I have an 1895 38-72 OBR SNA 1899 . I have the Cody letter which does not mention the addition of Lyman reciever sight, so assume it wasnt tapped at L/S rear receiver. Mine has a repro Lyman 38 which is the Lyman 21 with windage adjustment.
Looking at the Pirkle book , he says that if your hole pitch is 3 5/16 (meant for other models) the hole is D&T thru the patent markings. Thankfully mine is the proper 3.5″ pitch meant for the 1895 and miss obstructing the stamping which is the better scenario,
but I am wondering how this ‘proper’ non factory hole added would reduce value of this rifle. I liked the Idea of getting better accuracy out of the gun with the sight, but admit to wondering about value knowing any non- factory work generally is not accepted by collectors
I have also wondered about this subject in the past and hopefully I do not wander too far off course offering another opinion.
The addition of a Lyman 21 or 38 receiver sight to a Model 1895 is a special circumstance to me. If the work is non-factory but well done, and looks like it was done long ago, I would not be bothered much by one of these sights being added to a Model 1895 Winchester. Whether or not it was factory work is not something I’m particularly concerned about. The overall look and condition of the remaining sights and dovetails would concern me more, and also any significant wear from previous barrel sights. If the gun letters specifically with some other types of sights in conflict with the Lyman sight, than that would be different.
In the original Lyman patent of June 25, 1895 it is noted that: “It is highly advantageous to use this sight on rifles like the Marlin Model of 1893 (shown in the drawings) which have such a long bolt action as to make it inconvenient to put on a tang sight.” It was used on other firearms; Model 1894 and 1886 Winchesters come to mind. It was also offered for the Winchester 1892, Marlin 1895 and the Savage 1899 for a short period of time as well- even though that model did not have the exposed rearward bolt travel issue. Lyman catalogs also noted the use of this sight was preferred on short stocked repeaters with considerable recoil. A large number of these sights were installed on the Model 1895 Winchester and I think the Lyman sight is most commonly identified with that model. We’re just starting out on the Model 1895 survey, and of the 700 non-Russian Muskets recorded so far, almost 30% have or have had the Lyman sight installed at some point.
Had I purchased a new Model 1895 back then I would have ordered the gun with the sight to begin with. If the gun was new or used off the rack I would have likely added one and put a folding sight or blank in the rear barrel slot, or at least had a Sporting Rear Sight with a flat top to accommodate my preferences. The Model 1895 has the “long bolt action” William Lyman was talking about. You do see a few tang sights and the Marble Special Base sights, along other sights on the 1895. I believe the Lyman 21 and 38 were still the most practical and popular options available early on if you wanted the benefits of an aperture sight on that model.
I would deduct some value for a reproduction sight as mentioned in Phil’s post above and also if the receiver was drilled for a now absent Lyman 21 or 38, especially if I knew I was going to have to find a correct period replacement sight. There are several other considerations to figure into the particular firearm’s value to me personally. I also think on an old Winchester there are certain things one person may accept while another would consider to be deal breakers. I’m not sure how to assign a monetary devaluation to these situations for someone else beyond the cost of obtaining the correct sight.
I realize others may devalue a post-factory addition of the sight more than I, but to me this is one instance of that type of work that my personal collecting tastes can be OK with.
Thanks for responses guys and I know opinions will differ. Where mrcvs simply states the standard opinion of a serious collector and expected this, I agree with Brads thoughtful assessment
Ill tell you my thoughts briefly as I was considering the gun. I liked the Cal and configuration with OB , overall condition was decent and not messed with , so next to check the bore which is always my main decision factor , which is G -VG , so evaluating process can resume.( iffy bore I dont have to waste any more time)
Since I buy an Antique gun with shooting in mind and Ive always been curious about these Lyman side mounts on a 95 , where they just seem to belong. Seeing no Lyman markings on the sight was a red flag but I knew the gun would be cheaper, and came with no Letter , and I doubted that it ever had an original that someone swapped for this repro. Now lettered and no sights mentioned
( I would have been a little upset later if it was the wrong model sight with shorter screw pitch drilling thru the patent line, but that was dumb luck , not knowing to measure hole pitch beforehand.)
I think differently about sights than most collectors, knowing I will be replacing sights for target sights to wring out accuracy.My greatest enjoyment with any gun has always been shrinking groups (although an eccentric thinking on a vintage collectable ) Of course I would like the correct originals to label to go back on someday. But as you know sights can drive price way up, and my mentality is that for my $5000 , I would rather get 2 or 3 guns with good bores on nice cond and interesting models in my favorite Calibers , than 1 real Beauty with rare options , but iffy bore, and wouldnt want to remove the sights off a real nice gun anyway (well I probably would after it being in the safe awhile )
To save money I have settled on good guns , but with other collector issues such as sling holes drilled, stocks re sanded, and in an extreme case badly drilled tang hole. But it was on a nice old 86 in 33 Cal with EX bore CB and full mag appealing to me and knowing tang would be covered with new souel tang sight anyway , and was less than 1/2 price because of extra tang hole so to each his own
One last thought on the 95 hole being non factory. I thought that it would be a little less detrimental , knowing that it was very coomonplace operation to mount this sight after the fact , in relation to other general non factory Modifications
I simply stated that which I was told as I asked this question once myself. For example an 1894 rifle with a receiver sight on it that is not original to the firearm might be worth $700, whereas without the aftermarket sight it is a $1400 gun. I have a deluxe takedown 1886 that is in 98% condition that I paid in the mid four figures for. It had an aftermarket Redfield or Western receiver sight that was without a doubt placed on this gun in the teens or twenties. The gun dates from June of 1903. This gun came out of a prominent collection, the vast majority of which was auctioned by James Julia. I asked how much this affected the value of my firearm, and in my head had failed to realize that what I valued this at and what I thought it was worth without the sight were one indeed 50%. Then Bert confirmed what I already believed to be the case. I was thinking dollar amounts and failed to evaluate in percentage terms.
I presented what I was told and observed. Do I believe this should be the way it is? No. But just because I want something to be otherwise doesn’t make it that way!
In the case of my 1886. It is a beautiful gun, takedown, checkered, pistol grip, .45-70 in 98% condition. In the teens or twenties, this gun was still in production and the sight was put on it because that is what folks did just like that is what folks do today when they get a gun second-hand. To me should this hurt the value? Yes, because the ‘lines’ just aren’t the same as a gun without sight. But how much? Purists wouldn’t touch this firearm and the market has determined the value should be halved. If I wanted this gun today without this sight, it would cost me well north of $10,000. I actually agree with Brad, but repeated what I was told and have observed. But, I suppose, if one is a high dollar collector and can attend national auctions and spend $50,000 or $100,000 on a single firearm, perhaps one has earned the right to snub one’s nose at my 1886. I am not in this elite class. Far better to have this receiver site than to be refinished or have a cut barrel, etc. Those I snub my nose at!
Yep, I was thinking you had asked about that on the forum and were given the answer of the value being cut in half or 50%. I did not mean to say your comment was wrong, I just wanted to point out that collector values can be different. If we are looking at what the guns in question have been selling for, than the argument can definitely be made that a compilation of selling prices over a given period of time is the best answer for many.
I recently helped with a project for WACA related to the subject of collectible Winchester values. Another collector spoke to me about the subject of assigning values to other people’s collectibles at the beginning. I have been thinking about this conversation in the back of my mind off and on ever since. I think there are numerous factors involved and many of them change the values published in these guides for the particular individual collector.
I look at the Model 1895 with the Lyman 21 or 38 receiver sight as a special circumstance to me because of the other existing options available at that time. It was the best option early on if you wanted an aperture sight, at least to my way of thinking. I guess it also is important to note that one of those loose sights in good original condition is not usually cheap and easy to get either; really a collectible in itself. This is of interest to me since I collect a few sights. I know others who do not particularly care for the look of these sights to begin with. I suppose that would be one example of the factors that change the value of a particular Winchester for the particular individual.
Here is a potential conundrum. I like to bring this up about once per year here. Now is as bad of a time as any…
I do not know how the relationship between Lyman and Winchester worked in regards to the guns Lyman sold through their catalogs. Did Lyman physically get the new Winchesters into their factory and install and sight-in the rifles as advertised by them?
Lyman Rifle and Shot Gun Sights. Rifles Of All Makes… 1902.
“Place your order with us, for a rifle sighted in with such Lyman’s Sights as you may prefer, carefully and thoroughly tested at targets on our range by experienced marksmen, from the Lyman Off-hand Rifle Rest.
-The rifles that do not shoot well are returned to the makers for others. All rifles are warranted to shoot accurately.”
Sounds pretty good to me! Unfortunately, this from Mr. Nick Stroebel’s Old Gunsights; “According to a Lyman spokesman, all of Lyman’s production records are now at the bottom of a Connecticut land dump!”
I think it would be really neat to know if I have a gun that actually went through the installation and testing at Lyman as described and would value it highly. Something to ponder anyway.
By the way, you could also ship your gun and some cartridges to Lyman and they would install their sights and test the rifle for you too!