Author Topic: '73 Winchesters in Hawaii  (Read 417 times)

Offline DJ

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'73 Winchesters in Hawaii
« on: November 25, 2019, 06:57:42 pm »
While doing some research on the Winchester 1876 muskets used by the Kingdom of Hawaii I came across multiple mentions of other models.  The records I reviewed are for the Hawaiian military, including the Citizen's Guard, during the period between about 1888 and 1898 and possibly a few years after that (the records are primarily unit rosters with many "commissioning" dates in 1897 and 1898, so it stands to reason that the records may have been used for at least a brief period after 1898, and possibly until the territory was formally established in 1900).  In the rosters, assigned or "possessed" weapons (a small proportion of the listed arms are recorded as privately owned) are usually listed by the manufacturer's name and the caliber, but not model.  Winchesters listed as .45-75 are presumed to be 1876 models because of the caliber and serial number range.

There are listings for quite a few 45-70 Winchesters (the records usually distinguish between .45-70 and .45-75, but seem to list all .44 calibers as "44," and all 38s as "38"), which seem likely to be either 1885 single shots or 1886s.  However, there are also scattered listings of "44" caliber Winchesters, some of which seem likely to be 1873s.  For example, one Winchester, SN 19495, is listed as "44" caliber   I suspect this is probably a Model 1873, because the serial number would make it an 1876 manufacture.  Of course it could be an 1866, but that would make the manufacture date 1868, which is somewhat out of sync with most Hawaiian guns.   Another isolated listing, Winchester SN 463699 in "44" caliber, also seems likely to be an 1873.  There is a listing for a "38" caliber Winchester SN 2384, which I would guess this was a .38-40 Model 1873, but a Model 1885 in .38-55 might also make sense (a Winchester expert might be able to figure it out).  There's another Winchester listed as caliber "38-45," SN 63939.  Any guesses?  Another example, listed as a "Winchester carbine," caliber .44, SN 643051 doesn't make sense to me--if it was an 1873 model, it would seem to fall outside of the date range for the records I reviewed, but I don't see another model it would likely be.  I believe this weapon is recorded more than once in the records, so less likely to be a "typo," but could be.  Winchester serial numbers 19806 and 220111, both in "44" caliber, seem likely to be 1873s, although the lower number would also make sense as a model 1892.  Photos of various squads of the Citizen Guard seem to show a predominance of 1876s, at least a few 1873s, a surprising number of what I believe to be 1892s (the 73s and 92s all seem to be carbines or sporting rifles rather than muskets), plus 1885s (all Winchesters) and a smattering of trapdoors, Remington-Lees, Colt Lightnings, at least one Peabody Martini (or Martini Henry) and various others.

One particularly interesting military unit for purposes of the Model 1873 discussion is the "Mounted Reserve" of the Citizen's Guard which lists 40 Winchesters of "44" caliber, most of which are recorded as government-owned.  A few entries do not list a serial number,  a few list 4- or 5- digit serial numbers, but about three quarters of them fall within the serial number range from 431661 to 471242.  From the date range calculator I've been using, these could be 1873s (manufactured between 1892 and 1894, which would be an appropriate date range), and perhaps the number is great enough (and close enough together) to show up as a bulk purchase in the Winchester records. 

Much of this is my guesswork and conjecture, so I could be completely off base (and would welcome any corrections), but it would be interesting to learn if Hawaii (either the Kingdom or the Republic) acquired a significant number of Winchesters other than the royal purchase of 1876 muskets.

Offline DJ

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Re: '73 Winchesters in Hawaii
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2019, 09:05:39 pm »
Here's an 1895 photo of "Citizen's Guard, Squad No. 3, Sgt F.J. Lowrey in command."  An 1885 Remington-Lee, three M1878 Sharps Borchardts, three trapdoors (one a carbine), and the Third Model Winchester Hotchkiss all probably in .45-70, and three 1876 Muskets and one Carbine all probably in .45-75.  Front row, second from right looks like a '73 to me.  I'm not up on my '86, '92, '94 I.D., but looks like some of those in there too, caliber TBD.   I'm not sure who has the tougher job, commander or quartermaster.

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: '73 Winchesters in Hawaii
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2019, 08:51:36 am »

Yup.  Uniformity in a Military or Paramilitary Unit is very important.  Yule note how uniform the Uniforms are too (Snicker).  I'd be betting most of those are personal weapons and the primary considerations for membership were "Bring Your Own Rifle" and a serious Mustache.

Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: '73 Winchesters in Hawaii
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2019, 10:30:01 pm »
An acquaintance who I have not seen or talked to for quite some time has or did have a 73 that the factory letter mentions delivered to Hawaii or something to that effect because he mentioned he was surprised the gun came back from Hawaii and wound up in Kentucky. Not sure if it was anything to do with military or not he never mentioned that.
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