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Winchester 1894 1st Model Rifle


This is a rare example of the First Model 1894 Winchester Lever Action Rifle. Standard 26" octagon barrel with full magazine, crescent buttplate, and sporting rifle sights. Caliber is 38-55. As you can see from the photos, it has been cleaned bright or "in the white". It shows quite well and is a bit reminiscent of John Browning's patent model which was also "in the white". We bought this several years ago as an inexpensive example of a 1st Model and have enjoyed displaying it. Only about 3,000 1st Model were built with the exposed guide rail screws like the Browning prototype submitted in the late summer of 1894. Someone nicknamed these the "10 O'Clock" screws due to the right screw's position to the upper left of the loading port. Shortly afterwards, the screws were moved slightly forward and internally mounted which become known as the 2nd Model. Another thing that all 1st Models seem to have in common is the caliber. As a general rule, they are almost always found chambered in 38-55 which was the first caliber the 1894 was offered in, then followed by 32-40 and .30 WCF. That said, I have seen what seemed to be one legitimate exception to the 38-55 rule in 35 years of collecting but just one. So let's just say that 99.9% of 1st Models are in 38-55. The highest serial number I've personally seen on a 1st Model is in the 5,000 range. This particular rifle is in the mid-3,000 range and went into the Winchester warehouse 8-12-1895 in its current configuration; an octagon barrel rifle in 38,055 with plain trigger. It shipped two weeks later on 8-26-1895. While this rifle isn't first calendar year production which started in late October 1894-Dec 31, "1894", it was manufactured and shipped within the first year (365 days) of production. Configuration is spot on for what it should be: two-line early Winchester barrel address, Browning's August 21, 1894 patent date located on the upper tang, and early dipped border on the hammer. Top of the barrel is clearly marked 38-55. No Winchester proofmarks on the barrel or receiver which is correct on earlier production as well. Correct Winchester front and rear sights. The wood is in Very Good Condition as lightly cleaned. No cracks, chips, or repairs. The wood to metal fit is still quite respectable as whoever cleaned it up did it correctly and took their time. There are no edges rounded over and its still slightly proud of the metal in most places, not undersized. However, looking at the photos which are blown way up beyond what the naked eye would ever probably detect, the caliber marking and perhaps a small number of letters in the barrel address may have been re-cut by an engraver. If so, someone went to a great deal of effort to re-cut any weak font on the barrel and you'd only notice under magnification. The action cycles, hammer has half and full cock notches. Ironically, as clean as the gun is on the outside, the bore has not been cleaned. It's filthy, dark with some light pits, good rifling, and fortunately, no rings, bulges or bad areas. I ran a few passes with a bristle brush and one patch through it and it improved considerably. As for now, I'm going to rate it as a Fair+ bore but I feel confident it will grade up a notch to "Good" with a soak and some more cleaning. As it is right now, it looks quite respectable in the white and you can see all the lines, markings, and knurlings better than on a brown patina example or even one in high condition. As a result, it photographs and displays quite well. Or, if you're looking for a rifle to have refinished, this would be an ideal candidate as well because 95% of the prep work has already been done. Either way, it's a reasonably priced antique 1894 First Model. Whenever I have displayed this rifle at shows, it has always been a real attention-grabber!

Item# 1538

$2,295 SALE PENDING

 
 

 

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