Early Winchester Model 1895 Flatside .38-72 WCF Lever Rifle, 1896 Antique

SOLD FOR: $2,677

LSB#: 231025BC048

Make: Winchester

Model: 1895

Serial Number: 2299

Year of Manufacture: 1896

Caliber: .38-72 Win. (38-72 W.C.F.)

Action Type: Lever Action with Internal Box Magazine

Markings: The top of the barrel at the receiver is marked “38-72 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 “2299”. The bottom of the trigger plate is marked “PAT. NOV. 5. 1895 / NOV. 12. 1895”.

Barrel Length: 26”, Octagonal

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a tall silver-colored blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” notched elevator sight dovetailed into the barrel; the notch is fine-adjustable for elevation.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece smooth walnut with a straight grip, straight comb, steel crescent buttplate and a Schnabel tipped forend with a black triangle inlet into the wood at the nose. The stocks have scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches, mostly and most notable in the buttstock. The buttstock shows scattered thinning finish and has repaired chip-losses in each side of the wrist at the bottom-front. There are tiny losses in each side of the wrist at the top-front The LOP measures 12 1/2” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a moderate-dark patina with scattered surface erosion. The stocks rate in about Very Good overall condition as repaired Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue, Case Hardened Hammer & Trigger Plate

Finish Originality: The barrel has been refinished. The receiver finish is Original.

Bore Condition: The barrel has been counter-bored with no rifling in the last 1/2″ at the muzzle-end. The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is scattered light erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, this bore rates 5 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 40% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The barrel shows signs of polishing under its new finish. The barrel’s finish shows scattered wear and thinning. The receiver has mostly gone to a light patina with scattered remaining finish, strongest in areas covered when the action is closed. There is good blue finish on the bolt. The hammer and trigger plate’s case color has mostly muted, but there is some good color in areas concealed when the action is closed. There are scattered light nicks, scuffs, and scratches with some minor surface oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with usable slots. The markings are generally clear, the barrel markings are slightly soft. Overall, this rifle rates in Very Good condition as partially 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 standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This rifle comes with a Winchester Factory Records letter which indicates it was produced as a .38-72 with an octagonal barrel, received in warehouse December 21, 1896 and shipped February 11, 1897.

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 .38-72. While a potent cartridge, able to fire a 275 grain projectile at nearly 1,500 fps, it was developed as a black powder cartridge at the outset of the smokeless era. The cartridge was swiftly replaced by faster and more powerful smokeless cartridges. The rifle is in Very Good condition and appears to have been someone’s favorite. The barrel has been refinished and counter-bored with a couple of repairs to the stock, showing honest wear consistent with its age of more than 120 years. An early “flatside” model, the receiver and magazine have a different profile than the later production rifles. This along with its octagonal barrel makes it a nice find for the collectors. Who knows? Maybe the handloaders may get it back out on the range or in the field for another century. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud

Early Winchester Model 1895 Flatside .38-72 WCF Lever Rifle, 1896 Antique
Early Winchester Model 1895 Flatside .38-72 WCF Lever Rifle, 1896 Antique