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So I'm Considering a Winchester 88...

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by barnbwt, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. barnbwt

    barnbwt Well-Known Member

    I have a good line on one with a broken/ruined stock for ~400$ (maybe less). The action is functional (308), and a magazine is included. Since I've made stocks before, this seems like the cheapest way for me to get into one of these cool rifles at the moment. Is there anything on these guns I need to look out for, or additional expenses (besides the stock) I should be prepared to deal with?

    I already have a 308 bolt rifle and a semiauto, I just need a lever, pump, and a belt-fed to round out the collection :D. For whatever reason, the comparable Savage 99 seems more expensive, and the elusive Sako Finnwolf is, well, elusive.

  2. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    I bought a REALLY nice 99 in .300 Savage few months ago for $499 at the LGS. Blue is virtually 100%, wood 95+.
  3. barnbwt

    barnbwt Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but I'm into project rifles at the moment and trying to keep this under 400$. I'm sure there are 99's that fit the bill out there, I just can't find 'em ;). The webz seem to indicate that 88 vs 99 is much like 500 vs 870; both fine firearms, both with a fanatical following (which indicates both are fine firearms :D)

    There's definitely more 308 stuff for the 88 on Gunbroker, seems the 300 Savage was the more prolific model

  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    It better be a lot less if you have to try to make a stock for it on your first rodeo at stock making.

  5. barnbwt

    barnbwt Well-Known Member

    I've done stocks before; they take a long time, but I do a good job. May not be such a bad idea anyway, I've heard the factory stocks were somewhat prone to cracking. Are the actions themselves pretty consistent, or are they a little finnicky gun-to-gun?

    I'm especially interested in these old rifles after seeing first-hand the poor quality of a Marlin/Remlin/Marlington/Whatever Guid Gun in 45-70 today--who the heck doesn't deburr the lever-loop on their guns before shoving them out the door? :scrutiny:

  6. Takem406

    Takem406 Well-Known Member

    My dad bought one after he came back from Vietnam.
    That rifle has killed so many deer and even elk.
    He just uses an old 4x Weaver but he's reaches out and touched stuff!

    Not sure on the price but they are a great rifle. Keep the action clean and lubed.

    In God and Glock we Trust
  7. jakk280rem

    jakk280rem Well-Known Member

    The only real issue, if you can call it that, is the pressed in barrel. Once its shot, that's all she wrote. Price seems a bit high if it's a post-'64 with a ruined stock.
  8. barnbwt

    barnbwt Well-Known Member

    Really? The barrel cannot be replaced? Hmmm, may have to cogitate on that...

    Are the barrels thick enough to be drilled/relined? Or can the stump of the old barrel be drilled out and a new one turned/pressed in? The one I'm looking at is a 1956, so it's conceivable that the barrel has seen a lot over the years (not that 308 burns out quickly, but 50yrs is a lot of target practice --potentially)

  9. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Well-Known Member

    This is true. Ask me how I know. :mad:

    In terms of the general configuration and purpose, the comparison seems apropos. But in terms of specific features (like the radically different bolt lock-up designs of the two rifles; the rotary magazine of the 99 (though Savage did make models that had removeable box mags like the 88); the 99's two-piece stock vs the 88's one-piece stock and the 99's more traditional trigger separate from the lever design vs the 88's departure from tradition with its trigger staying with the lever design), the 500 and 870 shotguns are far more similar in design and concept than are the 99 and 88 rifles.
    I've always liked the Model 88 (and the Model 99 as well). I'm thinking that it might make more sense, economically speaking, to look for a Model 88 with a beat-up but not broken stock (and priced accordingly) and (especially because you have wood-working skills) re-finish it as opposed to crafting a whole new stock.
    Anyhow, good luck in your endeavors. I'd be interested to know what you finally decide to do.
  10. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

    Rogue River Rifle Works in Paso Robles, California used to be a Winchester Model 88 specialist (no longer in business from what I've been able to find out). They would re-barrel an 88 to improve accuracy along with a complete overhaul of the trigger mechansm.

    I once sent for one of their brochures since I had inherited my Dad's 88 in .308. The prices were north of $5k so that was as far as that went. I sold the 88 (never liked that gun for a number of reasons) and replaced it with a Browning X-Bolt Medallion.

  11. barnbwt

    barnbwt Well-Known Member

    That's a pretty good summary of the differences I'd heard of. I found the lack of a clear winner (88 or 99) somewhat suprising considering the number of diifferences in how each rifle accomplishes essentially the same end product.

    I might as well just come clean and admit that I'm gonna buy the thing :eek:, I've been pining for a lever-308 for about as long as I realized they actually existed :D, and I love me some project guns.

    Ya'know, I am rebarrelling a Steyr M95 to 50 Alaskan, and the Winchester 88 was offered in 358... :uhoh:

  12. rust collector

    rust collector Well-Known Member

    One possibility

    Laminates also available http://www.boydsgunstocks.com/product.htm?pid=13680&cat=1227

    I had a post 64 model 88 in 308 which I sold to my brother. He has enjoyed it. Forend was lighter than butt end, and it had some nasty acorn motif pressed checkering, but it worked like a dream. Mags are rare and expensive--the model 100 mag is similar, but has the bolt retainer on the mag.
  13. mach1.3

    mach1.3 Well-Known Member

    my $0.02

    I love the look and feel of the M88. My son-in-law inherited one from his Dad. It is a pre-64 version with real point checkering and all original stock and bluing probably 90-95%. The only problem is it's chambered in .284Win. That makes it a rare collectors piece but we like to shoot our guns and ammo is very hard to find. The rifle has original iron sights but is missing the hood for the front sight. The M88 gets a bad rap for it's trigger pull--this one seems to have a very nice trigger pull/break. It's really a cool rifle and an American Classic since it is handed down from his father. His father lived in Minnesota and New Mexico so he probably shot some deer or antelope whilst they were playing on the range.

    He also has an M100 in .308Win. Only that one has a broken firing pin.
  14. barnbwt

    barnbwt Well-Known Member

    I didn't know Boyd's sold anything for 74$, let alone the stock for a gun I'm interested in :cool:. I've decided to take the plunge on this purchase, since it is fully functional, has a good-looking barrel, and includes a magazine. Considering that a field-worn gun with a "functional" damaged stock goes for north of 600$ these days (700$ if it's a <64 like this one), I think I'll make out okay in the end. Updates to follow.

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  15. soonerfan85

    soonerfan85 Well-Known Member

    Bought a born in '67 model 88 in .308 today with a Leupold Vari X III 1.5-5 scope for $750. The gun itself is in good shape with its fair share of character in the wood but no cracks. Bluing looks to be about 70%. The ones I've see for sale online for $800+ all look to be in better condition than mine. All that to say you can find these rifles in good shape for a reasonable price.

    Macon Gun Stocks and Bob's Gun Shop both have stocks for sale for under $200.

    Be sure and post photos of the stock when you're finished.
  16. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Well-Known Member

    I just bought a 1957 88 in .308 ($300, a steal). Word to the wise....do NOT take the thing apart without two slave pins. I bought it from a buddy who got it for $100 because the firing pin was broken. He disassembled it and put in a new firing pin (another $100). Couldn't get it back together so he sold it to me for $300. I bought two slave pins from Nu-Line ($5) and with the help of the manual, got it back together.
    It is basically not possible to re - assemble the thing without the slave pins.
    Nice gun though, points and shoots real nice. Recoil is rough.
  17. toiville2feathers

    toiville2feathers Well-Known Member

    The barrels on an 88 can be replaced. A friend of mine has got 2 of them out in Montana right now at a barrel maker getting a half round/octagon barrel made for him and his brother in 284 caliber. He also has one that was done by the same maker in and Octagon twist barrel in 358 caliber. Beautiful rifle,its a piece of art. He built the stock him self, and by trade he is a silver smith. So he has silver stanchions of elk and moose on the receiver, the wood has silver and turquoise in lay on it. He carries this rifle when he hunts, He says he built that way to enjoy hunting with it better. I told him some one might shoot him and take it.
  18. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Well-Known Member

    .358 Winchester was one of the original calibers it was chambered for. Good luck finding one of those original .358s though....they go for a premium.
  19. stiab

    stiab Well-Known Member

    I found this one a couple years ago for $695 plus tax, mint condition, minus the scope, and killed two deer with it last season. Other than the cosmetics of the stock/checkering, don't worry about a post-64. The M88 were not problem free at introduction, and improvements were actually made over the years so that some of the best shooters are the later ones.

  20. Savage99

    Savage99 Well-Known Member

    Quote from above:

    "The only real issue, if you can call it that, is the pressed in barrel."

    I didn't know M88 Winchesters had pressed in barrels?

    Do they?

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