Is the Winchester 88 Underrated or Overrated?


December 5, 2012, 10:19 PM

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Carne Frio
December 5, 2012, 10:22 PM
Had one in .308 forty years ago. Gifted it to an
inlaw and it's still going deer hunting every year.

December 5, 2012, 10:24 PM

December 5, 2012, 10:30 PM
never shot one, but knew someone with a 88 in 308, he loved it.
I have a Savage model 99 in 300 Savage, so I never wanted one.
Just a lever of a different variety. It's a Winchester, I expect it's good !!

December 5, 2012, 10:44 PM
A bit bulky for a .243 and the .308 beat me silly before I traded it.
But the .243 is very accurate.
Fit, finish, wood and checkering of the late 1950's 88's are all superb.

December 5, 2012, 10:46 PM
Excellent gun! I still kick myself for letting mine go.

December 5, 2012, 11:05 PM
I have a first year .308 and I love it. It's my go to deer gun. My only complaint is the trigger, but I'm used to it so it's not an issue for me.

December 5, 2012, 11:44 PM
I bought a 88 in .308 a few years ago to see what the rifle is like and work the lever!

I have used a Savage 99 as my woods rifle since 1966 and I got the 88 just for the fun of it.

I like the rifle. Mine shoots well.

December 6, 2012, 04:12 AM
A 88 in .308 was my grandfathers go to deer hunting rifle for more years than I have been on the planet. I'm still jealous that my step brother ended up with the rifle .:(

December 6, 2012, 05:02 AM
I like them, my brother recently snagged a sweet one in .308 for $600. Bought and sold a few when we had the gun shop but never kept one. I almost bought one last night I saw on Armslist, the rifle was posted for $450 OBO. The guy emailed me some pictures in addition to the listing. This is the listing ( but he told ne there were a few places with pitting. The pictures showed the pitting and one spot on the barrel was pretty rough. Real nice straight up guy and I let it go. If I see a good one in the $600 to $700 range I would likely jump on it. Anyway, I liked the ones that passed through my hands, well built rugged rifle and they were accurate.


December 6, 2012, 08:04 AM

December 6, 2012, 01:46 PM
I have posted previously that my son-in-law has an M88 and an M100. The M88 is pre-64 with nice wood and checkering probably 90% blueing intact and only a few small scratches in the stock. The action seems to be reasonably smooth for a gun not used in many years. The bore is nice and bright---I don't think it was ever shot that much. It does not have the front sight hood. It is chambered in .284Win which is the rarest but the ammo is very hard to find. The trigger, I've read is a drawback but I haven't found it to be overly difficult or gritty. The M100 won't fire and I think the firing pin is broken.

Anyway, the M88 is a beautiful rifle and I have always liked the looks of a nice levergun. I have not shot the M88 yet---must search on-line for some ammo.

December 6, 2012, 01:56 PM
used a Mod 88- in .308Win for many years, killed many elk,moose and deer and several bear with it, recently had it re-barreled and chambered to .338 Federal, shoots very well and looking forward to using it next moose season, :)

December 6, 2012, 07:34 PM
They're good guns, but not great guns. I'd rather have a Browning BLR, personally.

December 6, 2012, 08:05 PM
A buddy of mine has a 88 in every caliber they were made in. His three brothers and his son all have 88's in .308. They have been good to them.

December 7, 2012, 04:51 PM
I've always liked them. Mushy trigger that can't be fixed and the stock at the magazine area is thin and prone to breakage if treated harshly but I love the relatively short lever throw; the one-piece stock; the removeable magazine and especially the looks and finish. Too pricey for me now but I'd sure like to have one chambered in .358 Winchester (it would be an appropriate counterpart to my Savage Model 99, chambered in .358).

December 7, 2012, 06:22 PM
Buy all you can find as investment, noone makes rifles like this anymore.

December 7, 2012, 06:38 PM
I have a first year one in .308. I keep it because it was my father's rifle. It shoot ok, does not fit me well and I am just not a lever gun guy.

December 8, 2012, 02:26 PM
I hunted deer with a buddy that has one in .284. He killed a running deer at 400 yards in one shot. He is an amazing shot but the rifle is the real deal.
His was amazing. Faster and as accurate as a good bolt action. Never had a problem with it.

December 8, 2012, 08:32 PM
As much as I like the looks and handling of the M88, I voted "over rated". It's numerous good points just can't overcome that awful trigger and unlike most rifles, there really isn't anything that can done about it.
It's not a lawyer issue, Winchester designers wanted the trigger to swing with the lever (like the later BLR) and that's not a good idea if you want a light, consistent and safe trigger pull.

While Savage 99s don't always have great triggers, a good 'smith that knows the rifle can usually get them down to a reasonably crisp, repeatable four pounds or better with complete safety, unlike the '88 or BLR (at least in my very limited experience).

My apologies for the following, I promise I'm not trying to derail the thread.

mach1.3 - I'm fairly certain that there's still a recall in effect for the M100 firing pin. As of 7 or 8 years ago when I had mine done, the recall number was 1-800-852-5734. IIRC they just shipped me the parts along with a voucher to pay for the installation.
If this information is outdated, I'm sure a web search will get you current info.

December 9, 2012, 09:01 AM
I see several mentions here of the trigger not being very good, but I have not noticed any problems with mine. I'm traveling now and can't try it, but from memory it seems no different from my other deer rifles. Mine was made very late in the production period, within the last few hundred rifles made, maybe the trigger is among the many improvements they made over the years of production.

December 9, 2012, 10:39 AM
i just traded a rem742 for a mod 88 im tickled pink

December 9, 2012, 08:04 PM
Good grief!! Were you holding a gun on him at the time? You traded a jam-o-matic (I've owned two of them) for an American classic, congrats!!

December 9, 2012, 08:15 PM
i just traded a rem742 for a mod 88 im tickled pink

You're the winner-big time!

December 9, 2012, 11:05 PM
My friends father died a few months ago and told me he was the foreman working on the gun, for Win.

December 11, 2012, 12:04 AM
I returned home and tried the trigger on my 1973 Model 88, and it is just fine and dandy, no complaints at all. I wonder if this is one of the things Winchester improved over the years of production? I am not an expert on these guns, but my research indicated they were not problem free at the beginning, and significant improvements were made over the years, with the best shooters being the post '64 guns.

December 13, 2012, 01:17 AM
significant improvements were made over the years, with the best shooters being the post '64 guns.

EVERYONE knows that everything about pre 64 Winchesters is FAR superior to all the cobbled together garbage created after that unholy date... :)

It MUST be true, I read it on the internet!

Honestly, you may have something there, but I've tried out more than a few and was uniformly unimpressed, I never checked their production dates though.

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