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Thread: Whassup with Winchester?

  1. #1

    Default Whassup with Winchester?

    It's kinda sad when you look at the price tags of the new Winchester lever actions (made in Japan), and when you look at the wonderful variety of models available. Why couldn't they have offered some of those guns(38-55 short rifles,1892 44-40s,button magazines,etc,etc) when they were still being made right here in the good old USA,at a reasonabls price? If they had,perhaps the original factory would still be in operation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce1965 View Post
    It's kinda sad when you look at the price tags of the new Winchester lever actions (made in Japan), and when you look at the wonderful variety of models available. Why couldn't they have offered some of those guns(38-55 short rifles,1892 44-40s,button magazines,etc,etc) when they were still being made right here in the good old USA,at a reasonabls price? If they had,perhaps the original factory would still be in operation.
    1. Tooling was wearing out here but it is newer in Japan
    2. It would not have been any cheaper to make them in the US

  3. #3

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    That sums it up nicely. But a lotta guys just can't forgive them for being so "disloyal" to shooters somehow.

    Not buying today's Winchesters because they quit making the classics in the US is kinda like if I boycotted Chevy because they don't make my favorite 57's any more.

    Life moves on, and I judge today's Winchesters against current models from anyone else, rather than the past. If they stand up to the comparison I'll buy. If not, I won't. If I prefer the classics, I just have to lump the current production and pay collector prices to get them.

    Same for Chevys.

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    I just got a Winchester catalog yesterday. I'm also disappointed by the fact that the only rifle being made in the USA is the Model 70. I'd buy a Model 71 today if it was being made here. As it is, I'll stick with my '50s Model 94 and original 86. Maybe some day they'll produce them here again. Until then, I'm pretty happy with what I have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    That sums it up nicely. But a lotta guys just can't forgive them for being so "disloyal" to shooters somehow.

    Not buying today's Winchesters because they quit making the classics in the US is kinda like if I boycotted Chevy because they don't make my favorite 57's any more.

    Life moves on, and I judge today's Winchesters against current models from anyone else, rather than the past. If they stand up to the comparison I'll buy. If not, I won't. If I prefer the classics, I just have to lump the current production and pay collector prices to get them.

    Same for Chevys.
    Heresy: All the new Winchester replica levers are better in quality than the originals, with the exception of the added safety, which pisses off purists.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Heck to old Winchester has been gone thirty years when USRA started.Many say Winchester has been gone since 1964.For a hundred years Browning has had great guns and none ever built in the U.S.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildalaska View Post
    Heresy: All the new Winchester replica levers are better in quality than the originals, with the exception of the added safety, which pisses off purists.
    Sure thing.

    A few years back I picked up one of their small release of 94's in 25-35, crossbolt safety and all. The purists can cringe all they want, but this thing shoots better than any original I've been able to buy at 3-4 times the price. I'm a shooter first and I don't see any point in "collecting" something overpriced that doesn't shoot well, because shoot it I will. So it seems like a heck of a good deal to me to spend 1/4 the money for something that shoots so much better, and with use is just as smooth cycling as my old originals.

    My attitude is that anyone who complains about my crossbolt safety doesn't get a turn shooting it. And that darned near breaks their heart when they see how much fun I'm having with this little tack driver!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildalaska View Post
    Heresy: All the new Winchester replica levers are better in quality than the originals, with the exception of the added safety, which pisses off purists.
    And if they had dumped the worn out tooling, union contracts, and Connecticut regulations and taxes and moved to a factory with new machines and tooling with non-union jobs at good wages in a right-to-work state, could they not have made just as good a rifle as importing them from Japan, sold them at the same price, and still made money? Or better? While employing Americans?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    ...
    Not buying today's Winchesters because they quit making the classics in the US is kinda like if I boycotted Chevy because they don't make my favorite 57's any more.
    ...
    No, it would be like boycotting Chevy because they made your 2012 Silverado in Mexico. Oh wait, they may have.

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    I don't mind that they're made in Japan, as their work ethic, craftsmanship, and devotion to perfection has made them the finest lever actions Winchester has ever made. My problem is the price. The model 94 and model 92 was supposed to represent an affordable rifle for everyone. Sadly, at over $1000, they're not. I would pay it......but I aint happy about it.

    That Model 71 (fancy grade) had a list price of $1700. If money were no object, that gem would be headed off to get rebored to 416/348.
    That would put the rifle right at $2000 though, which is too rich for my blood.

  10. #10

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    Well, I have been antiquing my "New" M-92 "Takedown" in 45 Long Colt that Wild West Guns Snookered me into. (Antiquing: the act of carrying your sweet M-92 every day on day hikes, which results scratches & dents). Thanks WWG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottr View Post
    And if they had dumped the worn out tooling, union contracts, and Connecticut regulations and taxes and moved to a factory with new machines and tooling with non-union jobs at good wages in a right-to-work state, could they not have made just as good a rifle as importing them from Japan, sold them at the same price, and still made money? Or better? While employing Americans?
    .

    No.
    Miroku has been making limited runs of the levers for years. They make all of Browings guns. Thyey have the expertise, the tolling and a modern facility. The start up costs in the US would be too much given the limited market.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Moving did not bring down the price of Ruger. Winchester profit was from ammo and thats what they kept,probably true for Remington but they let it all go when it was sell time. Here in the states we think Miroku just make Browning/Winchester but the truth is they have been selling guns world wide under their own name long before Browning hired them.

    Just like Japan built better Harleys in the thirties and fourties they build better or at least as good Winchesters today
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  13. #13

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    I don't doubt that they are making a fine quality rifle over in Japan ....just as they are making a fine car over at Toyota--but I won't be trading in my Ford 4X4, or my Mustang anytime soon. The Mustang engine came out of Detroit.. but that's not really the point either. I bought a brand new model 94 in 1998 for $380 before taxes. At that time,if I remember correctly,the Marlins were comparable in price to the Winchesters--not anymore. Now granted it's not 1998 (maybe I' m just getting old) ,and the Marlins price has gone way up too-- but the Winchester markup seems way out of proportion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    The purists can cringe all they want, but this thing shoots better than any original I've been able to buy at 3-4 times the price. I'm a shooter first and I don't see any point in "collecting" something overpriced that doesn't shoot well, because shoot it I will.
    I haven't done anything with my 86 yet. The first thing I did with my 94 was put a Williams peep on it. With that sight (and within the limits of the 30-30 cartridge, of course) it shoots as well as my ability allows. What more can you ask? I've killed everything I've ever shot with it, and the only time it took more than 1 shot was a bear that was already dead but didn't realize it yet and was heading in my son's direction.

    BTW, I picked it up for less than $250 and the bluing wasn't even worn off the receiver. Of course, that was in 1995.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce1965 View Post
    I don't doubt that they are making a fine quality rifle over in Japan ....just as they are making a fine car over at Toyota--but I won't be trading in my Ford 4X4, or my Mustang anytime soon.

    I feel your pain but Toyota is making a ton of their vehicles over here now. I drive a Dodge and favor GM. My truck is just a tool, no personal feelings attached anymore. If it's built here I'm happy enough.

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    I have been waiting for someone to start this thread. Let's start off with Bruce's 1998 price comparison. According to http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ $380.00 had about the same buying power as $536 in 2012 dollars, adjusted for inflation. (Incidentally, my brand new Model 94 in 1991 was $150, so I suspect I got a deal.) Accordingly, it is fair to say that Winchester's markup is approximately double what would be expected given the annual inflation rate over the years.

    But enough of the facts, let's talk about opinions, feelings, and emotions. =)

    I grew up in a Winchester home. My uncle still makes his living buying and selling antique Winchester. (Lucky guy, I know.) Winchester is as American as apple pie. To pick up a Winchester shotgun and see "Made in Turkey" or, even worse, Winchester lever action and see made in Japan, is a shiv to one's heart. It's actually WORSE than seeing made in Mexico on a Chevy. (BTW, the Dodge 1/2 ton's are made there, too. The last, almost fully American made truck-engine drive line, and assembly point-is the F-150.)

    Winchester may not have died back in 64, but it went on life support. The day the bean counters cut quality for profits was the beginning of the end. Today's Winchesters are made by a foreign company, and yes, most are made abroad. To compare today's Winchesters with their current industry peers might be the fair thing to do, but it lets Winchester off the hook and absolves them of the responsibility of their mediocrity. When I compare an SX3 to my Model 50...well, there's no comparison. True the new Model 70 has controlled round feeding, like the pre-64, but the guns just don't feel the same. I KNOW that what's being turned out in Columbia, SC does not make the grade compared to what came out of New Haven, CT. I KNOW that I'm not buying the best gun I can afford. $1600 will get me a very nice pre-64 Model 70 in any caliber I want. Why would I buy something I know to be lesser than. (BTW, has anyone noticed that the "new" Winchester doesn't make a Model 70 with iron sights?)

    So I stick to pre-64 Winchesters, but how long can I do that? Especially in shotguns? Non-toxic, non-steel waterfowl ammo is difficult to find and getting expensive. My ammo for the coming season cost me more than a new Mossberg would have cost me. At some point, I'll have to switch, but it won't be for a foreign made shotgun. While we're discussing foreign made, who here owns a Rossi model 92 clone. I have one; it's stinking awesome! So...if I have to abandon American workers and buy from a foreign company, why would I pay $1000 for a Japanese Winchester, when I can just go buy a Brazilian Winchester for $400?

    On that note, somebody mentioned performance and how happy they were with their modern, Japanese made Winchester as compared to a pre-64 model, and I don't doubt that that's probably true. The reason for that is people like to compare brand new guns to 1920's era Winchesters with pitted barrels. I've seen lots of Model 52's that will out perform any rimfire made today. My Model 50 is every bit as slick as an SX3 and then some.

    Bottom line here is Winchester was once the greatest gun company of all time. It was an American icon. I think even more so than Ford or General Motors. There is nothing more precisely built, more finely crafted, more durable Than a pre-64 Winchester. I'm hunting with a Model 12 that is 77 years old, and it functions better than my buddy's 1990's Remington 870. How many of you can say that?

    Parting thought: I will never purchase an FN/Browning Winchester. I'd rather hunt with a sling shot.

    Okay. rant off. and thanks for tuning in. =)

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    I'll stay with my Kimbers and "if" I decide to send my money outside our borders it'll be to Finland .... I use Leupold scopes too ....

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Don't buy a Kimber shotgun,made in Turkey
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    For the cost of one of the Japanese Winchesters you can buy a very nice American one that will actually be worth some money. I seriously doubt there will be much of a collectors market for these replicas. Personally, I won't buy a Winchester unless it has Made in USA stamped on the barrel or tang.
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  20. #20

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    Just like to say im am more than pleased to here a good old AMERICAN conversation happening. Been rotting away in D.C. where america is out rated for too long. Be there soon cant wait. And as for Winchester I too am extremly dissapointed that any of this great american name is manufactured overseas. I refuse to by any winchester dated post New haven closure. I donot think the work ethic or craftmanship has anything on the U.S.

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