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Factory installed deluxe grade winchester 1890/90 stocks
December 31, 2015
4:57 am
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I have a 2nd Model Winchester1890 that has been re case colored and has what appears to be a factory original straight grip deluxe butt stock. Ned Schwing’s fine book, Winchester Slide-Action Rifles indicates that a 2nd Model 1890 with a deluxe grade checked straight stock is extremely rare, a feature appearing on something like less than 80 of about 100,000 2nd Models. I have a factory letter for this gun which says nothing about its having a deluxe checked stock.

The stock of this 1890 fits the frame very well, the wood is quite figured or fancy although somewhat worn and with checking appearing like that depicted in Schwing’s book for the deluxe straight grip butt stock. Upon removing the butt plate, I find that  the upper portion of the butt stock is marked with a “90” and below that what appears to be an assembly number much in the manner depicted at pages 150-51 of Schwing’s book as well as the same assembly number marked on the bottom of the butt plate. All seems okay so far. However, upon removing the stock to look at the side of this gun’s lower tang to see if it has an assembly number that matches the assembly number on the back of the butt stock and butt plate as well as the number of “x’s Winchester used to grade its wood, I find that the tang is blank, no assembly number, no “x’s”

Consequently, lacking any of what Schwing describes as the appropriate stamping on its tang, I have concluded that the stock on this gun was most likely not installed by the factory, a conclusion consistent with this gun’s factory letter. 

The only possible explanations I can devise as to why (aside from the perhaps far more likely explanation of fakery)  this gun has a stock that looks so much like a factory original deluxe grade straight grip stock are: 1. it is a factory original stock that someone found and for whatever reason put on this gun; or 2. some years after the gun was made (1901) it was sent back to the factory to have a deluxe grade straight stock installed in lieu of the original and the factory did not bother to stamp the tang with an assembly number or grade.

Although Schwing’s book does refer to the beautiful 1st model 1890 depicted on the book cover with a checked deluxe straight stock as a gun that was sent back to the factory in 1912 to have a deluxe stock installed in lieu of its original plain stock, Schwing does not appear to describe what, if any, procedure was followed by the factory insofar as stamping the tang with an assembly number or grade when a new deluxe stock was installed on a gun with a previously plain stock. Does anyone have an understanding of what Winchester’s practice was in such a situation?

I apologize for not including photos of this gun and its stock but I am not very good with a computer and don’t know how to post photos to this site but if anyone is willing to post photos for me, I would be glad to forward photos that he may post if he will send me his email address.

Thanks for any thoughts or observations that you may have re the above.

 

Rick Schreiber

December 31, 2015
3:11 pm
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Rick, I would be leary of a deluxe gun without the XXX’s. A top notch gunsmith here locally to me had stocked about a dozen 1890’s with Birdseye Maple and other deluxe wood blanks for a guy without knowing the significance of what he had done until he did about a dozen or more total. Not sure if he was told to add the XXX’s but if he did you wouldn’t know. Some even had PG added. The checkering was spot on Winchester work. 

Without the XXX’s i would say it was done outside the factory.

December 31, 2015
5:40 pm
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Casey,

Yes, I would agree with you that without the markings on the tang it is unlikely that the stock on my 1890 was factory installed — even upon return. Moreover, without a confirming factory letter, I am not sure how much an assembly number on the tang matching that on the stock and with a seemingly appropriate number of “xs” really proves as I would think a talented faker could add “xs” and a matching assembly number to the tang. I suppose getting the form of the numbers and “xs” past a knowing expert might be difficult but many buyers would probably be so excited to see the seemingly matching markings on the tang that they would at least initially want to accept them.

On another subject raised by you: 1890/90s with recently fabricated high quality bird’s eye maple stocks:

Having long hoped to find an 1890/90 with a birds’ eye maple stock, I was interested in your comments about someone in your area having turned out a number of  high quality fake birds’ eye maple stocks on a number of these guns. At page 312 of Schwing’s book on these guns, he states that only 10 1890s were made with bird’s eye maple stocks between serial numbers 15,552 and 322,250. After serial 322,250 and the end of production there were likely an unknowable number of further 1890/90s made with such stocks, but it sounds like the recently made bird’s eye maple stocks to which you refer are no doubt a substantial percentage of the total of the existing actual factory made bird’s eye maple stocked 1890/90s. If well done and on post 1907 or thereabout 1890s or 90s for which no factory letter is available it would seem that a good bird’s eye maple fake stock on an 1890/90 would be very difficult to detect. Not all that long ago I saw a model 1890 or 90 with a birds’ eye maple stock for sale on the internet for over $20k (I don’t recall whether it was in a serial range that should factory letter) I wonder if it was one of the guns that you mentioned as recent fabrications? Certainly, at prices in this range, I would expect fakers to be attracted to go to work. This sort of thing makes it very dangerous for all but perhaps the extraordinarily knowledgeable collector to buy a very rare 1890/90 that won’t letter and this covers more than half the market.

Where, what state, were the recently fabricated bird’s eye maple stocks made? Thanks.

 

Rick Schreiber

December 31, 2015
6:01 pm
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Rick,

In my experience and observations, when a Winchester rifle was returned to the factory of an upgrade, the newly replaced pieces will be stamped with the work order number. I have not seen a case were the lower tang was remarked with the “XX” or an assembly number. The work order number will match the R&R number. I am of the belief that your Model 1890 was restocked by someone other than Winchester.

Bert

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December 31, 2015
8:56 pm
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Bert,

How does one tell the difference between a work order number and an assembly number? My stock simply has a “90” on the wood under the butt plate and 4 or 5 digits under that…much as depicted in Schwing in the photos at pp. 150-51. What is an “R&R” number that should match the work order number and where are they found on a gun that has been returned to the factory for a deluxe stock in place of a plain one? Thanks.

 

Rick

December 31, 2015
9:37 pm
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Rick,

The work order number is assigned when the gun in question is originally shipped (sold), and a new (second or subsequent) work order number is assigned each time the subject gun is received back at the factory for an R&R. Typically the R&R work order number will be marked in just one location on the gun (the part that was replaced). Work order numbers can be up to 6-digits long, whereas assembly numbers are typically no more than 4-digits long. Assembly numbers are found on fancy (deluxe) or special order guns only. Work order numbers can be found on any gun that was returned to the factory, and should be listed in the ledger records (and on the factory letter). In the case of a replaced butt stock, the work order number is most frequently found stamped into the end grain under the butt plate.

Bert

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December 31, 2015
11:10 pm
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Bert,

 

The number stamped on the wood under the butt plate of the subject 1890 is 5 numbers long, not 4, does that increase probability that it is a work order number and not an assembly number?

If you will provide me with an email address, I will email photo but I don’t know how to post it here. 

 

Am I correct in understanding your earlier answer to be that a gun returned for a deluxe stock that previously had a plain stock would not be expected to have either an assembly number nor “xs” identifying its quality stamped on its tang?

 

Thanks.

 

Rick

January 1, 2016
12:25 am
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Rick,

Yes, you are correct in understanding my earlier response… I would not expect a factory reworked Winchester to have an assembly number or “xxx” added to the tang during the rework. The only thing I would expect to find is a work order number, and to find that same number listed on a factory ledger with the “R&R” notation.

Bert – Win1885@msn.com

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January 1, 2016
7:24 pm
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I am posting the pictures that Rick sent to me for everyone to see and comment on.

 

Butt-stock.jpgImage EnlargerButt-plate.jpgImage EnlargerWrist-checkering.jpgImage EnlargerButt-right-side.jpgImage EnlargerButt-left-side.jpgImage Enlarger

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January 2, 2016
11:46 pm
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No comment on the stock upgrade being done by Winchester, but a question…was the Winchester factory ever known to restore or upgrade a rifle with new case colors?

January 3, 2016
7:23 pm
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Hi,

This thread peaked my interest in my own 1890. I removed the rear stock and I don’t have any tang stamp at all. I don’t have any stamps on the butt plate either. There’s no marking at all on the wood observed after removing the butt plate. I do have a letter “B” and a star stamped in the wood on the face of the rear stock that butts up against the receiver. This gun letters with the straight stock and checkering and all the other options. It does not mention up-graded wood though.  The wood looks to be well above standard and it is highly finished. It just may well be that it’s a highly finished standard grade if such a thing was ever available???? This 1890 left the warehouse in June 1898. This rifle has the pesky circle in a circle stamp throughout the parts. I posted a few years ago about this stamp but I’m still confused.

Regards to all and Happy New Year!

January 7, 2016
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Hi

It looks to me like the “numbers” were glued on the butt plate. The fakers continue to amaze.

Walter

January 7, 2016
2:14 am
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wallyb said

Hi

It looks to me like the “numbers” were glued on the butt plate. The fakers continue to amaze.

Walter

Are you referring to Rick’s rifle?  If you are, you need new glasses!

Bert

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January 7, 2016
2:23 am
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Bert

Maybe I need new glasses but the numbers look raised to me and not stamped.

Walter

January 7, 2016
3:42 am
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Hi Walter,

I took the butt plate off and sent Bert the photos. Bert is correct the numbers are stamped into the wood, not pasted on nor raised.

 

Hopefully, someone will have some information to the very interesting question that Rusty Jack posted the other day: namely, is anyone aware of any “R&R” on any Winchester rifle that involved a customer that wanted his gun re case colored? Certainly there are a lot of 2nd model 1890’s around today that have been re case colored. Any known instances of this being done say75 or 100 years ago by the factory upon customer request? Thanks.

 

Rick Schreiber

January 7, 2016
4:04 am
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Hi Rick

I only have a question about the butt plate numbers. They do not look right to me. I hope it works out for you.

Walter

January 7, 2016
1:18 pm
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The numbers are stamped into the steel on the butt plate as well as the butt stock.

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January 7, 2016
2:32 pm
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rick schreiber said

I have a 2nd Model Winchester1890 that has been re case colored and has what appears to be a factory original straight grip deluxe butt stock. Ned Schwing’s fine book, Winchester Slide-Action Rifles indicates that a 2nd Model 1890 with a deluxe grade checked straight stock is extremely rare, a feature appearing on something like less than 80 of about 100,000 2nd Models. I have a factory letter for this gun which says nothing about its having a deluxe checked stock.

The stock of this 1890 fits the frame very well, the wood is quite figured or fancy although somewhat worn and with checking appearing like that depicted in Schwing’s book for the deluxe straight grip butt stock. Upon removing the butt plate, I find that  the upper portion of the butt stock is marked with a “90” and below that what appears to be an assembly number much in the manner depicted at pages 150-51 of Schwing’s book as well as the same assembly number marked on the bottom of the butt plate. All seems okay so far. However, upon removing the stock to look at the side of this gun’s lower tang to see if it has an assembly number that matches the assembly number on the back of the butt stock and butt plate as well as the number of “x’s Winchester used to grade its wood, I find that the tang is blank, no assembly number, no “x’s”

Consequently, lacking any of what Schwing describes as the appropriate stamping on its tang, I have concluded that the stock on this gun was most likely not installed by the factory, a conclusion consistent with this gun’s factory letter. 

The only possible explanations I can devise as to why (aside from the perhaps far more likely explanation of fakery)  this gun has a stock that looks so much like a factory original deluxe grade straight grip stock are: 1. it is a factory original stock that someone found and for whatever reason put on this gun; or 2. some years after the gun was made (1901) it was sent back to the factory to have a deluxe grade straight stock installed in lieu of the original and the factory did not bother to stamp the tang with an assembly number or grade.

Although Schwing’s book does refer to the beautiful 1st model 1890 depicted on the book cover with a checked deluxe straight stock as a gun that was sent back to the factory in 1912 to have a deluxe stock installed in lieu of its original plain stock, Schwing does not appear to describe what, if any, procedure was followed by the factory insofar as stamping the tang with an assembly number or grade when a new deluxe stock was installed on a gun with a previously plain stock. Does anyone have an understanding of what Winchester’s practice was in such a situation?

I apologize for not including photos of this gun and its stock but I am not very good with a computer and don’t know how to post photos to this site but if anyone is willing to post photos for me, I would be glad to forward photos that he may post if he will send me his email address.

Thanks for any thoughts or observations that you may have re the above.

 

Rick Schreiber

Rick,

Can you please take a look and see what markings/stamps if any are on the (both sides) face of your rear stock where it butts up against the receiver? I have the exact same stock as yours on my 1890. Your checkering appears to be smack on same as mine. Only difference is the double line. Mine has only one single border line.

Thanks,

Len

January 7, 2016
4:12 pm
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Walter,

 

I took the butt plate off the gun for another look: the numbers on the bottom of the plate are definitely stamped INTO the metal, not pasted on.

 

Rick

January 7, 2016
4:22 pm
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Fascinating discussion…

I’m sure several have already seen it, but if not look at photos #101-103 in the GunBroker listing:  http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=532171513

The factory letter on this 1901 production M94 S/N 106013 mentions R&R on Feb 4, 1002 with “Order No. 131587”.  The detail photos show the butt stock with butt plate removed and the internal face of the butt plate.  Both are clearly stamped “11578”, similar but not identical to the R&R order number (possibly miss translation of the hand written ledger?).  The butt stock wood is also stamped ’94’.

Anyway, the style of the stamps, to my untrained eye, resembles those pictured above on Rick’s M90.

Best 

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