This is a nice early Winchester Model 1894 Sporting Rifle in caliber 38-55 in high condition. Standard 26" round barrel with full magazine, walnut stocks, and crescent rifle buttplate. Winchester offered the 1894 in standard sporting rifle configuration with either round or octagon barrels. Although certainly plainer than the octagon, the round barrel rifle was about $1.50 cheaper and reduced the overall weight from 8 lbs down to
7-3/4 lbs. Desirable antique serial number is in the 51,000 range. Made in 1898. This is a nice straight-up example of the early Model 1894 with original factory sights, no extra holes, no modifications, and no replacement parts. Every marking, knurling, etc. on this rifle is correct and original to this Model 1894 produced in the 1890's.
Original Barrel: Nice markings throughout include the early 1890's style two-line barrel address at the twelve o'clock position on the top of the barrel. We are amazed at the number of early 1894's sold on the market without mention of the obvious fact that they have replacement barrels. Usually, the main giveaways are 20th century proofmarks, the infamous circle "P" (indicating mail order replacement), and later style markings. Often, the barrel addresses are located on the left side of the barrel instead of the top like the early production rifles and carbines. This is THE original barrel that went on this rifle when it left the factory. It bears NO Winchester proofs on the barrel or top of receiver, has the correct early Winchester address without the patent dates which are often indicative of replacement during the early 20th century. Upper tang has the early style three-line with mf'r, model, and John Moses Browning's original August 21, 1894 patent date.
Sights: Original factory sights include the standard sporting sem-buckhorn rear sight. Front sight is the standard front with German silver blade and set screw...also correct for an 1898 production rifle.
Hammer: Early style hammer with case colored finish and late Victorian era dipped-border around the checkering pattern.
Condition: Overall Condition grades to NRA antique Excellent with 97% bright original blue on the receiver with just slight brown toning. Barrel and magazine tube retain 75-80% original blue respectively. There are a couple of minor spots on the mag tube that show light corrosion. Forend cap retains 80% original blue. 95% original blue on the bolt. 90% original fire blue on the loading port. Hammer and lever show some wonderful original case colors with 90% on the hammer and 60% on the lever (about 80% on the side-profiles). Even the buttplate...which normally have no colors remaining...shows some faded and mottled shadows of colors around the top of the heel. The original walnut stocks are still a nice blond to reddish/orange tone and exhibit lots of grain. My feeling is that the original varnish on this rifle must have been flaking so someone lightly cleaned the wood (non-abrasively, of course) but did not refinish it. While I would prefer they had left it alone, sometimes flaking varnish can be an eyesore. The result here is that the walnut has a more uniform look it. There is also a certain warmth and character you get from open grain which really contrasts nicely with the blue and case colors. This rifle would really show well next to an early 1894 saddle ring carbine which came standard with open grain walnut. That said, the wood is solid with no chips, cracks, or repairs. No extra holes from sling mounts, etc. Nice wood to metal fit with the wood standing just slightly proud of the metal in 95% of the junctions. Very little in the way of dings or scratches. In spite of the cleaning, it's still Fine+ overall. Action is Excellent. Very Good bore with strong lands and grooves with a few pits. No rings or bulges. This is one of the better 1894's we've had here in quite some time as these nicer examples have gotten very difficult to locate in the lower antique serial ranges. Can't beat the caliber either...38-55 was the best!