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Competition for Winchester 1873
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December 26, 2015 - 2:50 pm
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Winchesters competition for the model 1873 in the 1880’s

Top is a Whitney -Kennedy (1885) in rare 32 WCF (less than 200 made in this cal ) at the end of production , just before Winchester bought out this company to eliminate competition (Most popular caliber choice was 44 WCF in both these models)

Bottom early first model Colt Lightning 38 WCF 1885competition.jpgImage Enlarger

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December 26, 2015 - 5:27 pm
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Hi Phil

I just so happened to recently read something about that in Harold Williamson’s Winchester: The Gun That Won The West.

Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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December 27, 2015 - 1:05 am
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I do like those two rifles!  Do you own them?  

I recently obtained another Whitney-Kennedy, myself.  It has a few special order options with one of them being a double set trigger, one being a shorter than standard barrel, and the front sight.

James 

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December 27, 2015 - 1:48 am
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Yes they are mine . I was shooting the Whitney -Kennedy today at 50 yards . It has a good bore and shoots well. Its been worked on at one time including re-blue receiver, some new screws. Being in good cond it was generally ‘re-conditioned’ for shooting , probably well over 50 years ago. Someone probably sold it for peanuts to a gunsmith. Too bad about shortened mag.  So not totally orig, but I put the target sights on it and really fun to shoot .  I also have a 44 W-K with more mileage on it , but it shoots OK, Colt is Orig, exc bore, shoots well,  

 Your W-K sounds nice , I like set triggers, what cal?

Phil

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December 27, 2015 - 1:26 pm
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So the ‘story’ goes, and I don’t know how true it is or not…but:

The competition for the Winchester rifle, as produced by Colt, was the Colt Burgess.  ‘Supposedly’, once Colt started producing these rifles, representatives from Winchester marched up to Hartford with a prototype revolver, or plans for such, to compete against Colt and their revolvers, at which point the Colt Burgess was immediately discontinued.  I don’t know how true the story is, but, then again, I don’t know why otherwise the Colt Burgess was discontinued after so few being produced, either.

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December 27, 2015 - 6:49 pm
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Hello Phil,

It’s a 45-60 caliber.  Out of Maxwell’s survey which represents 33% of existing records, there were 20 made in this caliber with the special order set triggers, and 20 made in the same caliber with the special order 26 inch barrel.  Here is a picture of it:

James

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j22/bmt43/IMG_1295_zpsnfbl2yrp.jpgImage Enlarger

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December 27, 2015 - 7:53 pm
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Hi James

WOW  Lovely gun ,

Nice cal 45-60, very easy to shorten 45-70 brass and dies are cheap. I shoot this cal in a 1876 Winchester, and am very impressed with it. I like it better than 45-70 as its reduced capacity helps my smokeless loads

Will you shoot it ? Do you have other W-K’s ?

The W-K website is currently dormant

mrcvs … I certainly would like an orig Colt Burgess. has similar design in common with W-K.   Burgess was the main contributer to the W-K’s design , but not credited. I would even consider a replica , but cant get past the only non orig cals offered

I  dont want to offend anyone with talk about non – Winchesters ? Hope members consider some of the old histories connected I like all early Centerfire reloadable shootable guns . ESPECIALLY and almost exclusively Winchesters, but branching out I get very good experiences too. Initially I was only fanatical about Win 1892’s , and 1894’s (still my main interest) , but branching out to all the other Win lever rifle models (pre 1900) except1866 , has been very rewarding !!

Phil

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December 27, 2015 - 8:49 pm
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Thank you, Phil.  I like your .32 caliber too!!!!!!! 

I doubt that I’ll ever shoot my 45-60, although the bore is really nice, but not as excellent as the one in my 45-70, as pictured here:

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j22/bmt43/IMG_0368_zpse254ed11.jpgImage Enlarger

What is the serial number of your W-K, Phil?  I’d also like to see some close up pics of the markings, buttplate, and muzzle, too!

James 

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December 27, 2015 - 11:37 pm
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James   Nice 45-70 too   My ser # is S86 which pre-dates the first ser# listed in the Olson book,  (as of 2011 data from Maxwell survey and available Whitney records ) , for the 32 is listed S100 , so certainly among the first 32’s produced. I erred in the date on the initial post . According to info in the book ,It must have been made in Fall 1885

I happened on it at a gunshow about 3 years ago , looking foreign, with the reduced Barrel size . I saw the ’32 Cal’ stamping and was immediatly interested. The Vendor said he was selling for a neighbor and no one knew what kind of a ’32’ it was. When I foolishly piped up “its just a 32-20 ” ,  somehow he got word out to previous lookers and they started to gather around and I was pressured to buy it pretty quickly I knew the bore looked VG,  being always  my first concern , but  I still wanted to look at it a bit more,  and look it up in the coincidental Maxwell book I had just bought a few minutes ago. But at approx $1000 US , I did alright.But  Some aquaintances from my Gunclub were also passing by and were horrified how much I was paying  for the old Jed Clampett gun. 

I dont think there is anything special about it. It is a standard .32 OBR , with only option factory checkering, but a neat old gun to me

I am kinda photo and tech challenged But armed with new Iphone I will try to PM some markings in pics. I havent been overly sucessful getting good photos on this site, but have at least got some on lately’

Phil

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December 28, 2015 - 1:28 am
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Thank you for the compliment on the 45-70.  Not long ago I was still thinking that the modification to the non-standard caliber was not factory original.  That is not the case after I have studied Maxwell’s book regarding this issue.  I have made numerous, applicable notes from the reference, to include, other sources that  support it being factory original.   Not only that but, most especially so, when the only opposing argument to the contrary is based solely on one’s opinion.  And, the fact that your rifle is of a non-standard caliber for the year 1885 with the typical W-K frame and S prefix to the serial number makes it all the more interesting to me.

I must have overlooked something in Maxwell’s book, Phil.  Where did you get the “less than 200 made” estimation regarding rifles like yours?   I don’t ever recall seeing a W-K with the features that yours has, unless my memory is going on me!  Can you type in the markings that yours has and PM me, or post them up here, if you like.  Does your gun have a magazine band dovetailed into the barrel?  What is the diameter of the barrel at the receiver and across the face of the muzzle?  Also, what is the barrel length?  Have you had your rifle stripped to check all serial numbers to see if they match?

Thanks,

James

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December 28, 2015 - 2:55 am
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James …Barrel  length is standard 24″ for the small frame. Short round length at receiver is 1.070 dia. ,  across flats at muzzle is .650 .   (44 is 24″ ,  1.070 at receiver , but much bigger .790 across flats at muzzle)

It has the standard full length mag dovetail, but is filled in and tube mag shortened The worst feature of the gun . possibly done because of the common split mag tube issue ? or just to customize ,( of course I did get it cheaper , pointing this out to the vender ),   but other than my previously posted ‘reconditioning’ I believe to be all orig .

I havent taken it apart, but alterations and fakes are not as common in Canada yet, Im going to say I expect all #’s matching , also we also have a much more limited scouce of switchable parts . (especially on W-K 32’s)

What we mostly come across are long ago ‘Reconditionings’ left as done by a slow Gunsmith when a hunting customer traded it in for ‘a better deer and moose gun’ (surplus WW 2 sporterized 303 Brit) gluts available for $10 or less, so then these neat old guns were considered worthless. These survivers ‘Recondioned’ specials turn up in peoples closets and the best specimens are often lightly used but kept in the family because Heirs didn’t know what to do with them. They are more commonly turning up now tho that people suspect they are worth something and research on the net 

I got most of my info out of ‘The Burgess Long Range Repeating Rifle Model 1878’ and other related Stories ‘ by Dale A Olson ,  which has a section on Kennedy Ser #’s that lists the production run of the  of 32’s  (as of 2011 data from Maxwell survey and available Whitney records ) starting at S100 ( and my # just predates this range ) ,last # in list for a 32 is S305 , no 32’s listed past this #, mostly large Cal frame 45-60 for military contracts overseas predominate till S918 end of recorded #’s in list ,  and there are a few 44’s mixed in this (S100 – S305 ) 32 production  range,  so survey work is ongoing as some of the statistic Researchers  on this forum know well. It also says that the S series commenced in Aug 1885, ending early 1886 when W-K production ended ,

and Whitney-Scharf production commenced The book says that less than 2000 of the Whitney Scharf s were made from 1886 -1888 ,till Winchester bought out the company in 1888 and dismantled

I know I have seen 45-70 in the list, but scanning thru it quickly now , I only see F758 listed as 45-70, but in notes it says possible gunsmith alteration. I remember reading they would do special orders ,  too tired to go thru entire list right now, do you have this book ?. I havent read right thru it recently

Phil

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December 28, 2015 - 6:23 pm
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Hello Phil,

You mention that the wood on your W-K is checkered.  In your opinion is it factory?  Also, is the wood straight grain walnut or is it fancy having some figure in it?

All of the parts are probably the same.  I had one Whitney-Burgess that all parts were the same on except for the SN on the tang.  All who saw pictures of it thought that it was original from the factory, and sure enough when I came across another W-B that had the exact same SN on the tang it was apparent to me that both were factory original.  Still, ensuring that all parts as noted in Maxwell’s book would be a good thing to do as I see it.  The SN penciled in on the inside of the forend might be hard to find; I’ve also read that sometimes it cannot be found.  All of the other parts are stamped into the metal or buttstock.  Should you not have Maxwell’s book, let me know and I’ll send you the info regarding the parts that were identified with the serial number.

I’ve known Dale for fifteen years give or take a few, but I’ve never had the good fortune to meet him in person.  Someday I hope to meet up with him at a gun show and rectify that!  

I had a brain cramp when it came to remembering anything about the W-K in .32 caliber.  I kept seeing a Whitney-Scharf in my minds eye!   Yours is the first one that I recall ever seeing.  All of the others I’ve come across in the “S” range were in a different caliber. 

My 45-70 is listed in Dale’s book as F758 in the serial number section for the W-K, but in my copy of his book there is no mention in the notes section that it is a possible gunsmith alteration, and if it reads that way in your copy, please let me know.  When I first discussed this rifle with Dale over the phone about fifteen years ago, he tended to think like another W-K collector from Arizona whose name I’d mentioned to him.  In fact, he was the gentleman who gave me Dale’s name and phone number.  At this time both men felt that my 45-70 was original, although neither of them had seen pictures of the gun at that time, they were well aware of the factory’s standards to some degree.  Then, many years ago when I emailed Dale about the gun and sent him pictures of it at that time, he agreed with me that it was done at the factory, although he did indicate in the email that he’d like to continue to check it out, but he did not get back with me on the matter after that.  Many years later I brought the subject up again to him, and he felt that it was not factory original at that time, however, he did not give any reason as to why he had changed his mind on the subject either.  Not long afterwards, I began studying the subject in earnest with Maxwell’s book being the Bible about these guns and, therefore, my primary reference with the end results strongly favoring factory originality. 

James

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December 28, 2015 - 7:52 pm
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Hi James 

Yes I have Maxwells and Olsons books and find both very good.  My Olson book is a newer edition, and I find the Ser# section very helpful . If you refer to the S section you will see the 32’s entered as I previously described.  sounds like it is occasionally being updated , and ser #s added from newbies like me coming into contact and sharing info.  I suspect that in the future edition of the W-K survey will include my data for the 2 rifles I submitted. just like goes on with the WACA members here supplying our surveying Winchester Researchers with recently uncovered Data

My wood is straight grain and the checkering pattern is the same as shown in Maxwells book, looks worn and age correct. I will try to Pm some better Pics, but may have to wait a few days till my Daughter visits and helps me

My 2011 ser # updated Olson book has in notes for F758 reads in the ‘Special Notes’ section at right “Overstamped 45-70 , also stamped 45-70 on top of receiver , Whitneyville Armory , Cy. U.S.A. , probably gunsmith alteration ” Still havent gone thru the list to look for other 45-70’s listed ,I would be surprised if they did not make at least a few for testing purposes, as at that time every manufacturer was striving to use this Cal to appease the US Govt and submit for military testing. The 45-60 certainly was a popular W-K choice, so the shorter length may feed much slicker , If yours feeds and fires OK that tells me the action should be suitable , unlike the Win 76 shorter action. Although previous Whitney models had bad publicity with the 45-70 cartridge probably steering them away from it

Initially I expected a few reply posts pertaining to the 1873 Win, never expected W-K talk and will not try to start non Win talk in the future, but since we havent been ‘Busted’ yet and a few others are reading the thread , can I contribute another W-K anecdote ? (further to my claim that at one time these things were worthlesss and a few still in  closets ).

As a kid In the 60.s and 70’s I used to hang around a Gunstore . years later I knew A guy who bought out all Sams stuff from his Widow for peanuts. Included was a 45-75 W-K which is rare W-K Cal ( The Win 1876 ‘s design  attempt to get 45-70 performance from a shorter, fatter cartridge that would feed thru the 76 action. ) Italian Sam was a frugal sort (businessman , not gun-nut ) and I know he wouldnt have paid much for the W-K , if not free or almost. Anyway a shooting buddy of mine ‘Hillbilly Willy ‘ who is a Cartridge making wizzard , cobbled up some ammo and they shot it a bit at the range one day , probably the first time in who knows. I wasnt there , havent seen it , and would be interested ,but know the current owner thinks its priceless. Wonder when it will surface?

Phil

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December 29, 2015 - 2:43 am
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Glad to hear that you have Maxwell’s book and a newer edition Dale’s book too!  
 
It’s good that Dale took it upon himself to study, compile, and publish the information that he has and continues to update it from time to time.   Without people like him and Maxwell, we’d know next to nothing about these type of rifles!  
 
Based on the checkering alone it sounds like you have a special order rifle that should rank at least in the very rare category according to Maxwell’s rarity table.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing any pictures that you might send in the future.
 
Thanks for the information regarding the note about my 45-70.   I have sent Dale an email asking him how he came to such a conclusion, and I am looking forward to what he has to say and an interesting discussion that will be worthwhile to all concerned.   Also, at this time, I am searching for a highly qualified person in the appraisal field where wood and metal finish on antique rifles are concerned. 
 
I think that I might have told the story about my 45-70 on this forum before now, but maybe not, so here’s most of it:  Basically, back in the 1960s there was a young married couple living in Colorado not far from the Continental Divide.  They were friends with an old fellow whose name I’ll not mention at this point.  He lived up closer to the divide.  He was a single man at the time, and as I recall he had lived in Oklahoma as a younger man.  The old fellow would take this rifle and go elk hunting from time to time, clean it, and hang it back on the wall.  This rifle was often a topic of conversation between the owner and the young couple.  One day the couple visited their friend and told him they were moving to Alaska.  It was about this time that the owner said something about them wanting to buy the rifle, which they did, and not for a small sum as the lady told me some thirty-five years later when I bought it from them in Anchorage.  They were selling out, buying a motor home, and planned to travel and visit their children in the lower forty-eight.  This couple had no knowledge of this rifle ever having been modified.  The owner had fired about eight rounds through it.  When my wife and I bought it, he gave me a full box of ammo plus another box with the remaining rounds in it. 
 
Yes, I apologize for the non-Winchester talk as well, so this will be my last post on this subject.  I do appreciate the good folks at this site for putting up with the subject though, and not busting us before now.
 
Phil, I like your story about the 45-75, and if it ever surfaces I hope you get it for a fair price!!!!!! 
 
Have a good evening.
 
James
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December 29, 2015 - 3:20 am
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James,

In the interest of collecting old lever-actions, there is absolutely nothing inappropriate about discussing them on the WACA forums… unless the “M” word (Marlin) is used. Heck, I have even entertained Brad’s indulgence in Savage lever-actions! So, please do not feel like you need to cut this discussion short out of misguided belief that we Winchester types will look down our collective noses at you.

Bert

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December 30, 2015 - 7:05 pm
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I tried to buy a Colt Burgess several years ago, but the rifle was in poor shape and the price too steep.  I do have several Colt Lightning rifles, a first year large frame 40-60-260 and two medium frames.  They get along in the safe with my Winchesters, but I do keep them separated just in case.

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December 30, 2015 - 7:30 pm
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rarebearcat said

I tried to buy a Colt Burgess several years ago, but the rifle was in poor shape and the price too steep.  I do have several Colt Lightning rifles, a first year large frame 40-60-260 and two medium frames.  They get along in the safe with my Winchesters, but I do keep them separated just in case.

Now that is funny… but in this PC world we live in, don’t be shocked when they sue you someday for discrimination!

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January 1, 2016 - 6:35 pm
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James

Since we have been blessed with benevolent acceptance (on the Winchester Rifles forum no less) so far Ill try to post a couple pics my Daughter took of 32 W-K 32-g.jpgImage Enlargerbbl.jpgImage Enlargercheck.jpgImage Enlargerdetail you requested ,instead of Pm’ing

Im not one to press my luck (usually ) so Im not even going to mention how Brad got me into those Savage 1899 ‘thingy’s’

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January 6, 2016 - 7:27 pm
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Beautiful rifles!!!

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January 9, 2016 - 11:30 pm
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Bert and Phil:  Sorry for the delayed response here.

 

Bert:  Thanks for granting us the opportunity to continue discussing the Whitney-Kennedy rifles here.  I promise not to talk about Marlins!!!

Phil:  

Thank you for the pictures of your W-K.  

Would you please remove the buttstock from your .32 caliber W-K, when you get the time, and check to see if there are any pencil markings on the flat of the upper tang inlet?   My 45-70 shows the numbers “70” penciled in at this location.  The 7 is large and the 0 is smaller.  Upon closer inspection, the original number for the 0 would have been a 5, but someone, more likely than not, a factory employee, would have initially penciled in 75, instead of 70, but the upper part of the 5 marking no longer shows any lead, but only the slight impression in the wood for the top part of the 5.  These number show no signs of being tampered with in any way, shape, or form.   The original 75 marking as I see it would have meant the buttstock would have been pulled from, or would have been intended to be put on, a 45-75 caliber W-K, and that someone at the factory revised the numbers for assembly to a 45-70.  I cannot, at this time, draw any other reason for such a marking.   

 

James

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