This is good untouched example of an early Model 1894 Winchester SRC. It has a good low serial number in the 38,000 range with all the early unique features found on early production 94's. It's in the standard carbine configuration with 20" round barrel, full magazine, carbine butt, saddle ring, and ladder sights. Designed to be light, compact, and easy to carry by horseback, most early 1894 carbines were used as utility rifles and saw harsh use. Prior to 1900, Winchester focused mostly on sporting rifles with carbines produced in smaller quantities. That said, coupled with the hard use these antique SRC's received along with their low production numbers, a good antique 1894 carbine can be challenging to find. Caliber is 30 WCF Special features on early carbines.
Yes, here is some more useless information that you won't find in a book and only we hard-core Winchester collectors would ever want to know! But part of collecting and even preserving history is derived from one's ability, and more importantly willingness, to share information. This is nothing scientific, but based entirely on several years worth of personal observations regarding 1894 SRC's with low serial numbers. For starters, this is one of earliest 1894 carbines to use the "Nickel Steel" barrel markings as many of the first 1894's in 30 WCF were never marked as such. From there, we'll talk about the ladder rear sights with 200 to 900 yard graduations. Now, there is nothing unique about the sight itself. In fact, it's the same rear sight found on the 1873, the 1892 and even the early 1894 carbines chambered in black powder cartridges like 38-55 and 32-40. What makes it unusual is to see one on an 1894 carbine chambered in smokeless calibers like the 30 WCF or one in 25-35. This 2-900 yard graduated ladder sight was used for only a short span of time on these early smokeless carbines before it was replaced with the more commonly seen 2-leaf Express sight. Thus far, I've only seen these 2-9's ladders on early 30 WCF's in the 20,000, 30,000, and 40,000 serial ranges but they probably go a bit higher. Shortly thereafter, the ladder sight gave way to 2-leaf express rear and subsequently the 0 to 20 graduated ladder sights around 1910. The other unique early feature about the sights is the early German silver blade insert for the front sight. These shifted over to steel ones sometime after the turn of the century. Also note the walnut stocks and not the later gumwood. Walnut is correct for all early 1894 SRC's. Finally, the other neat feature on the early 1894's is the case colored buttplate. The buttplates on 1894 carbines (which were the same as found on the 1892) were much thinner than the ones found on the 1873...and it didn't take Winchester long to figure out they'd be much cheaper and easier to blue than to case color.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Very Good condition. The receiver has 10-15% original blue mostly centered around the saddle ring and protected areas. Balance of the steel has been worn to a smooth gray that's beginning to turn over to a light brown patina. Barrel and magazine show 50% original blue. Silvery traces of original case colors on the hammer, lever, and buttplate. The loading port has some small amounts of fire blue around the edges. Nice sharp early style markings include the 2-line Winchester barrel address on top of the barrel and 3-line markings on the upper tang including John Browning's August 21, 1894 patent date. Hammer has the early style decorative dipped border pattern around the checkering. "Nickel Steel Barrel Especially for Smokeless Powder" located on left side of barrel just below the ladder rear sight. Fine to Excellent screws overall. Nice walnut wood with nice open grain and mostly light handling marks. Has great wood-to-metal fit, never sanded or cleaned. Very Good bore and nice action. A very strong example of an production 1894 SRC.