1893 Winchester RIFLE not shotgun?????

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Jim88, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    I think that little disclaimer is a liability thing. People think that factory letters are the end-all and be-all of proof. But they ain’t.

    For example. I have a Winchester 94. I replaced the barrel, and it is now a 38/55. 75 years from now, somebody buys it, gets the Cody letter that says it started life as a 30/30, and puts a 30/30 barrel on it. Now they show the letter and say, “Yessir, this genuine antique rifle is in factory condition. See the letter proves it.” ‘Cept it ain’t. Barrel’s been replaced. Twice.

    I read, recently, about someone spending quite a bit of money on a Colt Single Action Army. It came with a factory letter, saying SAA SN this left the factory in this shape. Trouble was, it was not a Colt. It was a defarbed Uberti. They sent in the Uberti number, and Colt gave them in the info on the Colt with that number. Then they rigged the Uberti to match the description. 400-dollar gun along with 300 dollars worth of work and a 100-dollar factory letter ended up being a 2800-dollar sale.

    So, if on the strength of the Cody letter, somebody bought my Winchester, and then later found out the barrel had been replaced, they COULD sue Cody. “Cody says it’s original. See this letter!” They might not win, but they could dang sure sue, and it would cost Cody money to fight it.
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    The reason for the letter, in my opinion, is to FIND OUT. And not so much to find out what it is, as it is to find out what it's not. For example, I found out my 1873 Short Rifle (fairly rare, fairly valuable) isn't. Left the factory with a 24" barrel. It has been cut down. Okay. Now I know.
  3. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

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    Well, I may have an update....The first letter I saw may not be official. Here is another example of possibly the "REAL" factory letter of verification. See links:

    http://www.cabelas.com/gun-inventory---reno---win-rifle---1020944-win1873.shtml

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/c...images/reno/win_rifle/1020944_win1873_07l.jpg
  4. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    Jim: I agree with Alpo that a letter is not necessarily the last word but to some it is. The letter will tell you all the special features the gun had when it was shipped from the factory and often if the had been returned for some reason. A gun like yours with a letter will bring probably 20% more with a letter than without one. If for some reason the doesn't letter meaning as an example it comes back as carbine then you might have nothing more than a parts gun. I would bet even money your gun will come back as I have stated. I will say I have had two problems with letters over the years. I once had a deluxe 86 light weight take-down in 45-90 in near new condition. I got my letter and the gun was perfect to the letter. I traded the gun to a friend and he lost the letter and sent in for another and it came back as a 45-70 saying that the stock had been replaced. I once had as new as it can get standard rifle in 45-70 and the letter came back as a 40-65. Trust me I know enough about guns to know that this gun had never been touched since it left the factory meaning there is no way the barrel had been change. There was a 1 in the serial number that had a bit of a tail at the top just like one I just printed so I called in (when I had an account there) and changed that 1 to a 7 and it came back as a 45-70. I have since learned that often all the guns that were being shipped on any given day were laid on a table and numbers were read by one guy and written down by another so mistakes were sometimes made.

    I did not have time today to take the pictures I promised Goody but I will try to get to it tomorrow.

    Ron
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2009
  5. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    Alpo, I have never seen or heard of a short rifle that had a standard forend, meaning the forend is short on a short rifle as well as the barrel. That most certainly doesn't mean they didn't make one. I have a model 92 saddle ring short rifle with a short forend (not a carbine forend) in 44-40 and according to my letter it is one of only 26 made and they were all sent to the Wild West Show.

    Ron
  6. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, well. I was younger and dumber then. I didn't know there was a difference in forends. Also the magazine hanger is too far forward, since it is centered for a 24" barrel.

    Live and learn.
  7. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

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    Hi Ron, I will see what the records show. But I do believe that this rifle is untouched knowing my family. They were not the type to play switcheroo's with items. In other words make changes arbitrarily once purchased. I even have a couple of original "National" cash registers made around the 19 teens. These have the money keys from 1 cent, 2 cent, 3 cent, etc. and the highest key being $3.

    Let me know if you would like me to capture any more photos of specific areas? I can then post them.....:)
  8. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    Jim, there is no doubt in my mind that your gun is original, I was just trying to explain to you the letter thing and I wasn't insinuating for a second that your gun won't letter. As for pictures you have done a good job of making me drool enough.

    Ron
  9. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    Alpo, I received a PM today from a forum member who said that short rifle 94 takedowns (he has one) have regular length forearms but he said non takedowns have short forends. He has one of those as well. I asked him to post a couple of pictures of them, I hope he does.

    I don't know if it is proper to mention the members name who sent me the PM is the only reason I didn't.

    Ron
  10. TRAP55

    TRAP55 Active Member

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    Jim, I see Bert H. has weighed in on your rifle, you'll get good advice from Bert. He's a good friend of mine, and spends all his spare time researching the records at Cody, and picking the brains of past Winchester employees. He has probably done more to correct the falsehoods from the Madis book, than any other Winchester collector too.
  11. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    Here are the pictures of a couple of early 94's that I promised Goody, they show the original scratches that I was referring too in my earlier post to his thread. Every very early 94's I have ever seen unless it was refinished had these scratches, some far more than others. I took several picture of different guns but most did not come out to good. Not that you can tell but photography has always escaped me.

    Ron

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  12. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

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    Hi Ron, no problem :) I also used my fingernail around those couple of screws and it was dirt. There is no dishing. I don't think the receiver is case hardened like I thought, but all the other features has me wondering how many were made in this configuration. I hope CODY will not only letter my rifle with its special features, but also give me quantities made for the model. I still find it very strange that the rear shotgun style stock is not a pistol grip and has a brass disc without any engraving????
    Jim
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
  13. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    Jim, the letter will not provide you any information other than your particular gun. According to the Madis book there were less than 2,800 take-downs and less than 1,900 with checkering made. As for pistol grip there were less than 3,000 of them made, but if I had to guess your gun with a checkered straight grip is rarer than if it were a pistol grip as most of those were checkered.

    Ron
  14. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

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    Thanks Ron for your help. Time will tell. I will wait until I get the CODY letter...:)
  15. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

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    Ron, it looks like Winchester DID inlay plates for presentation rifles...See below:

    Left side of the buttstock is inlaid with a nickel oval plate 2" long x 1-1/4" wide inscribed "JOHN S. WOOFTER". Buttstock, under the buttplate, is stamped "1823", no indication of the context of this number. Also under the buttplate is a hole like a hole for buttplate with trap. Just above and to the left of this hole is a small recess with a small diameter steel pin with a fingernail notch that appears to be the retainer for the presentation plaque. Accompanied by a Cody Firearms Museum letter which identifies this rifle, as found, having been shipped Jan. 8, 1907, returned & repaired Aug. 29, 1911.

    http://www.artfact.com/auction-lot/rare-presentation-winchester-model-1894...-1-c-072b733301#
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
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