Sold For: $2,875
Make: Winchester Repeating Arms
Model: Model 1886
Serial Number: 90799
Year of Manufacture: 1894
Caliber: .45 – 90 Winchester (WCF)
Action Type: Lever Action with Tubular Magazine
Markings: The top barrel flat is marked “-MANUFAFTURED BY THE- / -WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO NEW HAVEN CONN. U.S.A-“ and “45-90 W.C.F”. The lower tang is marked “PAT. OCT. 14. 1884. / JAN. 20. 1885” and “90799”. The top tang is marked “-Model 1886-“.
Barrel Length: 26”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a dovetail set German silver blade. The rear sight is a dovetail set “V” notch blade and flip-up ladder sight marked “0, 5, 10, 15, 20” and missing the screw that locks the sight into the dovetail.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are smooth walnut. The butt stock is a replacement of unknown vintage that appears to have been cleaned with extra fine steel wool, giving it a kind of matte look. There are places where the butt stock is still proud to the metal work, so very little, if any was removed from the wood. There are a series of very light scratches perpendicular to the grain on the right side of the stock towards the rear. There are no notable chips, cracks or losses. The original butt stock is also provided; it has a crack through the wrist that can only be seen when removed from between the tangs and another repaired crack that visible to the right side of the top tang. The forearm appears to retain some gloss of the finish. The forearm shows numerous handling and compression marks, with two notable spots where a chip may have been lost, but is now largely smoothed over from years of handling. The LOP measures 13” from the front of the trigger to the back of the crescent shaped steel butt plate. The butt plate may also have been cleaned up with fine steel wool and shows light pinprick erosion scattered evenly throughout. The stocks rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: The octagon barrel was blued; the frame, hammer, forend cap and butt plate were case hardened.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling is pronounced. There is some erosion, but none of the pitting often seen in black powder arms.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 15% of its metal finish in protected areas. The balance of the finish shows thinning to loss on all the leading and hard edges. There are hints of case coloring towards the rear on both sides of the receiver. Much of what was once blue has now moved towards a brown patina. The screw heads are mostly sharp and all are more than serviceable. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Fine condition for an antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The original butt stock is provided, as described above.
Our Assessment: The Winchester Model 1886 introduced John Browning’s new design for a lever action rifle, dispensing with the toggle links of the earlier models and using twin vertical locking bolts instead. The increased strength of this new design allowed Winchester to chamber the Model 1886 in calibers previously only possible in single shots. From Winchester’s web site: The MODEL 1886 was John M. Browning’s next design for Winchester.® Robust and accurate, it’s capable of handling the long, powerful black powder “buffalo” cartridges popular on the Western Plains. The 45-70 Government is the all-time classic chambering for this robust rifle design. The Model 1886™ was the biggest, meanest lever-action repeater of its day. Designed to handle potent cartridges like the classic 45-70 Government, the robust Model 1886 was more than a match for grizzly bear, bull elk and bison.” This example is chambered in .45-90 WCF, making it even more powerful than the US Army’s classic .45-70 Government. The bore in this rifle has survived surprising well. With careful choice of bullet hardness and some judicious handloading experiments you may be able to turn in some very pleasing results with this 120 year old rifle. This rifle retains some of its case coloring on both sides of the receiver, where it was protected towards the rear. Although currently mounted with a replacements stock, the original stock is provided. With good woodworking skills, it may well be possible to repair it to an acceptable level, particularly for display purposes.