Early Winchester Model 1895 Flatside .40-72 WCF Lever Rifle, 1896 Antique
SOLD FOR: $5330
Serial Number: 3352
Year of Manufacture: 1896
Caliber: .40-72 Win. (40-72 W.C.F.)
Action Type: Lever Action with Internal Box Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel at the receiver is marked “40-72 W.C.F.”. The top of the barrel in front of the rear sight is marked “MANUFACTURED BY THE / -WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CONN. U.S.A.-”. The top tang is marked -“WINCHESTER / MODEL 1895”-. The bottom tang is marked “3352”. The bottom of the trigger plate is marked “PAT. NOV. 5. 1895 / NOV. 12. 1895
Barrel Length: 26”, Round
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a Lyman white-beaded blade dovetailed to the barrel at the front. The rear sight is a “U” notched elevator sight dovetailed into the barrel. The elevator is missing and the top of the sight has been filed flat. The notch is fine-adjustable for elevation.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece smooth walnut with a straight grip, straight comb, and a Schnabel tipped forend with a black triangle inlet into the wood at the nose. The forend has a few scattered dings and light scratches. The buttstock has only a few minor marks and some light wear at the toe. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 12 1/2” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has a nickel appearance, this is somewhat common on Winchester’s case-hardened steel parts from this era, showing scattered minor oxidation and wear at the heel and toe. The stocks rate in Very Good-Fine overall condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue, Case Hardened Hammer & Trigger Plate
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some scattered light erosion and infrequent minor pitting. In this writer’s opinion, this bore rates an 8 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 70% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There is some scattered minor surface oxidation. The barrel has some minor finish wear, mostly forward of the forend. There is handling wear in the lever and top tang. There is wear on the front of the magazine assembly. There are some light nicks, scuffs, and scattered minor scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in Fine condition as 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 standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This rifle comes with a green plastic MTM Case-Gard cartridge case with 44 cartridges. There are 40 cartridges which have been loaded in .405 Winchester cases which have been modified to .40-72 dimensions and four vintage .40-72 cartridges. Please note, the cartridges should be used for display or component use only, we do not know the load.
Our Assessment: The 1895 Winchester was the first model to incorporate a non-detachable box magazine. This is the model Teddy Roosevelt called his “Big Medicine” that he used in hunting here and in Africa. The rifle became the preference of major powers worldwide, with Russia alone purchasing nearly 300,000 1895’s just before World War I. The Model 1895 was designed for the new generation of cartridges utilizing smokeless powder and spitzer (pointed) bullets, and many of its original chamberings remain popular today. With its quick handling characteristics, box magazine and pointed bullet capability, the Model 1895 changed the world of sporting rifles forever.
This is a particularly early 1895 chambered for .40-72. The .40-72 Win. was a blackpowder straight walled cartridge developed for the 1895 rifle, and introduced with the rifle in 1895. By 1911, it was dropped by Winchester as an available cartridge in favor of the more popular smokeless cartridges. However, people are still using them and making cases from .405 Winchester brass. This rifle is in Fine condition with 70% of its original finish remaining, a good bore and strong mechanics.
Made in 1896, this second year production rifle has the distinctive slab-side receiver and magazine profile of the early 1895s and is in much better shape than any of us will be at more than 125 years old! This very early rifle with its somewhat rare caliber is sure to attract the attention of Winchester collectors and the handloaders may get it back out on the range or in the field for another century.
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud