Here's a scarce Winchester you don't see very often! This 1st Model Hotchkiss Saddle Ring Carbine is in untouched condition and 100% original. This was Winchester's very first bolt action repeating rifle with a 5 round tubular magazine located inside the stock. Serial number is in the 12,300 range....quite late for a 1st Model. It letters with the Cody Museum as a carbine that entered the Winchester warehouse on Dec. 17, 1881 and shipped on Jan. 9, 1882. Its in caliber 45-70 with 24" round barrel, military ladder sight, and its original swiveled-base saddle ring mounted on the left side of the stock. It also features a magazine cut-off switch on right side of the stock so the carbine could be used as a single shot or a repeater. The U.S. military ordered quantities of Hotchkiss rifles and carbines in the late 70's and early 1880's. While I see no U.S. military acceptance markings on this carbine, it does have a rack number, "25", stamped on the right side of the stock near the buttplate more than likely indicating some type of military, National Guard, or police organization. In addition, Springfield research shows three Hotchkiss Carbines in the 12000 serial range issued to the 4th Cavalry and 23rd US Infantry. Many of these early carbines ended up in the hands of soldiers during the Indian Wars with parts of the Texas-based 8th and 10th US Cavalry issued the Hotchkiss. There are also several photos in existence of Army Units in the Apache campaigns of the 1880's holding Hotchkiss carbines and muskets.
Overall, the condition of this carbine at the moment is in NRA Antique VG+++ Condition because it needs to be carefully cleaned. If done with some patience and care, this gun will easily grade NRA Antique Fine+ as it has 60-70% original blue on the barrel and receiver mixed with light closet rust and patina. The wood is in Excellent condition overall with a nice patina covering the original Winchester reddish brown oil finish. Best of all, this one has solid wood with NO CRACKS in the wrist!!!!! One of the most frustrating aspects of the early Hotchkiss design is that nearly every one you see has a major crack in the wrist area....even nice ones rarely seem to escape from this phenomenon. Perhaps this was due to inexperience on Winchester's part in manufacturing stocks of 1 piece design as these Hotchkiss models tend to have grain that does not flow parallel with direction of the wrist. This one is perfect! Excellent markings throughout including multiple patent dates of the receiver dating from 1860 to 1878. Original sights include the original post front sight with pinned iron blade and rear military ladder style sight. Action still works and the bore looks to be in good condition...still mostly bright with strong rifling but some patches of rust from long-term storage...this should clean up much better.