Serial Number: 31787
Year of Manufacture: 1951 (http://proofhouse.com/win/index.html)
Caliber: .348 Winchester
Action Type: Lever Action, Half Length Tube Magazine Fed Rifle
Markings: The left of the barrel is marked “MADE IN NEW HAVEN, CONN. U.S. OF AMERICA / WINCHESTER PROOF STEEL / WINCHESTER / TRADE MARK / MODEL 71 – 348 W.C.F.”, the top has “WP” proof in oval, found again on top of the receiver, the underside of the receiver is marked with the serial number. The recoil pad is marked “HUME’S SPORTING GOODS / BURBANK, CALIF.” The rear sight is marked “LYMAN / 56”.
Barrel Length: 24”, Round
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a beaded blade that is dovetailed onto a pebbled ramp base, fixed to the barrel and the rear elevator sight has been removed, replaced with a metal tab. The receiver is wearing a Lyman No. 56 peep aperture sight, the screw-in circular aperture has an OD of 0.50”. This item is mounted to the left side of the receiver.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are beautiful walnut with an oil rubbed finish. The checker patterns on the forend and flanks of the squared semi-pistol grip; we have not seen this pattern on past 71’s and could not find any other information on who did the work, it doesn’t appear to be from the factory as some of the line criss cross in the bordering, the stocks show pleasant fit to the metal items but for the right of the lower tang which has a slight gap in fit, please see our pictures. The surfaces show a few scattered compression and scuff marks, a couple of checkers are flattened. There are no cracks or major damages. The LOP measures 13” from the front of the trigger to the back of the brown Hume’s Sporting Goods rubber recoil pad; the pad has nice fit to the spacers and those to the wood. The pad is semi-supple and rates in Fine condition as not original to the rifle. The stocks rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Factory Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright, the rifling is sharp and deep. There is no erosion.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 87% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows operational wear on the hammer and trigger. The inside areas and flanks of the lever have handling rub wear and light patina. There are some spots of surface etching found near the muzzle on the barrel. The tangs and receiver show thin scrape marks in areas, with a sprinkling of small brown spots of oxidation, the magazine tube has circular rub wear near the tip. The screw head slots range from sharp to mildly tooled but are all serviceable. The markings are crisp. Overall, this rifle rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: The Winchester 71 enjoyed a welcomed reception in 1935, with an end to production in 1958. This rifle was made in 1951 and still has a VERY strong bore, smooth mechanics and beautifully hand checkered walnut stocks. We’re unsure who did the checkering, but the work adds some traction to this powerful setup. From Wikipedia “It is excellent for any North American big game in woods or brush, if the 250 grain bullet is used, but not especially suited to long range, as a result of the need to use flat-nose slugs due to the Model 71’s tubular magazine. (Factory-loaded, midrange trajectory at 200 yards (180 m) is 2.9 in (7.4 cm) for the 150-grain (9.7 g) bullet, 3.6 in (9.1 cm) for the 200-grain (13 g) round, and 4.4 in (11 cm) for the 250-grain (16 g) slug.) The 200-and-250-grain (13 and 16 g) loadings are preferred for anything past 100 yd (91 m).” With about 87% of its blue finish remaining and high condition for its age, this rifle should attract sportsmen and collectors alike! Please see our pictures and good luck.