SOLD FOR: $38,675

Factory Winchester 1890 Prototype Magazine Lever Action Rifle, .22 WRF & Drawings, Circa 1906

Make: Winchester

Model: Prototype Magazine Lever Gun

Serial Number: None

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1906

Caliber: .22 Winchester Rimfire (WRF)

Action Type: Lever Action with Tubular Magazine

Barrel Length: 24 1/4″ (24″ nominal)

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a beaded blade dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch sight screwed to the rear of the barrel, screw-adjustable for elevation. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and casehardened steel crescent buttplate. The stocks have some scattered light nicks and scratches. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 12 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has some light wear and muting in the face with strong colors on the tang. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good-Fine condition.

Type of Finish: Blue, Casehardened Lever & Hammer

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright and the rifling is sharp. There are infrequent spots of minor erosion, mostly toward the muzzle-end. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 9 out of 10.Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 95% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning lightly at most edges. There are a few scattered minor nicks and small scratches. The receiver has some scattered minor finish wear. The lever and hammer retain generally strong case color. The action has minor operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in Fine condition.

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: Included is a framed print of full-scale drawings of the rifle’s design, dated March 16, 1906 from the Office of Winchester Repeating Arms Co. The drawing is numbered 6748 and titled “Magazine Lever Gun”.

Our Assessment: ever since 1890, when Winchester brought out a slide-action rifle with that year’s model number, the Model 1890 pretty much ruled the roost for rimfire repeaters, also known as gallery guns in a specific configuration. This tubular-magazine rimfire was wildly popular not only in the plethora of shooting galleries that were across the U.S. but in the hands of young boys and men who loved to shoot and hunt small game. The Model 1890 was a John Browning design and the first successful repeating rimfire rifle. Sixteen years later an almost identical rifle was introduced as the Model 1906.While the 1906 was quite successful and sold nearly three quarters of a million units, one has to wonder why Winchester would introduce a “different” model which was almost exactly the same. Was there maybe some other plan in 1906 that was abandoned? Maybe Winchester wanted to get back to their roots and, as they attempted with repeating shotguns in 1887, wanted to put the 1890 into the familiar form-factor of the lever action that made Winchester famous? This rifle, and its sister which resides in the Cody Firearms Museum, would certainly indicate this was the case. The included Winchester factory drawing, coincidentally dated March 1906, is also pretty persuasive.This rifle has almost the same bolt, lifter and general operating system as the 1890, but the mechanism is driven by a finger-lever rather than a slide handle. The receiver takes down in the same way as the 1890, the magazine assembly is the same. By all appearances, this was Winchester’s attempt to convert the 1890 to a lever action..that never went into full production. The rifle itself is in Fine condition and doesn’t appear to have seen much use. If there were more than two of these made, you’ll have to find the others. This a fantastically Rare opportunity for the Winchester collector to own a piece of Winchester history that never came to pass. Please see our pictures and good luck!