This is an early antique production 1892 Sporting rifle in 38-40 caliber, with a 24" round barrel, full magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate. It's in attic condition, having been found recently in Georgia...note the dark brown patina with original blue still showing through in places. This gun is 100% all original and about as untouched as you'll see. Early 2nd year production serial number in the 23,000 range. Manufactured in 1893. Overall, this rifle is in NRA Antique Very Good Condition with the metal turned mostly to a dark brown patina with a fair bit of original blue mixed speckled across the receiver and in the protected areas. The barrel and magazine tube still show 40-50% original blue that's age-darkened, strongest towards the protected areas with the balance turned to a plum patina. It has a few dings and marks around the barrel address. The loading port still has 35% original fire blue around the circumference and still some down in the cartridge scoop. Original sights include the standard semi-buckhorn rear sight with original elevator and standard front sight with German silver blade. Note it doesn't have the set screw which is correct for Winchesters made before circa 1895. Screws are in very good condition overall with several that appear to be unturned. There is one screw on the fore-end cap that appears to have been snapped off at the head about 100 years ago. This gun is so undisturbed that I'm leaving it alone but we can supply a correct replacement screw if desired.
This rifle has all of the correct and original early markings and knurlings. This includes the first style 2-line Winchester barrel address, and caliber designation both located on the top flat of the barrel. The hammer has the desirable early checkering pattern with dipped border at the top. These were only found on early production 1892's before going to a simpler checkering pattern with plain rectangular border. The upper tang markings are the early 3-line style marked "MODEL 1892" over -WINCHESTER- followed by John Browning's patent date on the bottom line, "PAT. OCT. 14 1884." The reason the patent date is eight years earlier than this model's year designation is because Browning's original design was for the Model 1886 which he scaled down years later along with a few improvements for the model 1892. According to John Browning's biography, the American Gunmaker, Winchester offered the inventor $10,000 for a replacement for the Model 1873 and $15,000 for such a gun within three months. Browning made Winchester President TG Bennett an interesting count-offer. He bet Bennett that he'd have a working model in his hands within a month for $20,000 or he'd give it to him for free. John's brother Matt, who was with Browning that day in Bennett's office asked why he had offered such a one-sided bet. John scowled. "I felt all at once that it would be worth ten or fifteen thousand (dollars) to change the expression on Bennett's face. In all the years I've known him, since he came out to Ogden (Utah), he has hidden behind that heavy beard, and you can never guess what he's thinking. But I made him jump that time." "You sure as hell did--and me too!" Matt exclaimed. As soon as the brothers returned to Utah, they jumped on the project and had the receiver being shaped the first day, parts were going together in a week, and the Browning brothers were firing the gun after only two weeks. Bennett and Winchester received the gun well within the thirty day period and Browning was immediately sent a check. A pretty fair wage for two weeks of work. For Winchester, the deal worked out too for they made over a million Model 1892's and the gun is still being manufactured today by a number of companies.
The wood is solid and in very good condition overall with mostly light handling marks and scratches...good wood-to-metal fit that isn't undersized. 60% original varnish. Left side of the stock has some pretty grain with a little bit of burl up near the top corner of the buttplate. See photos. No chips, cracks, or repairs.
Mechanically, this rifle is in good shape in spite of having been untouched for what appears to be 100 years or more. In other words, it has not been disassembled or cleaned in ours' or our parents' lifetimes. The bore is Very Good condition. All in all, a nice example of an early production Model 1892.