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New Additions to collection - 1894 32 SPL TD and Deluxe 55
January 2, 2013
3:42 pm
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Aylmer, Quebec, Canada
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Well, here are some photos of the latest additions to my Winchester family. I would like to say they were a Christmas gift, but I'm not that lucky! They are the result of a lot of OT hours, saving, and selling a few others. I originally purchased these two from the US a couple months ago, and had them imported up here to Canada. That process takes time, but sometimes it is worth it depending on what you are looking for. Man, I tell yah, when they showed up at my front door on the morning of December 31st, you wouldn't have known Christmas was the week before! .
Anyway, as some of you know, I collect Winchester 1894s. That also includes it siblings, the Model 55, as well as Model 64. These two rifles are both nice additions to my 1894 extended family. Here are some details and info on both rifles. Bear with me, I did my best with the photos, the rifles are far better in person. The only way I could have gotten better photos would have been to leave the front door open to get some more light, but given it is -16 degrees this afternoon, I did the best with what I could.
1. The first in a Winchester Model 1894 Take Down rifle in caliber 32 Special. According to the Cody records, this rifle was serialized on August 8, 1905 and was shipped out of the warehouse on September 19, 1905. The rifle has the standard full length 26" octagon barrel, full magtube and cresecent butt. It also wears the 32 Special Smokeless sight. The rifle is in exceptional condition, and retains much of its case color on the lever, hammer, etc. Like many TD rifles, this one was also fitted with extra grain wood. The bore in the rifle is mint - as it should be for a gun in this condition. It is getting harder and harder to find old lever guns with this kind of case color left - esp up here - it was easily worn off. This gun obviously did not see much use in the field.
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2. Now, this is the pride of my collection. This is a Winchester Model 55 Takedown Rifle in 30WCF caliber. As per Bert's recent article in the Winchester Collector, Winchester introduced the Model 55 in June 1924 (simultaneously with the Model 53). This brand new variant of the Model 94 was apparently introduced to fill the gap between the standard Model 94 Sporting Rifle with its 26" barrel and the Standard Carbine with its 20" barrel. It is basically a lightweight version of the Model 1894 / 94. As per the 1925 catalog: "A new Sporting Rifle for deer and similar game that embodies the simple, dependable action of the Winchester Model 94 in an especially lightweight arm. It combines graceful lines and perfect balance with smooth, reliable operation. The Model 55 has a 24" round barrel of nickel steel, having a graceful taper that, with the tapering forearm and a shot-gun stock of correct size, proportioned to the whole arm, produces a rifle of remarkable refinement of line." Just over 20,000 Model 55s were manufactured. Now, what makes this gun the pride of my collection is that this is a deluxe model which was also factory engraved and carved. An engraved / carved Model 55 is an extremely rare rifle, with only a few known. This is possibly the only one with these specific combination of styles of engraving and wood carving. According to the PRR, this rifle was serialized on March 17, 1925. The receiver is engraved in a slightly modified #2 pattern consisting of a standing whitetail buck & doe in a mountain meadow on the left side and a walking bull moose on right side. The wood appears to be 2X American walnut, and it is carved with Winchester B style carving. I won this rifle at the last JDJ auction back in October. In the description, they said it was likely engraved by Stokes, but when this gun was made in 1925, Alden ULRICH was the only engraver employed at the plant. This exact rifle is pictured on p. 290 of Winchester Engraving, Wilson (second edition) with credit to the Felix A. Bedlan Collection. Now, before Felix BEDLAN owned this rifle, it belonged to Eldon Owen of New Hampshire. Eldon, back in the day - and before Wes Adams came into collecting -had what some referred to as the finest collection of Winchesters in the US at that time. When doing a bit of research, I found this tidbit of information about Eldon on another website. Now, I cannot vouch for the veracity of the story, but I can see it:

"I heard this story once and thought it worth repeating...Eldon Owens had a famous gun collection. Some fine Winchesters in it. A Winchester collector was visiting Eldon's home in NH. There was a Winchester rifle the collector wanted very badly, that Eldon owned. Eldon didn't want to sell...
Wincoll: I'll start counting out 100$ bills on the table for the purchase of that rifle...you tell me when to stop.
Eldon: Did you come alone?
Win coll: yes
Eldon: One man couldn't carry that many 100$ bills."

Like I said, not sure if it is true, but thought it was kinda funny. Eldon loved his old Winchesters, and had no need of money. Anyway, Eldon's collection went to auction in 2004 after he passed. The rifle before I most recently acquired it, was part of the Wes Adams collection. Anyway, I put in the right bid and got lucky. The condition of this rifle is very fine, and I am very happy to be the latest caretaker of such a fine rifle. You just don't see too many guns like this in Canada, so I am very happy with be the new owner.
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Again, the photos don't do these rifles the credit they deserve, but I was anxious to get some photos done and share with others who enjoy the old world craftsmanship and pride these old guns exhibit.

Matt

January 2, 2013
4:03 pm
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😯 Wow Those are some pieces you have there wouldn't mind one bit having them myself, especially the bottom one!

Very nice additions to your collection!

-Maverick

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January 2, 2013
4:27 pm
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Those look like really gorgeous guns Matt!

Brad

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January 2, 2013
5:57 pm
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Aylmer, Quebec, Canada
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Thanks Brad and Maverick. And yes, that 55 is a dandy. Certainly the centre-piece of my modest collection. With the amount of interest the recent JDJ auctions have been bringing wrt the Adams collection, I count myself fortunate to have won the rifle, especially given it was the first auction I have tried my hand at. Wasn't sure I was going to, but sure glad I did. Great gun with wonderful provenance, makes me smile each time I VERY GENTLY pick it up.

Matt

January 2, 2013
6:31 pm
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Beautiful guns Thanks for sharing. Nice to see them come to Canada

Cheers
Phil

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January 2, 2013
6:50 pm
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25-20 said
Beautiful guns Thanks for sharing. Nice to see them come to Canada

Cheers
Phil

Thanks Phil. Here are a few more I also brought up this last year or so:
1. Winchester 1894 38-55 WCF Semi Deluxe TD Rifle with part octagon barrel, and half magazine. These photos are pretty poor, the gun is in real nice shape. Has some real nice case color left on the lever.
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2. Winchester 1894 ELW Deluxe 30WCF TD Rifle with H style checkering, looks like 2 or 3X wood and HRSb
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3. Winchester 1894 38-55 TD Rifle with full octagon barrel, half magazine, crescent butt, Lyman #6 folding rear and Lyman #5 globe front sight. Gun also has some extra grain wood like many TD rifles do (bottom gun in second photo):
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With our dollar doing so well, I have been looking south the last year or so. High condition 1894s are no easy find up here.

Matt

January 2, 2013
8:24 pm
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WoW Very Nice! I know real special Winchesters are very rare up here, being interested and picking up the odd one since the 70's.I have some nice ones, but not in that league. I do love to shoot them and my favourite Cal and Model keep changing, and lately really have been enjoying the Model 94 again, especially in 38-55 and 32-40. the 94 is a nicely designed compromise between the 86 and 92 (my other 2 favorites)

That 55 Deluxe is amazing !

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January 2, 2013
9:31 pm
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Great pictures and information. Thanks for sharing!

January 3, 2013
4:33 am
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Aylmer, Quebec, Canada
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25-20 said
WoW Very Nice! I know real special Winchesters are very rare up here, being interested and picking up the odd one since the 70's.I have some nice ones, but not in that league. I do love to shoot them and my favourite Cal and Model keep changing, and lately really have been enjoying the Model 94 again, especially in 38-55 and 32-40. the 94 is a nicely designed compromise between the 86 and 92 (my other 2 favorites)

That 55 Deluxe is amazing !

Phil,
You are correct with that. You just don't see a lot of real special ones up here. Don't get me wrong, there are some nice ones up here in some collections, but just not a lot of them.
I too really enjoy the 38-55. I hunted whitetail the last few years with a standard configuration 38-55. I took a nice Doe with it a couple years ago. I really enjoyed carrying it. I don't have that rifle anymore though, and am looking for something with a little more "thump" to it, so I may carry be 33WCF next fall. The only 86 I have left.
If you enjoy 32-40s, you will like this one maybe. I can't recall if I posted pics on here before, but if not, here are a few. It is a real nice rifle. Part octagon, 1/2 magazine, TD, Lyman 21 and Lyman # 5 globe front, extra grain wood and nickel steel barrel. All letters. This gun also came up from the US, I have had this one in my collection for 2 or 3 years now, and it is one of my favorites. It had a few minor spots that had to be cleaned up a bit on the receiver, but the gun is really nice.
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Matt

January 5, 2013
6:13 pm
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Glad to see that your latest treasures arrived safe and sound, Matt! Thanks for sharing the photos! VERY nice pieces!!

January 6, 2013
4:56 pm
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1475 said
Glad to see that your latest treasures arrived safe and sound, Matt! Thanks for sharing the photos! VERY nice pieces!!

Thanks Ken. Something down your ally, I am supposed to be looking at a "95%" 1895 405WCF TD rifle next weekend. We'll see how close it is to really 95%. Not getting my hopes up, but you never know. I do collect 1894s now - and did get rid of all my 1895s - but have kicked myself ever since letting go of the 405 TD rifle I did have. Would like to have just that one.

Matt

January 11, 2013
1:31 pm
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Nice collection..

January 11, 2013
4:13 pm
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So beautiful I could weep.

May 12, 2013
4:42 pm
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Beautiful rifles.That Model 55 is great. 🙂

May 13, 2013
9:23 am
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Just beautiful the wood in the Butt stock on your new 1894 looks like it came from the same tree as the wood on my Deluxe (uncheckered) Model 1895 made in 1905.

As to the model all I can say is HOLY CRAP that is a Beautiful rifle.

You done real good on that bid.

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