opinions on Winchester 88


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roscoe
May 21, 2003, 04:42 AM
Does anyone have experience with the Winchester 88 lever action? I have seen a few used ones around here for the $350-$400 range and am intrigued. I have a soft spot for the lever action and while looking around at the Savage 99s I stumbled across a couple Winchester 88s. I had never heard of them before. My preference is for .308 caliber, which the Winchesters seem to be. I know that the 88 has a detachable box-type magazine and that gives some people the fits, but they seem to fit flush.

Are they accurate (how much less accurate than a comparable bolt gun)? Reliable? The only new lever .308 I see is the Browning, in the $900 range.

Thanks!

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Joe Demko
May 21, 2003, 07:51 AM
I have one, got it from Dad who bought it new way back when..., in .243 Winchester. also shot a couple others and pawed a bunch at gun shows. Accuracy for the first couple shots is on a par with the bolt actions from that same period. These things do have really thin barrels which heat up quickly, though. My only major complaint about the 88 is that I have yet to see one that didn't have a mushy trigger. They pre-date the liability-proof Godzilla triggers of today, so it isn't a heavy trigger. Just long and mushy.

Mike Irwin
May 21, 2003, 11:45 AM
They're generally nice guns, and usually pretty accurate, but I've never really cared for the stocks on them. I'm much fonder of the lines on the Savage 99.

88s and the semi-auto 100 were recalled a number of years ago due to a potential firing pin problem. If you buy one, you'll want to contact US Repeating Arms Co. to see if your gun was updated.

I have heard, though, that magazines are very hard to find and extremely expensive.

If I were going to buy a .308 or .243 lever rifle, I'd pick the Savage 99 first, the Browning BLR second, and the 88 third based strictly on my personal preferences.

HSMITH
May 21, 2003, 05:30 PM
I have an 88 and Dad has a 99, both in 284 win. My 88 will do 1.5" for 3 shots at 100 yards on a good day, the 99 will do half that easily, and do it for as long as you want to shoot....

The 88 is much smoother and slicker in the action, and faster on the lever throw. It just plain operates better.

Magazines in 308 and 243 are not that hard to find, 284 magazines are nearly impossible to find. Look to pay $75-100 for one in good shape, and a 243 mag works just fine in 308 guns and vice versa. The 284 mags are $125 and up if you can find one.

The stocks on either an 88 or a 99 make for some serious recoil in the 308 and up power levels.

Both are good guns, I prefer the 88 after years with both. Dad likes the 99 after years with both.

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