This is a very good example of a scarce Hotchkiss musket as manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. This rifle was originally designed by Benjamin B. Hotchkiss in the late 1860s or early 1870s and who eventually sold the design rights to the Winchester factory in 1877 and eventually appeared on the civilian market in 1883. The significance of this rifle is that it represents the very first bolt action rifle; and the very first rifle with a tubular magazine that fed through the buttstock, that was ever produced by the Winchester factory. It has a non-rotating bolt head with recoil lug on the side of the bolt body and the tubular magazine is located inside to the rear of the receiver and the cartridges are pushed back down inside the buttstock. It was made in three models; a carbine, rifle and musket version which were sold on both the civilian market along with a few to the US Military under Government contract. This is a very late 3rd model musket that is marked on top of the barrel with the two-line Winchester factory markings, with the three line, patent dates and markings on the lower tang. The upper tang is correctly marked; "MODEL of 1883". The barrel has the standard blade front sight with a tangent type Winchester rear sight that is graduated from 500- 1000 meters. The tubular magazine assembly, which is usually missing from these weapons is complete and functional in this musket. It has the original two piece walnut stock and forend along with the original cleaning rod underneath the barrel with an original and scarce commercial musket bayonet.
Very good with the barrel finish having turned a silvery/gray patina. The case colors on the receiver have faded and turned a dark gray patina overall. The markings are clear and sharp and the wood has a nice original matching dark brown color on both the stock and forend with extensive numerous handling marks and light pressure dents overall. A very good example of a Winchester-Hotchkiss musket.
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