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1892 Restoration Mystery
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Virginia Beach
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April 23, 2023 - 10:47 am
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Please forgive the long explanation:

I am restoring (to working order) a 5 digit s/n 1892 rifle. It came to me in parts and the seller didn’t know it’s history.

I was suspicious of the s/n on the gun because the size and spacing seemed all wrong from countless pics I’ve seen on others. Since the s/n dated the gun to 1898, I was free to see if I could verify the s/n with an acid etch. Some background on the receiver is that it seemed to have a matte silverish paint on it (see the pic).

When I started to polish the s/n area the metal became very shiny like it may have been chromed (pic included). The first try at an acid etching didn’t work, so I sanded down the area even more. The second etching didn’t work either, but I noticed a change in a portion of the color of the metal to a brass/copper look (pic included) and the faint existing s/n was gone.

I have the Cody report for the s/n, that I could originally see (95406), and it stated the gun was shipped as a 38-40 and an octagon barrel. There is no mention of the finish (blued or nickel). Also, the furniture that I got with the gun is quite old but the forend and the associated parts are for a round barrel.

If it was chrome plated at some point, that would explain why the etching didn’t work since I never got down to bare steel.

I know they touch up chrome plating now, but is it worth trying to get down to the bare steel to attempt the recover/verify the original s/n?

 

I can’t seem to add any pics.

Corey

Winchester 1892 (1898)

Winchester 1894 (1956)

Winchester 1897 (1909)

Winchester 1911 (1911)

Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen (1959)

Browning Superposed (1962)

Browning Hi Power (1949 - 1954)

Browning 1910 (1910)

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April 23, 2023 - 11:42 am
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Corey

Winchester 1892 (1898)

Winchester 1894 (1956)

Winchester 1897 (1909)

Winchester 1911 (1911)

Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen (1959)

Browning Superposed (1962)

Browning Hi Power (1949 - 1954)

Browning 1910 (1910)

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April 23, 2023 - 2:34 pm
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Corey Freeman said

I know they touch up chrome plating now, but is it worth trying to get down to the bare steel to attempt the recover/verify the original s/n? 

I don’t think so, considering all the other problems.  The advantage of the number you have is that you claim “antique” status for it, whether it’s the original number or not.  “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”  If you can get it into “shootable” cond, I’d stop there & not spend one dime beyond that point.  Maybe it was chrome plated when it was used by a performer in Buffalo Bill’s or Miller Bros.’ Wild West Shows; you can’t prove that it was, but who can prove it was not?  Good story for the Antiques Road Show.

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April 23, 2023 - 2:47 pm
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If your finding copper plating under the chrome, the gun was plated in modern times by someone that didn’t know how to plate a gun. All plated guns from Winchester were done without copper flash. The acid  will not lift the serial number if its still has plating on it. You already sanded down the receiver and the serial number is disappearing. My guess the stampings are filled with copper and chrome if it is chrome. Usually chrome keeps its bright finish until it flakes off so it might of been nickel or silver. If your going to restamp the serial number you could keep going and do a complete refinish since your half way there and you can’t put any finish on the gun until its all off. It would be quicker to do a chemical strip of it.

Bob

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Researching the Winchester 1873's

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April 23, 2023 - 3:28 pm
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Regarding the first picture you posted of the serial number – before you did much polishing etc. – I did not have the impression that the number looked wrong.  To me, it looked like original stamping.  What do others think of this topic?

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April 23, 2023 - 4:05 pm
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1873man said It would be quicker to do a chemical strip of it.
  

Quicker, but can cause pitting, as I found out the hard way.  Reverse electrolysis would strip it safely, but nobody does it for free, & any dough spent on this gun beyond what it takes to get it spitting lead again will be money hard, or impossible, to recover.

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April 23, 2023 - 4:11 pm
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Thats what I meant, Reverse electrolysis. Used the wrong term.

Bob

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Researching the Winchester 1873's

73_86cutaway.jpg

Email: [email protected]

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April 23, 2023 - 4:42 pm
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steve004 said
Regarding the first picture you posted of the serial number – before you did much polishing etc. – I did not have the impression that the number looked wrong.  To me, it looked like original stamping.  What do others think of this topic?

  

 I agree, they look good enough and well worn or buffed. No reason to mess with the serial number if the owner was going to plate the gun. It’s lost all collector value.

 Llike Clarence said

 any dough spent on this gun beyond what it takes to get it spitting lead again will be money hard, or impossible, to recover.
  

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April 23, 2023 - 11:14 pm
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Thanks for the input.

The quest for the number is more knowledge than anything else. I had plans all along to re-blue the gun myself. I can’t do that with that plating on there. I’m taking it to a jeweler that I know to see if he can tell me what metal it is.

If I can get it off at home, all it will cost me is some sweat equity. I know it will never have any collector value, but it was never bought with that in mind.

Corey

Winchester 1892 (1898)

Winchester 1894 (1956)

Winchester 1897 (1909)

Winchester 1911 (1911)

Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen (1959)

Browning Superposed (1962)

Browning Hi Power (1949 - 1954)

Browning 1910 (1910)

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