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Antique serial numbers?
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September 10, 2017 - 3:18 am
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 Bert. I have a question. Your list of antique numbers show two listings for M 1897 and M 1897 Shotgun. Are these both for shotguns or was there another Winchester models. Thanks

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September 10, 2017 - 4:06 am
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David Whiteman said
 Bert. I have a question. Your list of antique numbers show two listings for M 1897 and M 1897 Shotgun. Are these both for shotguns or was there another Winchester models. Thanks  

David,

You are mistaken.  The list that I posted only shows the M-1897 once (the last model listed), serial numbers 34151 – 63867. 

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September 10, 2017 - 4:18 am
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wolfbait said

steve004 said
Many years ago, I recall it was not uncommon to see some Winchesters made after 1898 advertised for sale as antiques under the provision that they were chambered in obsolete calibers – that is, chambered for ammunition that was no longer manufactured, “and not readily available in the ordinary channels of commerce.”  One criteria is that the firearm had to have, “an identical antecedent manufactured during the antiquity period.”  An example would be a Winchester M1886 in .40-82.  I also recall 1894’s in all calibers except .30-30 and .32 spl. were advertised as antiques (even though they were manufactured after 1898.  For several years now, some of this ammunition that was, “obsolete” is certainly available (e.g. .38-55).  Also, for example, PMC made a run of .40-65.  Now, .38-70, .40-70, .236 USN (for a Win-Lee with a serial number in the 14,xxx range)… I think there remain some cartridges in pretty darn obsolete status.  Thoughts?  

The availability of purchase of most any cartridge on the internet has virtually removed any cartridge from the obsolete/unavailable cartridge exemption. If you can buy it on the internet and have it sent right to your home, it is available in ordinary channels of commerce. It was never a very smart provision to include in the 1968 GCA. Right from the beginning it was ambiguous, and rife for causing misunderstanding and violation. I have never seen a court decision addressing this, but ATF agents I have discussed this with believed that black/smokeless powder would not be a distinction, even the availability of cases/bullets/powder/primer would be considered ammunition readily available.  

Both of you have incorrectly interpreted the definition of what constitutes an “antique” firearm and the clause in it concerning obsolete ammo.

Per the federal regulation (see the quoted reference below), the obsolete/unavailable cartridge (ammo) clause only applies to replica firearms.

Per U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 44, Section §921, paragraph (16), an “Antique” firearm is defined as follows;

(16) The term “antique firearm” means—

(A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or

(B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica—

(i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or

(ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or

(C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

end quote

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September 10, 2017 - 6:32 am
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Who knows what the framers of that definition were thinking, but one of the definitions of replica is “the fact or quality of being alike”. And alike is defined as “in the same manner or form”.  An 1894 Winchester made in 1899 or later is in fact alike an 1894 Winchester made pre-1899, and it is in fact made in the same manner and form as the pre-1899 gun. The semantics are confusing, but I believe logic and common sense would presume that the cartridge exemption would have been applicable to any firearm that was a replica, alike and in the same manner or form, of a pre-1899 firearm, including Winchesters made after 1898. 

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September 10, 2017 - 7:09 am
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wolfbait said
Who knows what the framers of that definition were thinking, but one of the definitions of replica is “the fact or quality of being alike”. And alike is defined as “in the same manner or form”.  An 1894 Winchester made in 1899 or later is in fact alike an 1894 Winchester made pre-1899, and it is in fact made in the same manner and form as the pre-1899 gun. The semantics are confusing, but I believe logic and common sense would presume that the cartridge exemption would have been applicable to any firearm that was a replica, alike and in the same manner or form, of a pre-1899 firearm, including Winchesters made after 1898.   

And you are absolutely wrong in that line of thinking.  The “semantics” are not the slightest bit confusing, and your “logic” argument is complete nonsense.  The definition of an “antique” firearm is very clear, and a Model 1894 manufactured on January 1st, 1899 is in no way a replica of the same rifle manufactured on December 31st, 1898.  Both are original in all respects.  Furthermore, the BATF does not share your skewed definition of “replica”.  In my opinion, you are simply making up excuses in an attempt to defend your lack of knowledge and understanding of the regulations.

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September 10, 2017 - 1:29 pm
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Bert –  I suspect you are indeed correct that the BATFE does not presently share the thinking that that a post 1898 firearm would meet the, “replica” criteria.  However, at one time they did.  In 1995, a dealer shared in his catalog, a letter Roy Jinks received in 1972, from John J. Caulfield, who was Assistant Director of the BATF’s Criminal Enforcement section at the time.  In 1995, this dealer shared Caulfield’s letter to Mr. Jinks with his BATF Regional Director, who said the Caulfield letter was an acceptable interpretation.  Here is the published quote from Mr. Caulfield which was in response to an inquiry from Roy Jinks:

“… You are correct in your assumption that a firearm is classified as an antique provided that the frame was manufactured on or before December 31, 1898, even though the final manufacture of the entire weapon was completed on or after January 1, 1899.  These classifications are in accordance with the definitions contained in Sections 921(a)(3) and 921(a)(16) of Title I of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Section 921(a)(16)(B) classified a weapon as an antique firearm if manufactured subsequent to December 31, 1898, provided the firearm had an identical antecedent manufactured during the antiquity period and is chambered for a round of ammunition which is not presently manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commerce. For example, a Winchester Model 1886 rifle, manufactured in the year 1910 and chambered for .40-82 ammunition, would also qualify as an antique firearm.”

I do not have a copy of the letter.  This dealer is no longer active however I’ve known him for 48 years and would rank him as the most ethical of any dealer I have met.  Hence, I never considered the prospect he would have made this up.  He always followed the law to the letter and would not have put himself at risk over the handful of rifles he may have sold under the interpretation of the letter.  I also never recall an example where he put a post 1898 Winchester M1894 (e.g. .38-55, et al) in the antique category.  I suspect as he had a copy of the actual Caulfield letter to Roy, others did as well.

Regarding the topic of semantics, it is interesting the Title 18 code uses the term, “replica” yet Caulfield choses to use the term, “identical antecedent.”  Using logic, I have always assumed replica meant antecedent.  After all, what other, “replicas” could they have been referring to in 1968?  Even though replica’s eventually became more common, off the top of my head, all of them are chambered in cartridges that are readily available (e.g. M1873 Winchesters in .38 special, .357 magnum, .44-40 and .45 Colt).  I can’t think of one example of an obsolete caliber replica firearm the code could have been referring to in 1968.  Could they have believed that eventually, replica’s of the M1886 Winchester would be manufactured and chambered in .40-82 and they wanted the code to be prepared for that eventuality? 

I think the reason this is a non-issue is the fact that about every cartridge that was chambered in a rifle after 1898 is available.  Even if you could convince the BATFE to back up Caulfield’s interpretation that replica and identical antecedent are synonymous, we know that most of us (I write, “most” as there are some cities where you can’t have ammunition delivered to you) can order any post 1898 cartridge out there and have it at your door overnight.  I’m sure the BATFE knows that as well.

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September 10, 2017 - 2:56 pm
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Bert H. said

And you are absolutely wrong in that line of thinking.  The “semantics” are not the slightest bit confusing, and your “logic” argument is complete nonsense.  The definition of an “antique” firearm is very clear, and a Model 1894 manufactured on January 1st, 1899 is in no way a replica of the same rifle manufactured on December 31st, 1898.  Both are original in all respects.  Furthermore, the BATF does not share your skewed definition of “replica”.  In my opinion, you are simply making up excuses in an attempt to defend your lack of knowledge and understanding of the regulations.

Bert  

I believe my statement and Steve004s information show that you are wrong about the definition of an antique firearm back in the era when there was in fact completely obsolete ammunition. It would make absolutely no sense that, for example, an 1886 style rifle made by someone other than Winchester after 1898 for an obsolete cartridge would have been considered an antique under the definition, but an 1886 made by Winchester after 1898 for the same obsolete cartridge would not have been considered an antique. Steve004 has provided information from ATF supporting my opinion, do you have any official information from ATF or any other source supporting your dogmatic statements? My opinions and statements are based on my direct contacts with ATF agents. I had a business selling antique firearms for 40 years. In my primary occupation in law enforcement I had frequent contacts with ATF agents. The information I obtained regarding obsolete ammunition/antique firearms came directly from ATF agents. Of course, as I said before, the situation regarding obsolete ammunition now is very different than it was in an earlier era. 

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September 10, 2017 - 3:30 pm
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Gentlemen –

Let’s keep this as civil and congenial as possible and work toward that goal.  I’m here for the pleasure and enjoyment that comes with sharing and discussion with others who share the same interest.  For many of this, this has been a life-long interest. I enjoy comparing experiences, opinions, speculations, and references with those who have been doing the same as me.  Contentiousness diminishes rather than adds to the end result.  I have watched many an internet forum degrade to the point that there is more personal rancor expressed than discussion of the actual topic.  I believe we must all do our part to work toward that not happening.  I’m not advocating that we agree when we really don’t agree.  Presentation and attitude are key factors toward the best outcome. 

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September 10, 2017 - 3:51 pm
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steve004 said
Gentlemen –

Let’s keep this as civil and congenial as possible and work toward that goal.  I’m here for the pleasure and enjoyment that comes with sharing and discussion with others who share the same interest.  For many of this, this has been a life-long interest. I enjoy comparing experiences, opinions, speculations, and references with those who have been doing the same as me.  Contentiousness diminishes rather than adds to the end result.  I have watched many an internet forum degrade to the point that there is more personal rancor expressed than discussion of the actual topic.  I believe we must all do our part to work toward that not happening.  I’m not advocating that we agree when we really don’t agree.  Presentation and attitude are key factors toward the best outcome.   

I agree, the other persons responses to my posts are unnecessarily dismissive and condescending. Just state your opinion, and back it up. Maybe you can learn something, maybe you can educate someone else.

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September 10, 2017 - 4:16 pm
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steve004 said
Gentlemen –

Let’s keep this as civil and congenial as possible and work toward that goal.  I’m here for the pleasure and enjoyment that comes with sharing and discussion with others who share the same interest.  For many of this, this has been a life-long interest. I enjoy comparing experiences, opinions, speculations, and references with those who have been doing the same as me.  Contentiousness diminishes rather than adds to the end result.  I have watched many an internet forum degrade to the point that there is more personal rancor expressed than discussion of the actual topic.  I believe we must all do our part to work toward that not happening.  I’m not advocating that we agree when we really don’t agree.  Presentation and attitude are key factors toward the best outcome.   

Well said.  No need to be pedantic or to instigate just for the sake of irritating.

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September 11, 2017 - 10:54 pm
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wolfbait said
From the Winchester Collector site. For purposes of determining if your gun is legally considered an “antique” (pre-1899 DOM), the BATF has told us they use the DOM dates published by the manufacture (Winchester). Those dates coincide with the Madis dates and can be viewed on Winchester’s site at: Winchesterguns.com  https://winchestercollector.org/dates/

The NRA Museum also lists the Madis numbers on their site. This why official clarification from ATF is necessary.  

Just checked 2 of mine that used to be first year production.  The Winchesterguns and WACA have different results.  Both sites also list different last serial number for 1898 on several models.

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September 11, 2017 - 10:56 pm
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From the Winchester Collector site. For purposes of determining if your gun is legally considered an “antique” (pre-1899 DOM), the BATF has told us they use the DOM dates published by the manufacture (Winchester). Those dates coincide with the Madis dates and can be viewed on Winchester’s site at: Winchesterguns.com  https://winchestercollector.org/dates/
The NRA Museum also lists the Madis numbers on their site. This is why official clarification from ATF is necessary.
 
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September 14, 2017 - 5:09 am
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If I could only find a video to post of someone beating a dead horse….For those few who have pushed this agenda to the point of such controversy pat yourself on the back–you deserve it.  

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September 14, 2017 - 5:21 am
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:deadhorse:

I found this emoji.

WACA Life Member---
NRA Life Member----
Cody Firearms member since 1991
Researching the Winchester 1873's

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Email: [email protected]

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September 14, 2017 - 5:36 am
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LOL

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Best emoji yet!

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September 14, 2017 - 2:24 pm
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1873man said
:deadhorse:

I found this emoji.  

You made my day………….

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September 14, 2017 - 4:46 pm
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1892takedown said
If I could only find a video to post of someone beating a dead horse….For those few who have pushed this agenda to the point of such controversy pat yourself on the back–you deserve it.    

“Definition of beat a dead horse

 

1to keep talking about a subject that has already been decided 
  • 2to waste time and effort trying to do something that is impossible”                                                                                                                          
  • 1: From the opinions expressed on this topic and published in respected tomes, the matter has apparently not been decided. 2: Resolving the matter is not impossible, it simply needs to be clarified by the official entity involved in it’s enforcement, ATF. So, obviously, the beating a dead horse analogy is not relevant. Hundreds of thousands of Winchesters are legally effected by a clarification of the manner of dating Winchesters used by ATF. The Winchester Collector Association website says  For purposes of determining if your gun is legally considered an “antique” (pre-1899 DOM), the BATF has told us they use the DOM dates published by the manufacture (Winchester). Those dates coincide with the Madis dates and can be viewed on Winchester’s site at: Winchesterguns.com. Apparently, according to the Winchester Collector Association, it was worth ATFs time and resources to inform the Winchester Collector Association of how they date antique Winchesters. Using Madis serial numbers. And the Winchester Collector Association felt it was appropriate to inform collectors of this information by publishing it in bold letters on their website. I own 8 that are effected, and frequently have others offered to me. Perhaps to you the subject is of no concern. To those of us who buy, sell, and trade Winchesters it is very relevant and of legal importance. Do you have any personal or factual information to add to the conversation to help resolve this matter?
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September 14, 2017 - 5:33 pm
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wolfbait said

“Definition of beat a dead horse

1to keep talking about a subject that has already been decided 
    • 2to waste time and effort trying to do something that is impossible”                                                                                                 
    • 1: From the opinions expressed on this topic, the matter has apparently not been decided. 2: Resolving the matter is not impossible, it simply needs to be clarified by the official entity involved in it’s enforcement, ATF. Hundreds of thousands of Winchesters are legally effected by a clarification of the manner of dating Winchesters used by ATF. I own 8, and frequently have others offered to me. Perhaps to you the subject is of no concern. To those of us who buy, sell, and trade Winchesters it is very relevant and of legal importance. Do you have any personal or factual information to add to the conversation to help resolve this matter?

You have been provided with the legal antique serial number cut-off numbers that delineate where the Winchester pre-1899 serial numbers end.  Those numbers will stand-up in any court of law, as the original Winchester records physically exist (at the CFM) to support them.  Whether the BATF chooses to use them (or not) is up to them, but based on my conversations with a specific agent, they will.  When it comes down to convicting you (colloquial), for selling or transferring an alleged “antique” (modern) Winchester, the federal prosecutor will without a doubt use the records that provide the physical evidence.  The so called Winchester website that you keep adamantly referring to will be of no consequence, as they do not physically have in their possession any of the original Winchester records. Your copy of Madis’ book will also fail you miserably in a court of law. 

I understand that YOU believe that the BATF should clarify this issue on their website, but until YOU convince them it would be to their benefit to do so, I would not recommend challenging them in a court of law. Ultimately, YOU need to decide how you want to proceed in the future as it applies your buying, selling, and trading habits. The Winchester Arms Collectors Association (WACA) fully supports the use of the historical records at the Cody Firearms Museum as the official source in determining the legal status of an antique Winchester.

At this point, I am locking this topic from further discussion, as it has apparently become your personal soapbox. 

Bert

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