Winchester Model 88


August 17, 2012, 12:31 AM
The local online classifieds has a post-64 Winchester model 88 in .308 in what the seller states as being in excellent condition. The original butt plate has been removed and a recoil pad added although seller says that stock has not been shortened or altered otherwise. Any information on value and what else to look for would be greatly appreciated.

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August 17, 2012, 11:22 AM
I've always liked the Model 88. The .308 is probably the most popular chambering in this rifle and I would guess that the .243 would come in second; all of which is to say that, in terms of monetary value, the rarer .358 or .284 calibers would be of greater worth than the more common chamberings. The post-64 status, probably afflicted with the pressed basket-weave checkering, does not help the value. Finally, it's very unusual for any rifle to not have had the stock shortened in order to retain the factory length of pull distance when a recoil pad is added. Any alteration to the stock will adversely affect the value of the rifle. But, if, as you say, the stock was not cut when the pad was installed, that's a good thing in terms of collector's worth. Hopefully, the original butt-plate is still around because a replacement might be very difficult to locate.
In excellent condition, with an unaltered stock and butt-plate, the post-64 Model 88 should fetch in the neighborhood of $800.00 to as high as a grand. If the stock has been chopped, it'll lose at least a couple of hundred dollars in value. However, if you aren't a collector, per se, and just want the rifle to hunt with, the added pad, especially if the stock has been cut to make the rifle conform to factory dimensions, will make it more useful and affordable. Ironically I suppose, if you plan on using the rifle yourself and want a recoil pad on a rifle to fit you in terms of length of pull, you'll have to have that nice, original stock cut...:banghead:

Sav .250
August 17, 2012, 11:27 AM
You can also try See what they are actively going for.

August 17, 2012, 04:28 PM
Thanks for the replies. I have looked online for pricing but the seller is asking $1000, which I believe is overpriced without the original buttplate (he doesn't have it). If the stock hasn't been modified what would a reasonable offer be versus if the stock has been shortened.

August 18, 2012, 11:23 AM

Neat old lever action, but unless you're a collector $1,000 seems like a lot for an otherwise unremarkable 1.5+ MOA rifle. It’s Achilles heal is the lack of support from Winchester. Spare parts are non-existent and spare magazines are rarer than hens teeth. How many magazines does it come with? For me, that would be a HUGE factor. At least 3 or 4 would be nice. Luckily it’s a .308, the most common caliber, but spare OEM mags can run $90 plus, IF you can even find them. Aftermarket mags, of less than stellar quality, sell for $50+. Would not be suprised to find that the butt plate is a standard part common to many Winchester rifles of that era. If so, that would be the eaisest, and least costly, thing to correct. With one mag and an aftermarket butt pad, I might be a buyer in the $500 range.

August 18, 2012, 12:36 PM
If the stock hasn't been modified what would a reasonable offer be versus if the stock has been shortened.

If the rifle is in the condition you say ("excellent") and if the stock has not been altered in any way, I'll stick with the amount I guestimated at in my earlier post: $800.00 low to $1,000.00 high. If the stock has been altered to accomodate a recoil pad and if the pad was installed nicely, $500.00 to maybe $600.00. If the stock was not cut but comes sans the factory butt plate and the factory plate is unique to the Model 88 (thus hard to find), I would guess the value to be between $600.00 and $800.00. If, however, the factory buttplate was common to all Winchester rifles of the era (as poster Kernel speculates might be the case; thus making it much easier to locate), I would guess the rifle to be worth between $700.00 and $900.00.

Full disclosure: though I'm a big fan of the Model 88, I'm no expert. I owned one chambered in .358 very briefly in 1963 (sad story I won't go into here :(), but I don't collect them. I'm a member of the Ohio Gun Collector's Association and the value estimates/guestimates speculated above is based on nothing more than what I've seen the asking prices of Model 88s on dealers' shelves and tables to have been over the past many years.

I have a couple of questions for the op: Is the Model 88 you're looking at a carbine or a rifle and does it have hand-cut checkering or impressed basket-weave "checkering"?

August 18, 2012, 07:42 PM
It's the rifle version and pressed checkering. Thanks again for replies. I don't want to insult the seller with an offer too low but I wouldn't want to overpay either.

August 18, 2012, 07:52 PM
I will add that I have always been drawn to lever actions for whatever reason. I have a Marlin 22 lever and a Winchester 92 in .357. I like the idea of a .308 lever but didn't know if I was spending that kind of money if I should look into Browning BLR. I do like the looks of the model 88. It would be shot but mostly for fun as I have bolt actions that I hunt with as well.

August 18, 2012, 10:09 PM
Well, I owned a Model 88 in .308 for about 20 years (inherited it from my Dad) and finally sold it a few years ago.

I never really liked it because of the way the action worked. Two things:

1) In order for the lever to accomplish the three lug rotating lockup (and unlock during action opening) it needs to have a very complex lever mechanism that includes actuators that create a mechanical disadvantage, especially at the full open position.

2) As such, when closing the lever it strains to strip a round from the magazine and makes it so you have to be somewhat forceful to chamber a round.

This action is nowhere near as smooth as any traditional lever action such as an 1886, 1892, 1894, any Marlin, etc.

I would recommend trying this rifle out to see if it handles the way you want before committing to buying it.

Oh, and $1000.00 is off the charts to me. I sold my Dad's pre-64, in perfect condition for $650.00 a few years ago and it was considered to be the going rate at the time.


August 18, 2012, 11:34 PM
winchester had a few years of R&D to get the 88 and the 100 right but the 100 didn't quite work out, kind of disappointing to me.

August 19, 2012, 12:04 AM
I would pass on an M88 with pressed checkering.

I bought a M88 with cut checkering a couple of years ago at a dealers in 308 for $450 with an old Lyman scope.

It does have a compass in it's stock but it still looks good and shoots very well.

Keep looking.

August 19, 2012, 02:40 PM
In our part of Pennsylvania, a good 88 sells for $650. - $750. depending upon condition and quality of scope that comes with it.


August 19, 2012, 04:34 PM
Thanks guys. I do like the looks of the pre-64 better. The model 88 appeals to me for some reason. I just like the way it looks. I'll just keep a look out for the "right" one.

Vern Humphrey
August 19, 2012, 06:18 PM
For that kind of money, I'd go on line and buy a Savage 99 instead.

August 19, 2012, 07:07 PM
Just curious, why the Savage?

Vern Humphrey
August 19, 2012, 07:08 PM
A better lever action, lighter and available in the same caliber.

Vern Humphrey
August 19, 2012, 07:31 PM

Savage 99E 308 933291454
Savage 99E Rifle in 308. Metal is 100%, blueing is 100% and bore is 100%, like new! Beautiful casehardening colors on lever. Wood has 3 small spots where lacquer has flaked off. Ot... (read more)


August 19, 2012, 08:59 PM
For that kind of money, I'd go on line and buy a Savage 99 instead.

Yes, the Savage 99. I bought one new when I was in high school in .308. The rifles made in that era had the built-in rotary magazine with a little counter window on the side. It was one of the smoothest actions because of the rotary magazine. It was not removable and I think Savage made a mistake with later models that had a removable srping loaded magazine, not near as good.

I sold it in an act of stupidity (needed money for a motorcycle). It was much better than my Dad's 88 (to me).


Vern Humphrey
August 19, 2012, 09:39 PM
My dad hunted with a 99 Savage when he was in Etheopia -- in .250-3000, believe it or not -- and killed among other things a lion, a cheetah, and a lesser kudu good enough for Roland Ward.

August 19, 2012, 11:17 PM
Having fooled with both the 88 and the 99 extensively:
There s nothing as elegant as a 50s 99F or better grade .308 with a Lyman All American Perma Center scope on it for all around deer hunting. I can get 1.5 MOA 5 shot groups out of mine with the right load and the 4x Lyman post with its nice 4# trigger.
Now I could actually get smaller than MOA groups with the pre and post .308 Winchester 88s I had (I had more 88s but only 2 .308s) and there is not a slicker faster lever action than a good running 88 which is what is was designed to be!
The 88 is clunkier however , even the carbines, and the actions are much more finnicky than the tried and proven 99 action!
Both companies cheezyed both the 88 and 99 up until their demise, word to the wise!
I can buy post 64 88s all day long as described for $450 BTW.

August 20, 2012, 07:49 PM
So, Gordon, in your opinion, would I be happier with a pre 64 88 than a post? Like I said, I do prefer the cut checkering. Are there any other differences between pre and post?

August 21, 2012, 12:22 AM
The cut checkering and walnut and finish on the pre 64s are better, the earlier the better if you are dead set on an 88. The mechanism when it works right is very slick and fast, but kind Rube Goldberg and not super stout in the long haul

August 21, 2012, 02:42 PM
$1000 is way too high for a post-64 gun. I sold a really nice post-64 model 88 in 308 win for $700. The gun was probably 98%. Very clean. Now if it was a 284 win. or a pre-64 I would say yes and write a check.

August 21, 2012, 05:37 PM
I almost forgot. Be sure to check the magazine. An after market magazine cuts into the resale value and to replace it with an original is $50 and up.

Been there, done that.

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