This is a very early antique pre-1898 Model 1894 sporting rifle in caliber 30 WCF, a.k.a. 30-30. While it's just a standard sporting rifle with a 26" round barrel and a full magazine, what makes it special is that it's one of the first 1894's shipped in smokeless caliber 30 WCF. More popularly known as the 30-30, it was the world's first commercially available smokeless powder cartridge but was delayed for nearly a year in the model 1894 due to production glitches in the Winchester ammunition plant. Introduced the following year in 1895, the 30-30 made Winchester famous and was their bread and butter for a production run of well over 7 million that spanned 112 years (1894-2006) in three different centuries. Who knows, maybe the old 1894 will make another appearance in the hands of FN Browning which has a licensing agreement with Winchester-Olin.
The serial number is in the 6,200 range which is very low for a 30 CAL as the majority of early 1894's were in black powder cartridges 38-55 and 32-40. The first 30 CAL 1894 was in the 3,300 range and shipped on May 29, 1895 according to Renneberg's book on the 1894 Winchester. We called the Cody Museum and this rifle shipped in October of 1895 so it's definitely a first year 30-30. Even though this gun and the first 30 CAL are almost 3,000 serial numbers apart, very few were built in those first months and this gun appears to be well within the first 300 Winchesters ever built in 30-30.
Overall condition grades to NRA Very Good Plus with a very clean look to it. It's all original down to the smallest screw. Receiver retains 35% original thinning blue...balance is a silver grey showing little to no patina. 90% on bolt and breech block. Barrel and magazine tube show 20-25% original thinning blue...mostly in protected areas. One minor area of very light rash of light corrosion on right side near retaining band....wouldn't be visible if this gun had patina. Nice markings throughout including the early 2-line Winchester barrel address. Caliber marking "30 WCF" on top of the barrel. There is no nickel steel smokeless powder stamp on the left side of the barrel which is correct on all early smokeless caliber 1894's until production reached somewhere into the 30,000 serial ranges. Original rear sights include standard front with German silver blade and a very early 2-leaf Winchester Express sight that has miraculously survived with both its thin metal leafs intact. This is the earliest 1894 I've seen with this style of sight and one thing that's apparent is that it was never notched for platinum lines leading down from the V notches. Interestingly enough, that notch is often where these Express leafs will crack and chip and they are a nightmare to get fixed. Perhaps this being an early sight without the notch is why it's still intact. Upper tang has great markings (see photo) with Winchester name, Model 1894, and Jonathan Browning's August 21, 1894 patent date. Hammer has the correct early style checkering pattern with dipped border. Very good screws throughout. Nice working action with a good+ bore. The walnut wood is in Fine+ condition with 90% original varnish. Great wood-to-metal fit that's never been sanded or touched. All in all, a good clean attractive example of what was on the first 30-30's to leave the Winchester plant in 1895.