This is a scarce Whitney Scharf Rifle in even scarcer 38-40 Winchester Caliber. Whitney only built 2000 Sharf's from around 1886-1888 before being bought out by Winchester Repeating Arms which promptly dissolved this old and historic company. One thing you notice about the Whitney lever action is how well and really over-built these rifle were. In spite of their industrial grade construction, the Scharf and its predecessor, the Whitney Kennedy were quite graceful in appearance compared to other attempts at lever actions like the Bullard and Evans designs. In the end though, they simply cost too much to manufacture and couldn't compete with Winchester and Marlin.
Configuration: 26" round barrel, full tubular magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate with no trapdoor which is correct for the Scharf Model. Condition: This rifle is in NRA Antique Very Good condition overall with a smooth light silvery grey patina with minute traces of original blue in protected areas. In spite of the lack of finish, this rifle exhibits very good edges and excellent markings and knurlings. The barrel is marked "WHITNEY-ARMS-CO.-WHITNEYVILLE-CONN" with "38 CAL." marked in front of the frame. The upper tang bears Scharf's original patent date, "WHITNEY ARMS. CO. PAT'D DEC 21.1886." The sights consist of a standard front Rocky Mountain style sight with larger German silver blade. Interestingly enough, the Scharf appears to have 1/2" sight dovetails instead of the traditional 3/8". The rear sight appears to be a replacement...a Marlin-Ballard sight with 3/8" base and a small wedge placed at the front to secure it in the larger Whitney type dovetails. Dovetail is not altered in any way...just has a non-original rear sight. Hammer has a knurled checkered within a border in the shape of a shield...very similar to hammer and breech knurlings on the Remington Rolling Block New York State contract rifles. VG wood overall...showing typical light handling marks, scratches, etc. but solid with a significant amount of original varnish still intact. I would say the stock has 80% original varnish that has turned a nice deep orange red color while the forend has lost most of its varnish from carry wear and shows traces of varnish. Lever action rifles were usually carried by the forewood where sweat from the owner's hands typically wore away the varnish on the wood. The wood has never been cleaned or sanded in any way with perfect wood to metal fit. Good mechanics and a very good bore. This gun is all original except where previously noted.
Over the years, we've seen but a handful of these on the market. A rare and seldom seen example of a 19th century American lever action rifle.