SOLD FOR: $2200.85
Make: Winchester Repeating Arms
Model: 1895 Lee Navy
Serial Number: 8538
Year of Manufacture: 1897
Caliber: This rifle has been re-barreled. The installed barrel appears to be chambered for .30-40 Krag, but we recommend casting the chamber to confirm as there are no caliber markings on the barrel.
Action Type: Straight Pull Bolt Action, Fixed Magazine
Markings: The left side of the receiver is marked “-MANUFACTURED BY THE WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO.- / NEW HAVEN. CONN. U.S.A. PAT. OCT.10.93 JAN.30.94 OCT.8.95”. The top of the receiver is marked “-U.S.N.- / anchor / No. 8538 / -N.C.T.- (inspector’s initials)“. The left side of the trigger guard is marked with a star and “J”, the right side is marked “2”.
Barrel Length: Approximately 23 3/4″
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a bladed pinned to a serrated base dovetailed to a band pinned to the front of the barrel. It appears that this may be the front sight assembly from a Springfield 1903. The rear sight is a ladder-style sight which presents a deep “V”-notch when folded down. When folded up, the slider has a similar notch with the ladder graduated from 8-20 in hundreds of yards.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are smooth walnut with a handguard secured around the rear sight with a barrel band which has a sling swivel, nose band with bayonet lug and stacking swivel, finger grooves in the forend, a semi-pistol grip, straight comb, sling swivel in the belly and a steel carbine-style buttplate. The stocks have some scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There are losses on each top edge of the forend in front of the handguard. Some areas show discoloration from age and oil. There is a thin crack in the bottom of the wrist at the right-rear of the guard. The LOP measures 14″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has wear at the heel and toe, some scattered scuffs, scratches and surface oxidation. Based on the wear at the muzzle, it appears that the noseband has been properly placed for use with a bayonet, but we did not have one on hand to test-fit. Proper fit with the shorter barrel implies that the forend has been cut back to its present length and re-fit for the band. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as refinished and modified Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Refinished, the barrel and front sight are not original to the gun. Some other parts may have been replaced.
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright. The rifling is sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There is some scattered light erosion and minor pitting in the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 20% of its current metal finish. The finish is mostly on the bolt and trigger guard but has turned to patina. There is some finish on the bottom of the barrel. The majority of the metal has worn bright and has scattered dark discoloration from previous oxidation. There are some areas of light erosion, some of the most noticeable is on the magazine. There is some light scabbing, some of the most noticeable is on the trigger guard. The screwheads show light tool marks but remain serviceable. The markings are clear. The rifle rates in about Good condition as refinished.
Mechanics: In our function check, .30-40 krag cases fed, chambered and extracted properly, but did not eject. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: A brown leather military-style sling is included. The sling shows moderate-heavy wear and discoloration with heavy verdigris at its brass hooks.
Our Assessment: This Model 1895 Lee Navy Rifle was made back in 1897 by Winchester Repeating Arms. It is one of about 15,000 M1885 rifles that were made. Many of these rifles saw combat, though they were not adopted in very large numbers. The M1895 Lee was purchased by the U.S. Navy for use by naval armed guards (blue jackets) and landing parties, and for a time was the standard service rifle for Marines. After the 1898 sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana harbor, 54 of these rifles were recovered from the ship. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, the M1895 was issued to the First Marine Battalion and, as far as is known, all Marine companies involved in the Cuba combat operations were equipped with the 6mm Lee rifle. In addition to this service, additional rifles were later distributed to the free Cuban forces revolting against the Spanish government. The first major combat use of the M1895 was in the capture of Guantánamo Bay, going on to see considerable action in the rest of the Spanish-American War and the early stages of the Philippine–American War. This is an interesting example which has been converted with a barrel we believe is chambered for .30-40 Krag. The intriguing thing is that we cannot find any reference to the United States military converting rifles like this, but the rifle is very much in a military configuration. The nose band retains its bayonet lug and stacking swivel. Its shortened stock still has finger grooves and a carbine-style buttplate. Even the replaced front sight appears to be from a Springfield 1903 rifle. The conversion was well done and can’t really be considered “sporterizing”, due to the rifle’s obvious military styling. In any case, this is a neat old Winchester Lee Navy, and we only wish it could tell us its story. Please see our photos and good luck!