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For the 1895 fans
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Troutdale, OR
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August 27, 2023 - 12:19 am
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Went to the Oregon Arms Collectors show today and came across an original Winchester factory cartridge gauge for the model 1895 38-72 cartridge.  Then I found an old flat-side model 1895 chambered in 38-72 WCF to go along with it.  This is the first I have ever come across any original factory tools / gauges, etc. and then to match it up with a real nice 1895 in the same caliber made for a really cool package deal.  Does anyone have any idea how rare these cartridge gauges are and how much they might be worth?  Any info will be much appreciated.

Don

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August 27, 2023 - 12:29 am
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I am a fan and I like it.  That is a very nice looking flatside M1895.  Neat that is is a .38-72 and not a .30-40.  I’ve never seen an actual gauge like that but very cool package.

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August 27, 2023 - 5:09 am
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deerhunter said
Does anyone have any idea how rare these cartridge gauges are and how much they might be worth?   

I’ve been researching these such factory tools along with the Reloading Tools for a little bit, but I hate to say much more still needs to be uncovered in my own research on them.

And Well to answer, “How rare these cartridge gauges are?”, is a hard one to answer. I’d almost argue few today Or even if anyone truly knows how rare they are. As I don’t know of anyone certain can know as too how many were ever produced to begin with. At least at this point in time. The factory produced gages like these for many years throughout production and for all models and all loadings they produced. All the way from the Volcanic Models in the 1850s through and well past WWII for all the loadings they offered and for their competition’s calibers. Over at least 300+ some odd cartridges. Multiple sets of these were made for the various departments that needed them in the factory. Gages were remade / produced at various capacity in various years. 

They’re Rare, but “How Rare” is hard to say. All such Factory items are rare in there own right, as they were only made & used at the factory. They never were meant to be produced for the public. The other unknown is the survival rate of these such factory tools. I’ve heard all kinds of stories as too how often they were continually produced for being worn out / phased out for whatever reason. Some supposedly scrapped in scrap drives, others merely thrown in the dumpster and being salvaged by dumpster divers. Or employees taking them home in the back seat of the their car. Most are believed to have been destroyed.

As too “How Valuable?”, I suppose all things relative they’re somewhat valuable for what they are. I’ve bought individual gages, depending on condition of course, anywhere from $15 to $80 a piece, It all just depends really. But I and most other collectors probably prefer to buy them in or with a set of other gages or like items. 

There is evidence that some were produced or used more often than others and held onto for a while. I have several that were modified for various reasons by the factory. Changing an inventory number or even the nomenclature used on a gage. I even have some gages that were used at both the New Haven plant and the East Alton plant that were formerly in the Bellmore collection. 

If you come across any more of these and/or any information on them. I would appreciate if you let me know on them, as the more the merrier in my opinion.

For example, I’m still trying to determine what exactly the six digit number, like on your gage, was used for by the factory. I believe it is some sort of inventory number or job number and likely corresponded with similar gages in a set or group. These seemingly also correspond with factory drawings and other procedures used in the factory. But not all of these gages have these type of numbers. Some also aren’t dated and merely marked with the caliber and type of gage it is. Some are dated but without inventory number. So trying to backward engineer the history on these is a puzzle to say the least.

Great piece of history and accoutrement to have in your collection!

Sincerely,

Maverick

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August 27, 2023 - 12:24 pm
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Nifty flatside. I’ve been on the warpath for a 38 72 for some time. I guess I’m going to have to travel west to find one.

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August 27, 2023 - 4:20 pm
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Cool find, Don.

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Troutdale, OR
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August 28, 2023 - 1:11 am
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Maverick said

deerhunter said

Does anyone have any idea how rare these cartridge gauges are and how much they might be worth?   

I’ve been researching these such factory tools along with the Reloading Tools for a little bit, but I hate to say much more still needs to be uncovered in my own research on them.

And Well to answer, “How rare these cartridge gauges are?”, is a hard one to answer. I’d almost argue few today Or even if anyone truly knows how rare they are. As I don’t know of anyone certain can know as too how many were ever produced to begin with. At least at this point in time. The factory produced gages like these for many years throughout production and for all models and all loadings they produced. All the way from the Volcanic Models in the 1850s through and well past WWII for all the loadings they offered and for their competition’s calibers. Over at least 300+ some odd cartridges. Multiple sets of these were made for the various departments that needed them in the factory. Gages were remade / produced at various capacity in various years. 

They’re Rare, but “How Rare” is hard to say. All such Factory items are rare in there own right, as they were only made & used at the factory. They never were meant to be produced for the public. The other unknown is the survival rate of these such factory tools. I’ve heard all kinds of stories as too how often they were continually produced for being worn out / phased out for whatever reason. Some supposedly scrapped in scrap drives, others merely thrown in the dumpster and being salvaged by dumpster divers. Or employees taking them home in the back seat of the their car. Most are believed to have been destroyed.

As too “How Valuable?”, I suppose all things relative they’re somewhat valuable for what they are. I’ve bought individual gages, depending on condition of course, anywhere from $15 to $80 a piece, It all just depends really. But I and most other collectors probably prefer to buy them in or with a set of other gages or like items. 

There is evidence that some were produced or used more often than others and held onto for a while. I have several that were modified for various reasons by the factory. Changing an inventory number or even the nomenclature used on a gage. I even have some gages that were used at both the New Haven plant and the East Alton plant that were formerly in the Bellmore collection. 

If you come across any more of these and/or any information on them. I would appreciate if you let me know on them, as the more the merrier in my opinion.

For example, I’m still trying to determine what exactly the six digit number, like on your gage, was used for by the factory. I believe it is some sort of inventory number or job number and likely corresponded with similar gages in a set or group. These seemingly also correspond with factory drawings and other procedures used in the factory. But not all of these gages have these type of numbers. Some also aren’t dated and merely marked with the caliber and type of gage it is. Some are dated but without inventory number. So trying to backward engineer the history on these is a puzzle to say the least.

Great piece of history and accoutrement to have in your collection!

Sincerely,

Maverick

  

Thanks Maverick for the very detailed and informative response.  This is the only one I have ever seen, but if I come across any more I’ll let you know.

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August 28, 2023 - 1:15 am
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Brooksy said
Nifty flatside. I’ve been on the warpath for a 38 72 for some time. I guess I’m going to have to travel west to find one.

  

Thanks!  This is the only 38-72 i’ve come across in my neck of the woods.  Has anyone done any research regarding the caliber breakdown for the 1895?  At least for the ones in the letterable range?

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August 28, 2023 - 1:16 am
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Chuck said
Cool find, Don.

  

Thanks Chuck.

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August 30, 2023 - 3:44 pm
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Good looking rifle!

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