Unknown Rifle


April 28, 2011, 09:22 PM
a friend of mine showed me this Rifle and we have taken it to some dealers but no one can identify it or even has a clue as to what, where, etc etc. the only markings on it is the barrel says "Winchester Repeating Arms" and the bolt has "1797" on it. Has an octagon barrel.you're help would be greatly appreciated.

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April 28, 2011, 11:18 PM
She certainly looks Germanic. A stalking rifle based on what looks like a Mauser 1871 style action. I can only hazard a guess that the Winchester barrel was a later installation. I'd love to know the caliber and if any markings are on the underside of the action.

April 28, 2011, 11:47 PM
Rebarreling these came up at gunbroker's forums.


Looks like Winchester 38-55 and 38-40 are fairly popular retrofits.

April 29, 2011, 07:05 PM
It's a Dreyse pattern stalking rifle, essentially a Mauser IG71 type action, very popular in Germanic countries, though occasionally eastern France.


Usually the only information is on the barrel- maker on the top of the barrel, bore gauging and load data underneath. If it's been rebarreled, you really probably have no hope of gleaning any details.

Jim K
April 29, 2011, 09:06 PM
I believe it is a sporting rifle with an action based somewhat on the Model 1871, but not an actual 1871 since the action is too short. The cartridge was probably not obtainable in the US, so someone installed a Winchester barrel in whatever caliber. I suspect the collector value is not high, but it might be a very good shooter and certainly a conversation piece. The "1797" was probably the original serial number; it is certainly not the date of manufacture.


Jim Watson
May 2, 2011, 10:16 AM
I like the Winchester barrel, even though it would reduce the value to a collector.

I remember an old Gun Digest article from those days, the author said he thought he "had the only Mauser barrelled with Savage High Pressure Steel in Christendom."

May 6, 2011, 10:01 PM

Kendal Black
May 6, 2011, 10:14 PM
Well it's curious as heck, a Germanic-style action with a Yankee barrel, a very robust tang sight that seems to be missing its aperture insert, and which seems to be in the way of removing the bolt, unless you remove something from the sight...

My best guess is this is a one-off rifle built to some hobbyist's particular ideas and preferences. The sight being in the way of fast field stripping, if required, says "range toy" to me. It looks well made. Custom, not Bubba. Or, at the least, Bubba was skillful with tools.

A gunsmith could slug the chamber and make an educated guess about what cartridge was employed.

May 6, 2011, 11:47 PM
The sight sits in a square key slot, with a screw tightener on the left side. Releasing that, it should be easy to lift out. Pretty common arrangement for Aydt and related target rifles.

And yes, the dish part of the aperture's missing.

As for being "custom"... There are seldom mass produced Germanic hunting rifles. It was normal for a buyer to go to the gunsmith of the village or area, place an order, and have a rifle built to their liking from semifinished parts or actions. Even the mass produced guild guns were typically assemblages of components by artisans to a standard pattern rather than mass-produced in a typical factory.

Kendal Black
May 7, 2011, 01:07 AM
So we have a story we might tell... Hans immigrated to America and found his rifle was on the Fritz (http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-ont4.htm)(sorry) and got himself a Winchester barrel? Or he couldn't get the cartridges he shot back home? That story seems more plausible than a bad barrel, since the rest of the piece looks, for its age, like a pampered pet: hot soapy water probably went down the barrel after every range trip.

Without any verified backstory, it'll just remain one of those cool but inexplicable rifles that no one knows what to do with. At the least, Hans should have marked the barrel with the new chambering, but perhaps he saw no point in that: He knew what it was.

Jim K
May 7, 2011, 08:46 PM
I think it more likely that G.I. Joe saved an old German rifle from being run over by tanks in the conquest of Germany and brought it back home, only to find that the odd Kraut ammo wasn't available in the Yew Ess of Ay, so he had gunsmith George rebarrel the gun to an American caliber, using a takeoff barrel George had laying around the shop.


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