RARE U.S. MARTIAL THIRD MODEL WINCHESTER HOTCHKISS (HOTCHKISS M1883,) IN EXCELLENT CONDITION, MADE IN 1884

$4,975.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 172-5737

This is a rare gun in excellent condition with great blue on the barrel, bands and cocking piece, case colors on the receiver and butt plate, good wood, and correct U.S. military markings in the wood and the metal. B.B. Hotchkiss sold his bolt action patents to Winchester, who submitted samples to the 1878 Ordnance Trials, in which the pattern gained first place. Springfield and Winchester worked together on the first two models submitted for field trials in 1879, which were favorable, and for the next round Winchester on its own manufactured an improved third model, which retained the five-round magazine tube in the buttstock for the .45-70 government cartridge, but strengthened wrist on a two-piece stock and added a magazine cut-off lever for single-shot fire on the left receiver and a safety on the right. No carbines were made in this pattern, but the barrel was 28-inches since there had been some talk of rifle suitable for both infantry and cavalry. The U.S. Ordnance Department purchased just 750 of these rifles in fiscal years 1884 and 1885, of which 712 or 713 were issued out for trial. Serial numbers began about 25222. This one is serial number 32377 and was made in 1884.

The barrel has smooth metal and preserves 90 percent or better blue. Both sights are in place: the front blade-sight with block base to act as bayonet lug; and, the rear adjustable ramp sight calibrated up to 400 yards on the base and 500 to 1,000 yards on the leaf. The Winchester markings are crisp on the top center of the barrel: MANUFACTURED BY THE / WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CONN, U.S.A., with horizontal elongated-Y flourishes at line ends. The breech is crisply stamped, "U.S. / VP [ in oval] / D.F.C." for inspector David F. Clark. The receiver shows wear to finish on the top and bolt, but retains 80 percent or better case color on the sides. The bolt has a small “D.F.C.” stamp at the handle. The receiver tang is stamped "Model of 1883" and the triggerguard tang stamped with B.B. Hotchkiss 1866 to 1870 patent dates in three lines.

Both stocks are excellent, with matching color and surface, just minor handling marks and thin pressure dents, and one small dab of green paint at upper right rear near the buttplate. The right wrist has a “DFC” cartouche and the left the “J.C.A.” cartouche of James C. Ayres. The underside of the stock has a small “DFC” and a large script “P” firing proof stamp. The buttplate is stamped “U.S.” and has some spotting, but smooth metal and visible thin case color.

The rifle correctly omits a stacking swivel from the upper band and uses a Winchester style cleaning rod. In the end, the army rejected all the magazine arms tested in the trials, electing to keep the single-shot trapdoor for the next decade, but Winchester found enough of a market in private purchasers, national guard units, and foreign governments to keep the rifle in production until 1899 in various calibers and configurations. This is a great example with profuse visible U.S. government inspection marks. The mechanics and bore are excellent.  [sr] [ph:L]

DISCLAIMER: All firearms are sold as collector's items only - we do not accept responsibility as to the shooting safety or reliability of any antique firearm. All firearms are described as accurately as possible, given the restraints of a catalog listing length. We want satisfied customers & often "under" describe the weapons. Any city or state regulations regarding owning antique firearms are the responsibility of the purchaser. All firearms are "mechanically perfect" unless noted, but again, are NOT warranted as safe to fire.

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