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Winchester Combination front sight
June 9, 2019
1:26 am
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There have been some interesting discussions about the differences between the Beach combination sight which was patented in 1867 and the much later Lyman combination sight patented in 1891.  Of course both of these were offered by other rifle manufacturers in addition to Winchester.  They were also sold in gun shops and hardware stores. 

I recently became aware there was a Winchester combination sight, different than these other two.  It was designed by Victor A. King in March 1879 while he was superintendent of works at Winchester.  It was only in the catalogs from 1880-1884 according to James D. Gordon in the "Winchester's New Model of 1873 - A Tribute" book on page 308.

Here is an  image of the original Winchester drawing for this sight.  Also a few photos of one installed on an 1876 sporting rifle.  Note that the little blade portion is fixed in place, only the globe portion pivots.

Not sure why Winchester developed this sight.  It was competing with the Beach sight which had been in the catalog for years.  In any case, it didn't last long.  This sight does not show up in either Stroebel's "Old Gunsights" book or Madis' "The Sight Book."

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June 9, 2019
2:01 am
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Bill Hockett said

Not sure why Winchester developed this sight.   

Well, one possible reason was that, while Beach's patent remained in force, it would have saved money to make it themselves.

What's always puzzled me (though I've shot countless rounds using them) in the supposed advantage of a globe sight; to me, they are as much of a useless obstruction as a full buckhorn rear sight.

June 9, 2019
6:42 pm
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Here is a snip from an 1882 catalog reprint that shows the Beach and Winchester combination sights.  The Winchester sight is less money but apparently did not compete well with the Beach sight.

I like the Beach sight better, it is attractive with the gold wash on the globe.  Maybe that's what the shooters thought back in the 19th century as well.  The Beach sight stayed in the catalogs into the 20th century.

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June 9, 2019
7:08 pm
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The Beach Combination shown in the catalog looks similar, if not identical to the Winchester 71A which was used up until 1932.

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June 9, 2019
8:41 pm
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Bill Hockett said
The Winchester sight is less money but apparently did not compete well with the Beach sight.
  

Furthermore, Winchester's use of "combination" was a misnomer, relative to the Beach.  The Beach sight provided two different choices of front sight--a bead & a post or blade; that's what "combination" was intended to mean.

June 9, 2019
8:48 pm
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JWA said
The Beach Combination shown in the catalog looks similar, if not identical to the Winchester 71A which was used up until 1932.  

That's the one with the 1902 pat. date, & not manufactured by WRA until AFTER Beach's pat. expired in 1891--about the time Lyman began making their #5 front sight.

June 9, 2019
9:07 pm
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clarence said

That's the one with the 1902 pat. date, & not manufactured by WRA until AFTER Beach's pat. expired in 1891--about the time Lyman began making their #5 front sight.  

Yes, you are correct.  Once the patent expired Winchester copied it almost exactly.  The tinned tip and patent date on the Winchester 71A was discontinued in early 1914.

Regards,

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June 9, 2019
10:53 pm
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I can think of two reasons the Beach was preferred over the Winchester combination. It had a spring under the base to keep the globe in position rather than relying on friction and the replaceable post was quite thin giving you more accuracy.

Bob

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June 10, 2019
2:54 pm
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Man that is neat! I'm a big fan of peep sights and the globe sight, which adds another reference point (concentric circle) of alignment for the shooter. Besides aiding in accuracy for the typical shooter at still targets...it's as rare as all get out to my knowledge and just plain cool to boot!

James

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