This is a very early 2nd Model Winchester 1894 Rifle in the 3800 serial range. Standard sporting rifle with 26" octagon barrel, full magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate. Caliber is 32-40 which was one of the finest black powder target calibers ever developed. At this point in production, there were still 1st Models being assembled in 38-55 but all 32-40's known, starting with the first one, serial number 545 were built as second models. This rifle shows up in the Madis book as 1st year 1894 production but chances are its probably shipped around the Winter or Spring of 1895. Winchester didn't get production up until late October of 1894 with only a few 94's were shipped out in that first year. I realize that Winchester collectors often lament when they find a 94 in this caliber because its not the biggest nor is it a smokeless powder round. Well, let me give you guys a little bit of reasoning why Winchester and many other people like this caliber back in the 1890's. The 32-40 was a black powder cartridge developed in the 1880's as a target caliber and light hunting round. There were many target rifles built during this era chambered in this caliber as it was a very popular and extremely accurate target caliber. I have been told by shooting enthusiasts that this cartridge can hold its own up against any smokeless powder target round up to 200-300 yards. The caliber even set a few world records which are still holding today. Perhaps that is why Winchester picked this cartridge to debut in the most important model rifle the company built in its history.
Overall, this is a very decent example of an early 32-40. Overall, its in NRA Antique Very Good condition with 20% original receiver blue with 30 to 40% thinning blue on the barrel and magazine tube. Nice edges and sharp markings. This rifle has all the earliest antique features found on a Victorian era model 1894 including the fancy widow's peak checkered border on the hammer, early 2 line Winchester barrel address, and top tang markings which include the Winchester name, Model designation, and John Browning's August 21, 1894 patent date. Good screws overall. The mag tube retaining band could use a little TLC as its a little banged up but still very tightly held with no play or wiggle. Wood is in good condition with the usual light ding and scratches but solid with no cracks and nice wood to metal fit that is tight and even to the metal and not undersized. Original sights include the semi-buckhorn rear sight and blade front...on the front sight, someone has removed some of the pinch on the base surrounding the blade for a better sight plane. The bore is in good condition with strong rifling but could use a good scrubbing which will probably improve it considerably as its quite dirty. If you're looking for an early 2nd model 1894, this is a very good example...low serial numbers make great investments, particularly on a model which has been so successful, that over 7 million have been built to date. Here is a chance to own a 110 year old 1894 that was built during the first few months of manufacture.