In order to participate in the GunBroker Member forums, you must be logged in with your account. Click the sign-in button at the top right of the forums page to get connected.

model 54?

kms1961kms1961 Member Posts: 391 ✭✭✭
edited November 2013 in Ask the Experts
Disregard the money talk all we are trying to determine what this rifle is ,spl orber what? Sure some of you winny guru's have a better clue then us thanks For your time Kevin
Winchester Model 54 Special Order 30-06

This is kind of a neat old bird. I have an excellent condition Winchester 54 in 30gvt-06. It has 99% original blueing and bore, but plate, sling swivels, and sling. It has a Marbles's flip up rear sight and an ivory bead front sight. It still has the first style Lyman 48 base, but the aperature is missing. The stock was never sanded, but when I found it, it looked like someone painted a coat of varnish on it with a paint brush. I got it home and scratched it with a fingernail and a big piece of it flaked off. I then took a 000 steel wool pad and the "varnish" was actually just a protectant. It reminded me of a mixture of cosmoline and varnish.

It was one of the special order guns according to Roger Rule. Roger rule"s "The Rifleman's Rifle" claims that there are almost 1800 54's that exist on special order outside of the normal serial number range fitting customers specifications although few examples have actually shown up. Rule did not mention what was "special" about these mystery 54s. I have only found one "outside serial number" gun on the net.

The serial number is 800 more than all of Winchester's known records and internet databases. The last year of production was in 1936, and Winchester retrofitted parts from the model 70 onto previously made winchester 54 receivers, barrels, and stocks. I contacted winchester about the gun, and they suggested I call the Buffalo Bill museum in Cody Wyoming. I talked to the currator and he said that all the serial number records for the 54 were burnt in a fire. They said that my gun was probably a 1939 but cannot provide any concrete proof.

It has two proof marks on the bolt that fit claims of Winchester using model 70 bolts in 54's--Two proof marks and an electropencil that matches the receiver. The bolt handle is different than any 54 I have ever seen.

It has one hole on the rear bridge that I think is a factory addition done post war. I have researched this gun many hours and have found a couple of 54's on old GunBroker sales that support the claim by Rule that Winchester tapped one single hole in the bridge upon customers request. I put a micrometer on the bridge and it matches the Winchester configuration exactly, but the world will never know it is indeed a factory addition or a good smith.

I have used this gun as my "Castboolit gun". I use only unique powder under my cast boolits, and with a gas checked 150gr round nose and 10 grains of Unique powder, it prints cloverleafs at 100 yards.

I have tried my best to put a solid dollar amount on this gun, and I just cannot do it. Similar normal 54's are selling on the auction sites for $850 on up. The crazy serial number and strange bolt really add to the confusion. I am really hoping that someone has some good trading stock and we can get rid of a monetary value all togather. If someone has a crazy flat target/varmint rig I would be interested. I am also a pistol/revolver fan--especially the old stuff. Nice Garand, Geman made Walther PPK, Colt AR, Colt Revolvers, Smith Revolvers, 45-70 or similar, I love interesting firearms so don't be afraid to send me offers of all types. I can add or accept cash for the right deal

For those who might have a better collection of firearms literature than I do, the serial number is 50827A. I have used every source availible to put a date on this gun. Here is what the "proofhouse" website states: Production ceased in 1936 with guns remaining on hand until early 1942. Total production 50,161. The interesting part is that after 1936 (agreed upon date of the end of production), Winchester only produced 20 or 30 model 54's a year until 1942. The model 70 started its production run in 1936.Winchester started drilling single holes in the rear bridge in the model 70's in 1946.


  • Options
    richardaricharda Member Posts: 405 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Should be a two-digit year date on the bottom of the chamber portion of the barrel. ??
  • Options
    rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,650 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Need quality close-up photos, for identification and valuation.

    Instructions for posting photos at this link.

    EDIT #1,

    OP's photo of Model 54.

  • Options
    MG1890MG1890 Member Posts: 4,649
    edited November -1
    OK, I have the Rule book in front of me... I read that total production is 52,029, INCLUDING 2,005 special order rifles. These 2,005 are scattered throughout production.

    Model 70's did not come with a single hole rear bridge. Nor did your 54.

    Bolt handle mods to accommodate a scope correlate with that nonfactory rear hole.

    Odds are it's just another messed up Winchester; pics would tell the story.

    Oh, and an actual "special order" 54 should be fairly easy to spot.

    The Marble's rear sounds nonfactory, and why a Lyman 48 on a suspected "factory scoped" 54??

    It just don't add up. Sorry.
  • Options
    kimikimi Member Posts: 44,723 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I know next to nothing about the model 54, however, I do know that they immediately followed Winchester's little known production of their Type No. 1 and Type No. 2 Sniper Rifles that were built on the Springfield 1903 action, with the Type No. 2's being custom made guns. Both types were fitted with scope blocks and used a Lyman 48 type rear sight to boot. Winchester did an awful lot of work that hardly anyone knows about today, but proving it is the tough part as you would know. What is the barrel date?
    What's next?
  • Options
    AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 3,173 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have four Model 54's. The latest one is a .220 Swift #49480A. From the single photo, it looks to me like the bolt handle is standard for the 54. From what I can see, it does not resemble the bolt handles on my old model 70's. Of course it was common to set up these rifles with Lyman 48 sights after purchase and also common to drill holes in the receiver ring and bridge. I would not assume any of these modifications were factory done. It certainly could have happened; according to my old catalogs, Winchester sold model 70's fitted with the Lyman 48WJS sight in 1950 for $13.75 more than with the standard rear sight (the sight itself sold for $12.50 that year) so they probably did the same with the 54. but, as you've discovererd, there's no way to tell for sure. It appears to be a decent old rifle and, since it shoots very well, I'd keep it and use it for what it is and not worry about what it's worth.
Sign In or Register to comment.