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Hotchkiss Carbine Question
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March 2, 2019 - 5:28 pm
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Does anyone know how many Hotchkiss 3rd model guns were made in carbine?  Flayderman lists them as “very rare,” but I can’t seem to find a reference with a production number.  

Also, how common was it for the Hotchkiss 3rd model carbine to be fitted with a Model 2 barrel at 22.5″ long instead of a 20″ barrel…?

Thanks, from a new member. 

Jeff Goodson

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March 2, 2019 - 9:24 pm
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The above questions were submitted early morning on 2 March, not “5:28 PM” as time-stamped.  Since then and now, I’ve gotten great answers to both questions so please disregard. 

Jeff Goodson

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March 2, 2019 - 9:47 pm
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That’s a tough question.  I have only met 1 serious Hotchkiss collector.  He goes to Cody and Denver but I can’t find his card.  He has a very large display of these guns.  The only Hotchkiss I have is a second model Military carbine with a 24″ barrel.

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March 3, 2019 - 12:48 am
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Chuck:

That collector would be Jim Curlovic, “HotchkissGuru”.  I have passed on the question to him and I am sure he will respond when he views his e-mails.

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March 3, 2019 - 5:08 am
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Thanks, guys.  I ran down Jim’s email after posting this morning, and he already responded.  Extremely knowledgable, and most helpful. 

Best, Jeff

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March 3, 2019 - 5:26 am
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I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Curlovic briefly in Cody a few years ago, good man to ask. Hasn’t he written about Hotchkiss guns for the “Collector”? 

If you don’t mind me asking, what did you learn about your carbine, Jeff? 

 

Mike

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March 3, 2019 - 5:44 am
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First off, I don’t “have” the carbine…yet.   Still eyeballing it, which was the point of the questions. 

According to Jim: 

–Houze estimates 1669 3rd model carbines produced; Jim’s rackup is 1470.  But he points out that the numbers are suspect because ‘they were still making 1st model carbines for China at the same time they were producing 3rds.’   He said “If they were running the serial numbers together, like they were prone to do, the counts could be way off depending on the record descriptions.”  Upshot:  The jury’s still out, but there were likely at least about 1500 3rd model carbines made.  

–My thinking is that Flayderman’s use of the term “very rare” for the 3rd model may reflect their scarcity here in the United States, suggesting a lot of them went overseas.  But…Jim says that he has ‘no knowledge of the 3rd Models going south of the border, although a lot of 2nd Models did.’  Which still leaves a disconnect betweenn known production and Flayderman’s “very rare” notation.  

–Jim said that the military 1st and 2nd model carbines had 24″ barrels, as does the 1st civilian model.  

–A period advertising sheet on the Model 1883 that he sent me shows the barrel length of the 3rd model (Model 1883) at 22.5”  This also conflicts with what Flayderman shows (20″).

That’s pretty much it.  The gun I’m looking at has a 22+/-” barrel, so I’m feeling better about it being right on that point.  It’s not as rare, however, as Flayderman suggests.  Flayderman’s a fantastic source, but this appears to be another of the very rare occasions when he’s off on a rarity estimate for a scarce gun. 

Jeff

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March 3, 2019 - 6:13 am
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Interesting, thanks for sharing what you learned. I don’t disagree with Flayderman’s characterization of these guns as “very rare” but it’s a subjective term; if this carbine is original I’d consider it a very rare and fortunate find because I’ve only seen a few besides the ones at Cody. The most recent I’ve seen was probably a rifle but was butchered almost beyond recognition.

 

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March 3, 2019 - 3:08 pm
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Thanks, Mike.  Your comments are really helpful.  On question: Is anyone making modern replicas of the Hotchkiss 3rd model?

On the rarity issue, as I see it there are three basic elements to rarity when it comes to antique American firearms: total production, the survival rate of the model, and the availability of the survivors to the collector’s market.  I have a paper coming out on that topic in the next (Spring 2019) issue of The Texas Gun Collector, along with an article on the survival rates of the three Civil War-era Starr revolvers.  The second article is the first in what I hope to be a series called “The Survival Files,” that I’m co-authoring with British collector and serial number collector (over 85,000 numbers) Phil Boulton.  

Best, 

Jeff

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March 3, 2019 - 4:25 pm
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Jeff-

Other than shooter copies of the 1873 and 1860 Colt, 1858 Remington, 1874 Sharps and 1892 Winchester I have very little interest in replicas. Mike Venturino would probably have an answer for you as he has an interest in this general area and contacts with the companies that build replica firearms.

Looking forward to your article in the TGCA magazine. I’m only casually interested in the Hotchkiss rifle and one of the reasons, both pro and con, is it’s apparent low survival rate. I’d like to add a rifle to my collection someday because it represents an often overlooked chapter in the Winchester story. I’m not actively looking for a rifle, perhaps I’d see more if I were. Also looking forward to hearing more about this carbine if you decide to move forward on it. You’ve renewed my interest in the Hotchkiss, need to go looking for the article I seem to remember seeing in the Collector archives. Thank you.

 

Mike

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March 3, 2019 - 5:05 pm
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Thanks, Mike.  I’m most definitely not a replica guy–exactly the opposite.  But being suspicious by nature, when it comes to buying antique guns I’m always looking for the possibility that a gun I’m eyeballing is a modern replica that’s been made to look old.  I’m not at all familiar with replicas, which is why I asked if anyone was making a modern knockoff of the Hotchkiss.  Live & learn.  Thanks for the tip.

Jeff  

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March 3, 2019 - 5:13 pm
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Another couple notes about the Military 1st and 2nd Models.  Only the receiver is marked Winchester.  The rest is Springfield.  3rd Models are different.  Most 1st and 2nd Models are cracked at the wrist. The 3rd model fixed this.

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April 27, 2022 - 8:25 pm
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What is Jim Curlovic’s email, I have a Hotchkiss SRC I want his opinion on. Larry. [email protected]

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April 28, 2022 - 2:41 am
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[email protected] said
What is Jim Curlovic’s email, I have a Hotchkiss SRC I want his opinion on. Larry. [email protected]  

Larry,

I sent you an email message with Jim’s email address.

Bert

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