GMC/NRA Foundation Online Auction Guns

Winchester Model 1873 Rifle No. 356188B
(Please click on images for a larger view)

Caliber.38-40. With a 28-inch octagonal barrel and a full magazine; straight-hand stock; crescent butt plate with trapdoor compartment containing a 5-piece cleaning rod. Completely rebuilt and significantly upgraded, with great attention to detail and history, by Turnbull Restoration. Fair market value: $8,000.

The Model 1873 was the first steel-frame lever-action Winchester rifle, and it was a great success: More than 740,000 were produced—most in .44-40, .38-40 and .32-20, but nearly 20,000 rifles were chambered for .22 rimfire. This example was donated to the National Firearms Museum and then the NRA Foundation. On receipt, the rifle had about 30% of its original finish, the barrel was bulged two inches from the muzzle and the wood was worn and cracked, but the action was tight.

The .38-40WCF round was introduced in 1874 as a blackpowder cartridge for the Winchester 73. It is based on the .44-40 case, necked down to 40 caliber (not .38). With commercially available bullets from 155 to 200 grains, muzzle velocities of about 1,000 to 1,200 feet per second are possible, making this a good short-range deer round.

The NRA Foundation/Gold Medal Concours Turnbull Winchester will serve equally well as a collectible and as a field rifle for the “vintage” hunter who appreciates American gunmaking traditions.

For the Concours auction, Turnbull Restoration has . . .
• Installed a new, original barrel (two inches longer than standard) and an original Marble rear notch sight and Lyman front post.
• Restocked the rifle with 3XXX American walnut.
• Hand-checkered it in the original Winchester factory “H” pattern.
• Color-case-hardened the receiver, lever, hammer, butt cap and forend cap.
• Engraved the receiver in a bold grapevine pattern (similar to the factory’s original #5 style) that stands out beautifully against the deep case colors. The work is by Turnbull’s master engraver Tom McArdle.
• Rust-blued the barrel and magazine tube.
• Charcoal-blued the furnishings.
• Nitre/fire-blued the loading gate.


Ruger Gold Label Nos. 460-2108/09

Twelve-gauge, toplever, single selective-trigger game guns with ejectors and pinless boxlock actions; 28-inch monoblock barrels (joint seams pressed and polished away) with flush-fit Briley thin-wall choke tubes and a straight, slightly tapered, milled solid rib with a small gold bead. Straight-grip stocks, hand-checkered and upgraded American walnut, with 14 3/8 inch lengths of pull and drops to the comb and heel of 1 1/2 and 2 3/8 inches. American-style splinter forends with pushbutton releases. Field safeties. Mechanical single triggers with inertia-block backups to positively prevent doubling.

Gold-inlaid “NRAF No.1” and “NRAF No.2” and scroll-engraved trigger guards. In an English-style, leather-covered double-gun case, with a pair of leather handguards marked “Ruger” in gold (only 50 were made).

This is the first matched pair of Gold Labels with consecutive numbers. The guns were personally selected by Ruger’s Dave Tilden and upgraded to his terms. Fair market value: $7,500.

Ruger’s Scottish-style side by side, the Gold Label, has the fine lines and wasp waist of the Dickson round-action gun. The late, great Bill Ruger owned a Dickson and fell in love with its style and handling qualities. Unlike other Dickson owners, however, Mr. Ruger had the resources to build such a gun. Not that it was easy.

Shooting Sportsman‘s Bruce Buck wrote: “Ruger [designers] . . . measured the weight distribution of two dozen other side-by-sides to make sure the Gold Label would have excellent dynamics. That meant light barrels. Light barrels have thin barrel walls. That meant soft solder, because the high heat of silver brazing can warp thin barrel walls. Soft solder meant rust-bluing, because the chemicals used in [less expensive] hot-bluing are incompatible with soft solder. Thin barrels also meant thin-wall chokes so there wouldn’t be unsightly bulges at the muzzles . . . .” The Gold Label gun is the result of the hard work of a small team of dedicated upland bird hunters and double-gun fans inside Ruger.

The diminutive action bodies are stainless steel with reinforcing bolsters alongside the water tables, round-filed and polished to a brushed finish. The stainless receivers are unmarred by screw heads (“pinless”). The barrels have a lustrous rust-blue finish, and the toplevers, trigger guards and safety buttons are black. The sculpting of the detonators is particularly well done. Thanks to Ruger’s careful proportioning and filing, these 12-gauge guns look more like 20s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *