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Lyman 21 or 38 sight question
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June 1, 2021 - 1:41 pm
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I recently posted a thread about a receiver sight on a Winchester 1886 of the type that would be drilled into the receiver for installation with two parallel screws knowing full well this is unlikely to be factory, or even period.  But the question was asked on the off chance unbeknownst to me that it could be appropriate.

In my research, not having researched this topic much before, the Lyman 21 or 38 receiver sight could be period, which I suspected all along.  Not having even given any thought as to how these are installed, until yesterday, I would have guessed its installation made use of existing holes and utilized longer screws.  It does not.  Drilling & tapping is required.

Questions:

1.  Does this PERMANENT alteration (or desecration) of the receiver make such a rifle less desirable/less valuable?  If so, how much less desirable, by percentage?

2.  If there is no diminished value, why not?  Why is this any less of a desecration of a receiver than the double screw receiver sight?  My guess is that if there is no diminished value, it’s because it “could” be factory original.  

3.  Then the question is does this have to letter as such?  If not, is it assumed to be an after market alteration?  And, how does this come into play when a Winchester with a Lyman 21 or 38 receiver sight is evaluated, but it is out of range to letter?

4.  What exactly is the difference between a Lyman 21 and a Lyman 38 receiver sight?

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June 1, 2021 - 2:22 pm
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mrcvs said

2.  If there is no diminished value, why not?  Why is this any less of a desecration of a receiver than the double screw receiver sight?  

Because the 21 & 38 are contemporary to the gun, the other isn’t.  Even if not factory, I think they ADD to value; they demonstrate the owner was a serious rifleman.  38 is just a 21 with windage adj.

Then there’s the appearance factor:  the Lyman just looks “right,” (don’t ask me to explain why, but most collectors feel the same), whereas the other looks like a modern (& ugly) intrusion.

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June 1, 2021 - 3:44 pm
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clarence said

mrcvs said

2.  If there is no diminished value, why not?  Why is this any less of a desecration of a receiver than the double screw receiver sight?  

Because the 21 & 38 are contemporary to the gun, the other isn’t.  Even if not factory, I think they ADD to value; they demonstrate the owner was a serious rifleman.  38 is just a 21 with windage adj.

Then there’s the appearance factor:  the Lyman just looks “right,” (don’t ask me to explain why, but most collectors feel the same), whereas the other looks like a modern (& ugly) intrusion.  

 

I agree with Clarence.  Whether factory or not, unless its a lyman 21 or 38, anything else makes the rifle look bad.  I stayed away from multiple model 71’s even though they have factory holes for those sights.   They still make them look ugly…..well, in my opinion.  

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June 2, 2021 - 12:53 pm
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 I don’t think a Lyman 21 sight on an 86 adds any value unless it letters. Non factory drilling and tapping of a 86 receiver in any way, hurts the value. Only my opinion. T/R

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June 2, 2021 - 1:32 pm
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TR said
 I don’t think a Lyman 21 sight on an 86 adds any value unless it letters. Non factory drilling and tapping of a 86 receiver in any way, hurts the value. Only my opinion. T/R  

I would have to agree, but the big question is what about rifles for which a letter is not available?

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June 2, 2021 - 3:33 pm
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mrcvs said

I would have to agree, but the big question is what about rifles for which a letter is not available?  

A man (or a gun) is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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June 2, 2021 - 6:44 pm
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  If a letter is not available then the whole gun becomes an opinion as to it’s originality. In the case of the sight you look at the holes and threads in the receiver for blue, blue shadow under sight, and the sighting inlays on the range marks “gold or platinum dots”. T/R

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June 2, 2021 - 8:24 pm
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TR said
 I don’t think a Lyman 21 sight on an 86 adds any value unless it letters. Non factory drilling and tapping of a 86 receiver in any way, hurts the value. Only my opinion. T/R  

I agree that it probably wouldn’t add any value, but why would it diminish any value?   The first thing that comes to mind is the model 85.   There were so many “non” factory additions to them, extra holes in the barrel, extra holes in the forearm for palm rests…….Yet they seem to hold value.   And some of those “additions” look absolutely horrendous. (sorry Bert)   

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June 2, 2021 - 9:52 pm
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Manuel said

I agree that it probably wouldn’t add any value, but why would it diminish any value?   The first thing that comes to mind is the model 85.   There were so many “non” factory additions to them, extra holes in the barrel, extra holes in the forearm for palm rests…….Yet they seem to hold value.   And some of those “additions” look absolutely horrendous. (sorry Bert)     

The going rate for a Lyman #21 is around $300, higher for the #38.  That’s not added value?

Any good, sound, principle, such as valuing originality, can be carried to an irrational extreme.  It’s simple minded, I think, to regard sensible period improvements such as adding a better sight, as an intelligent owner might have done, in the same way as a do-it-yourself checkering job or a reblue. 

Certainly don’t mean “anything goes”!  Stupid people, sometimes the original buyers, did stupid things to their guns, & I’m not defending them!  Nothing makes me sicker than seeing carelessly mounted scope blocks, drilled into the brl markings.

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June 3, 2021 - 2:59 am
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I very much like the Lyman 21/38 sights and I’d would welcome to my modest collection a rifle where the sights “letter” or where they appear to be factory items. A rifle wearing them with an apparent post-factory professionally done install I’d treat it as a special case. A 70-80% rifle with an added Lyman is a different situation from a 95% gun with the same sight, at least for me. I feel the addition of the sight somewhat offsets the alteration of the rifle but I’m afraid my desire for such a rifle as a shooter distorts the value for me. I know an original rifle trumps an altered rifle but collectors who shoot (especially with older eyes) will always value the “Climbin’ Lyman”. If I was planning on keeping the rifle for awhile, I’d have no issues with an added Lyman if priced accordingly, whatever that means. If buying for resale and I’d prefer a rifle where the sights letter. A rifle where an argument can be made in support of factory install I’d have to give it some thought with other factors such as condition given some weight. 

I suspect every collector will have a different answer. I’m sorry I can’t give better answers. Bottom line; with altered guns it’s your call. Buy what you like, like what you buy.

Mike

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June 4, 2021 - 9:56 am
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I know  I sure like a Lyman 21 or 36 on 86’s and 95’s and would probably pay a little more for a gun with one on it. I would prefer the patina matches whether it letters with the sight or not. I would suspect there was alot of after factory installation by local gunsmiths shortly after the rifle was new.

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June 5, 2021 - 3:13 am
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Brooksy said
I know  I sure like a Lyman 21 or 36 on 86’s and 95’s and would probably pay a little more for a gun with one on it. I would prefer the patina matches whether it letters with the sight or not. I would suspect there was alot of after factory installation by local gunsmiths shortly after the rifle was new.  

I suspect you’re right, Brooksy. When I see a “Climbin’ Lyman” on a rifle I feel like it was once owned by a discriminating rifleman. That means a lot to me. Owning, shooting and possibly hunting with a rifle so equipped is like shaking hands with a kindred spirit from several decades or even a century ago. On a “shooter” it matters little whether the holes were drilled and tapped in New Haven, New York or New Braunfels, it’s a special rifle if the sight has been there, done that like the rest of the rifle. JMHO, as usual. 

If you’re keeping score at home you probably know what I’ll be looking for at Cody.

 

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June 5, 2021 - 5:02 am
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TXGunNut said

I suspect you’re right, Brooksy. When I see a “Climbin’ Lyman” on a rifle I feel like it was once owned by a discriminating rifleman. That means a lot to me. Owning, shooting and possibly hunting with a rifle so equipped is like shaking hands with a kindred spirit from several decades or even a century ago.

ABSOLUTELY! It means a lot to me! Those who kept their rifles “factory original” with their miserable open sights?  Sorry, I can’t respect ignorance. 

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June 5, 2021 - 5:21 am
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clarence said

TXGunNut said
I suspect you’re right, Brooksy. When I see a “Climbin’ Lyman” on a rifle I feel like it was once owned by a discriminating rifleman. That means a lot to me. Owning, shooting and possibly hunting with a rifle so equipped is like shaking hands with a kindred spirit from several decades or even a century ago.

ABSOLUTELY! It means a lot to me! Those who kept their rifles “factory original” with their miserable open sights?  Sorry, I can’t respect ignorance.   

“Too soon old, too late smart”. I remarked to my shooting buddy a few years back that when I learned to shoot at Boy Scout Camp decades ago I used peep sights. Then I used open irons when I couldn’t use glass optics. I used Patridge sights for years on PPC comp guns and similar sights on carry guns to this day but quite honestly those days are long gone. “Peeps” are the only iron sight hope for presbyopic eyes and quite frankly I’ve taken waaaaaay too long to understand and appreciate them. Full circle. Open sights work great for young eyes and even my 61 year-old eyes can use them passably but I remember when the sights worked better. 

 

Mike

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