Q: Can you help identify peculiarities of my Winchester Model 1894, chambered in .32 Spl., with serial No. 1781XX. The sights are of a variety I have not encountered on Model 1894s, and the proofmarks are unfamiliar as well.
A: The marks are the proof and view marks of the London Proof House. This shows that your gun was once sold in England. It does not necessarily mean that the gun was shipped from the factory to England, but it could have been. The proofmarks just tell us that, sometime in the life of the gun, it was sold, new or used, in England and, therefore, had to pass the proofing system.
The front sight looks to me like someone just took out the short factory blade and inserted a longer, homemade blade.
The rear sight is the Winchester Model 34 Express sight. This reinforces my thought that your gun may have been ordered from the factory with that sight, which was popular with British hunters who went off to India or Africa. I’m not sure from the photo, but it looks like the middle flip-up blade may be missing.
The factory records for your Winchester Model 1894, provided by the Cody Firearms Museum, indicate there is nothing unusual about the carbine, and its manufacture date is 1903. The “Order number T106303” issued would give all the information about the customer, etc., but all of the shipping records are missing from the collection and appear to have been discarded by Winchester or one of the firms that later bought the Winchester company.
--Michael F. Carrick