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Discussion Starter #1
Not posting because I'm interested in selling, just curious what I have as I don't know much about it.

I inherited a rifle that has been in my family for a very long time (there's pictures of my great, great-grandfather holding it anyways.)

It is a Model 1894 Winchester in 38-55 with serial # 9712. If I were to value its condition I would say its only fair. Blueing is probably 40-60% and its clearly been used in the field. It has nice patina but it clearly wasn't a safe queen. The action is smooth but seems a bit loose and the hammer tends to rebound quite a bit more than I was expecting after it falls.

The stock also looks rather non-traditional and my mother says she thinks she can remember her grandfather saying he replaced the factory stock with one he made in his workshop when he was young.

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Andrew, I'm no expert, but with a four digit serial number, it's possible that your rifle is actually from the first year of production, made in 1894. If so, it may be valuable. Also, I believe that means it's black powder gun, so it would not be a good idea at all to shoot any modern ammunition in it.

I would strongly recommend that you try to obtain a factory letter on your rifle. I'm not sure if the current owners of Winchester still provide them. The Cody Firearms Records Office at the Buffalo Bill Center, centerofthewest.org, is an excellent place to start. They have records on many old Winchesters.

Please let us know what you find out.
 

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Yes the rear stock isn't original. If you want to replace it they can be found online.

Being a .38-55 it may or may not be black power only. It depends on what type of steel the barrel is. Look at the barrel markings, if it says ordance steel it's black powder only. If its marked nickel steel it's OK for smokeless. It also may say nothing at all. Either way I would contact a good gunsmith who knows old Winchester to make sure.

A great source off information is the book "Winchester Model 94 by Robert Renneberg. Enjoy a bit of your family history!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Great tips, thanks!

I ordered the factory letter from the Cody Firearms records office and I'll start poking around the local gunsmiths to see if there is one qualified to take care of an antique Winchester.
 

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Your gun most likely was shipped in 1895, I have a takedown model #571 was shipped Jan. 1895. it being in the family all those years, it's priceless! On the collector market the replaced stock hurts it, early number a plus. those early 1894s were mostly 38-55s and lesser numbers of 32-40s that said they were all BP soft steel, the Winchester nickel steel didn't show up until the 30-30 appeared late in 95 and was special order in the 32 and 38 and will be marked nickel steel
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh, there is certainly no intent to sell. Far too much sentimental value for that.

I asked a gunsmith who I trust very much about this gun, wondering the feasibility of restoring to shooting condition. Paraphrasing his response: "This rifle has paid its dues working for generations of men in your family. Give her the respect she deserves by letting her rest in a coveted spot above the mantle."
 

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"Antique Trophy Rifle" is What You Got!
 

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What you have there is a levergun antiquity that all of us are drooling over .
 
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