This is a scarce little gun...a Pre-1898 Antique Winchester Model 1894 rifle with a special order short 20" octagon barrel. Caliber 30 WCF (aka 30-30). Standard full magazine and crescent rifle buttplate. Serial number is in the 108,000 range. Some collectors call these shorter than standard Winchesters, "Border Rifles" as many have been discovered along the Texas-Mexican border through the years. Texas native George Madis and author of the Winchester book shows quite a number of these short rifles...especially Model 73's....coming from his many years searching for Winchesters throughout Texas and Mexico. This rifle turned up in Texas many years ago and was part of an old Texas collection until just a few years ago. It comes with a 1978-dated letter from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (home of the Winchester records) confirming its configuration.
Overall condition grades to NRA Antique Good which is remarkable when you consider most Border rifles lived a very had life. For a short rifle, some old timers might even say this was in "Mexican Mint Condition"....meaning its a good honest rifle that hasn't been used well past its prime. Its 100% original down to the smallest screw and completely untouched. Most of the screws are caked with 100 years worth of dirt and dried grease. Overall, the metal has turned to a heavy dark patina with traces of original blue in protected areas along the barrel and tube. True to most short rifles, this has the shorter forearm which measures 8 and 3/8". A standard rifle with 26" barrel have 9 3/8". The rear sight dovetail is also different and located only 4" from the front of the frame. In contrast, a standard rifle rear sight slot is located around 4 7/8" ahead of the frame. Since the rear sight sits closer to the frame on these short rifles, Winchester usually placed the caliber markings on the left side of the barrel instead of on top. True to form, the markings are located on the left side of the barrel. No Winchester proofmarks on the barrel or the frame...which is correct for an antique serial numbered rifle. Correct early style 2 line barrel address on top of the barrel and Nickel Steel markings on side just below the rear sight. Rear sight is the original short style 3 leaf Winchester Express with platinum lined 50, 100, and 200 yard leaves. Like so many of these, the leafs were very thin and prone to breakage...the 100 yard leaf on this sight is chipped. Original front sight is the standard Winchester type with German silver blade. Hammer has the correct early checkered pattern with dipped border. Upper tang has the early 3 line markings with Model and Patent dates. Very good wood that is solide with no repairs and nice wood to metal fit. Good mechanics. When we said this gun was "completely untouched", we weren't kidding because that meant the bore as well...it probably hasn't been cleaned in 80+ years or more. The rifling is all there and good but dark. No rings or bulges. It should clean to Good condition but we're leaving it undisturbed. A good solid example of an early border rifle.