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Export of many 1892 Trappers to South America?
November 1, 2019
10:05 pm
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Corresponding with Michael Puzio about my new acquired 15-inch Trapper got me thinking about how we know what we know.  My question is when did the contention start and where is the evidence that a lot of these were exported to South America?  I am not trying to criticize anybody here.  I am just curious.  There sure aren't a lot of these for sale so they had to go somewhere or were all used up as utilitarian working guns.  

The earliest reference that I have in my meager library was in the 1971 First edition of Madis on pages 344 - "No records remain as to the destination of the guns shipped but it is known that large numbers of the baby carbines were shipped to South America."  And on page 387 - "Short carbines were sold to trappers in the north and for use on the rubber plantations in South America."  Where is Madis getting his information?

In Spring of 1986 (reprinted in Winter 2009), James Huntley wrote an article on 1892 Trappers for the Winchester Collector where in he writes - they were "very popular on the plantations of South America."  And in addressing the question of the scarcity of this model and where all the trappers are - "South America seems to be the best bet as many have been seen there."  Are/were there Winchester collectors in South America reporting this?

In the Winter 1992 edition of Winchester Collector, Ed Brandhorst wrote an article on special order winchester trappers where he wrote "We know that many were exported to South America...."  How do we know?

In the spring 2004 edition article on 1892 Winchester trapper carbines written by B.J. Maes, Ed Brandhorst and Don Grove the editor noted, in addressing the question of where the over 10,000 1892 trappers were, that these were "shipped worldwide to foreign countries "

There are no references quoted in any of these articles and apparently there are only detailed records available for the first 379,999 1892s made leaving another approximately 650,000 without.  Huntley 1986 documented 9624 1892 trappers produced while Maes et al. 2004 documented 10,368 1892 trappers produced in these first 379,999 1892.  I know Michael Puzio has an idea of how many trappers were produced based on his database on 1892s too.  They weren't exactly rare.

Does anyone know the answer to the above questions.  Is there a reference or references that I am missing?  Thank you for your time.

Best, John

WACA No. 9886.  Constantly learning about Model 1907 and Model 1910 Self-Loading Rifles.

November 2, 2019
10:50 pm
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John, I  think that there a lot of trappers out there in the hands of none collectors.  I'm  sure one of the reasons we don't  run into them is because they have not been cleared by ATF.  Therefore, these guns stay in closets or under the bed.  I know more than a few collectors that stay away from these carbines, simply because they don't  want to go through the hassel of sending them in for "authentication".   Depending on what they say, you may not get it back, even if it is original.  The Feds make it really tuff on the collecting fraternity.

November 3, 2019
1:56 am
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Good point win4575.  Yet you would think that eventually those trappers got to show up once the older relatives pass on.  Seems like younger people aren't as interested in the antiques and would try to sell them at gun shows, etc.  And I can't blame the folks that are leery about sending them in to the Feds for a blessing.

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November 3, 2019
2:09 am
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I have an acquaintance who was a missionary in Peru, last I heard. As he lives in remote areas he keeps a Winchester close and almost invariably it is an 1892 in 44-40. He hasn’t mentioned a Trapper but I’ll ask him. 

 

Mike

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November 4, 2019
2:02 am
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Mike,

That would be great.  Would love to hear what collectors/enthusiasts in South America have to say.  There is a contributor over at the Smith and Wesson forum from Argentina who said that they see mostly the SRCs and rarely the rifles or trappers.  No rubber plantations there but mostly big farming and ranching outfits. 
Best,

John

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November 4, 2019
3:50 pm
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I replied yesterday but apparently my post did not go through. It is my opinion that many trappers - '92s and '94s that were in stock about the time of the initiation of the 1934 NFA were sent out of the country where they could be sold as legal commerce. I have seen many '92s,  both wth 14-inch and 15-inch barrels with foreign markings (additions), some with law enforcement marks and even some converted to 45ACP. I have NOT seen any '94s so marked as of yet. Some of these "conversions" also have been seen with extensions welded to the barrels to make them over 16-inches so they could legally be imported back to the states.

All of this is conjecture of course but they are out there -- and there are lots of new discoveries to be made. 

 

Mike should have a little insight to the '92s but I  have none on 94s.

Keep a keen eye,

Bob

November 5, 2019
3:33 am
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I cant imagine back in the 1930s too many people were connected to the latest gun laws. not like there was the internet, so a guy has a 15 inch rifle used for hunting, cant imagine they were notified by anyone about the now illegal rifle. fast forward into the future, some ones got gramps old rifle in the closet and not a avid gun guy, would they even think to measure the barrel length? 

The guy I bought my 16 inch src didnt even know it was a Winchester when I asked what kind of rifle he was selling. All he knew was it was some old rifle. jim

November 7, 2019
2:30 am
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BOBR94 - Wherever the discoveries are they are not in my neck of the woods.  I have never seen a Winchester 1892 trapper (or any non-repro trapper) at a gun show in this area over the last 20 years.  Not at a table or being carried around.  I didn't think of the 1934 firearms act as a reason many were exported out of the country but it makes sense, especially if there was demand.  The conversions are an interesting idea too.  I would love to see one of those.

jimmac - i agree that a many people wouldn't know to measure barrel length.  Also, i would love to see a photo or two of your trapper.

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November 7, 2019
3:00 am
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My brother and I used to do most of the shows in Anchorage and the Valley back in the 90's. Lots of 92's and 94's there. Some were Trappers, although not a huge amount. We used to troll the pawn shops and picked up some nice old lever guns back then. Never see an old one now. They're held in the back for the regular customers that make the rounds every few days.

Shoot low boys. They're riding Shetland Ponies.

November 7, 2019
4:02 am
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John Lindly said
BOBR94 - Wherever the discoveries are they are not in my neck of the woods.  I have never seen a Winchester 1892 trapper (or any non-repro trapper) at a gun show in this area over the last 20 years.  Not at a table or being carried around.  I didn't think of the 1934 firearms act as a reason many were exported out of the country but it makes sense, especially if there was demand.  The conversions are an interesting idea too.  I would love to see one of those.

jimmac - i agree that a many people wouldn't know to measure barrel length.  Also, i would love to see a photo or two of your trapper. 

John here's a link with pics of my carbine. Not pretty but I like it. Jim

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/winchester-rifles/new-to-the-site-with-a-new-to-me-saddle-ring-carbine/

November 7, 2019
3:34 pm
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I think quite a few trappers came up here to Canada as they are definetly a handy gun to carry with a sling on your belt or on a saddle' and easy to use single handed(like a pistol) or off the shoulder, like a rifle. Finding one in good to exc. cond. is difficult as most of them got weel used and abused,and I usually purchase every one I find, If they are at all reasonable. There was a really nice one that Julia auctions, I believe, had at the Las Vegas show, it was appraised at over $20 grand and I forget what it sold for. I have some just about as nice and sold a couple as nice for a lot less than $20'000.00I currently have 2 '92's and 4 '94's Mod. 92 ser#981258 , 14" in 44-40, mod. '92, ser#996327, 15" in 44-40, mod '94, ser#916278 14" in 30w.c.f., mod. '94 ser#1,010,352 16" in30w.c.f., mod '94 ser#745309 15" in 25-35,mod.'94 ser#885185 15" in30w.c.f.. I've had a few more that I have parted with, reluctantly. All  of the ones I have are in  exc. cond, 4 of them with lots of factory finish remaining. All of these guns I purchased in the U.S. and only 2 of them were listed with the B.A.T.F., the folks just didn't want the hassle of getting them registered , I go pick them up,and in Canada it is not a requirement so long as they are obviously factory manufactured as such. I know where there are a few more I would like to buy but with the devaluation of the Canadian dollar right now it makes them very expensive for Me to buy State side, but I do what I can to acquire them 'cause of all the '92's and '94;s ,deluxe's included, they are My favorite.

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November 7, 2019
3:47 pm
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Jim - I like it too!  And great postings in the forum from February on bringing it back to life.

Henry -  you're lucky to have such a nice bunch of 1892/1894 trappers - any photos you could share?

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November 8, 2019
1:39 pm
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Here is a perfect example of "where in the world did they make up this BS???"  This is from a Julia Auction Catalog in 2013 describing a Model 1892 in very nice condition.

*FINE WINCHESTER MODEL 1892 LEVER ACTION RIFLE. SN 445790. Cal. 32 WCF (32-20). Standard grade rifle with 24-1/4″ rnd bbl, full magazine, half nickel front sight with screw & semi-buckhorn rear sight. Mounted with uncheckered, straight grain American walnut with straight stock & crescent buttplate. Produced in 1908 when transportation was generally by horseback, wagon or buggy and firearms were exposed to harsh weather & conditions. This caliber was considered a ladies or boys rifle and as such usually reflect the lack of care & abuse by these inexperienced shooters. 

And then somebody else down the line will repeat this garbage with the caveat of "I read someplace that...."  And hence urban legend is born!

Michael

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November 9, 2019
4:07 pm
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At least there’s a little truth in that more than a few 32WCF rifles seem to have led a hard life, for whatever reason. It’s a shame because it’s such a wonderful little cartridge...but I must have read that somewhere as I’m neither a woman nor a boy. 😉

 

Mike

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November 9, 2019
10:26 pm
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And where does that leave the 25-20 WCF caliber???  Who would ever shoot that one??

Michael

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November 9, 2019
11:08 pm
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Me. And I'm not a kid or a woman.

Shoot low boys. They're riding Shetland Ponies.

November 10, 2019
2:43 pm
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twobit said
.........................This caliber was considered a ladies or boys rifle and as such usually reflect the lack of care & abuse by these inexperienced shooters. 

.......................

Michael  

Michael,

Garbage is a nice way of describing this drivel.

John

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January 22, 2020
5:57 pm
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Doing some research on the 44-40 carriage some years back I ran across an article about a cougar hunt in argentina where the author whom was originally there to hunt something else went on a horse back cougar hunt and was supplied with a very old m92 15" trapper and even antique ammo, he said that they were prized but fairly common in that part of the world and at some times in history the 44-40 cartridges themselves were as good as currency.  I don't recall where I found the article but It did make me wonder the complexity or feasibility of bringing 92's back into the US from there.

January 22, 2020
6:23 pm
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You mean he wasn't shooting an El Tigre?  Sure wish I'd bought one, or rather an armload, when they could be had for about $50.

January 24, 2020
3:24 pm
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John Lindly,

Information on South American short rifles and "trapper" carbines from George Madis was likely gleaned by him from employees in the factory and the many collector's he came in contact with, not actual records - I know he often perused the factory and interviewed many people there many times. Remember, all his information is now dated - there was no computer activity then and he had to rely at times on "old here-say." This is evident in his mistaken production,dating and serial number statistics. Information regarding selling the "now unsellable" short guns out of the country does sound logical, and the reluctance to have them sent away for "authentication", or just hidden away is likely factual -- we all know some old-timers that would never  part with their working guns just because of a less-than-well-thought-out-and-now-antiquated-law, so heirs and law-ignorant folks are where some of the guns surely came from and why they seem to have "dried up" in the past few years. 

To all, do not be so rough on George's information from 60ish years ago - the retrieval of the information he did have was remarkable. He tried to do all Models of Winchester lever guns and had no easy method of total verification (no quick internet sources). He is my mentor in my endeavor and the person who told me to stick with one model for a reference book. He found out that to do them all in one volume was near impossible. 

The stories of South American "92s and '94s (as well as other available foreign entities) is likely to be factual -- at least mostly factual. Remember, Winchester was very frugal regarding existing inventory - to destroy or re-barrel all of them is not likely as they would also have to scrap all the short barrels.

Regards,

B

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