Winchester Model 71

posted on February 24, 2010
2010224152545-img_2028_fs.jpg

In 1958, as a junior NRA member, I read an article in American Rifleman announcing the discontinuance of the Winchester 71, thus ending a 23-year legacy with 47,254 rifles produced. I still recall the writer referring to this lever-action as “businesslike”—an apt description.

The Model 71 began as the John Browning-designed Model 1886, but the beefy big-game rifle was updated and reintroduced as the Model 71 on Nov. 2, 1935. The fortress-like receiver, with twin vertical locking bolts that slid into both sides of the bolt, was retained, and with improved metallurgy the action was simplified and strengthened. Plus, flat springs were replaced by coil springs, the crescent buttplate became a checkered flat configuration (with optional recoil pad), and checkered, varnished stocks had pistol grips and semi-beavertail, steel-capped forearms.

A tubular four-shot, three-quarter magazine and 24-inch barrel with hooded ramp front sight were standard. Purchasers had a choice of a semi-buckhorn Lyman 22K open rear sight or a bolt-mounted peep, which was changed post-war to a Lyman Number 56 peep fitted to the receiver. But most dramatic was the proprietary new chambering of .348 Win., the only standard chambering for the Model 71. This “deluxe model” was augmented from 1936 to 1947 with an uncheckered 20-inch barrel “carbine” variant without the pistol grip cap. Guns up to approximately serial number 15,000 sported “long tangs” that measure 3 7/8 inches. Subsequent rifles had so-called “short tangs” that measure 2 7/8 inches.

This Winchester 71, made in 1948, is a “short tang” deluxe model with factory Lyman 56 peep, and it has been professionally restored. Unfortunately, the stock, with period Noshoc recoil pad, bears some hunting scars. Even so, this 95 percent rifle, which was purchased for $125 in the 1970s, has a value of $1,200. Were it all original in this condition, it would easily fetch $1,800 to $2,000.

Caliber: .348 Win.
Condition: 95 percent (NRA very good, as restored)
Manufactured: 1948
Value: $1,200

Latest

5 New Optics For 2023 F
5 New Optics For 2023 F

5 New Optics For 2023

Today's optics are a far cry from the glass used yesteryear. Now, optics incorporate amazing technological innovations, all ensuring that shooters can get on target quickly and easily.

Preview: 5.11 Tactical Apex Pant

Clothing choices are highly subjective, but when it comes to functionality, the purely objective qualities of an ordinary pair of pants can either make them the default everyday choice or relegate them to the back of the closet.

2023 Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon

You won’t be seeing any exotic bolt-actions chambered in .22 LR winning Olympic gold if you attend the Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon and Winter Shoot, which takes place February 11-12 at Skinner Hollow Farm in Manchester, Vt.

On Scene At The Sporting Clays National Championship

American Rifleman Television attended the 2022 Sporting Clays National Championship for an in-depth look at the experience had by thousands of the nation's most-avid shotgunners.

Diamondback Firearms: From Airboats To Guns

Started as a company designing and manufacturing airboats for hard-to-reach places in its home state of Florida, Diamondback Firearms emerged from the machine shop and captured the market with its defense-oriented guns.

Favorite Firearms: A Sentimental Colt Single Action Army​

My favorite firearm is a .45-cal. Colt Single Action Army that I purchased new in 1980. The old Colt exudes Western adventure, both real and imagined.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.