SOLD FOR: $4630
Make: Winchester Repeating Arms
Model: 1895 Lee Navy
Serial Number: 6090
Year of Manufacture: 1897
Caliber: 6mm Lee Navy (.236 USN)
Action Type: Straight Pull Bolt Action, Fixed Magazine
Barrel Length: 28?
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade pinned to a slotted base set under a protective hood. The rear sight is a sliding “U” notched blade assembly. When down it is a sliding elevator marked “3” and “6” on the left side of the sight base. When flipped up it becomes a sight ladder marked from “8 – 20”.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is smooth walnut with a band at the front incorporating a bayonet lug and stacking swivel, a second band holding the handguard and with a sling swivel, a sling plate in the belly and a steel buttplate with a sliding door over a storage compartment (nothing in the compartment). There is another sling swivel installed at the front of the magazine assembly. There are scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is wear in front of each of the bands. There is more notable wear on the left of the comb toward the heel. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 14 1/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has mostly worn to white with scattered light marks and oxidation. The stock rates in Very Good-Fine overall condition as antique.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is light gray with well defined Metford-style rifling. There is some scattered light erosion in the bore, mostly in the “grooves”. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 7 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 75% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There is fairly evenly scattered minor surface oxidation. There is some scattered finish wear, more notable on the magazine assembly. There are some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots, there are tool marks around some screw heads. The markings are clear. The rifle rates in Fine-plus condition as Antique.
Mechanics: 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: Included is a bayonet and scabbard, each marked with a “T” in triangle.
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 for the Navy in two contracts, the first for 10,000 rifles and the second contract for 5,000 rifles. Many of these rifles saw combat and this one’s condition is quite nice for its age. In 1895, it was quite high-tech, with a small caliber, high velocity cartridge, Metford rifling, and a straight-pull action with a tilting-bolt lockup. The M1895 Lee was carried aboard Navy ships for use by naval armed guards (blue jackets), landing parties, and was the standard service rifle for Marines.
Due to the smaller, lighter cartridge, the combat load was nearly double that of the Trapdoor Springfield it replaced, and during the Spanish-American war it was found that troops armed with the Lee could sustain engagements longer than most others. As far as is known, all Marine companies involved in the Cuba combat operations were equipped with the 6mm Lee rifle. In addition to service with the First Battalion, additional rifles were later distributed by navy quartermasters to elements of free Cuban forces revolting against the Spanish government. The first major combat use of the M1895 occurred during the land campaign to capture Guantánamo Bay, Cuba from June 9–14, 1987 with the First Marine Battalion, in particular at the battles of Camp McCalla and Cuzco Wells. During the battle of Cuzco Wells, Marines using the M1895 Lee effectively engaged concentrations of Spanish troops at ranges up to 1,200 yards, using volley fire against groups of enemy soldiers while their officers called out the range settings. The M1895 would see considerable action in the Pacific during the Spanish-American War and the early stages of the later Philippine–American War with U.S. Navy and Marine personnel. The rifle saw a fairly short service life, being replaced by the 1903 Springfield when it was deemed necessary that the Army and Navy use a shared standard rifle cartridge.
This 1st contract example is in wonderful condition for its age, retaining the great majority of its original metal finish, typical wear in the wood for a service rifle, and even retaining a strong bore. This will be a great addition to a Winchester or U.S. small arms collection for the lucky winner. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud