WINCHESTER MODEL 1866 RIFLE MADE IN 1876

$12,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 169-479

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Winchester made about 170,000 .44 caliber Model ‘66s in various configurations starting in 1866, when they overlapped with the last Henry rifles. Production ceased in 1884, but parts remained on hand and the last left the factory only in 1898. This 1866 rifle is serial number 129100, manufactured in 1876, according to the Winchester Arms Collectors Association list of serial numbers, the same year as the Little Big Horn, and well within the most active period of the country’s expansion into the west and southwest.

The rifle has the standard 24-inch rifle barrel, but round rather than octagonal. This became common after number 100,000. It also has a steel forend cap, which became standard not much later than this rifle, about number 135000. In this case it may have been a special request, which Winchester seemed always open to, since the buttplate is a crescent steel buttplate, it is fitted with a buckhorn rear sight, and the buttstock shows above-standard graining as well. The rifle is made without sling swivels.

The rifle rates about excellent, with about 85 percent coverage of thin blue mixing with plum on the barrel and slightly stronger blue on the magazine tube. On the barrel there is some rubbing toward the muzzle. The magazine retaining band shows a bit gray. The barrel address is sharp. There is a slight check just aft of the address and a small stain on the right just aft of the forend cap. Both sights are in place and, as mentioned above, the rear is a buckhorn sight with elevator in place.

The receiver has very good color, a warm mustard. The loading gate has some vibrant blue. There are some tiny dings on the bottom of the carrier block, otherwise it is excellent. The lever and hammer show muted case. The buttplate is the sliding door style. The edges and tang show a mottled gray and blue and are smooth metal, but there is a bit of light pitting at the inside top of the buttplate. The wood is excellent, with a tight fit to the metal, good edges, a few small handling dings, but no chips, cracks or divots. The color is a warm brown. The graining shows off especially nicely on the right. There is a little, slim dark staining line on both stocks adjacent to the metal.

The mechanics and bore of this rifle are very good. This is a very attractive third model, in excellent condition and manufactured at the height of the wild west. With its characteristic brass frame, the 1866 is perhaps the most attractive Winchester and, as Flayderman remarks, “the repeating rifle most deserving of the name, ‘The Gun that Won the West.’”  [sr]

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