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Trying to understand a M1873 Turnbull restoration coming up for auction.
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November 11, 2022 - 11:53 pm
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This is a very attractive rifle.  It letters as engraved, 7-leaf sight, set trigger, nickel trim, swivels – wonderful.  The rifle is in high condition.  We know most collectors prefer original pieces but this is a Turnbull restoration.  Estimate is $13,000 to $19,000.  From the description, the barrel and stocks have been replaced.  That leaves the receiver and the 7-leaf sight.  Presumably, it is the original receiver.  It has of course been refinished.  But what of the engraving?  Was the old engraving removed, a blank slate created and a skilled engraver produced what we see?  I’m not aware what, “$2.50” engraving looks like.  Perhaps it’s not as elaborate as what we are seeing on this piece?  

https://cdn.rockislandauction.com/flipbooks/87/BOOK1/index.html?utm_source=Rock+Island+Auction+News&utm_campaign=1d0c2ec4bc-2022_11_11_xxx&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f4b8db853-1d0c2ec4bc-148909845#p=14

Thoughts on this piece?

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November 12, 2022 - 12:56 am
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Can’t offer an opinion as to the originality of the engraving but would lean towards original. OTOH I met an engraver at Turnbull’s DSC booth a few years back and he may very likely be capable of this level of work. I’m thinking some engraving may have been added. Receiver finish looks a bit odd. I’d be willing to bet Turnbull would tell you what they did to this rifle.
One thing to consider is that you’d probably spend as much as the low end of the estimate for this level of work. Only thing for sure is that I probably won’t take this one hog hunting!

 

Mike

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November 12, 2022 - 1:29 am
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steve004 said
  But what of the engraving?  Was the old engraving removed, a blank slate created and a skilled engraver produced what we see? 

If both brl & stocks were is such bad shape that they couldn’t be saved, it would seem likely the rcvr was also in poor cond.  So how could it be restored without enough sanding & polishing to erode the engraving?  At the very least, I would think recutting the original pattern was necessary.  Would be interesting to see photos taken before the work was done.  Sad to think such a magnificent a rifle was so neglected or ill-treated that “remanufacture” became necessary; but maybe it was the victim of a flood or some other natural disaster.

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November 12, 2022 - 1:37 am
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Its quite common for engraving to be freshened during a restore.

Bob

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November 12, 2022 - 3:58 pm
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On a restoration of this quality everything has to be perfect.  If the wood was damaged where it could not be restored to new condition it was replaced.  This could be just a crack or bad dent.  You can weld up pits but you can’t regrow the wood. We don’t know the original state of the gun so it may have been quite nice before the work was done. 

THIS ALL STARTED WITH JUST ONE GUN!

IMG_4414-Copy.JPG

 

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November 12, 2022 - 4:46 pm
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Anyone know if $2.50 engraving resulted in the amount of engraving present on this rifle?

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November 12, 2022 - 5:12 pm
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Old Guns said We don’t know the original state of the gun so it may have been quite nice before the work was done. 
  

Yes, & entirely acceptable to a true collector with genuine appreciation of the gun’s history!  This is exactly my reservation about restoration, or “remanufacture,” as it should really be called:  was the gun really a wreck, a hopeless mess, or did it merely show evidence of honorable service, used but not abused?  I hate to think of guns in the latter category (which is the one that most appeals to me) being turned into one of these phony, artificial, “antiques,” because some fat-cat wasn’t satisfied that it wasn’t show-room new.

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November 12, 2022 - 5:59 pm
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steve004 said
Anyone know if $2.50 engraving resulted in the amount of engraving present on this rifle?

  

Yes that looks like a $2.50 with one game scene.

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November 15, 2022 - 3:12 pm
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The gun was a wreck, as was the 50-100-450, ’86 and the 19″, ’94 rifle that Wayne had “restored”. I have held on to these guns many times at Wayne’s house and have always admired them, and actually owned some of the guns , original and restored, He’s offering at R.I.A. It was always nice, walking into His gun room and seeing all those shiny original, and restored Winchesters, it ‘s more appealing than looking at a bunch of old brown  and grey  relics that have outlived their useable life. Restoration to Me means exactly that, not refinished or enhanced or updated, but restored to the way it left the factory. And yes I would be the first to agree there is , rightfully so, a large difference in the value of original, vs. restored, but sometimes it is just impossible to have an original of a certain “unique” piece, therefore a proper restoration is the next best option, The main problem being the folks that try to pass off a restored gun as being “original” and pricing  it as being original knowing full well it is not. Some even go to the extent of “aging them down” trying to make them look 90% or so original. I have had , over the years, many fine , original Winchesters but also many fine restored Winchesters , like Mod. ’94 ser#15147, that I was defrauded out of by a liar, cheat and thief, and I can appreciate either , original or restored, for what they are. 

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November 16, 2022 - 3:57 pm
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I can shed some light here I believe. first let me say I was not the individual that had any of the winchesters restored, that was wayne connor. The 1873 in question I had in my collection prior to its restoration. It was not a wreck,not even close.  nor was the 50-100-450 as I owned that one too prior to restoration.  the 19 inch I owned as well.  I will start with the 1873 engraved in question serial 398,807 its was a honest used but not abused gun. very little finish left other than traces but not a wreck and not pitted metal or issues.  what they forgot was its actually pictured on page 450 of gordons book if anyone would like to go take a look that has those books or i can can and upload here to see it. it was a rather nice honest gun.   on to the 50-100-450 serial 74637 1886 harry mentioned was a wreck. i owned this gun in my collection and sold it to wayne in 2009. it was a very honest clean gun. no wood issues, not sanded, barrel and mag about 60% original blue and frame had traces of case in protected areas but was basically silver.  I purchased that gun out west in british columbia in 2008 when i was on a trip in search of winchesters.  lastly the 1894 harry mentioned as a wreck  serial 81533 . I owned this one as well . it was in  poor condition, however it was fully complete and functioned/shot fine. the metal was pitted and wood ruff.  what was not mentioned was I purchased it in 2007/2008 from the original family descendant in alberta canada on one of my hunts for winchesters. It was used exclusively on the families ranch on horseback .  it was ordered short for that purpose much like a baby carbine was. it had a very colorful ranch history in alberta. a side note   many of the factory original high condition guns  in this sale were from my collection.  and some others of the restored guns were in my collection prior to restoration as well.  

Jeremy Scott.

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November 16, 2022 - 4:19 pm
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Jeremy Scott. said
I can shed some light here I believe. first let me say I was not the individual that had any of the winchesters restored, that was wayne connor. The 1873 in question I had in my collection prior to its restoration. It was not a wreck,not even close.  nor was the 50-100-450 as I owned that one too prior to restoration.  the 19 inch I owned as well.  I will start with the 1873 engraved in question serial 398,807 its was a honest used but not abused gun. very little finish left other than traces but not a wreck and not pitted metal or issues.  what they forgot was its actually pictured on page 450 of gordons book if anyone would like to go take a look that has those books or i can can and upload here to see it. it was a rather nice honest gun.   on to the 50-100-450 serial 74637 1886 harry mentioned was a wreck. i owned this gun in my collection and sold it to wayne in 2009. it was a very honest clean gun. no wood issues, not sanded, barrel and mag about 60% original blue and frame had traces of case in protected areas but was basically silver.  I purchased that gun out west in british columbia in 2008 when i was on a trip in search of winchesters.  lastly the 1894 harry mentioned as a wreck  serial 81533 . I owned this one as well . it was in  poor condition, however it was fully complete and functioned/shot fine. the metal was pitted and wood ruff.  what was not mentioned was I purchased it in 2007/2008 from the original family descendant in alberta canada on one of my hunts for winchesters. It was used exclusively on the families ranch on horseback .  it was ordered short for that purpose much like a baby carbine was. it had a very colorful ranch history in alberta. a side note   many of the factory original high condition guns  in this sale were from my collection.  and some others of the restored guns were in my collection prior to restoration as well.  

  

Jeremy –

 

Very interesting information.  Thank you for posting it.  I was the one who started this topic and I never dreamed it would lead to so much specific information and history.  Your information makes me sad as I happen to be the kind of collector who would have loved to have those rifles in my collection – in the condition they were before they were restored.  On the .50-100-450 – the original barrel was included in the auction and shown in a photo.  From what I could see, it looked like it had a whole lot of original blue remaining.   I know some collectors really enjoy restorations but for me, taking something that is all original and fairly decent and making it into a remanufactured rifle … makes me frown… pretty hard.

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November 16, 2022 - 5:27 pm
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Jeremy Scott. said
 The 1873 in question I had in my collection prior to its restoration. It was not a wreck,not even close.  nor was the 50-100-450 as I owned that one too prior to restoration.  the 19 inch I owned as well.  I will start with the 1873 engraved in question serial 398,807 its was a honest used but not abused gun. very little finish left other than traces but not a wreck and not pitted metal or issues. it was a very honest clean gun. no wood issues, not sanded, barrel and mag about 60% original blue and frame had traces of case in protected areas but was basically silver.

  

This is EXACTLY the reason for the apprehension I tried previously to express over “nice clean guns” being sent to the chop-shop by folks having no respect for the honest service the gun was built for!  A gun most true collectors with an appreciation for history would be very pleased to own, but now converted into an artificial, phony, creation of the restorer’s workshop, with perhaps only the rcvr. & buttplate actually manufactured by Winchester.

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November 16, 2022 - 5:32 pm
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steve004 said

 I know some collectors really enjoy restorations but for me, taking something that is all original and fairly decent and making it into a remanufactured rifle … makes me frown… pretty hard.

  

Steve, it makes me want to choke.  You can destroy history, but you can’t re-manufacture it. 

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November 16, 2022 - 7:31 pm
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Jeremy Scott. said
I can shed some light here I believe. first let me say I was not the individual that had any of the winchesters restored, that was wayne connor. The 1873 in question I had in my collection prior to its restoration. It was not a wreck,not even close.  nor was the 50-100-450 as I owned that one too prior to restoration.  the 19 inch I owned as well.  I will start with the 1873 engraved in question serial 398,807 its was a honest used but not abused gun. very little finish left other than traces but not a wreck and not pitted metal or issues.  what they forgot was its actually pictured on page 450 of gordons book if anyone would like to go take a look that has those books or i can can and upload here to see it. it was a rather nice honest gun.   on to the 50-100-450 serial 74637 1886 harry mentioned was a wreck. i owned this gun in my collection and sold it to wayne in 2009. it was a very honest clean gun. no wood issues, not sanded, barrel and mag about 60% original blue and frame had traces of case in protected areas but was basically silver.  I purchased that gun out west in british columbia in 2008 when i was on a trip in search of winchesters.  lastly the 1894 harry mentioned as a wreck  serial 81533 . I owned this one as well . it was in  poor condition, however it was fully complete and functioned/shot fine. the metal was pitted and wood ruff.  what was not mentioned was I purchased it in 2007/2008 from the original family descendant in alberta canada on one of my hunts for winchesters. It was used exclusively on the families ranch on horseback .  it was ordered short for that purpose much like a baby carbine was. it had a very colorful ranch history in alberta. a side note   many of the factory original high condition guns  in this sale were from my collection.  and some others of the restored guns were in my collection prior to restoration as well.  

  

 I’m glad Jeremy shed some light on the history of some of Wayne’s guns. Knowing your buying a restored gun is better than a clone! It’s important to have before pictures or at least history. Many times they restore with a donor gun and re-stamp the serial number. T/R

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November 16, 2022 - 8:38 pm
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TR said Many times they restore with a donor gun and re-stamp the serial number. T/R
  

That carries the fakery to its ultimate limit!  Then what you have is a collection of new-made parts, except for the rcvr., & even it has a fake serial!  How is this significantly different from a repro?  Except that the repro is honestly identified as being what it is.

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November 16, 2022 - 9:44 pm
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I’m not a repro guy at all but I don’t frown upon refinished guns. Different strokes for different folks. I wouldn’t buy either ever(knowingly). I’m an original configuration gun collector only. 

 RickC 

   

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November 16, 2022 - 10:31 pm
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RickC said
I’m not a repro guy at all but I don’t frown upon refinished guns. Different strokes for different folks. I wouldn’t buy either ever(knowingly). I’m an original configuration gun collector only. 

  

Rick, if a good, clean gun you’d be proud to own, “honest used, but not abused,” as Jeremy described his ’73, goes to the chop-shop, that’s one less for you & I, & others who can respect a gun’s history, will have the chance to pass on to the next generation.  That sad fact doesn’t make you frown even a little?

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November 16, 2022 - 10:47 pm
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  I had a couple guns restored by Roger 30 years ago. They were rare and I figured I won’t find an original, or at least one I could afford. They were nice but every time I looked at one it didn’t look right. You hear  collectors say it looks right to me, not to me! I sold them with the restoration invoice attached. 

 Every time I see a restored 1 of 1000 I think of Roger. New barrel, tube, wood, and maybe the receiver. The old parts are sold. Is the real 1 of 1000 the one with the old barrel or the one with the old lower tang? What happens when you stamp new serial numbers? Is it now a clone? T/R

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November 16, 2022 - 10:58 pm
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clarence said

RickC said

I’m not a repro guy at all but I don’t frown upon refinished guns. Different strokes for different folks. I wouldn’t buy either ever(knowingly). I’m an original configuration gun collector only. 

  

Rick, if a good, clean gun you’d be proud to own, “honest used, but not abused,” as Jeremy described his ’73, goes to the chop-shop, that’s one less for you & I, & others who can respect a gun’s history, will have the chance to pass on to the next generation.  That sad fact doesn’t make you frown even a little?

  

I understand your thoughts on that Clarence. I guess it also depends on the degree of refinish. I’m not talking about new parts. A complete gun refinished… with the original parts.

There are some guns that are just not survivable, so they end up refinished with new reproduction parts. Better than wood that’s cracked, bulge in the barrel, mag tube & barrel dented or rusted beyond repair, etc.  Jmo. 

 RickC 

   

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November 16, 2022 - 11:19 pm
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RickC said
There are some guns that are just not survivable, so they end up refinished with new reproduction parts. Better than wood that’s cracked, bulge in the barrel, mag tube & barrel dented or rusted beyond repair, etc.  Jmo. 

  

I don’t dispute that, Rick, but that’s NOT the kind of gun Steve & I are talking about, or the ’73 Jeremy described. By all means, send the true junkers to the chop-shop, but not the ones that are merely “not perfect,” like you & I, for ex.

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