The Winchester Model 71 and Model 64 – Trends in Collecting

The Winchester Model 71 and Model 64 – Trends in Collecting

Here are a couple I have been watching and picking up when priced right.

The Winchester Model 71 replaced the Model 1886 around 1930 and was produced until 1958 with final production of around 47,000. The gun came in a standard, deluxe and carbine version and was chambered only in the powerful Winchester .348 cartridge. The craftsmanship, especially of the early, pre-war examples is some of the best in American gun-making. Just a few years ago you could find high condition Model 71 Deluxe rifles in .348 caliber for $1500-$1800. Standard rifles could be had for $1000-1200. Overnight it seemed there was a surge in popularity of these well made modern versions of the Winchester 1886. Prices have doubled with better condition Deluxe rifles moving into the $3000-3200 range. The rarer carbine prices are pushing $6500-7000, if you can find one!

This year I noticed a lot of these Model 71s on the dealer’s tables at the January 2018 Las Vegas show. On one hand, that may reflect growing collector interest but higher prices may also be bringing more out of the woodwork. For now, prices seem to be stabilizing after a few years of rapid escalation. I have noticed that better examples on GunBroker and other on-line auction sites do attract a number of bids, showing that there is still a lot of interest and demand for these guns when priced fairly.

Due to the heavy recoil of the .348, you will find lots of Model 71s fitted with aftermarket recoil pads. Many were also drilled and tapped for scope mounts. Avoid these examples if at all possible. Many Model 71s have seen little use and high condition specimens are not difficult to find. Only these and unaltered pieces should attract the collector. Winchester also began selling a modern replica version of the 71 in 2011 through 2013.  While good shooters, one should not expect to see these increase in value at the rate of the original guns. The Model 71 is an amazing, well made rifle and has relatively small production numbers. I believe examples in higher conditions remain an attractive investment and will continue to increase in value.

Like its big brother the Model 71, the Winchester Model 64 was a replacement for a previously manufactured rifle. In 1937, the Winchester 1894 and Model 55 Rifles were discontinued and only the carbine version of the 1894 was still manufactured. The Model 64 which was introduced in 1933 was a sleeker version of the Model 1894 rifle and came standard with a pistol grip and semi-beavertail forend. It could be purchased in a 20” “carbine” version as well as both deluxe and standard grades. About 67,000 were made before production ended around 1957. Like the 71, the early pre-war Model 64 is an amazing example of craftsmanship in fit and finish. Collector interest and pricing rose rapidly for a few years and has since cooled a bit. Better examples of the Deluxe rifle will set you back $2000-2500 and the carbines are selling in the $3500-4500 range. There are enough high condition examples out there for you to be picky. In the rifle configuration I would not touch one as a collector unless it is in 99% or better condition. Carbines are rarer and high condition examples can be tough to find so you can be a little less selective but I would still seek examples retaining at least 90% of their original finish. Avoid any non-factory modifications for sights or slings, recoil pads, or refinishing.

As time passes, these mid-century Winchesters will certainly begin to be seen in a different light. I think they will be valued more for their Winchester heritage and quality of craftsmanship with less of a premium for condition than some of the 19th century Winchesters. There are too many remaining in high condition (due I believe to the lack of usage compared to earlier guns) to ever see the huge premiums placed on condition for the earlier Winchesters. What makes them fun is the ability to acquire a historic Winchester lever action, with fairly low production numbers, in pristine condition for a fraction of the cost of a nineteenth century piece. Discerning collectors of these models should be rewarded over time with a slow but steady appreciation in value.

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