This is an outstanding early production Winchester Model 1892 Carbine. Early pre-1898 antique serial number is in the 83,000 range. Untouched condition and 100% original down to the smallest screw. Standard carbine with 20" barrel, full magazine, semi-crescent style buttplate with ladder rear sight (graduated 200 to 900 yds), and saddle ring. Caliber is in 38-40 a.k.a. .38 WCF. Saddle ring carbines were designed to be used as utility weapons and carried on horseback. They were shorter and lighter than their sporting rifle counterparts. Early 1892 rifles were produced in far greater numbers than carbines...a ratio that would invert itself by the 1920's when rifles were phased out of use. Today, finding an antique pre-1898 Model 1892 saddle ring carbine in Fine or better condition can prove to be quite a challenge. There were fewer produced and many saw decades of use. Yes, as a collector, I can tell you that a pre-1898 example will cost more than a later example but the quality of the finish, the way the parts were hand-fit, and the fantastic walnut stocks Winchester used during the late-19th century will run circles around ones made in later years. The trick is finding one over 100 years later in nice enough condition to appreciate these special qualities. It's been a over a year since we've come across one this nice.
This one is in NRA Antique Fine++ to Excellent Condition with 80% original blue on the receiver and 90% on the barrel and magazine tube. The hammer and lever retain 75% and 50% of their original case colors while the buttplate shows strong traces of original colors on the top and a few flashes along the bottom. There are a few spots of light corrosion on the receiver...along to the upper right edge of the frame and a few light pits in the shadow of the saddle ring. The loading port retains much of its original bright fire blue. The early walnut stock and forearms still retain much of their original light reddish brown oil finish which hasn't darkened from age. There are a few nicks and dings from light use and saddle wear but still in remarkably Fine Condition Overall. No chips, cracks, or repairs. The action is in Excellent+ condition with a MINTY bore!
History of the 1892: Inventor, Jonathan Browning of Ogden, UT designed the Model 1892 in just two weeks after receiving an order from Winchester for a design to replace the company's legendary Model 1873. He simply took the concept of his Model 1886 with its twin locking bolt design and scaled it down. The result was both lighter and stronger than the 1873, although sales for this model remained strong into the early 20th century. It was also aesthetically much cleaner than the 1873. Just over a million 1892's were manufactured at Winchester's New Haven plant from 1892 until 1940 with strong sales both domestically and abroad. Its dual locking bolt design was so good, Winchester could never really improve upon it. Even 120 years later, copies of the 1892 are still being produced today in Japan, Brazil, and Italy. In spite of its introduction, which was too late to see any real use on the American frontier, the 1892 will likely be forever associated with the American Wild West due to the role it played as a popular and reliable prop on the sets of almost an infinite number of Western movies and TV series. John Wayne carried his 1892 SRC in almost every Western he ever starred in from his 1939 debut in the movie Stagecoach to his final farewell in The Shootist in 1976. And who could ever forget Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner, and Charles Bronson using 1892 SRC's to defend a small farming village south of the border in the classic The Magnificent Seven. Still, this gun saw very wide use throughout the world from the jungles of South America to the desert in Western Australia. Over the years, 1892 saddle ring carbines have been found with markings from the British Navy, the La Paz Police in Bolivia, the Western Australian Police, and even one in Bonnie and Clyde Barrow's arsenal of weapons which they used during the 1930's on their crime sprees.