Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Winchester Hotchkiss, it would be Winchester’s first attempt at producing a bolt action firearm.

First Model Carbine
The operating system for the Winchester Hotchkiss was originally designed by B.B. Hotchkiss. 
Winchester, after viewing the designs at the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876, bought his patents in early 1877. 
All told there were approximately 82,000 produced in three basic designs and two calibers–45-70 and .433 Spanish. Egypt, Mexico, China and South America all purchased many chambered in .433 Spanish.

The first production of the Hotchkiss Rifle and Carbine, the Model of 1879, was for the U.S. Military; 1,474 Muskets for the Navy, 500 Muskets for the Army, and 500 Carbines for the Cavalry. This Model had a rotary switch on the right side of the receiver serving as a safety and a magazine cutoff as they were loaded from the receiver into the stock, holding five cartridges.

For several reasons they proved unsatisfactory and were replaced in 1880/1881 by the “Improved” or Second Model. The Second Model had a lever on each upper side of the receiver for the cutoff and safety. Most of the original Military First Model rifles were returned and altered to Second Model cutoff and safety improvements.
The US Ordnance Department would order approximately only 2000 Second Models.

During this time period, 1879-1884, there were also orders produced for Egypt, Mexico, and South America chambered in .433 Spanish. China purchased First Model rifles and carbines, and out of the 13,332 Second Model Muskets produced, 11,000 were sold to China.

Second Model with cutoff and safety improvements.

In 1880, Winchester began selling First Model Carbines, Muskets, and Sporting Models to the general public. Second Models for the public were also available by special order. Curiously, Winchester continued to produce First Model Carbines for the general public and for overseas sales. 

Sporting Model

The Third Model 

The First and Second Models used a one piece stock which was subject to cracking. 
Winchester then started producing the Third model, the M-1883 Hotchkiss in a two-piece stock design. The safety and cutoff were located on each side of the receiver. 
The U.S. Army purchased 712 of this model in the Musket configuration. China also purchased at least 4,000 of the M-1883 Muskets. In total 59,446 Third Models were produced, with most going to foreign markets. Production ceased around 1900.

The Hotchkiss operated like most early bolt-actions and had a single rear locking lug integral with the bolt handle, but was unique in feeding multiple rounds from a tubular buttstock magazine similar to the Spencer rifle. However the magazine was loaded thru the opened action.

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