1893 Winchester RIFLE not shotgun?????

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

  1. Dave Kennedy

    Dave Kennedy New Member

    Sep 28, 2009
    All -

    I wanted to answer a couple of questions regarding the info folks have received from Cody - as referenced earlier in this thread.

    First - there was a complaint about the information on one gun:
    The image at that link is of a serial number search. This is the equivalent of the old "Yellow Sheet". The reason for the disclaimer at the top is that anyone can easily change the information on the sheet. Cody faxes it to you, you add 'XXX Checkered' in the stock info, you fax it to the buyer, and you clear an extra grand to the value.

    Second - the Factory Letters are just that - letters of how the gun is recorded as having left the factory. This is NOT a letter of verification or authentication, as some have claimed. This is information from the original handwritten factory ledgers transcribed onto computer and printed on paper with a special watermark (as of about 2-3 years ago). Cody does not look at the gun or pictures of the gun to make some sort of a determination. Cody looks at the record and only the record.

    If you have questions, please feel free to holler.

    Dave Kennedy
    Formerly the Robert Woodruff Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum
  2. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    Thank you Dave for the clarification. I understand the difference. To my understanding it is like this:

    The CODY records show how any rifle left the factory, but does not indicate if any particular rifle still has original parts. Chances are good that if the records match the rifle’s current configuration the rifle is authentic but that is not to say that any rifle matching features in documentation is still original pieces. Verification would take an expert who examines the rifle in person. Just like a piece of Chip & Dale furniture…..It looks original, but is it?

    As for my rifle I am pretty certain it is original after speaking with many family members of how the rifle was taken care of for at least the past 80 years….:)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009

  3. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    Ron, I do think the rifle was made in 1896 like you said and not 1898 like Bert has suggested. Since I found a link to rare Winchesters and the two model 1894 rifles (2nd & 3rd down) before and after S/N 50212 show more likely the rifle was made in 1896. See link below:

    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  4. muddober

    muddober Active Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Carson City Nevada
    Jim, according to Madis serial numbers from 44360 to 76464 were made in 1896 and they made 32,104 of them that year.

  5. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    Sorry for getting back so late, anyway I got the official letter from Cody. Pretty much matches the rifle. No mention of who the rifle shipped too or where and the detail does not go so far as to mention the shotgun style stock. But, there is nothing in the letter to indicate anything different than what the rifle exhibits this day, so this is good! :)
  6. 1 Eyed Jack

    1 Eyed Jack New Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Wow, that is a beautiful rifle you have there,
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Just a note on take down rifles. Please make sure that you retract the bolt before turning the barrel to take the rifle down, as it is possible to mess up the extractor and the barrel if the bolt is closed when the barrel and foreend are turned.

  8. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    First, thanks 1eyedJack! Jim, I have never fired or even disassembled this rifle. I leave it be, and only have put a slight coat of oil on the metal. I still am wondering though about this case hardening, even after I was told that this serial # is not on the list for it by someone on another forum. Don't remember the name. It looks different from a receiver where the bluing is just worn off. Especially around the front of the receiver where the barrel mates. The bluing on the barrel band is not worn in the same manner.

    Worn bluing on many rifles I have seen are more of a scuffy (sweeping) look, sometimes speckled (dotty) and not blotchy like this - as the only ways I can describe it...

    If you look at the pictures muddober supplied with a Winchester that has worn bluing of the receiver, you will notice that the underlying metal is a uniform gray. It does not have the swirling or patchy red/brown, blues or gray tones. In addition, the receiver of my rifle visually matches the pattern of the known case hardened lever and hammer in appearance.

    Since case hardened would have been a special order, then just maybe it was not included on that list that someone had referenced???

    I'm just not convinced yet that it is not case hardened. I hope there is a way to tell through an inspection.
  9. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2008
    I took the liberty of loading one of your earlier pics into Photoshop and messing with the contrast and brightness a bit. If that receiver and loading lever aren't casehardened, than I don't know what is. The hammer even seems to have some coloring. As you pointed out, the remainder of the gun metal is uniform in color and doesn't exhibit mottling due to age. I think some pics, taken outside without a flash and out of direct sunlight is all that is needed to conclude if it is casehardened or not. Now if that casehardening is original...
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Judging ONLY from the pictures posted by Jim88, that case coloring doesn't look right; it looks more like a blued receiver that has been rusted, then oiled. The lever and hammer appear to be color case hardened, which would be correct.

    Buffalo, any chance of seeing your Photoshop product?

    I believe the patent date "on the muzzle" is actually on the magazine tube latch; that is the last (and most common) of several tube latches used on the Model 1892 and 1894 so the tube could be pulled out to let the barrel turn without having to remove the magazine plug and drive out the retainer pin.

  11. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    Yesterday I spoke with a gentleman who collects old rifles such as Winchester and showed him the photos. He said to bring the rifle to him, because he is interested in purchasing it. The CODY letter correctly matches the rifle and he liked that. I had met him at a gun show recently. He also said that the case hardened lever and hammer are proper, however as for the receiver it would not matter to him if it is just an aged blued receiver. According to him, bluing was normal on these 1898 made 1894 model rifles because the receiver is different in weight than the other models. He never saw an 1894 deluxe take-down full length magazine other than photos. Especially with a straight presentation grade fancy walnut shotgun style stock. He told me the brass disc inlet is most likely factory, because it was left blank. An aftermarket inlet would have been completed with a monogram, and not left unfinished.

    I think I will show the rifle first to someone who is neutral on buying so as to get a better understanding on value.

    Let me also try to get some better photos in sunlight as suggested. Whether or not the receiver is case hardened, is still a mystery at this time....
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Another FWIW, color case hardening could be ordered on the 94 at extra cost, but was rare since the 94 was made with a steel receiver from the beginning, where the older rifles had receivers made from wrought iron. Iron can't be hardened, so the only way to get a wear-resistant surface was case hardening - the color was an option. The steel receivers could be hardened, so case hardening was no longer needed and was a costly and time-consuming process that sometimes ruined the receiver, so makers dropped it as soon as they could. A few makers (e.g., Colt) kept it for cosmetic purposes and as a kind of trademark, but it was no longer necessary.

  13. Jim,

    Winchester shifted to steel receiver frames in the late 1870s, and they continued to color case harden the Models 1873, 1876, 1885, 1886, and 1887 right up to August of 1901. Color case hardening could be special ordered on the Models 1892 and 1894 up to that same date.

    Bert H.
  14. Jim88

    Jim88 New Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    Well, figured I'd start with this - Here is the verbatim details from the official CODY letter for this rifle: Which matches it perfectly, but does not give any other info such as stock/checkering etc. ....

    "TYPE; Rifle
    Caliber; 30
    Barrel Type; Octagon
    Trigger; Plain

    Received in warehouse on November 5, 1898. Shipped from warehouse on November 5, 1898. Order number 8549

    No other information is available for this serial number."
  15. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2006
    Just another FWIW (aka Interesting Trivia)
    If you go to the Browning Museum in Ogden UT you will see what we call the Winchester M1894 displayed as the Browning M1893. Same thing with the other JMB designed Winchesters. (M1895=M1894, M1886=M1885, M1885=M1884, etc.......) It all makes sense when you realize they are his prototypes.
    (I can't even imagine what they would sell for on the open market.)
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