Whitney-Kennedy Sporting .44-40 WCF 24″ Lever Repeating Rifle 1880s Antique

Sold for $2107.45

ake: Whitney Arms Co.

Model: Whitney-Kennedy Lever Action Repeater (also known as the Whitney-Kennedy-Teising), Sporting Rifle variant

Serial#: N92

Year of Manufacture: Circa 1883-1886, Antique

Caliber: .44-40 Winchester Centerfire

Action Type: Lever-Action Repeating Rifle with a Tubular Magazine

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “WHITNEYVILLE ARMORY, CT. U.S.A.” ahead of the rear sight and “44 CAL” at the rear. The top tang is marked “PAT’D JANY. 7-73. / AP’L 1. (2) MAY 13. & AUG. 12-79.” (the January 7th, 1873 and April 1st, 1879 patents were held by Andrew Burgess, the May 13th, 1879 patent was held by Samual V. Kennedy and the August 12th, 1879 joint patent of Samual V. Kennedy and Frank W. Tiesing). The bottom tang features the serial number “N92”.  The left side of the lever is marked “N / 92”. The right of the stock has had “WAW” hand-carved.

Barrel Length: 24”, Octagonal

Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a german silver blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the barrel at the front. The rear sight is a “V”-notch elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel.

Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate with a sliding door over a storage compartment in the butt (there is nothing in the compartment). The stocks have some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There is a crack and a small loss on the top-left edge of the forend. There is a tiny loss at the top-front corner of the wrist on the left. There are four notches on the top-right edge of the forend near the front which appear to be intentionally applied. The LOP measures 12 1/2″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has mostly gone to a mottled light patina showing scraping and erosion as well as treatment with cold blue. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue and Case Color

Finish Originality: Some remaining finish may be Original, most surfaces show treatment with cold blue.

Bore Condition: The bore is dark. The rifling is generally well defined. There is scattered moderate erosion and pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: The rifle retains about 25% of its current metal finish. The metal surfaces have a mottled appearance with old, worn cold blue and areas gone to a light patina. There is scattered light surface erosion. There are some nicks, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The front screw for the bolt’s dust cover is missing. The remaining screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this rifle is in Good-plus condition as refinished Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

Box Paperwork and Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: Whitney Arms Co. was a firearms manufacturer established by the famous inventor Eli Whitney at the end of the 18th century (he is most famous for the Cotton Gin). The company primarily made martial arms for the U.S. Government during its early years before Whitney passed away in 1825. His one son, Eli Whitney Jr., was only four years of age at the time, and the management of his arms factory was taken over by his sisters’ two sons Philos and Eli Whitney Blake until his son was old enough to take an active role in the family business. Following his graduation from Princeton in 1841, Whitney Jr. went to assume control of his father’s armory. When his father had initially established the business, government contracts were the most profitable avenue for an arms company, but by the time Whitney Jr. assumed control the situation had changed and a robust commercial market for firearms had emerged fueled by the Westward Expansion and urban middle class. While Whitney Jr. would still make arms for the government, he also manufactured a variety of arms on the commercial market.

This particular specimen is a Whitney Kennedy-Tiesing Lever Action Repeating Carbine. The gun is a redesigned version of the Model 1878 Burgess Repeater which was redesigned by Samual V. Kennedy and Frank W. Tiesing which was designed to chamber the .44-40 Winchester Center Fire cartridge (a popular round at the time). The gun incorporates both Andrew Burgess’ patents (who designed the Burgess Repeater) in addition to a patent held by Kennedy and a joint patent held by Kennedy and Tiesing. The gun has the loop lever of the later production rifles made from mid-1883 through 1886. This is a sporting rifle variant of the iconic design and not one of the few sold to several Latin American countries for military service. The gun has wear consistent with an Antique firearm, but it remains fairly well preserved. This is a great option for fans of historical firearms. Good luck on your bid!