SOLD FOR: $3,180.00
Year of Manufacture: 1886, First Year Production
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Action Type: Lever Action Rifle
Serial Number: 641
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “-MANUFACTURED BY THE- / -WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CONN. U.S.A.-” forward of the rear sight and “45-70” behind the rear sight. The top tang is marked “-MODEL 1886-“. The bottom tang is marked -“PAT. OCT. 14. 1884. / JAN. 20. 1885”- under the lever and “641” behind.
Barrel Length: 20″ Nominal, 19 7/8″ Measured, Octagonal
Sights: The front sight is a german-silver blade in a notched base dovetailed and screw-set to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder-style sight presenting a “V”-notch when down with a sliding “V”-notch on the ladder which is graduated from 2-10 and marked “1876” at the top. There is a drilled and tapped hole for a peep sight in the top tang, filled with a screw entering from the bottom of the tang holding the carrier stop.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate. The forend has some scattered light compressions, bruises and very light scratches, almost all are smoothed and darkened with age. The forend has light play front-to-rear and side-to-side. The buttstock has similar scattered light compressions with more notable bruises on the right in the middle, at the toe, a pair of long drag-lines on the right near the bruise, very small losses at the front corners of the wrist with a small repair on the top-left and another fill-repair on the right of the wrist. There is also a line of stuttered very light marks along the left of the stock through the middle of the wrist and continuing down and to the rear above the belly. There are no cracks. The LOP measures 13″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate’s finish has mostly gone to patina with scattered light nicks and dings and the heel and toe worn to white, in about Very Good condition as Antique. Overall, the stocks are in about Good-Very Good condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case-Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some very light erosion scattered in the bore.
Overall Condition: The rifle retains approximately 5% of its metal finish. The barrel and magazine tube are mostly worn to white with scattered light nicks, scrapes, scattered spots of light discoloration from oxidation and infrequent spots of light surface erosion. The receiver is mostly developing a light patina with figuring of the case-coloring visible in protected areas such as around the lever and locking bolts. The surfaces of the receiver have scattered light surface erosion, light scratches, nicks and dings. The lever is developing a darker, thicker patina, again showing figuring of its case-coloring in the protected area at the top-front. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The hammer knurling is well defined with light wear. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in about Very Good condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly and smoothly. The lever has the early-style spring-operated plunger which acts as the lever latch on the side of the lever. We did not fire this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box / Accessories: None
Our Assessment: The 1886 is another of John Browning’s industry-changing designs. It is our favorite Winchester here, certainly the strongest built at the time and function leads to beauty. The 1886 was available in a variety of cartridges over its nearly 40 years of production and, while there were standard configurations, there were also special-order features which led to a wide number of variations available to the collector today. We suspect that this rifle is a special-order gun with the octagonal barrel and crescent buttplate of a rifle but a much shorter than standard 20″ barrel. We base this suspicion on the actual measured length of the barrel, 19 7/8″, the distance from the muzzle of the front sight dovetail, 3/4″ (to center of dovetail), and the distance from the muzzle of the magazine ring’s dovetail, 3 5/16″ (to center of dovetail) as well as the milled notch for the magazine tube cap. Per “Winchester Lever Action Repeating Firearms”, Pirkle, these measurements are correct for a Winchester gun and it is rare for a modified gun to have all of these measurements correct. The rifle retains approximately 5% of its original finish and wear consistent with a rifle which has seen field use over the last 133 years. At 8 1/2 pounds, this rifle isn’t particularly light, but if you were looking for a repeating rifle in .45-70 back in the 1880s, it is fantastic! Altogether, this is a beautiful example of a Winchester 1886 with its original finsh and what we believe to be a special-order feature, a great opportunity for the Winchester collector. Please see our pictures and good luck!
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This Antique rifle can be transferred/sold in California. All cartridge firing firearms sold in CA must be DROS’d, including C&R and Antique.