Winchester Model 1894 with Octagonal Barrel

Created on November 17th 2017

Superb Winchester Model 1894 Rifle

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The main thing that is immediately apparent  (to one that has seen a few of these) about this rifle, is that, it has not been mucked about with.  I would put money on the fact that this fine Winchester has not been altered since the day it left the Winchester factory in 1905.  Also, a slightly more subtle sign it displays to the careful observer is that it has spent many years in a very bright sunny climate.  It takes a long time to achieve the kind of sun bleaching that has occurred to this example, in the all over, even way it has acted on the walnut stock.  The author believes this has spent the majority of its existence on the wall or in a rifle rack, where the sun has had a direct effect on the overall tone of the exposed timber.  This is exactly the life we like to imagine all our “cowboy guns” to have experienced when we build our collections.  This 1894, to me, is showing all the signs of such a life.

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Wear to the steel components of the rifle and their finish also is devoid of “interference” from unwanted “expertise.”  The rifle’s bluing has faded and worn away in a manner which can only be brought by the passage of time.  There are no nasty patches of repair or clumsy restoration that detract from the overall patina of this fine old rifle.  Exposed edge wear on the octagonal barrel and towards the muzzle are complimented by a lack of finish on the upper tang and the underside of the action.  Along with an almost complete lack of finish upon the steel fore-end cap and the crescent moon steel butt plate.   There is original finish, or “bluing,” on the lower tang and a decent degree of the same upon the barrel flats and the full length steel magazine tube.  The sides of the action also have fared better than the top or base of the structure, retaining a even covering of a blue turned brown which fades towards and over the edges.  The loading gate on the RHS of the action has managed to retain some colour, but, reassuringly shows that the weapon has not been idle in its time; as within the scalloping towards the front of the device there is also a thinning of the finish attributable to the loading of a fair quantity of rounds.

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The rifle is fitted with a “special order” octagonal barrel of standard length. On the top flat,  just forward of the rear sights, in two lines, is the following: “MANUFACTURED BY THE WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO.  /  NEW HAVEN. CONN. U.S.A.  PATENTED AUGUST 21. 1894″    The rifle wears a standard buck-horn rear sight with a movable central element, locked off by a small screw in the rear face of the sight.  The front sight is a dove-tailed inverted “V” with a brass tipped blade.  Chambered in the currently obsolete calibre .32-40 wcf.   Between the rear sight and the receiver is a clear Winchester factory proof mark and  the calibre marking of .32-40 respectively.  Upon the top of the receiver the Winchester proof is repeated.

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The upper tang is thus marked;  “MODEL 1894 / WINCHESTER / TRADE MARK”.  As mentioned earlier the finish is all but gone on the tang but the markings are very clear, with a good depth to them and no signs of having in any way been refreshed.  The action is slick and seems to perform perfectly well, although not tested.  The bore is good for its age and degree of usage, showing a typically shallow six-groove right hand twist.  No immediately obvious pitting.

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The serial number “327665″ denotes completion in 1906 and a letter from the Cody Firearms Museum of Wyoming confirms this.  The letter shows the rifle to be in its original specification, detailing barrel type, calibre and date the serial number was applied and the date the rifle was received in the warehouse plus more.  This letter is included with the rifle.  The rifle is approximately 44″ in length.  The barrel is 26″ long and the trigger pull to center measures 13″ exactly.  This is a fine Winchester which would grace any weaponry collection and one of a dwindling number of unaltered or restored examples still available today in the UK.

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£ 2450.

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