SOLD FOR: $5,057.50

Winchester Model 1883 Hotchkiss Musket, .45-70 Bolt Action Repeating Rifle

Make: Winchester

Model: 1883 Hotchkiss Musket

Serial Number: 82655

Year of Manufacture: 1895

Caliber: .45-70

Action Type: Bolt Action Rifle

Barrel Length: 28″

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade. The rear sight is a folding ladder sight.

Stock Configuration and Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut. The forend has two barrel bands with a sling swivel on the front band (there is another swivel mounted to the front of the trigger guard) and the nosecap has an integral bayonet lug. The lug obstructs the clearing rod slot, no rod is included. The buttstock has a straight grip, straight comb and steel buttplate marked “11” on the top tang. The stocks have light handling wear with some nicks and scratches. The LOP measures 13 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. Overall, the stocks are in Fine condition as ANTIQUE.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Original.

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some scattered minor erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 8 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains approximately 87% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The barrel has strong finish with some scattered light marks and more notable wear on the top-rear at the caliber marking. The receiver flats have generally strong case color with other areas muted. There is some light oxidation on the receiver. The action shows operational wear and there is stubborn dried grease on the bearing surfaces. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in Fine-plus condition as ANTIQUE.

Mechanics: The functions correctly.Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: This rifle comes with a Winchester factory records letter confirming its original configuration, received in warehouse March 13, 1895 and shipped June 5, 1915.

Our Assessment: The Winchester Hotchkiss was a bolt-action repeating rifle patented by Benjamin B. Hotchkiss in 1876 and produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and Springfield Arsenal from 1878. The Hotchkiss like most early bolt-actions had a single rear locking lug integral with the bolt handle, but was unique in feeding multiple rounds from a tubular buttstock magazine similar to the Spencer rifle. A magazine cutoff mechanism was adopted, allowing the user to fire the rifle as a single-shot while retaining the magazine in reserve.There were three basic variants to the Hotchkiss. The original rifle had the magazine cutoff and bolt lock integral to a dial on the right side, with only the one control. Testing and feedback from military trials led to the 2nd or “Improved” model being made, having separate levers to each side of the receiver. Curiously, 1st Model rifles and carbines continued to be produced even after the 2nd Model went into production. Due to frequent cracking of the stock at the rear of the receiver, the 3rd Model altered the receiver once more and used two-piece stocks, largely solving the issue of cracking. The 3rd Model also coincided with personnel changes at Winchester with former Remington employees Jefferson Clough and Leander Russell hired as Superintendent and Assembly Room Department head, respectively, as well as Colt firearms and tooling designer William Mason hired as the Master Mechanic. Their efforts led to a better designed rifle which was produced much more efficiently. This model was called the Model 1883 Hotchkiss and saw significant foreign military and domestic commercial sales, though the United States elected to stick with the 1873 Trapdoor rifle.This example is from fairly late in production, when both production and assembly were somewhat inconsistent. It is in Fine-plus condition, retaining much of its original metal finish, a strong bore and good mechanics. It has a few idiosyncratic features such as its turned-down bolt handle, “11” marking on its buttplate and a nosecap with a bayonet lug that prevents the use of the clearing rod slot in the forend. It is not clear whether this due to the production and assembly methods in the late 1890s. Another possibility, based on the serial range, is that it was originally sold to the California State Militia, and many of these militia rifles would later be sold to the Hollywood film industry which may have made some alterations. In any case, this a very neat example of the 1883 Hotchkiss that will add to a Winchester collection.