Earlier this year, Winchester Repeating Arms announced the return of the Winchester 1895 to production, and I made a bee-line to their SHOT Show booth to get a look. Unfortunately, they didn’t bring the standard 1895 and I had to settle for handling and checking out their 125th Anniversary model, a SHOT Show special edition.
Granted, it’s gorgeous, so I can’t complain too badly about not seeing the standard production model. The standard edition is blued, with a walnut stock, as lever guns are intended to be made.
Not every gun has to be black plastic, you know.
For those who don’t know, the Winchester 1895 was something of an oddball in their lever-action catalog, as it was invented so that modern smokeless powder cartridges with spitzer bullets could be used without issue.
Instead of a tubular magazine, it employs an internal box magazine that holds – depending on the caliber – up to five rounds. It was designed, as the best guns usually were, by John Moses Browning and was a popular model in its initial long production run, which lasted until 1940.
Winchester periodically reissued it, which is what they’re doing now.
The current model features a rebounding hammer, which bounces to half-cock after striking the firing pin, preventing the hammer from hitting the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. A tang safety is also added, and the lever loop is hinged for faster cycling.
The current models are only offered with sporter model fore ends, so anyone wanting the full-length furniture will be out of luck. The sights for both models are a flip-up semi-buckhorn rear sight with a gold bead front sight post.
The stocks are straight grip for both models. The 125th Anniversary model features gorgeous walnut in either Grade V or Grade VI, depending on what wood is on hand when the one you see or buy is built. The standard model makes do with Grade I wood.
The 125th Anniversary model has a nickel finished receiver, with beautiful floral engraving, and a blued barrel.
Calibers available are .30-40 Krag (in case you want to charge up San Juan Hill…and who doesn’t?) .405 Winchester (in case you need a big medicine gun for lions, and who doesn’t) and of course, God’s Own Rifle Cartridge, .30-06, which the model I handled was chambered for.
While the 1895 is a top-ejecting receiver, it’s drilled and tapped for a scope.
The 1895 in many respects makes an excellent hunting gun for medium ranges…but I don’t know that you’d want to take this thing anniversary model out in the field. I know I wouldn’t. This is a wall gun…it’s just too beautiful to get dirty.
I love the 1895. It’s a beautiful rifle, and certainly an example of John Browning’s genius. However, the $2499 price tag is a steep price of entry. Then again, this isn’t really a gun for the typical shooter wanting to pew-pew in volume at short range. It’s a throwback to when there was a lot more craft in gunmaking than mere production.
Like I said, not every gun has to be tacticool. We love the ones that are, but there’s still room for the ones that aren’t.