1st Year Winchester 1886 ’86 .40-82 WCF 26″ Lever Rifle & Letter, Antique

SOLD FOR: $8725

LSB#: 210220EW10

Make: Winchester

Model: 1886

Year of Manufacture: 1886, First Year Production

Caliber: .40-82 W.C.F. (Winchester Center Fire)

Action Type: Lever Action Rifle

Serial Number: 2383

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 “40-82 W.C.F.” 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 “2383” behind.

Barrel Length: 26?, Octagonal

Sights: The front sight is a german-silver blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch semi-buckhorn elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled and tapped with a folding peep sight installed, adjustable for elevation. The arm of the peep sight is marked “PAT JAN. 29./79” around the bottom. The bottom of the base is marked “N”. These markings are consistent with Winchester applied tang sights for the 1886.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate. The stocks have scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are a few more notable marks in the buttstock around the belly and toe. The wood has some discoloration where it meets the metal at most edges. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 13? from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has generally strong case color with some scattered light surface oxidation and some light erosion at the toe. Overall, the stocks are in about Fine condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & “Extra Finish” Case-Color

Finish Originality: The finish was applied by Winchester. According to the included Winchester Factory Records check, this rifle was produced in 1886 and was returned to the Winchester factory in 1896. We believe that this finish was applied in 1896.

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore, nearly all at the muzzle-end.

Overall Condition: The rifle retains approximately 87% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The barrel has generally strong finish with some minor wear along the right side. The magazine tube has some scattered minor wear, mostly toward the bottom-rear. The receiver has handling wear on the bottom-front, but otherwise retains strong, vibrant case color. The lever has handling wear on the interior, but otherwise also retains strong color. The bottom tang has some muting behind the lever, but has strong color under the lever. There are a few scattered light nicks and scratches. There is some stubborn, dried grease around the top of the lever and the locking blocks on the bottom of the receiver. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in about Excellent 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: This rifle comes with the installed tang sight and a Winchester Factory Records Letter from the Cody Firearms Museum. The letter indicates that the rifle was received in the Winchester warehouse on December 10, 1886, shipped December 13, 1886 in a shipment of 49 other rifles and was returned on August 6, 1896. The letter is in Excellent condition.

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. This example is a standard rifle with a 26″ octagonal barrel chambered for the .40-82 WCF cartridge. The cartridge was fairly popular, chambered in approximately 21% of 1886 rifles and is fairly flat-shooting for a black powder cartridge. This rifle is in Excellent condition, with little wear to its finish and bore, strong mechanics, and beautiful case color still visible in the receiver, lever and hammer. This is a first-year rifle, made in 1886, but it returned to the Winchester factory in 1896. We suspect, based on the condition of the finish and the markings on the tang sight, that this return was for the installation of the sight and for an “Extra Finish” to be applied. Winchester’s standard case color on 1886 rifles tends to age to a more nickel-colored appearance, while the “Extra Finish” has more color variation and more distinct figuring, as seen on this rifle. Altogether, this is a beautiful example of a Winchester 1886, in wonderful condition, and with a Winchester Factory Records letter, a great opportunity for the Winchester collector. Please see our pictures and good luck!

1st Year Winchester 1886 '86 .40-82 WCF 26" Lever Rifle & Letter, Antique
1st Year Winchester 1886 ’86 .40-82 WCF 26″ Lever Rifle & Letter, Antique