This is an fantastic very early production Model 1892 Winchester rifle that is still in its original Winchester pine shipping crate. Standard Rifle with 24" octagon barrel, full magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate. Caliber is 38-40. Early production with a low four-digit serial number in the 6,000 range. Comes with a very early factory letter dated 1973 from Winchester Museum curator, T.E. Hall, confirming this rifle's configuration and shipping date. Original crates for any gun are extremely rare but Winchester crates are just about impossible to find. Nearly all ended up in the trash or used as firewood. 99.9% of them were destroyed. Of the few survivors, they rarely still have their original contents inside. Instead, the few we've seen over the years have usually been turned into a tool box or a book shelf. In 25 years of collecting, we've only had one other antique Winchester in the original crate, a Model 1897 shotgun. This was one of the first items we listed on this website five years ago. If you follow this link back to that ad, you will notice the box partitions for the frame, hole for the muzzle, and Winchester logo are identical to this one.
The crate is in good solid condition and it's done a good job of protecting this rifle over the past 116 years. It's not perfect but there are no major cracks or damage, the partitions are all there (usually missing), and best of all the lid is still there. A former owner had the good sense to add hinges and a latch...which is likely the sole reason this would have survived. The top of the lid contains a wealth of markings which include the Winchester address, Adams Express markings, and a portion of the original shipping destination and what appear to be some of the railroad transport abbreviations. With a little study, it may be possible to identify the original owner and town he was from but the name is pretty faint in places. A rough guess would be Thomas James Jr.
The rifle is 100% original down to the smallest screw and a texbook example of the earliest set of features found on an early production 1892. This includes the hammer knurling with the dipped border (usually seen on just 1892, 1893, and a small amount of 1894 production). The barrel has the early two line Winchester Repeating Arms New Haven address while the upper tang shows the model and patent dates. No Winchester proofs on the barrel or frame...which is proper for all 19th century production guns. Original sights include the semi-buckhorn rear sight and standard front w/ German silver blade that lacks the lock screw....also proper for Winchesters made prior to circa 1895.
Overall condition of this rifle is NRA Antique Excellent Plus with 98% original blue on the frame showing just a few specks of patina and light scratches from resting on its side in the pine crate. The locking bolts are still bright and even the tangs and the belly of the frame have retained all their original finish! The darkness inside the crate did a fantastic job of preserving the case colors on the lever with lots of strong waves and sprites of blues, greens, reds, and yellows...colors are more faded on the bottom from handling. They don't get much better than this! Hammer has most of its case colors as well but loading port has very nice purple to vivid fire blue. Barrel and magazine tube are 97-98% original blue with a couple patches of brown oxidation (not pitted) on the top of the barrel from resting in the crate. See photos. The walnut is in incredible condition with 99.5% original varnish with just a few light handling marks. Wood to metal fit is perfect. Action is perfect. Bore is mirror bright and stone MINT! This beautiful rifle is a time capsule that if kept away from sunlight and moisture, should appreciate in value for many years to come! It takes years of searching to find one of these in the box. As my old calculus teacher used to tell us in high school before giving us an assignment, "Beg, Borrow, Steal, to get it Done!" Don't let this one slip away!