Lot 2438: RARE WINCHESTER MODEL 1895 LEE NAVY STRAIGHT PULL RIFLE.
March 12, 2013
Fairfield, ME, USALive Auction
Description: SN 8609. Cal. 6 mm Lee Navy. Navy musket with 28" tapered rnd bbl, square base blade front sight and 2,000 yard musket ladder rear sight. Receiver has the 2-line Winchester address on left side and is marked over the chamber "-U.S.N.- / an anchor / NO 8609 / -N.C.T.-". Mounted in a full length, uncheckered, straight grain American walnut stock with semi-pistol grip and Model 1895 carbine/musket buttplate with trap. It also has a short handguard and two bbl bands. Front band has a bayonet lug & stacking swivel and the middle band a sling loop with a corresponding sling base in the buttstock and another in front of the trigger guard/magazine box. Accompanied by a Winchester sling swivel. Also accompanied by all three of the different manufacturers' bayonets & sheaths made for this rifle: 1)Winchester; 2) Remington; 3) Unknown maker whose mark is a "T" in a triange on right ricasso. All three bayonets are virtually identical with 8-1/4" spearpoint blades, thick steel handguard/bbl loop and 2-pc wood scales. All three are accompanied by their orig steel & leather sheaths. Also accompanied by an extremely rare orig copper plated 5-rd stripper clip with patent date on the rear face, containing five orig soft point cartridges. Additionally accompanied by a Mills tan canvas cartridge belt with 44 cartridge loops containing 33 orig soft point cartridges. Additionally accompanied by an orig blue navy Mills canvas & brass cartridge belt with 12 clip pouches that have leather covers and shoulder straps with brass attaching hooks. Also accompanied by an orig red cover 16-page catalog advertising the Lee Navy musket & sporting rifle. This catalog is undated but was likely printed prior to 1902 when production ceased on this rifle. Finally accompanied by a Cody Firearms Museum letter which identifies this rifle as having been received in the warehouse May 19, 1897 and shipped next day to Order #8497. The Lee Navy straight pull rifle was the invention of James Paris Lee, a former employee of Winchester who struck out on his own and patented this straight pull bolt system which he successfully marketed to the Navy. According to Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms there were about 20,000 Lee Navy rifles produced in the period 1895 to 1902, of which about 16,700 were on military contract. 623 of the first contract were issued to the U.S. Marine Corps 1st Marine Battalion, the first U.S. forces landed in Cuba during the Spanish-American War and the first U.S. forces to come under enemy fire. The Lee Navy muskets saw extensive service with the Navy & Marines in the Spanish-American War and to a lesser extent in the Philippines and the Boxer Rebellion in China. A large group of these rifles were on the USS Maine when she was sunk in Havana Harbor, only 34 of which were recovered in 1900. All 34 SNs are known. PROVENANCE: Barnes Family Collection. CONDITION: Good. No orig finish remains being an overall gray/brown patina with fine pitting on the receiver, top edge of bolt, trigger guard/magazine box & buttplate. Wood is sound with light handling & storage nicks & scratches and retains most of an old restored finish. Mechanics are fine, strong bright bore, frosty in the grooves. Winchester bayonet is crisp & clean, sheath is fine showing moderate wear; Remington bayonet is fine with bright blade & worn handle, sheath is very fine; Unknown maker bayonet has lightly pitted bright blade with oil stained grip scales & crisp bright sheath. Clip of ammo is very fine. Catalog is fine with bright red covers. Tan cartridge belt is very fine, lightly soiled; blue cartridge belt is very fine, moderately faded, showing a little wear in a couple of places. Altogether a very rare compilation of related material. Although this rifle is not listed as one of the ones recovered from the "Maine", it has all the appearances of others from the "Maine" that have been examined by this cataloger. 4-47628 JR266