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Winchester-Hotchkiss Model 1879

Winchester-Hotchkiss Model 1879
Winchester-Hotchkiss Model 1879 display.

So…why I am I looking at a sporting rifle? The first clue is the caliber. It’s in 45-70. So that makes we wonder if it would handle modern 45-70 loads? Figuring most commercial 45-70 loads are made to be “Trapdoor Safe”, I would think…maybe…probably? But ultimately I would defer to someone more knowledgable than me to make that final call. 

Winchester-Hotchkiss Model 1879
Interesting action. Is that a safety or somekind of takedown lever? I doubt it’s a magazine cut-off.

The second reason I am looking at this gun is I am always on the hunt for unique or collectible sporting arms. My main interest is to always make sure I am not missing a MILSURP diamond-in-the-rough. 

This happens more often than commonly believed. The market today is very original military-surplus focused. And anything that appears to be sporterized is immediately pooh-poohed as worthless. And just like Sir Mix-a-Lot I’ll swoop right in for the steal. 

Sir Mix-a-Lot: Baby Got Back!

I’m sure some of our MILSURP readers will be inspired to do the same. But be warned. This is a dangerous game. Soon…you’ll be looking at sporting rifles and making rationalizations as to why you should buy it anyway:

“Oh….it’s in 45-70. I always support that caliber”


“I should just buy it since it says Hotchkiss on the side”. 

Next thing you know, you’ll end up with a website, a bi-line and e-mails from strangers asking for help ID’ing a class of weapons! 

Consider yourself duly warned!






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