This is a very good example of the Winchester Lee Straight Pull Rifle purchased by the US Navy. The Navy designated the rifle as the Model 1895. It chambered a 6mm cartridge or .236 caliber which was well ahead of its time. Winchester Lee rifles were with the first Americans to see combat in Cuba when they came ashore in the hands of US Marines. The Marines used their 6mm Lee Rifles to capture Guantanamo Bay at the defense of McCalla Hill and the Battle of Cuzco Wells. It was also employed by the Marines in the defense of Peking during the Boxer Rebellion as well as limited use in the Philippines. While the Navy eventually opted to replace the 1895 Lee with Springfield Krag rifles followed by the Model 1903 in 30-06, a number of Lee rifles remained aboard Navy ships into the 1920's. Perhaps the most famous ship to arm itself with the Lee was the USS Maine. After its destruction, more than 50 of these rifles were recovered during the subsequent salvage operation. Most of these guns were eventually sold to Bannerman's who retailed these for $40.00 each in their catalog.
This one was part of the first Navy contract of 10,000 with a low pre-Span-Am War serial number in the 1,500 range. Made in and delivered in 1897. Breech marked "-U.S.N.-" over an anchor symbol...SN# and Naval Inspector's initials "N.C.T." for "Ensign N.C. Twining". Left side of receiver has the Winchester address along with 1893, '94, and '95 patent dates. Original ladder rear sight is graduated to 2,000 yards with blade front sight. Comes with its original front sight cover which is often missing.
Overall condition grades to Fine with Excellent metal surfaces and Good+ to VG Wood with most of the original oil finish intact. Receiver, barrel, bolt, and magazine well have 85-90% original blue; has seen some use but remains Excellent overall. Barrel Good bore with decent rifling...no rings or bulges. Barrel bands have 50% original blue. Very good screws throughout. The wood is complete with its original top guard (which has had a few minor cracks mended and barely noticeable) and stock which is solid and never altered (no hidden duffle bag cuts or civilian alterations). The wood has numerous minor dings and scratches...indicative of military use. Perfect wood-to-metal fit. Wood has never been sanded or cleaned. If there was ever a Lee that look like it did something in Cuba or China with the Marines, this one sure has the physical attributes of hard use for a short time. If you look at the photos closely, you'll notice marks at the tip of the forewood where the bayonet has been mounted dozens of times...along with a ring of wear around the bayonet's guard slipped over the muzzle.