To the editor:
Every now and then, even during these troubling times, I still manage to find a little enjoyment target shooting with my old lever-action carbines.
The oldest of my lever-action carbines is a Model 1894 Winchester which dates back with me to 1959. Manufactured in 1902, the little lever-action .30-30 is called a saddle-ring carbine but my particular model seems to have some fairly uncommon parts. For one, the turn of the century Winchester sports a rifle-style, metal crescent buttstock-plate instead the thinner, slightly curved one normally found on most 1894 carbines. The carbine also has a three-quarter length magazine tube that is threaded right into the receiver and as far as I can tell, a manufacturing process that was usually reserved for the more powerful lever action rifles of the era.
In Winchester’s early years, a buyer could order a firearm straight from the factory in a multitude of configurations, for just a few dollars more. Today an original saddle ring carbine can be worth a decent amount of cash but through the years I have restored most of the old guns value away, in a monetary sense anyway.
In 1959, the Model 1894 Winchester was chosen by the Chicago Institute of Design and “Fortune Magazine” as being one of the most beautifully designed, mass-produced products in the world. But of course, I think in many ways 1959 was part of a much more innocent age.