Hello, I am looking for information about the use of stainless steel barrels on early model 54's in OTHER that 220 Swift calibre. I have read where Winchester made SS barrels in 220 Swift, but my 54 is in 30 Govt 06. The serial number is 813x. That would place its mfg in about 1927. Just how common were SS barrels? Thanks in advance, jandyford
were available as a special-order option for most Winchester rifles and calibers for a number of years - I've seen photos of an 1873 in .38-40 with a stainless barrel. I believe that period ended about the time your rifle was made, though don't have a good reference for the date. I don't believe there were many model 54s in calibers other than .220 Swift made with stainless barrels, but, again, don't have a good reference. I suggest you check with the Winchester collectors, per-se, for better information.
PRD1 - mhb - Mike
I cannot speak to stainless barrels in all model Winchesters but my understanding parallels PRD1 for the most part concerning the Model 54. They were an extra cost option. The barrels themselves performed well but there were production problems concerning finishing and the finish applied was both a bit fragile and not considered the most attractive. Stainless barrel models have allegedly command a collector premium, but historically this was when found with the “original finish”. Yet I believe few such exist and that most have been since refinished, are now in the white or have just the remnants of the original surface. My perhaps imperfect understanding does differ from that of PRD1 in that I believe that stainless barrels were offered in limited production run quantities beyond specific custom orders. It is one thing to have mix & match, smaller custom touches and unique chamberings, it seems quite another to produce such special barrels with all the machining (sight boss and integral front sight base) involved only in response to custom orders. In the depression years post 1929, the market for any extra cost options was considerably diminished. It does seem quite probable that in later production years existing stocks of stainless barrels may well have been relegated to custom orders due to impaired marketability.
Congratulations on a fine rifle in a less common chambering!
If you have not yet read Wayne Miller’s definitive article on the Model 54 Winchester, you might find it quite interesting. It is at:
Thank you PRD1 and iskra for sharing the information you have. The finish is off of the barrel, it is 'in white'. The action is in great shape, as is the stock. I will try to post a pic, if I can. I will be certain to check out the websites you've recommended. Thanks again gentlemen for you help.