option.  I think of ordering a new car.  They gave you a list of colors to choose.  If you choose none, the car will not arrive unpainted.  If you specify, “red” can you tell your friends you special ordered the paint?  Now, if you specified a color that was not on the chart, that would be special order. If you specify heated seats, you do pay more, but it is simply an option you choose from a list.

Back to rifles, using the Single Shot Rifle as an example.  Similar to what Bert suggests, I would not consider a SS with fancy checkered walnut and checkered pistol grip stock as special order.  That’s because in the 1916 catalog, you can order a, “Sporting Rifle” with octagon barrel and plain for $16.00 or you can order the, “Special Sporting Rifle” with the features I listed for $34.00.  You are simply choosing A or B from a catalog.  And for the SS, you can specify what buttplate you want – a variety of styles are available at the same price.  

I think, “special order” is a term that has been greatly expanded by collectors and dealers to enhance the desirability/value of the piece. This is not to say various options don’t add value – they do.  Similar to cars, back in 1969 when you ordered your brand new Camaro, selecting the big block over the small block option has big impact on the value today.  

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January 17, 2022 - 2:01 pm
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Steve a little list of options & special order would be nice for newer collectors & members ?

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January 17, 2022 - 2:07 pm
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With regards to my post #5, above, where I use the term “special order”, it would have been better had I used the term “option”.  So, a rifle is comprised, usually, of options, and special order is something not available unless upon special request.

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January 17, 2022 - 2:44 pm
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Borrowing from Bert’s post.

Options:
1/2 octagon barrels,
1/2 or 2/3 length magazine tubes

Special Order:
Non-standard sights
engraving,
plating,
carved stocks,
cheek piece stocks,
stocks with special dimensions,
Swiss butt plates, etc.

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January 17, 2022 - 2:55 pm
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mrcvs said
I never use the terms “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” anymore.  It’s completely subjective and, I think, bad practice to do so.

As a beginning collector, I was surely prone to do so, finding a “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” rifle to be mouthwatering, to say the least.  As my collecting expertise has evolved, I believe it’s nothing short of bad form.

For example, here’s a letter for a Winchester Model 1892 in my collection.  I was asked recently if I considered it to be “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” as it contains, according to the inquiring individual, eight special order features.  That assigned number “eight” is completely subjective.  I’m sure we can agree that the shotgun butt and 1/2 magazine are special order, as is the pistol grip stock and checkering.  But is the rubber composition of the butt plate also special order in 1896?  What about the round barrel, as it was less common at this time than the octagon barrel, even though the latter was at a premium?  What about the lettered sights, Lyman combination front, leaf and rear?  Is this considered special order with this combination?  What if the sights were original, but not mentioned in the letter, as is often the case?  
Also, a “deluxe” or “semi deluxe” rifle would have many interpretations.  Sort of like describing your vehicle with no clarification.  Is it an F350 Ford or a Mini Cooper?  A synopsis of the letter and/or observed characteristics leaves much less to subjective interpretation.

 

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 MRCVS any idea why the rifle had 5 received in warehouse listings ,but only 3 shipped from warehouse listings?

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January 17, 2022 - 2:56 pm
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Interestingly, in the cataloged preface for, “Extras for Winchester Rifles” Winchester implies a, “special order” perspective in that they state: 

All deviations from standard styles and sizes involve a large proportional outlay for hand labor, and, when ordered, will be subject to the following charges, which should be added to the list price of the rifle: – “  

The list starts with:

Butt stocks of special shape, involving change in either length or drop from standard, $10.00.

Rick – 

I don’t have access to a digital list as I am pulling it from the 1916 catalog.  However, I’ll snap a photo and if it’s readable, I’ll post it shortly.

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January 17, 2022 - 3:17 pm
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Found this ad for the Model 64.Although the rife is listed in Standard and Deer Rifle the ad does refer to the Deer Rifle as ,”The deluxe rifle for deer hunters!”Smile

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/174882625218?hash=item28b7d116c2:g:u9oAAOSwM2hhEZJ8

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January 17, 2022 - 3:21 pm
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I was looking at the “Sporting Rifle, Model 1886” in the 1916 catalog:

Twenty-six Inch Round Barrel, Full or Half Magazine, Plain Trigger, Weight about 8 1/4 pounds………………………$19.50

Twenty-six Inch Octagon Barrel, Full or Half Magazine, Plain Trigger, Weight about 8 3/4 pounds………………………$21.00

 

And for the, “Fancy Sporting Rifle, Model 1886”: 

Twenty-six Inch Octagon Barrel, Full or Half Magazine, Plain Trigger, Fancy Walnut Checked Pistol Grip Stock, Weight about 9 pounds………………………$39.00

 

Of interest, there was no round barrel option.  Which would make it special order?  And if you did order one with a round barrel, shouldn’t it be $1.50 less?

Confused

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January 17, 2022 - 3:27 pm
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28 gauge said
Found this ad for the Model 64.Although the rife is listed in Standard and Deer Rifle the ad does refer to the Deer Rifle as ,”The deluxe rifle for deer hunters!”Smile

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/174882625218?hash=item28b7d116c2:g:u9oAAOSwM2hhEZJ8  

Thank you. That is interesting. I have been on the look for the term Deluxe in print somewhere. My take on it is this is the ad-writers from Winchester’s marketing department at work.  But they do indeed state, “De Luxe” in reference to the “Deer Rifle.” 

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