The Winchester model 88 rifles were manufactured without recoil pads. They would have had recoil pads installed later especially in the 308 Winchester. They did not come from the factory with a recoil pad and this does hurt the gun considerably for its collecting value. That was probably one of the main issues with those firearms.
I ran across this info on the net....Factory red recoil pads were added on early 1900..pre 64 rifles..as a factory option..not on 88's....U could buy them from Brownells and have it added by a gunsmith....
Hog Hunters never die........They just reload.........
I've seen that posted on the internet myself, however, back in 1962 my dad ordered himself a brand new Winchester Model 70 in 30-06 through a gunshop directly from Winchester with a factory installed Winchester recoil pad on it. I was with him in the gunshop as a 15yr old boy when the gunshop owner called Winchester to find out the price for one like he wanted and make the order. Winchester said that they could install one in their custom shop after it was manufactured but that it would slow down the delivery. My dad didn't care because he wanted it installed by the factory and so that was the way it was ordered, delivered to the gunshop, and sold to my dad. He was an engineer and he wanted things exactly the way he wanted them so many times that meant he special ordered them. For example, he never bought a car off of the lot but rather would place an order and wait the 8-9 weeks for the car to be produced and delivered.
There you have it, not hearsay or internet info of dubious heritage, but rather first hand personal knowledge of the deal.
Everyone forgets that back then, Winchester and most other gun manufacturers had custom shops where they would make firearms to a customer's specifications. Winchester leverguns were offered with many, many options even back in the 1800's. The widow I bought my 88 from told me that she custom ordered from Winchester with the recoil pad installed for her husband for Christmas, 1959. He opened the box, admired the rifle, and then put it in the safe where it sat until his passing this year. I believe she told me the truth.
Besides, I don't care about its collector value; I've already reduced that by firing it. I care that it is a pristine example of American firearm design. The lines, the feel, and heft of it to my shoulder is all I'm concerned with. That it is more accurate than I would have expected is a plus for me.