SOLD FOR: $5,246.00
Make: Winchester Repeating Arms Co.
Model: 1866 Rifle, 3rd Model
Serial Number: 36020
Year of Manufacture: 1870
Caliber: .44 Henry Rimfire
Action Type: Lever Action with Tubular Magazine.
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT. / KING’S IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29.1866. OCT..16.1860″. The bottom tang is marked “36020” and “B” behind the trigger guard, the left of the bottom tang is marked “O”. The top of the wrist, in the inlet for the top tang, is marked “6020”, found again on the inside of the toe of the buttplate.
Barrel Length: The octagon barrel is 24 3/8” in length and has a nearly full-length magazine tube.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a notched base dovetailed to the front of the barrel which is missing its blade. The rear sight is a flip-up ladder leaf-type sight. When folded down, the sight presents a fixed “V”-notch. When folded up, there is a shallow “V”-notch in the rounded top of the ladder, another in the bottom and a third on the sliding elevator. The ladder is hash-marked graduated from “2” to “8”.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with brass forend cap, straight grip and brass crescent buttplate. The buttplate has a sprung door. There are sling swivels mounted to a plate in the belly and to the nosecap. The forend has scattered light-moderate handling wear, some scattered light compressions, nicks and drag lines with a couple of more notable gouges and repaired chip losses on each side at the top-front corner. The buttstock has similar handling wear, compressions, nicks and drag lines to the forend with a more notable compression at the rear of the comb and long drag-line along the left of the toe line from the bottom tang past the sling swivel. The LOP measures 13 3/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate shows scattered small dings and scratches from under its mustard colored patina. The buttplate is in about Very Good-plus overall condition. The stocks rate in about Good-plus overall condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued & Brass
Finish Originality: Original, though the rifle appears to have been polished at some point in the distant past.
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with dark edges in the rifling grooves. The rifling is well defined. There is scattered light-moderate erosion in the bore, more in the grooves than the lands.
Overall Condition This rifle retains approximately 15% of its metal finish. The barrel and magazine tube have mostly worn to white with scattered light nicks, dings, surface oxidation and some pinprick erosion. The receiver has a mustard patina with the crystalline look of old brass in most areas, scattered spots of darker tarnish, light nicks, dings and scratches and with tool marks around the sideplate screw-head. Screw heads range from sharp to lightly disfigured with useable slots. The markings are shallow on the barrel but deep on the bottom tang. Overall, this rifle rates in about Good-Very Good condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer does have a half-cock safety. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: The Model 1866 rifle was the first firearm to be built by the new Winchester Arms after they changed their name from the New Haven Arms Company in 1866. The Model 1866 was a much-improved version of the Henry rifle, with a loading port on the right side of the receiver featuring a spring-loaded cover, through which cartridges could be fed into a new solid magazine tube that was much stronger than the slotted tube used on the Henry, as well as being less likely to allow dirt and debris into the action. The M1866 was made in rifle, carbine and musket versions and in four different models dependent on date of manufacture. All of the different models were chambered in .44 Henry Rimfire, with some of the later 4th Models chambered in .44 Henry Centerfire. This rifle is a Model 1866 Rifle with a 24 1/4” octagon barrel and still has its original rimfire bolt. The rifle is in about Good-Very Good condition with about 15% of its original metal finish, wear in the stocks consistent with use in the field over the past 150 years and surprisingly strong mechanics. All of the 1866 models are very collectable due to their age and the relatively short time period over which they were made: the M1866 was made up until the 1890’s, but very few were made after the 1873 rifle was introduced with its improved center fire cartridges. This example is an early 3rd Model, produced in 1870. Most Winchester collectors would never think that their collection was complete without at least all three variations of the M1866, while some would argue for all the variations of the four different models. Please see our pictures and good luck in your bidding.
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This Antique rifle can be transferred/sold in California.