Make: Evans Repeating Rifle Company, Maine
Model: Transition Model Sporting Rifle
Serial Number: 2097
Year of Manufacture: 1877 (This model was made from 1876-1877, and the serial number on this one indicates it was made near the end of production.)
Caliber: .44 Evans Short
Action Type: Lever Action with Internal Revolving Magazine in Buttstock
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “EVANS REPEATING RIFLE MECHANIC FALLS ME / PAT. DEC. 8, 1868 & SEPT. 16, 1871” and “2097”.
Barrel Length: The octagonal barrel is 25 ¾” in length and measures 0.786” flat to flat.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a tall bead dovetailed into the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder sight screwed to the barrel. There is a “U” notch sight fixed to the front of the sight base and another “U” notch on the top of the slider for use when the ladder is raised. There are no range marks on the ladder that we could find.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are three pieces consisting of a forend and a two piece buttstock. The buttstocks are screwed to the tubular frame that houses the receiver and magazine. There is a steel crescent shaped buttplate mounted on the butt with a trapdoor covering a hole for loading cartridges into the magazine. The forend has a steel nosecap. The forend has a 2 ½” long chip missing from its top front left edge and a repaired crack running from the chip to the rear edge of the forend. There is a 2nd chip about 2” in length at the top rear left edge of the forend. The forend also shows a few deep compression marks with several lighter dings and scrapes in the finish. The forend and buttstocks have been refinished and show several old dark bruises under the finish. The bottom half of the buttstock has a repaired crack that runs from its left front edge back about 5”. It shows several dings and bruises in the current finish, mostly in the belly area. The LOP measures 13 3/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate shows several shallow bruises, light wear at the heel and is mottled with erosion. The buttplate is in Good condition. The stocks rate in about Fair overall condition.
Type of Finish: The receiver and barrel are “In The White”. br>
Finish Originality: The surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned to remove all traces of the original blued finish.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling is shallow. There is moderate erosion from the muzzle back several inches.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 0% of its original metal finish. The balance of the finish shows a sprinkling of pinprick surface erosion and light handling marks, with spots of light scratches from aggressive polishing. The edges of the barrel are relatively sharp with no dings. About one third of the screw heads are disfigured. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Good overall condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly and the magazine revolves when the lever is opened and closed. This rifle has a hammer that resides underneath the front of the lever. The hammer has a half-cock safety position and can be operated (cocked and de-cocked) the same as an external hammer on any other rifle. We have not fired this rifle.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: The Evans lever action rifles were unique in several ways. In addition to its tubular framed receiver/magazine and its under-the-lever hammer, it was the only mass produced rifle ever attempted in the state of Maine and also holds the record for the greatest capacity of any repeating rifle with an internal magazine. The rotary magazine fed through the trapdoor in the buttplate held 34 of the Short rounds used with the Old and Transitional Models and 28 of the Long rounds used with the New Models. .Flayderman’s Guide indicates about 1050 of the Transition Model Sporting Rifles were made between 1876 and 1877, with several hundred more made in Carbine and Musket models. This is a Transition Model Sporting Rifle with a 25 ¾” barrel in about Good overall condition. The original blued finish has been polished off the rifle and the surfaces are sprinkled with pinprick surface erosion and light handling marks. The forend is chipped in two places and has a repaired crack running its entire length. The lower buttstock also has a repaired crack. The forend and buttstocks have been refinished and show several dark bruises under the finish, with several new bruises in the current finish, mostly in the belly area. The bore is gray with shallow rifling and moderate erosion from the muzzle back several inches. The action functions properly, including the rotating magazine. This is a good example of one of the most unique American made rifles of the late 19th Century, and deserves a spot in any collection of early American firearms.