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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
hello, recently my family "discovered" my grandfathers model 1894 hiding in a closet. after the initial shock of finding treasure wore off, i hit the bricks and started finding out as much information as possible. Shortly thereafter i discovered conflicting and misleading information. I am not concerned "how much it is worth" as it is an excellent heirloom from my late grandfather. after searching around here i found this link that determines the year of manufacture via serial number: http://www.savage99.com/winchester1894_dates.html

My Grandfathers 1894's serial number is 85xxx. according to that site the rifle was crafted in 1897. It features a 30-30 caliber, 26" barrel, very short ammo tube, flat grip, flat stock. previous research labeled the rifle an "extra lightweight carbine." I am looking for any further information about the rifle. thank you for your help!







more pictures can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157623589880758/
 

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I have collected and studied 1894 Winchesters for years and will try to help. My first and foremost advice is detailed photos always. For us collectors a photo will reveal much imformation. Second you dont have a carbine as the longest barrel on a carbine was 20". You must have a " short rifle " as the standard rifle had a 26" barrel. Until we get more imfo not much more help can be had.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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The date by serial number (which I edited, BTW - not good idea to post full ser #'s on the internet) should be correct. My M94 saddle ring carbine has a 89xxx number and was also made in 1897. It has the full tube and a 20" bbl.

Something of interest, these rifles have the front barrel band in front of the soldered-on sight blade, while later mfg'd rifles have the band in back of the sight.
 

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Good lord! That is one beautiful rifle! And worth a ton of money! You may not be interested in the value, but I would suggest having it professionally appraised and insured. You just never know.
Thanks for sharing that with us. It's very rare to see one in that shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks guys! its amazing to feel a rifle that is 113 years old. especially since i never got a chance to know my grandfather before parkinsons disease overtook him.

the buttplate on the rifle is made of plastic it seems. my brain cant understand how there is plastic on a rifle that is over one hundred years old. the first plastic was made in 1855 however. any thoughts?

if anyone would like another angle i will happily take more photos. also, is the blued metal desirable or is the discoloration frowned upon? i think it looks classy, but then again there is so much i don't know about this rifle. thank you all again
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Custom rifle features could be ordered from Winchester. It apprears you have a "shotgun" buttstock in lieu of the standard crescent butt with the curved steel plate. Also, notice an absence of a barrel band. The open sight is different than on mine, in that this is a "v" notch, whereas mine is a square "u" notch. Not sure when they switched to the famous "buckhorn" rear sight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
i called winchester today to have them verify the year manufactured. they confirmed it was from 1897 but were unable to provide any further information. I told them the serial number, there was a short pause, then the gentleman told me to continue. haha he then said "it's only 5 digits? thats a right old boy you got yourself there." i thought it was pretty funny.

I contacted a local gun shop to help point me in the right direction. they seemed genuinely interested in helping and told me to get in touch with the Cody Museum, which to my understanding is part of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (weird since my family are distant relatives of the man.) The museum can provide a factory letter detailing serial number records, warehouse date, shipping dates, factory options etc. i need to investigate this angle of approach further, but it seems to be a sound plan. anyone have any experience with the Cody Museum?

also these are the images in question:


is it possible that this is a factory shipped, time appropriate buttstock? It appears to be some form of plastic and the only part of the rifle with any damage (small chip on the bottom.)
 

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I can't say if that buttstock is original, but I would caution you to do nothing whatsoever to the gun, in terms of cleaning it up or fixing anything. If that is 100% original condition you might have a fairly valuable little gun there and doing anything at all to the metal or wood will most likely cause that value to drop.
 

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Thanks for the photos and all I can say is WOW. You dont have a carbine you have a rifle, they are two different things. Your rear sight is called an express sight. The shotgun buutplate is original and is gutta percha not plastic. Does your barrel say 30-30? It should say 30WCF instead. Winchester didnt used the 30-30 markings on their barrels till @1950. Lastly the abreviated magazine tube is a little odd as most stopped just ahead of the forend cap. Yours however appears to be original and could be ordered any lenght from Winchester. Lastly you have what is known as a 3 option gun, meaning it was ordered that way from the factory. The options are the special sight, buttstock and magazine tube. A bit of unsolicited advice now DONT TOUCH THAT RIFLE. It is in super shape and ANY alterations or cleaning will SEVERLY reduce its value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thank you for the information! it is stamped "30 WCF"


i did a little research into the two proof marks in this image. the W over P in the oval means "winchester proofed" and came on every barrel AFTER 1903. this suggests that the rifle was shipped back to winchester at some point for repair and stamped with the post 1903 "winchester proofed." anyone know a thing or two about proof marks?
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Iffytrigger - it certainly sounds like a Winchester rebuild after the original was shipped. Perhaps the info from the Custer folks will help clarify.

One thing I noticed as odd was the "Nickel Steel" marking on the barrel. Mine, made after yours in 1897, does not have this marking. This makes me puzzled. Also, the caliber marking on mine is at 9 O'Clock on the barrel just ahead of the receiver, not the top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I spoke with someone from customer service earlier today, they were super pleasant over the phone. unfortunately they could only tell me what year it was from. i spoke with the gentleman for a few minutes afterwards, he wanted to hear about it. i posted on another forum at gunbroker.com and was told numerous times to apply for the manufacturer letter at Cody Museum. the letter should detail every repair or modification that was done to the rifle. i have a suspicion the barrel is newer. i have a few pictures of the interior action, does it look well worn? i don't have anything to compare it to.



 

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A Cody letter is the ONLY way you will find the truth about your rifle. Consider it an investment. It's not real costly, but it will add to the value of the rifle.
All the warnings about altering or cleaning the rifle are spot on, but you do need to protect it, even from handling due to perspiration, etc. Is the bore shiny or dark? I would probably pull a patch tied onto some weed whacker line with a little Hoppe's #9 or a little oil as a preservative to guard against rust. I would then wax the exterior metal and wood with some Renaissance wax. It's pretty expensive stuff, but it's used by museums the world over to protect valuable heirlooms. I use it, and consider it a labor of love every time I do.
I for one would love to see more pictures! Please let us know what you find out about it, and thanks again for sharing it with us!
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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From what I can tell from the photos, the interior seen is in good shape.

As suggested, it DOES need some preservative work to assure it won't deteriorate further than what is present (if any). No collector will hold it against you for keeping the bore and exterior from rusting - just don't overdo it and for Pete's sake, keep any harsh or abrasive material away from it. The waxing of the wood furniture sounds like sound advice to me. Ever notice on TV or at gun shows the people handling collector pieces are wearing cotton gloves? There's a good reason.
 

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IMHO, it's well worth spending the C-note (or so) for a Cody letter on it.

The letter will spell out all the details of how it was configured when shipped, etc - and if protected & kept safe/with the gun will enhance it's value for generations to come.

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