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Discussion Starter #1
This rifle #45401 was first seen on my grandfather’s farm & ranch 29 miles south of Waco, Texas in Falls County.

Standard Features:
22 Short
24” Full Octagon Barrel
Take-down Frame

Special Features:
Has Checkered Fancy Walnut Deluxe Pistol Grip (895 known),
Style #8 Factory Engraved (by John Ulrich) w/Standing Deer Panels on both sides of frame (only 29 known engraved),
Engraved Nickeled Swiss Buttplate (only 18 known),
Beach Front Sight,
Fixed Rear sight,
Mid-Range Vernier Peep Sight (only 3003 w/Special sights).

A Winchester factory letter confirms all features and shipped on 11-11-1896.

The above-mentioned rarity counts are based on production figures using surviving Winchester records serial numbers 1 through 329,999. From Winchester Slide-Action Rifles: Volume I, by Ned Schwing.
 

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Nice Winchester.
One of my pride and joys was a Winchester Model 1897 Black Diamond Grade Pigeon Gun, two barreled set, that I bought to shoot trap with. Unfortunately I had to use it to trade down and generate some cash.
PigeonGun2.JPG PigeonGun3.JPG PigeonGunbarrelset.JPG
 

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Wow, that’s Truely a museum piece there!!! I have no idea value but it’s “up there” for a 22. This would have Winchester collectors drooling. Heck I am and I’m not even into engraved guns or Winchester’s that much!!! I hope it’s still in your family cause if not, a piece like that doesn’t come up until someone starts pushing daisies.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Victorio, you say first seen at your grandfathers farm. Is it in your possession or is it waiting too be found?
The way I stated this gun's provenance, it left everyone wondering, no doubt! Yes, I first saw this rifle at my grandfather's ranch home near Perry, Texas in the mid-1950's. At the age of less than 10, my interest in antique guns was already well-established. We shot at rats in the barn with it, single-shooting with ratshot, as the bore was rough. I later found a stuck 22 LR in the carrier, and removed that, announcing that this could have caused an accident. The farm/ranch was sold in 1959, and the gun disappeared for a while. The gun later went to an uncle, who I then learned was the son of the original owner, and then to my cousin. It resided in Waco for many decades afterward. I later acquired this rifle from a 2nd cousin in Kansas, when it finally came available. That 2nd cousin told me that a KC, MO dealer offered $2000 for this gun! No doubt the dealer was looking for a significant profit. I offered more in line with value and bought this fancy Winchester about 15 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Rare and interesting rifle. Thanks for sharing. Vic
I have often thought that it was strange to equip a 22 short rifle with an expensive vernier tang sight. If it was a large caliber, like 40-82 or 45-90, then the long range sight would be understandable. But this was the original sight, verified by Winchester records, and the fact that an old ding was left in the buttstock's comb where that vernier screw landed when folded down.
 

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Condition and history are not always mutually compatible. Just because a gun isn't worn or rusty doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't have history. Neglected condition may have happened years after the gun was last used.
 

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Wow Vic, what a beautiful and rare rifle. The fact that you know the history of it makes it even more special.
That's a once in a lifetime piece.

Thanks for sharing it.
Al
 

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I have often thought that it was strange to equip a 22 short rifle with an expensive vernier tang sight. If it was a large caliber, like 40-82 or 45-90, then the long range sight would be understandable. But this was the original sight, verified by Winchester records, and the fact that an old ding was left in the buttstock's comb where that vernier screw landed when folded down.
You have a very nice rifle there! The provenance you have just makes it all the more interesting! Apparently vernier sights were popular back in the day. I have a Colt small frame Lightning Rifle that also has a tang sight. The one on my rifle is adjustable for both windage and elevation! I think it is a Marbles made sight.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You have a very nice rifle there! The provenance you have just makes it all the more interesting! Apparently vernier sights were popular back in the day. I have a Colt small frame Lightning Rifle that also has a tang sight. The one on my rifle is adjustable for both windage and elevation! I think it is a Marbles made sight.
Those adjustable-for-windage tang peep sights are tough to find!
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Prior to finally owning this engraved slide action rifle, in about 1969 I found the consecutive serial number. I was talking to an older Dr. friend in Dallas, who liked antique guns. After describing this #45401, he then described a similar rifle that was also acquired in Central Texas. The main difference was that his tang sight was not the vernier caliper type (replaced?). I then asked "So what is the serial number on yours?". He replied #45402. I said "You are not going to believe this, but we have consecutive serial numbers!".

BTW, his gun also had seen much use, with some damage in the wrist area. Both were engraved with the same deer scene on both sides of the receiver, and other than the tang sight, his had the same special features as mine.
 
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