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Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Anybody have a good source of Winchester serial numbers? I recently got a Model 77. tube fed variant, to companion my Model 77, clip (box magazine) fed variant. Took a look at the numbers in the Proof House lists, and am pretty sure they are significantly wrong. My first (clip-fed) Model 77 was a Christmas present in 1957. Serial number is 102490, which Proof House list says would be 1960. Which is not possible.

EDIT: Looked at the Proof House numbers too casually. They don't show any annual production numbers at all for the M-77, just that it was built from 1955 to 1962, starting at 1001 and total of a bit over 217K produced. The table i looked at actually belongs to the Model 88 cf lever gun, also produced starting in 1955 (and with a receiver shape very similar to the 77).
 

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Just in case you don't get anything better...
Based on your comments, I haven’t looked at Proofhouse. But otherwise, I don’t note any additional serial/YP source for the Model 77. So I can’t answer your question nor dispute your factual conclusions.
In 1955, the first year of production, serial numbers began at 1001. By end of production in 1963, there were allegedly 217K made. Just doing a simple linear stat extrapolation, an averaged 27K per year were produced. Your facts would suggest a bit of a production surge in the first several years, but Proofhouse data would suggest a more disproportionate production lag. A bit of extraneous data is also possibly relevant. On average, domestic firearm production/importation was slowing in the latter nineteen fifties and this trend was even more pronounced in the sixties. This would also statistically suggest that your data is likely more accurate. As with any data, garbage in garbage out and today’s estimates are too often tomorrow’s facts. Unfortunately that's how such as even Proofhouse data may be corrupted.
It would seem that if you’re working with hard data, you have the most accurate handle on the matter. I’d be strongly inclined to go with your dates.
Absent something more...
Just my take.

(In about '55 my father purchased my Model 77 Tubular new, SN 94xx. It’s shown below.
 

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Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
Joined
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100,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Just in case you don't get anything better...
Based on your comments, I haven’t looked at Proofhouse. But otherwise, I don’t note any additional serial/YP source for the Model 77. So I can’t answer your question nor dispute your factual conclusions.
In 1955, the first year of production, serial numbers began at 1001. By end of production in 1963, there were allegedly 217K made. Just doing a simple linear stat extrapolation, an averaged 27K per year were produced. Your facts would suggest a bit of a production surge in the first several years, but Proofhouse data would suggest a more disproportionate production lag. A bit of extraneous data is also possibly relevant. On average, domestic firearm production/importation was slowing in the latter nineteen fifties and this trend was even more pronounced in the sixties. This would also statistically suggest that your data is likely more accurate. As with any data, garbage in garbage out and today’s estimates are too often tomorrow’s facts. Unfortunately that's how such as even Proofhouse data may be corrupted.
It would seem that if you’re working with hard data, you have the most accurate handle on the matter. I’d be strongly inclined to go with your dates.
Absent something more...
Just my take.

(In about '55 my father purchased my Model 77 Tubular new, SN 94xx. It’s shown below.
Ah, nice. i see yours has the beaver-tail fore-end, while both of mine have the slimmer one. Both are over 100K, as well. I know i got mine the Christmas after I was 14, and while we were still in Texas City (we moved in 1959), in 1957, so production was of necessity not later than December, 1957.

I will have to check the M-77 still on the rack at the LGS - it has the beaver-tail fore-end and is a clip-fed variant.

I'm not sure when WRA stopped serializing the M-77s (nor why - they didn't have to when production commenced, but once they started, why did they stop? 'tis a conundrum).

Oh - I took another look at Proof House. They just give start and ending dates on the 77, and that first S/N was 1001 and total production through 1963 was bit over 217K. The table I looked at was for the Model 88 - talk about feeling dumb...

Looks like production was pretty robust for the first couple of years, started in 1955 and reached 94xx that year, and 102xxx by late 1957, which suggests roughly 34K/year first three years, maybe more (depending on when in '55 they started, and when in '57 mine was built).

Added - I checked the S/N of the new acquisition, it is 120xxx range, so a bit later than my clip-fed.

Went by the fun shop this afternoon while i was out and around on some errands, checked the other M-77 (actually - the other two; somebody apparently had a letch for them at some point and is now liquidating). Both clip-fed, one with the slim fore-end, the other with beaver-tailed. Neither has a serial number. One appears to be walnut with the usual Winchester color. The other (the beaver-tail) is very blonde, but doesn't look re-finished. And not sure it is walnut, looks almost like maple, but I never heard WRA used that material in that time frame.
 
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