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Thread: Winchester 71 348wcf?

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Default Winchester 71 348wcf?

    I noticed that the new Win. company is producing the model 71 again in 348. Anybody out there use this caliber or see a need for it? Pretty much same as 358 but case is more unique from what I can see - neet rifle but at $80.00 a box retail for their new 200grain Silvertips I don't see it lasting on the market for long?
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    The 71 carries significant collector interest so they bring it around every few years. It won't do anything you can't do with a dozen other cartridges but it has a certain panache.

    Only rifle ever chambered in .348 and the .348 is only chambered in the '71. It works now like it did years ago, I'd like to have one but it's not high on my list. A couple of Alaska gunsmiths made a cottage industry wildcatting them and rechambering them in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Some of those guns are still around in use and make a rare find on the used market. Browning made them a while back at Miroku and I'd be surprised if these aren't made there too.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    I noticed that the new Win. company is producing the model 71 again in 348. Anybody out there use this caliber or see a need for it? Pretty much same as 358 but case is more unique from what I can see - neet rifle but at $80.00 a box retail for their new 200grain Silvertips I don't see it lasting on the market for long?
    I have three original Winchester 71s. They are some of the finest leverguns ever built. I would never consider selling them. Definately part of my permanent collection. With bolt peep sights mine are quite accurate. I reload 250 gr barnes originals in mine. So ammo expense is not that bad. Boondocks sold me factory silvertips for $58 a box last winter. $80 a box seems exceptionally high priced.

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    I used to own a mid 1950s Winchester made Model 71 and I regret selling it every day.
    The new ones are made in Japan by Miroku. I can't get excited about those....
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    The 71 is a peach of a rifle design, heavy enough for offhand work, but with a balance that makes carrying one in the hand a pleasure. the stocks are shaped perfectly for using the irons, as it should be, to scope one would be sacrilege. The originals were blessed with the option of possibly the finest aperture sight ever devised for a woods rifle. The 348 is, as you said essentially a 358 Win with a funny shaped case and odd diameter bullet. While no hotrod by todays standards, it is certainly a fine cartridge for most NA hunting inside of 200 yards. A very good friend of mine has an early Deluxe, sadly without the boltpeep, but with the addition of a side mounted peepsight it is a great shooter. I helped him solve the oddball bullet dilema by making him a simple swage die that screws into any standard reloading press. One pull on the Rockchucker squeezes a well lubed .358 bullet down to .3485, with this system any bullet suited to the 35 REM can be used in the 348, and 35 caliber bullets designed for the 35Rem have the virtue of being cheap.

    Overall I doubt you will be dissapointed should you decide to grab a 71, whether new or old. I'm going to own one some day, problem is I'm picky and I have my heart set on an original carbine, preferably a Deluxe of course. For some reason I can't explain, there is just something about 71's and once you've handled one you may find out what i mean.

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    I wouldn't buy a new winchester, but I like the Mdl 71.

    I'll probably never own one, though. They're just too scarce, to be reasonably priced.

    I talked to someone the other night who had one, and rebarreled it, to 35-348.

    The idea idea of making it an actual 35 Caliber appeals to me.

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    It def has eye appeal and sounds like they took the best parts of the 1886 and improved on the weakest ones to come up with this design. Perhaps they will offer it in other calibers down the road - although a 348 is surely a fine caliber for most uses....

    seant, thats a good buy at $58 - that is wholesale price - I am guessing a retail operation would not sell many and be looking to get them off the shelf....

    On the win websight they listed a std version and a deluxe - if I remember the deluxe may have had the fancier peep site ??? Maybe I should get one and make a trip over to Ioway and get a shoot'n match up with old EKC and that fancy new 375 he's been all puffed up about ??? Hmmm got me think'n now....
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    I'd consider one, but only for a re-bore to a wildcat based off the big 348 case. A Winchester 71 re-bored to 416 Alaskan and chopped down to 20" would make a superb rifle. A rifle to be proud of for sure.

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    I keep thinking I'll buy a Model 71, but when it comes time to put down my hard earned money I shy away. IMO to shoulder a Model 71 and lever the action is to love one. However, for the type of hunting I do they're an inferior design. This is not to say that you can't use one effectively, but due to the weight, the sights and the cartridge limitations the rifle is a hindrance in comparison to other readily available designs. For example, my BLR in .358 Winchester is lighter (even with a mounted scope), has a better trigger, provides better external & terminal ballistics, all at a fraction of the cost of the Model 71. Granted the BLR does not have the charisma of the Model 71, but concerning in the field performance the BLR trumps the 71 in every measurable way. Though its hard to admit to those of us that love them, there are reasons for its production history. As nice and wonderful as the 71 is, there are much better ways to skin a cat.......
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    For some reason I can't explain, there is just something about 71's and once you've handled one you may find out what i mean.
    That's kinda the bottom line. Trying to describe it to someone who hasn't handled one is like trying to describe the taste of water.

    No whizbang ballistics or trajectories by modern standards, expensive, scarce bullets.... All that going against it, yet handling one still makes you wish you owned one.... Sounds like the purest form of gun madness to me. I put myself in that category, and I'm proud of it. I yawn reading the glowing reports on modern ballistics and guns. Kinda like reading about the latest fad in designer blue jeans. Just me, but I'd much rather put the same buxx into an oldie-but-goodie as I'd put in a modern gun or custom.

    I've got my original 71, one of the first rebuilt in 450 Alaskan as a matter of fact, and it's really fun to watch friends handle it or shoot it. They can't describe the taste of water either, but they sure want a 71 of their own after handling mine.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    I keep thinking I'll buy a Model 71, but when it comes time to put down my hard earned money I shy away...... As nice and wonderful as the 71 is, there are much better ways to skin a cat.
    That's why I haven't bought one yet. Good ones are a bit hard to find and priced accordingly. Given their cost and the relative hassle to feed it I just haven't been able to justify it as a pure collector piece. I just like hunting with my guns too much to accept it's limitations in the field although I dearly love them.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Got to hold a couple, but never fired one. From what I understand the Mod. 71 is kind of an improved 1886 Win. They definitely have a cool factor, as do many old Winchester rifles. The original ones are now selling for more then I would consider paying with my budget. If Winchester ever saw fit to make it in the New Haven plant again and it was marked Mod. 71 Winchester, they would sell a bunch of them. The .348 case has lots of potential for a more potent round. I think if it was wildcatted to a blown out .358, .375 or .411 caliber and some stout bullets were made for it, we would have better hunting calibers then the 45-70 or .450 Alaskan. if you can afford one then go for it. I never could warm up to the stupid safeties they now put on lever action rifles and the "Made in Japan" stamp on a barrel turns me off to. Kinda weird though, because I like the "Made in Belgium" stamp on a barrel.

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    If Winchester ever saw fit to make it in the New Haven plant again and it was marked Mod. 71 Winchester, they would sell a bunch of them.
    I think their entire run is sold out...the quality of all the Winchester products is superb

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildalaska View Post
    ...the quality of all the Winchester products is superb
    There's an element here most folks overlook: New models feel "rough" compared to old originals. I was certainly startled to pick up a recent 71 and compare that with my original.

    But guess what? That original has had its action cycled thousands of times and been "slicked up" by use. I've never had the chance to cycle the action on a NIB original 71 and compare that with a NIB current version, but THAT would be the fair comparison.

    I think I know the answer though. I have a number of current Winnies that I've happily cycled a bunch. Close your eyes now and cycle them alongside originals I own in the same model, and you're not going to be able to tell the difference. They slick up real good. Just like the originals slicked up real good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    There's an element here most folks overlook: New models feel "rough" compared to old originals. I was certainly startled to pick up a recent 71 and compare that with my original.

    But guess what? That original has had its action cycled thousands of times and been "slicked up" by use. I've never had the chance to cycle the action on a NIB original 71 and compare that with a NIB current version, but THAT would be the fair comparison.

    I think I know the answer though. I have a number of current Winnies that I've happily cycled a bunch. Close your eyes now and cycle them alongside originals I own in the same model, and you're not going to be able to tell the difference. They slick up real good. Just like the originals slicked up real good.
    Correct the new ones are just as good and due to improvements in materials and CNC maybe even better made than the old. The old likely came out of the box feeling slicker than they do now because they were more loose due to wider tolerances of the hand fitting. New made will be stiff because with a good CNC it’s nothing to hold "true" +/-.0005” time after time (and the Japanese do that better than most) so they are just real tight because nobody had to open things up to make it run. Get some miles on a new one (or some action slicking) and they feel every bit as slick as the old ones.

    On a side note about the subject I used to want a Les Bear 1911 until they started bragging “hand fitted to tighter than CNC tolerances” hear recently. That’s hogwash, CNC can hold tolerances you cant even measure by hand. Hand fitting is great, a well hand fit gun feels like an old friend but never tighter tolerances than a CNC can hold like he says and that blatant marketing fib really turned me off all their stuff.
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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Kinda funny isn't it with lever, pump, and most auto guns that when they have been "worked" a bunch they feel great! Yet, when we go shopping and come across a well used one many times we shy away thinking "oh, this thing is worn out" ! LOL
    When I was competeing in Sporting Clays heavily I wanted to win the state champs in the 12ga pump gun contests. I had sold all my pump guns over the years but grew up with an 870 and that was what I wanted to compete with. So, I bought a new 870 and I wanted that thing to shuck like warm butter - I loaned that gun to everybody that needed one at my range and had several thousand rounds run thru it by summer and it was a gem to shoot!
    Oh, yes, I won that year and have kept the gun!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    One of my favorite rifles the 348 Win with 250gr Barnes FN and Reloader 19.............what a sweet Moose rifle!

    Actually the Browning Mod 71 had closer tolerance than the early 50's version I have.

    Do Not chop up a original Mod 71 to make a 450 or 500 AK...............easy done back in the early 60's when their were lots around but not today!
    Alaska

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    I really, really wanted an original Model 71 years ago. I couldn't afford it, so settled on an original model 86 in 33WCF. That gun has a wonderful trigger. I thought at first it had been worked over, but now I've come to believe it is as it came from the factory, just well broken in. In retrospect, I wish it was in a more useful Alaskan cartridge, like 45-70. With fine sights, a crisp trigger, long barrel, and ample weight, it's easy to see this rifle was a top-shelf hunting rifle built for the American west. It is not a "handy carbine" or "brush gun". I can only imagine that a model 71 in .348 must have been the best of the generation before Mauser-based bolt guns with telescopic sights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30/06 View Post
    I really, really wanted an original Model 71 years ago. I couldn't afford it, so settled on an original model 86 in 33WCF. That gun has a wonderful trigger. I thought at first it had been worked over, but now I've come to believe it is as it came from the factory, just well broken in. In retrospect, I wish it was in a more useful Alaskan cartridge, like 45-70. With fine sights, a crisp trigger, long barrel, and ample weight, it's easy to see this rifle was a top-shelf hunting rifle built for the American west. It is not a "handy carbine" or "brush gun". I can only imagine that a model 71 in .348 must have been the best of the generation before Mauser-based bolt guns with telescopic sights.
    The .348 actually has impressive ballistics when you look at it against any other cartidge designed for a lever. David Pedersoli makes model 1886/71 in 45/70. I'd keep it in .348 and not be afraid to take any big game animal with it. The cartidge was used in the northern U.S. and Canada extensively and proved very useful for large game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    That's kinda the bottom line. Trying to describe it to someone who hasn't handled one is like trying to describe the taste of water.

    No whizbang ballistics or trajectories by modern standards, expensive, scarce bullets.... All that going against it, yet handling one still makes you wish you owned one.... Sounds like the purest form of gun madness to me. I put myself in that category, and I'm proud of it. I yawn reading the glowing reports on modern ballistics and guns. Kinda like reading about the latest fad in designer blue jeans. Just me, but I'd much rather put the same buxx into an oldie-but-goodie as I'd put in a modern gun or custom.

    I've got my original 71, one of the first rebuilt in 450 Alaskan as a matter of fact, and it's really fun to watch friends handle it or shoot it. They can't describe the taste of water either, but they sure want a 71 of their own after handling mine.
    Yep. Harold Fuller of Cooper Landing pulled a .450 caliber hole through mine. Jack Shine put a really fine Circassian walnut stock on it, and no amount of money could buy it away from me. Light to carry, great peep sight, LOTS more than necessary knockdown power, quick to the shoulder and eye, and faithrul as an old dog. A slightly different shoulder angle than Thompson's .450 Alaskan, but really the same rifle.

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