This is a nice untouched early production Winchester Model 1892 Carbine with a desirable antique serial number in the 93,000 range. Untouched condition and 100% original down to the smallest screw. In fact, most of the screws look like they've never been turned since it left the factory in 1898. This is a really neat looking little carbine that came out of Texas. It reminds me A LOT of an 1873 Winchester Carbine I bought back from Tommy Rholes from Van, TX back in the early 1990's...same metal, patina with powdery original blue, red/orange walnut, and that perfect wear shadow from the saddle ring surrounded by original blue. It has that CARBINE LOOK!
Standard carbine with 20" barrel, full magazine, semi-crescent style buttplate carbine sights, and saddle ring. Caliber is in 44-40 a.k.a. .44 WCF. Saddle ring carbines were compact and lighter version of the sporting rifle. With the shorter barrel, fold-down sights, and saddle ring, they were designed to be carried on horseback to be used as utility weapons. This one weighs in at just 5-3/4 lb. One might make a similar comparison to a pick up truck...as they were a workingman's gun. In the early years of production, the sporting rifles were produced in far greater numbers than carbines. Coupled with smaller production and years of hard outdoor usage, carbines like this one can be a challenge to find. Most examples we come across in the antique serial ranges are almost worn completely out. This one is well above average and about as untouched as you will ever find from the 19th century.
Markings: are all sharp and correct as follows:
Early two line Winchester barrel address at 12 o'clock position on top of barrel between rear sight and rear barrel band.
Early three line MODEL, MFR, and 1884 John Browning patent date on upper tang
Early serial number with large font located on bottom of frame just below the forend
Early Winchester ladder carbine sight with 200 to 900 yard graduations...and No "1873" at the top of ladder. Also correct.
Correct 2nd Style front sight with German silver blade Insert. Earliest 1892's had solid front sights like the Model 1873 Carbines.
Correct 2nd Style hammer knurling with correct rectangular border.
Condition: This one is in NRA Antique Very Good Plus Condition and shows honest gentle use, but not harsh wear, or abuse. The barrel and magazine tube still show 50% faded original blue with the balance turned to a mostly smooth patina. It was probably kept from time to time in a leather scabbard as there are a few pinprick pits here and there from moisture...but minor and nothing that distracts from the overall appearance of the gun. The receiver has about 15% original blue with a good patch of blue around the saddle ring due to the ring staple which kept the scabbard from touching the rear left surface of the receiver as well as the owner's hand when carried. The ring shadow is perfect with the original saddle ring intact. Original blue can also be found in the receiver flares and protected areas. The loading port has 35% bright fire blue located mostly around the circumference...another protected area. The top of the bolt survived with 75% fading original blue intact due to the rear sight and hammer keeping the scabbard from rubbing. The rest of the metal has turned to a pleasing light brown patina. The hammer and lever are mostly brown but do show traces of original case colors in protected areas and under some of the patina. The loading port retains much of its original bright fire blue. The early walnut wood is in Very Good Plus with nice wood to metal fit that is tight and even. The action is in nice order and the bore is FINE PLUS to Excellent with strong lands and grooves that are still bright and shiny overall.
History: The Model 1892 was produced from 1892 to 1940 with just over a million units manufactured. The 1892 was designed by inventor Jonathan Browning of Ogden, Utah on a BET. Yes, a BET. Winchester needed for a design to replace the company's Model 1873. The company's flagship model had just passed the 400,000 mark but was starting to show its age going up against the newer more compact Marlin Model 1889 Lever Action Rifle. Browning was given several months to come up with a suitable replacement. However, Browning had already envisioned a scaled down version of his Model 1886 with its twin locking bolt design. Browning asked Winchester if they'd pay him a larger sum if he produced a working prototype in a month. If he couldn't come up with one in time, he would give Winchester the design for free. On the long train ride home from New Haven, CT to Ogden, UT, Browning mapped out the new design in his head and hit the ground running. Browning with the help of his brothers had a working prototype in just two weeks...giving them a week to get it to Connecticut and an extra week to spare in case it took longer to get it there. The rest is history and Browning's Model 1892 is arguably one of the most elegant, efficient, lightest and strongest lever actions ever produced. In spite of being 125 years old, the 1892 is still being produced by a number of manufacturers; a remarkable testament to Browning's genius.