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Old October 9th, 2018, 06:48 PM #1
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Winchester Lee Straight Pull Sporting Rifle

-Ran across this very nice Winchester Lee Sporting rifle in a tiny Ohio auction. SN places it in the Second pattern, probably produced in 1898. Factory stock but for a pair of vintage sling swivels. Winchester only built approx. 1500 sporting rifles and they're uncommon. You're much more likely to find a Navy Musket that's been sporterized. There were three patterns of sporting rifles that varied as the Navy Musket that they were based on changed.
-There were special options available such as...
Lyman front and rear sights
Lyman No25 receiver sight
Engraving
Checkered stock & fancy wood
Lightened trigger pull
-The obvious difference from the Navy Musket is the pistol grip stock with schnabel tip (there were some very early first pattern sporters with a straight grip stock, very rare). Most, like mine, have a hard rubber shotgun style buttplate and pistol grip cap. My buttplate is cracked and will need a repair but I'm up to the task. Will try to source an original but that could be a looong search.
-Chambered for the same 6mm or .236 USN cartridge as the Navy Musket, sales ended in 1916, the last of about 200 ex-military muskets altered to sporter configuration starting in 1908. They sold in the Winchester catalog for $32.00 which is roughly $500 in 2018 dollars.
-Had to raid the Navy Luger fund to swing this unexpected find but it was worth it. Very nice examples in the mid to high 90 point range are selling for around $3500-4000. A solid 85-90 point example like mine are in the $2000-2500 range. I had to shell out right around the low estimate to add this one to the collection. Even came with a copy of Eugene Myszkowski's reference book "The Winchester Lee Rifle".
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Old October 9th, 2018, 06:55 PM #2
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Very very nice. How's the bore?
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Old October 9th, 2018, 06:57 PM #3
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The Navy Luger piggy bank is taking some hard hits! Very nice rifle, somewhere I seen some ammo for one of those. Ill try to get a heads up for where I ran across it.
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Old October 9th, 2018, 10:21 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noahhh View Post
Very very nice. How's the bore?
Not bad, just a little dark in the grooves. What's so interesting about Winchester Lee rifles, both musket and sporters, is that they use Metford rifling. So the grooves are unusually shallow. Take that and couple it with the hot burning cordite powder used in much of the early smokeless ammo and many times the bore isn't in great condition. So I'm pleased that this one is as good as it is.
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Old October 9th, 2018, 11:00 PM #5
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Originally Posted by Doco Overboard View Post
The Navy Luger piggy bank is taking some hard hits! Very nice rifle, somewhere I seen some ammo for one of those. Ill try to get a heads up for where I ran across it.
-Winchester stopped producing .236 USN ammo in the '30s so what's out there that's original is collector ammo. You can take .220 Swift brass and expand the neck, reduce the rim, deepen the extractor cut to get to .236 USN. I might be wrong but seem to remember that .220 Swift started life from the .236 USN so it's natural to start there. Think Buffalo Arms makes it for around $3 a round (!). But like .280 Ross it ain't cheap to shoot, ammo or dies.
-Yeah, I was better than 2/3rds of the way to the minimum $3.5k needed to play in the Navy Luger arena when I saw this Winchester and a Mauser that both got my pulse going. Couldn't say no to either one.
-The Mauser was a gamble since I'm not that up to speed on them. It's a K98k dual code Gustloff BCD/AR 42. Initially I was stoked, all the catalog photos showed matching components. But they didn't show the two barrel bands. Got them to shoot additional photos and sure enough, front band was wrong type and rear band was non-matching. But it was still a non-RC example of a hard to find code. Ended up getting it for around $150 more than what an RC marked import would cost. Would have loved a complete matching example but I know that probably would have pushed the price waaaay beyond my budget, somewhere in the $1.5-2K range, more than twice what I paid for it. I blame buddy Milsurp Dan for stoking the fire on that one with his recent K98k acquisition. I got to handle it at the last Gettysburg show and got the itch bad.
-Waiting on it to arrive on the BBT so there might be some ugly surprises still in store for me but I'm optimistic. There were plenty of photos to work with plus you get a sixth sense about stuff after doing it this long. Luckily very little money being spent in the auction house that day so I don't have much sunk into it. Poor Luger will have to wait until next year! Maybe the only way I'll get there is to turn off the 'net for a good six months, keep temptation from my doorstep.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 12:24 AM #6
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Man I really would love to shoot that sometime. I feel it would be interesting as I shoot as a lefty and I really want to compare the feel to that of my Ross Mk. II. One of those rifles on the list of "really cool to have, but too expensive for my tastes."

Plus, it would add to my collection of different calibers shot. Gotta shoot em' all!
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Old October 10th, 2018, 10:38 AM #7
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From all accounts it's not hard on the shoulder, much like a Swede M96. It's a shame little else was chambered for 6mm Navy, just a handful of Winchester High Walls. So there wasn't enough demand for ammo to keep it in production.
It's a cool gun to cycle. Found that you don't want to baby it, give it a good hard pull and push. Works best that way. The floating extractor is annoying as heck. I can see why the Marines weren't fond of it when it came time to clean it. I know that the design is a bit wonky with the extractor doing double duty aiding in feeding rounds.
The ammo clip was the first ever used by the US military and worked pretty well. It wasn't integral to the function of the gun so you could still single load it which was a feature the Marines insisted on. Believe they had some issues with consistency of the tension of the clip spring but had it stayed in service longer I'm sure that would have been addressed as all the other items had been over the roughly 7-8 yr run. The Marines loved the lighter weight of the 6mm round, giving them the ability to take more ammo into the field.
Winchester Collectors website has a very good article on the Winchester Lee Navy that draws heavily from Gene Myskowski's reference book.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 11:07 AM #8
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You said there was a surprise in the works and you came through. I can truthfully say I learned something about something I'd never heard of today.
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Old October 11th, 2018, 07:32 AM #9
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Beautiful rifle! I've long been trying to collect a USMC infantry rifle sampling...and the Winchester Lee is still a missing.
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Old October 12th, 2018, 06:27 PM #10
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That’s absolutely stunning! I’d love to get my hands on one of those some day. Can’t wait to see pictures of the K98k!
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