"We" would need to check the original record on your gun with the Winchester Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Society by it's serial number. That will tell whether it is a true factory cut-away. There is a charge for that service but they are rather quick to answer.
Most cut-aways that I have seen, Winchester, Savage, AH Fox, etc are completed guns with stock, forend & barrels attached. Sometimes the barrels/mag. tubes & wood may be shortened significantly but it made for a whole gun which would have been demonstrated.
Definitely check with the Cody (Winchester) Museum. But in general factory cutaways are brand new (while that one appears worn), either have no serial numbers or have low and distinctive numbers (e.g., X1), and are more extensively cut away to show the workings of the action.
My WAG is that it was a used action that was made into a cutaway outside the factory for whatever reason.
I have bought several Winchester rifles and carbines they are all reportedly pre 1898 and of good condition but I don't know yet what good conditions looks like for a 100+ YO gun.Should I get info from Cody on all the ones I have bought. Like I said I'm a very new collector most likely buying the wrong guns or guns that are not collector value but I'm still learning and hope to end up with a nice collection.
Thanks for the info I will try to figure out how to get the Cody information ( if anybody has a link to the right web site they could post ) and let you guys know what it says,
All I can suggest is that you visit gun shows and museums and look at what is on display. Buy some books. Madis has been (rightfully) criticized on serial number dates, but the pictures are worth the money.
For now, just LOOK. Don't buy, just look, and talk to people. While some gun show dealers are nasty, even (I hate to say) crooked, most are willing to share knowledge about what they have.
Ask at gun shops about collector clubs in your area and join one if possible. Again, the knowledge is out there.
- These are 100+ year old guns; be suspicious of anything that looks too new.
- Smell the guns; that is not a joke, cold blue has a unique sharp odor. It won't last long, but some artists with cold blue can fake a nice finish or case coloring.
- Be suspicious of any repairs, buggered screw slots, welding or brazing.
- Look for too-new wood. Any 100 year old gun that has had any use at all will have dings and nicks. A nice smooth shiny finish probably means the stock was sanded and refinished.
- Look especially for new looking wood on a gun with poor looking metal, or vice versa. The gun should have the same general appearance all over.
- Ignore stories ("owned by Buffalo Bill") unless solidly backed by documentation. Hint: If it was really owned by Buffalo Bill, you couldn't afford it.
BTW, I think the top rifle in your display has been refinished, wood and metal.