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Thread: Opinions on Original vs Modern Reproduction Lever guns?

  1. #61
    Boolit Bub
    surfanarchist's Avatar
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    Some great photos in this thread.

    I buy what I like and shoot what I buy. I have no way to display antiques though I think it would be cool to own some nice original 1800s Winchesters as they are truly wonderful pieces of machined art. For me I guess I like the repros. You can drill and tap them for sights, or not; you can strip and refinish them, or not. Just doesn't matter what you do as you're not effecting their value so you can do with them as you want. The more fun I can have with my stuff the better.

  2. #62
    Boolit Buddy
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    Looks like Shrapnel Is one rifle short,, of a longer " couch ",, nice collection.

    coffee's ready ,, Hootmix .

  3. #63
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Although I have a handful of modern lever actions, most of my collection are old original levers, single shots, and bolt actions and I shoot them all! That's what they were made for, plus there is just something special about getting an old rifle in a now obsolete cartridge back up and running again. Some of my guns hadn't been shot for decades due to the lack of proper ammo. The other thing that I love about shooting these old and obscure models and calibres are the questions you get about them when I'm up shooting at our local range. I love it when someone comes over to my bench and asks: "What in the HECK are you shooting?"

    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  4. #64
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Al View Post
    Although I have a handful of modern lever actions, most of my collection are old original levers, single shots, and bolt actions and I shoot them all! That's what they were made for, plus there is just something special about getting an old rifle in a now obsolete cartridge back up and running again. Some of my guns hadn't been shot for decades due to the lack of proper ammo. The other thing that I love about shooting these old and obscure models and calibres are the questions you get about them when I'm up shooting at our local range. I love it when someone comes over to my bench and asks: "What in the HECK are you shooting?"

    Ya, people are very curious.

  5. #65
    Boolit Buddy If1Hitu's Avatar
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    I like all my modern lever action rifles,because I don't own a lever action antique rifle.
    A blessing is everyday I wake up,after all i've been through in this lifetime!

    Oorah,Semper Fi.

  6. #66
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by If1Hitu View Post
    I like all my modern lever action rifles,because I don't own a lever action antique rifle.
    fair enough.

  7. #67
    Boolit Master
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    I've got a small collection of lever actions, 3 to be exact. An original '73 from 1889 in .38-40, a 50 year old Belgian Browning BLR in .308, and a modern Rossi 92 in .357.

    The first and last are plinkers, the Browning is an effective deer gun. Regardless of age, I enjoy them all, but I'd trade the Rossi for an original in a NY minute.

  8. #68
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    The repros are nice for me because I care about them less. The finish isn't always nice either.

  9. #69
    Boolit Bub
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    The seed for my love for old levers was planted in 1929 when my dad bought an old 86 in 40-82 at an auction for $1.50. He never fired that gun, but I must have worked that action a thousand times while I was growing up! I started shooting that old girl in 2008, and it took me a couple years experimenting with boolits and powders before I finally unlocked the combination to that rifle. My best group is a 6 shot group at 100 yards that measures 2.5 inches across. If I eliminate one flyer, the group is 1.75", fired with a Marbles tang sight. I had more fun getting that rifle to shoot straight than a person should be allowed to have!

    I look at the price of a new Henry Model 94 and think that for a few C notes more, I can have a really nice 1894 rifle that has some history under its belt. Actually, they are available for less if you are willing to buy one with some character!

    Most of my guns were made between 1887 and 1951. Most are Winchesters with a few Brownings from the 70s thrown in for good measure.

    Bottom line, from my experience, the oldies can be a challenge to resurrect and get to shoot accurately whereas the new ones seem to be more straight forward. I like the challenge of taking an old gun that hasn't been fired in years and maybe needs some TLC and getting it up and running again. YMMV!

  10. #70
    Boolit Grand Master



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    When I can afford it I prefer originals. I have hunted with an original Winchester 1873 in 44-40, Trapdoor Springfield's and 1885 Highwalls. My 1892's and 1886's are Browning copies. While the Browning's are made with better tolerances and materials I would prefer originals. I would really love to have an original Winchester 71 with the 50's manufacture date. When I find a nice one it's more than I am willing to pay.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  11. #71
    Boolit Buddy
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    I recently shot a first year production Winchester 1892 in 44-40. It had a feel to it that was just different than the new guns. I can't explain it. At the time I first shot it, I didn't know it was that old, so I don't think it was just in my head.

  12. #72
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reivertom View Post
    I recently shot a first year production Winchester 1892 in 44-40. It had a feel to it that was just different than the new guns. I can't explain it. At the time I first shot it, I didn't know it was that old, so I don't think it was just in my head.
    The actions are alot more polished and refined. These days they crank out guns with almost no regard to fit and finish.

  13. #73
    Boolit Master

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    With all that said; what's the warranty on that "old iron"?

  14. #74
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparky45 View Post
    With all that said; what's the warranty on that "old iron"?
    PFFFT. Built to last. Nothing broke on any of my old guns except for screws. Which you can buy.

  15. #75
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post
    The actions are alot more polished and refined. These days they crank out guns with almost no regard to fit and finish.
    Kev
    I reckon a lot of the smoothness of the oldies is usedness
    When I got my new Chiappa 1886 - it wouldnt even feed a round - I fixed that and it was still clunky and erratic - I sat down with a dummy round and fed it through the gate, chambered and ejected 100times (yep I counted em) between each one I dry cycled the action - its not like an old one (Yet) but its not like a new stiff clunky Chiappa either. Its done a couple hundred live rounds and coming along nice - I took took that gun from useless to flawless feed - pretty pleased with that I am !.

  16. #76
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Wonder if any of this new stuff will be around and still shooting 100+ year’s from now.

  17. #77
    Boolit Master
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    Warranty? Really? ha-ha-ha-ha!! In the last year I bought two NEW Uberti's, an 1860 Army and a '73 Winchester, which is rather unusual for me as normally I eschew new firearms. Good thing I'm fairly handy with firearms or BOTH would have had to be sent back. The revolver WOULD NOT COCK because the hand was dragging on the cylinder spindle. The rifle would not cycle the action because the cartridge lifter was stuck and actually needed fitted. I know of purchasers of new American made firearms who tell similar stories. In that same period I bought 4 or 5 original German sporting rifles, pre-WW1 and WW-II Mausers, a Haenel/Aydt Schuetzen rifle and a Swedish roller. Worst repair was to give the roller barrel a good cleaning. I've owned ans still own several vintage American rifles, lever and otherwise and, have yet to have to repair any of them.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

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  18. #78
    Boolit Master

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    Why wouldn't it? There isn't anything mystical about an old gun. The firearms today are built of far better materials than was available even 50 years ago. They crank them out fast today because they can. These processes weren't available in the past but don't think John Moses or Oliver Winchester wouldn't of jumped at the chance. Everything wears out with use and not everything produced by the hand of man 100 years ago is something to be held in reverence. Labor was the coin of the realm and hand fitting was the normal part of the process. People walked a lot more back then too. Technology will always move forward. As pointed out prior, it could be just plain old used, broke in and that does enhance reliability
    and "smoothness". You can pay a pro to tune it up or pay the manufacturer to do it, either way the end result will be the same. If you take the time to compare the cost of that old Colt or Winchester back in 1900 and what the average worker was paid and it will be pretty plain that guns were a lot more expensive compared to today's wages and basic costs of the average off the shelf firearm. You also have to consider where exactly is the skilled labor force going to come from that will hand craft your new pistola at a reasonable cost? Heck, I can't even find anyone that wants to run gutters at my house. Sorry if this sounded like a rant, I like the old ones a well as anyone but I'm quite content with my Ubertis, Marlins and Miroku
    Winchesters. But since I never had a brand new 125 year Winchester to compare current production to, the comparison between old and new will continue.
    Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

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  19. #79
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharps4590 View Post
    Warranty? Really? ha-ha-ha-ha!! In the last year I bought two NEW Uberti's, an 1860 Army and a '73 Winchester, which is rather unusual for me as normally I eschew new firearms. Good thing I'm fairly handy with firearms or BOTH would have had to be sent back. The revolver WOULD NOT COCK because the hand was dragging on the cylinder spindle. The rifle would not cycle the action because the cartridge lifter was stuck and actually needed fitted. I know of purchasers of new American made firearms who tell similar stories. In that same period I bought 4 or 5 original German sporting rifles, pre-WW1 and WW-II Mausers, a Haenel/Aydt Schuetzen rifle and a Swedish roller. Worst repair was to give the roller barrel a good cleaning. I've owned ans still own several vintage American rifles, lever and otherwise and, have yet to have to repair any of them.
    Thats a shame. paying top dollar for new stuff and its broken out of the box.

  20. #80
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Michel View Post
    Why wouldn't it? There isn't anything mystical about an old gun. The firearms today are built of far better materials than was available even 50 years ago. They crank them out fast today because they can. These processes weren't available in the past but don't think John Moses or Oliver Winchester wouldn't of jumped at the chance. Everything wears out with use and not everything produced by the hand of man 100 years ago is something to be held in reverence. Labor was the coin of the realm and hand fitting was the normal part of the process. People walked a lot more back then too. Technology will always move forward. As pointed out prior, it could be just plain old used, broke in and that does enhance reliability
    and "smoothness". You can pay a pro to tune it up or pay the manufacturer to do it, either way the end result will be the same. If you take the time to compare the cost of that old Colt or Winchester back in 1900 and what the average worker was paid and it will be pretty plain that guns were a lot more expensive compared to today's wages and basic costs of the average off the shelf firearm. You also have to consider where exactly is the skilled labor force going to come from that will hand craft your new pistola at a reasonable cost? Heck, I can't even find anyone that wants to run gutters at my house. Sorry if this sounded like a rant, I like the old ones a well as anyone but I'm quite content with my Ubertis, Marlins and Miroku
    Winchesters. But since I never had a brand new 125 year Winchester to compare current production to, the comparison between old and new will continue.
    Im sure guns would be insane quality if they would of had the materials we had today. No question about it. But in general the fit and finish is poor today. Stuff is stamped or carved by machine . Like wood, for example. They don't care if theres a massive gap in-between the tang and wood. Its a stock so it's going on.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check