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Thread: Opinions on Original vs Modern Reproduction Lever guns?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Opinions on Original vs Modern Reproduction Lever guns?

    Just a question I wanted to ask? What are you guys' opinion on modern or antique originals and what do you do with them?

    Some people collect only oldies, some new ones? Some shoot, some don't want to ruin value. What are your thoughts?

    Me: I like to collect originals. I shoot everything I own. I do have a few modern ones. I just don't find them as attractive. I love rifles with history and character. I barely have any rifles that are in Prestine quality. I like Winchesters but I also have other makers.
    The quality and uniqueness of the old rifles are great to me. Modern ones are nice. Alot more precise and repeatable. If a rifle has a defect because a machine had been poorly adjusted or tuned, multiple other rifles will have a similar issue. Not to mention that the modern materials are "safer".
    I don't have a need to hot rod any rifles. 1500fps with a 300grain bullet will drop anything in north america.

    What are your opinions? Just trying to spark a conversation and see different point of views.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I like rifles in the early smokeless era into the 70s-80s even. Stuff like winchester 1886 in smokeless, winchester 71s, 95s, and 94s. But I also like JM Marlin 1894 and 1895 rifles, as well as the 336. I believe in shooting them, sling them, and using them.

    Stuff like the modern 1892 rifle copies, Henry's, mossbergs, I don't like as much.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I shot an original 1892 Winchester in 44-40 a while back. It was made in the first year of production. There is something about the feel of that old gun that is just better than the new ones. I know the new ones probably have better steel, etc., but there was something about the old one that just screamed quality.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    Personally like old versus new. Have marlin and Winchester and shoot all I have. Particularly like stuff from between the wars.
    I honestly believe there is a connection with the past using old guns and just looking at them one can see the skill and care taken in a smooth operation, a proper blue and good wood to metal finish.
    Must say main hunting rifle is an XLR so although a JM still pretty modern being a stainless with laminate but this is the tropics.
    Last edited by LawrenceA; 12-09-2019 at 06:10 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I do not own any lever actions that are more than 55 years old. Newest one is 15 years old.
    Don Verna

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Kev
    Its always been winchesters for me - have owned a half dozen or more original 92's (all four calibres) - 92's were common enough downunder that we can still find originals to shoot . I hankered for the big rifles and originals of those are rare as rockin horse clods. And priced accordingly? With our small soft skinned game there was just not the need for the 76 - 86 sized hardware so they are rare - back about 1990 a bloke showed me a browning 1886 -in 45/70 -I was hell bent to get one but the run of them was sold out - I settled for a model 71 in 348 so I had my big winchester! Twenty years before that I had missed on an original 76 and ammo (a 45/75) and again in the mid 1990's missed on two that came up for sale in shops away from me - five years ago I bit the bullet and ordered a Uberti 1876 in 45/75 - not sorry I did that - the chance of finding a shootable original in my budget range is about zero - I shoot everything I own - no collector guns here . Last year I saw a chiappa 1886 in the local shop marked down some - I stayed away for a couple months in the hope someone else would take it and save me from myself but in the end it came home with me - was a project gun but I got it working right and its a good shooter. I dont have anything with the newfangly safeties and I have changed the firing pin in my 71 to a solid pin similar to the originals - may never hunt anything worthy of it with these three but have some fun from time time. If someone showed me an 86 like yours for the money you paid it would be mine but no such luck as that. I do have an L C Smith specialty grade shotgun I found cheap so its not all sad stories my end

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    I do not own any lever actions that are more than 55 years old. Newest one is 15 years old.
    So you stay in the smokeless era only?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    Kev
    Its always been winchesters for me - have owned a half dozen or more original 92's (all four calibres) - 92's were common enough downunder that we can still find originals to shoot . I hankered for the big rifles and originals of those are rare as rockin horse clods. And priced accordingly? With our small soft skinned game there was just not the need for the 76 - 86 sized hardware so they are rare - back about 1990 a bloke showed me a browning 1886 -in 45/70 -I was hell bent to get one but the run of them was sold out - I settled for a model 71 in 348 so I had my big winchester! Twenty years before that I had missed on an original 76 and ammo (a 45/75) and again in the mid 1990's missed on two that came up for sale in shops away from me - five years ago I bit the bullet and ordered a Uberti 1876 in 45/75 - not sorry I did that - the chance of finding a shootable original in my budget range is about zero - I shoot everything I own - no collector guns here . Last year I saw a chiappa 1886 in the local shop marked down some - I stayed away for a couple months in the hope someone else would take it and save me from myself but in the end it came home with me - was a project gun but I got it working right and its a good shooter. I dont have anything with the newfangly safeties and I have changed the firing pin in my 71 to a solid pin similar to the originals - may never hunt anything worthy of it with these three but have some fun from time time. If someone showed me an 86 like yours for the money you paid it would be mine but no such luck as that. I do have an L C Smith specialty grade shotgun I found cheap so its not all sad stories my end
    Well you dont need to hunt with all of them. And theres nothing wrong with a big caliber deer rifle! Always fun to shoot the old ones

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Probably as with most of us, my interests have changed over the decades. Way back when I was really into lever rifles I had a Dutchman's assortment of original and modern. As time went on that evolved to where all I had was original lever rifles and boy, I had a pile of them, Winchester's and Marlin's. Today I'm down to two, an orginal '86 in 40-82 and an Uberti reproduction '73 in 44-40. The only reason for the repro Uberti is I wanted a '73 but was unwilling to pay the tariff for a really nice original. That and the rifle belonged to a good friend of mine and I wanted something of Bill's after he passed away. For several decades I had an original '92 in 32-20 that I dearly loved but I've started to parcel out my firearms to my two sons. The oldest decided he needed that '92. I've been on the lookout for another original 32-20 rifle ever since.

    I guess all that puts me into the "original" category. I often jokingly say if it's post 1950, I ain't interested....but that ain't so much of a joke.
    "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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  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy veeman's Avatar
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    My one original 1894 was made in 1897, and it has been bubba'd before I got it, re-barreled. Beyond that my oldest is a mid 80's 94 Ranger that's a good shooter, and a 94 Chief Crazy Horse. The rest are repo's, Browning 1886 SRC and Rifle, Uberti 73 and 76, Rossi 92's. Original's are few in Illinois, and too derned expensive. And the repo's are getting that way too.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post

    What are you guys' opinion on modern or antique originals and what do you do with them ?


    I'm both a hunter/shooter, and someone who likes high-grade firearms...…

    Ergo, I like to shoot/use every gun I own.

    I like high-grade firearms because they are something beautiful to fondle & look at during those times when game is scarce.

    I likewise could never afford to feed my preference for high-grade guns if replica's weren't readily available.

    I particularly like commemorative replicas - where else can an inlaid/engraved gun with upgraded wood be had for less the half the cost of an almost identical gennie ?



    Some of the high-grade guns I've had include:

    The .30-30 Winchester NRA Rifle (looks like a Model 64 Deluxe)




    The High Grade .45-70 Winchester (Miroku) Model 86EL:






    The .45-70 50th Anniversary Ruger #1:






    The .32 Special Winchester 94 Canadian Pacific Railway Commemorative (looks like a Model 55 Deluxe):



    .
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I prefer originals to newer models myself. They have a special feel to them and a story to tell. I do enjoy shooting the newer Marlins (pre-Remlin) but find that the Winchester's made after '63 just don't have the same smoothness to them, although I have hunted extensively with my Big Bore 94 in .375 Win.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharps4590 View Post
    Probably as with most of us, my interests have changed over the decades. Way back when I was really into lever rifles I had a Dutchman's assortment of original and modern. As time went on that evolved to where all I had was original lever rifles and boy, I had a pile of them, Winchester's and Marlin's. Today I'm down to two, an orginal '86 in 40-82 and an Uberti reproduction '73 in 44-40. The only reason for the repro Uberti is I wanted a '73 but was unwilling to pay the tariff for a really nice original. That and the rifle belonged to a good friend of mine and I wanted something of Bill's after he passed away. For several decades I had an original '92 in 32-20 that I dearly loved but I've started to parcel out my firearms to my two sons. The oldest decided he needed that '92. I've been on the lookout for another original 32-20 rifle ever since.

    I guess all that puts me into the "original" category. I often jokingly say if it's post 1950, I ain't interested....but that ain't so much of a joke.
    I also have a 40-82, what does yours look like? Standard model?

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pietro View Post
    I'm both a hunter/shooter, and someone who likes high-grade firearms...…

    Ergo, I like to shoot/use every gun I own.

    I like high-grade firearms because they are something beautiful to fondle & look at during those times when game is scarce.

    I likewise could never afford to feed my preference for high-grade guns if replica's weren't readily available.

    I particularly like commemorative replicas - where else can an inlaid/engraved gun with upgraded wood be had for less the half the cost of an almost identical gennie ?



    Some of the high-grade guns I've had include:

    The .30-30 Winchester NRA Rifle (looks like a Model 64 Deluxe)




    The High Grade .45-70 Winchester (Miroku) Model 86EL:






    The .45-70 50th Anniversary Ruger #1:






    The .32 Special Winchester 94 Canadian Pacific Railway Commemorative (looks like a Model 55 Deluxe):



    .
    Those aren't cheap even for repros....

  15. #15
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    IMO, it's all relative - they cost about 50%-75% less than an antique original, and they're new ! .

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pietro View Post
    .

    IMO, it's all relative - they cost about 50%-75% less than an antique original, and they're new ! .

    .
    I know but its just something cool holding a rifle that has history, thats 100 years old and is unique.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    I have 2 Rossi 92's and one original 1892 with a 1911 mfg date. The original gun is a much more slender gun which I think gives it a better feel and instinctive pointing. The actions on the Rossis have been gone through and are very slick but overall I like the original the best

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm a Winchester fan though I admittedly own and use Marlin's and one solitary Savage 99. I'm not above wanting to try out a Mossberg 464 one day. The old ones have "history" which is neat but for using I've gotten rid of all buy one late model 71. Everything else is much newer! Yes, the tang safeties and rebound hammers could go but neither has ever given me an issue and for the better materials, more precisely made parts and from my limited experience better accuracy is worth it. I don't really believe in safe queens, mostly because I can't afford to have guns just to look at, so this last fall when a horse rolled over my (new) Winchester it didn't bother me. It was repaired and put back into service after a few days. If it had been an antique... Besides, it's fun to put your own "use" on guns. Maybe someday someone will be looking at my guns wondering about every little nick in the stocks or worn bluing.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I've never met a lever action I didn't like, but there is something about the originals that the modern ones will not have for about a hundred years of use.
    NRA Benefactor Member NRA Golden Eagle

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Im seeing that people like originals abit more

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