Looking for helpful info on Browning Model 65 .218 BEE


December 2, 2006, 05:25 PM
Hi Folks,

Today, I purchased what I think to be a somewhat rare rifle. It's a Browning Model 65 lever-action .218 BEE caliber. I'd guess it is mint condition. It's in the original box with the manual and a limited edition Browning staghorn-handled hunting knife and sheath. This is the first rifle I've ever purchased (always been a handgun man myself) so I'm very ignorant of rifle details.

This rifle is highly engraved on the breech and lever; lots of scroll work and engraved grouse and gobbler on one side. The stock is black walnut with several engravings of oak leaves with acorns and on the bottom of the forearm is another large oak leaf with 2 acorns. Could some of you rifle experts out there help with some info? Is this rifle fairly rare? Is it worth anything or where can I discover its value? Any info would be greatly appreciated. I'm TOLD this rifle may be one of 3500 of the .218 BEE caliber, but that the engravings or grade make it 1 out of 500 produced. The knife says it's 1 of 1500 just above the hilt. I'll try to post some pics:

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December 2, 2006, 05:29 PM
This is the awesome knife that came with the rifle. I'm hoping I stumbled on a good deal with this purchase.

December 2, 2006, 05:52 PM
I don't have a clue. Looking at the Blue Book, the Grade 1 has a blue receiver and no checkering - 3500 made in 1989. The High Grade has a greyed receiver (and lever) with scroll engraving and gold plated animals, gold trigger, deluxe checkered walnut stock - 1500 made.

Sounds like you got the best of both worlds - checkered stock and engraving and no little gold animals.

According to last year's Blue Book, they're both selling for the last MSRP - $550 and $850.

What does the box say on the end, anything?

Nice knife, BTW.


December 2, 2006, 05:55 PM
So the first thing that comes up on Google is the shop around the corner from my parents. They have decent prices and a good selection. They want $799 for this plain one.


December 2, 2006, 06:00 PM
www.griffinhowe.com/riflemoreinfo.cfm (no pics) wants $1600 for a like-new High Grade. JT

And $1000 for a like-new Grade 1.

December 2, 2006, 06:02 PM
As mentioned, there were 3500 grade 1 rifles made, 1500 High Grade, made in 1989/1990. The High Grade should have a french grey receiver and lever with gold plated animals on the side. Never seen one engraved and blued though, Eastman doesn't list that option in his book either.

That does not look like the Browning engraving either, here is a link a pic of a high grade.

However Browning would make special models if someone ordered enough of them.

December 2, 2006, 06:08 PM
High Grade with a knife for $2250. JT

"This is an unfired new in box Browning Model 65 Delux lever action 218 Bee. This rifel is 520 of 1500 and comes with a box of ammo. And a limited edition Model 65 Browning Stag Drop Point Hunting Knife which is also 1 of 1500."



December 2, 2006, 06:09 PM
Prices are all over the place, aren't they. I'm really curious about this model.


December 2, 2006, 06:40 PM
Man, you guys are terrific! Thanks a million.

Yes, I agree. The prices are all over the map. I especially like the $2200 price....HA!

I couldn't find a Model 65 on the web that had the oak leaf and acorn detailing on the stock and forearm. I'm sure it could be a custom.

I just noticed the box says it's a Grade 1. The end of the serial number is *****PN167. I'm wondering if that is the "issue number" out of the 3500 or maybe the 500 produced as the previous owner told me.

This rifle is definitely unfired, and I would guess that today was one of the only times it's ever been "levered." It has no movement marks on the hammer or elsewhere; no loading scuffs on the port.

This has been an interesting purchase; especially for a non-collector like me. I'm probably going to sell it once I find out everything about it. I like guns I can touch and shoot; not these pretty guns that take up safe space. I think it's making me nervous already...HA!

Thanks, again, for your terrific help!
Jeff in Virginia

December 2, 2006, 06:51 PM
Here is a picture of the muzzle end of the forearm (obviously). It is a different color from the other metal. The previous owner said it was "rose metal" or something like that. My problem is; he didn't really know and I certainly don't know.

Bullet Bob
December 2, 2006, 07:04 PM
I'd be willing to bet real money that some owner had the engraving and stockwork done, instead of it being factory original. After the metal was engraved, it had to be reblued - someone got the nose piece a little too hot, and that's where the plum color came from.

They are great little rifles, and you have a fantastic shooter there. Have a Lyman 66 aperture sight put on, and enjoy.

The knives are of high quality, also.

December 2, 2006, 07:16 PM
The SN letters in this auction ad for a High Grade match yours: PN
I don't know what it means, but it's curious.


Jim Watson
December 2, 2006, 08:25 PM
That is very elementary engraving, I have never seen anything so plain and coarse on a Browning.
The stock checkering and carving is not of Browning style or quality, either.
I think somebody had a Grade I dressed up by a journeyman engraver and you have neither fish nor fowl.
B. Bob is right.

December 2, 2006, 08:58 PM
Yes, I was afraid of that. I'm guessing maybe the engraving trashes its value, yes???

The Real Hawkeye
December 2, 2006, 09:06 PM
Your box says "Grade 1," so mystery solved. It's a customized Grade 1. I have a plain, unaltered, Grade 1 Model 65 Browning myself. Ammo sure is expensive to buy loaded for this gun, considering it shoots something less powerful than a .223, but only with flat faced bullets, so the range is short too. Put a Lyman receiver mounted peep sight on it and use it for plinking, but it's going to get pretty expensive shooting it much. Enjoy.

The Real Hawkeye
December 2, 2006, 09:09 PM
Yes, I was afraid of that. I'm guessing maybe the engraving trashes its value, yes???Yes, unfortunately. Not a particularly useful weapon either, I'm afraid. Wish I could be more positive for you. Some people find it useful for some things, I suppose. ;) Probably a good coon hunting gun.

December 2, 2006, 09:16 PM
Ugggh.....Well, I certainly appreciate the information; so, thank you! I had hoped I didn't buy a pig in a poke. I seriously doubt I'll ever shoot it. Considering it is ~17 years old and never-fired, I'll probably let it remain as such. I saw the ammo was a bit pricey on the web. Hopefully, I'll find a collector with some interest. Thanks again!

HA! I did get a really nice knife out of the deal :oD

December 2, 2006, 11:41 PM
Not so fast! Where did that lnofe come from that was only sold with the 1500 high grades. Even if it is a forgery,and it is, it is nice enough done (although the engraving is pretty crude) to prolly command $1500-$1200 around these parts at least.:)

December 3, 2006, 12:35 AM
Hmmmm...very astute of you! That's a good question. The knife definitely came with the gun; a perfectly machined styrofoam cutout for it in the box, but the box label does say Grade 1!!!??? Another conundrum rears its ugly head.....:confused:

I would love to know what the original owner knew AND told his daughter about it being 1 of 500 subtypes out of the 3500 manufactured. He has long ago passed away and all the pertinent facts with him. :banghead:

I purchased this rifle from a guy who bought it from the original owner's daughter, so who knows how diluted the actual facts have become.

The Real Hawkeye
December 3, 2006, 01:42 AM
Contact Browning. Giver them the serial number and description, and box label. See what they come up with.

December 3, 2006, 09:31 AM
Good idea! Thanks!

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