This is a nice early Model 1894 Winchester Sporting Rifle in caliber 38-55 in NRA Antique Fine+ and untouched/attic condition. Features include standard 26" octagon barrel, full magazine, crescent buttplate, and standard sights. Early antique pre-1898 serial number is in the 41,000 range. Good antique 1894's have really gotten difficult to find lately. I walked through nearly the entire Tulsa show back in April. This show is massive and in the course of three days and walking past 4,000+ tables, I probably laid eyes on close to 100,000 guns. That said, this rifle was one of just a handful of decent 1894's that met my condition criteria and pricing constraints. It was in untouched condition and quite dirty but it had a great look to it so I took a chance on it.
The big question when I got back home was whether or not the bore would clean up in this rifle? It appeared as though nobody had EVER cleaned it and was about as dark as they come. All I can say is that scrubbing a bore with 100 years of dust is one thing...but 100 years of black powder residue, crud, lead, dirt, and petrified grease is something altogether different. After all, 38-55 was a black powder caliber. It took many passes with a wire brush and cotton patches, followed by soakings with croil oil, etc, but the bore finally came clean to what I'd grade as NRA Antique Good. The rifling lands are all there and although certainly not mint, they're now fairly presentable. There are some streaks of light pitting down in the grooves hugging up against the lands, but no craters, no bulges, or ringed areas. Best of all, the overall surface in the bore cleaned to semi-bright and is no longer what I'd consider to be a "dark" bore.
Fine+ Condition. The receiver shows about 70% original blue which is faded with the nice coverage with the balance faded to an honest patina in the form of speckles throughout the blue. Barrel and magazine have 60% and 70%,respectively, of their original blue which has darkened with age. Loading port retains 40% bright original fire blue while the hammer shows 40% light to moderate case colors while the lever shows traces of colors. Walnut stocks are beautiful... never been cleaned, showing honest character wear with 50% original varnish remaining. Wood to metal fit is Excellent with no cracks, chips, or repairs. Very Good screws throughout. Nice early markings with early style checkered hammer with late Victorian Era dipped border. A very respectable 1894 rifle that's super-honest and untouched with condition. If you're looking for a decent 1894 with an early antique serial number, a 38-55 with an octagon barrel is going to be hard to beat!