Winchester made a little over a million Model 1892's but one variation you'll almost never find is a Special order Deluxe sporting rifle like this one. Of the few we've seen over the years, most were chambered in the smaller calibers...32-20 and 25-20 WCF. This is one of the few 1892 deluxes we have found in 44-40 and best of all; it has an antique serial number. The serial number is 53266 and while we're still waiting for the letter, we confirmed the configuration over the phone with the Buffalo Bill Historical Center just last week. It letters just like it is: The rifle went into the warehouse on March 6, 1897 and shipped out into the world on May 12, 1897 as a "RIFLE" with an "OCTAGON" barrel, "44 CAL", "STANDARD TRIGGER", "CHECKERED", "PISTOL GRIP" stock, and "FULL NICKEL" plated finish. This sounds a lot like the type of rifle to have been used by a professional such as a trick shooter in a Wild West Show that were quite popular throughout the 1890's and early 20th century. Both world-famous trick shooters Annie Oakley and Ad Topperwein were quite fond of the Model 1892 Deluxe rifle.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Good+. The metal is mostly a light silvery grey with minute traces of original nickel in protected areas...with quite a bit of original nickel left on most of the internal parts...when Winchester says "FULL NICKEL", they weren't kidding! The rifle shows quite a bit of wear but it still has decent edges and very good markings throughout with a good clear early-style 2 line barrel address, 3 line upper tang markings, and sharp hammer checkering. The screws are pretty good too! The wood is fancy 3X deluxe burl walnut with matching assembly numbers found on the lower tang and inside the stock in 2 places. The lower tang is stamped "XXX" for 3X burl walnut...the fanciest grade of wood that you could order back in 1897. The wood has probably had an extra coat of varnish added at some point in its life but it looks good and doesn't detract from the overall lock of the gun. No chips, cracks or repairs. The pistol grip has a hard rubber cap marked "Winchester Repeating Arms Co." with an engraved screw. In fact, you can see tiny traces of nickel still in the engraving of the screw. The checkering on this rifle is fairly decent on the stock...its worn but all there. The forearm checkering however has worn mostly smooth from carry wear...showing good outlines and borders but only sections of the checkering are visible. Yes, this Deluxe rifle was out there earning a living somewhere but it still looks pretty good. Still has the original sights which include a standard semi-buckhorn rear sight and standard front with German silver blade. The mechanics are quite good but the truly amazing part is the bore! In spite of all the usage it must have taken to wear away most of the nickel finish...its nearly Excellent! Still bright with strong rifling and shows just a few minor pits. Whoever owned this rifle may have used it quite a bit but they cleaned the bore like their life depended on it! If the fancy wood, checkering, and flashy nickel finish wasn't enough to convince you this belonged to an exhibition shooter, the beautiful bore sure did it for me!
Just a good strong example of an early Deluxe 1892 rifle in 44 Caliber with an antique serial number. Best of all, its not in one of those elusive 5 figure price ranges! Oh, and it letters perfectly!!!! These opportunities don't come along very often fellas!!!!