Winchester Model 1886 ’86 28″ .45-70 Gov’t Lever Action Rifle, 1891 Antique

Sold for $3674.95

Make: Winchester

Model: 1886

Serial Number: 56843

Year of Manufacture: 1891

Caliber: .45-70 Government

Action Type: Lever Action with Full-Length Tubular Magazine

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “-MANUFACTURED BY THE- / -WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CONN. U.S.A.-” and at the receiver with “45-70”. The upper tang is marked “-MODEL 1886-”. The lower tang is marked -“PAT. OCT. 14.1884. / JAN. 20.1885”- and “56843”.

Barrel Length: 28″, Octagonal

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a Marble 37M beaded blade dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight has two folding leaves, one is a “V”-notch and the other has no notch with a white triangle aiming reference. The leaves are mounted to a base dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled and tapped with a folding Vernier-style aperture sight, adjustable for windage and elevation. The aperture assembly has a disk which can be turned to present nine apertures of varying sizes.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and crescent steel buttplate. The stocks have scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are some more notable dings, primarily concentrated in the left of the wrist and the front of the comb. There are a few grain-line cracks at the rear edges of the buttstock. The LOP measures 12 7/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a mottled light patina with erosion at the heel and toe. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is some faint oxidation at the muzzle-end.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 40% of its metal finish. Remaining finish is mostly in the barrel with some on the magazine tube, bolt and a little case color in protected areas of the lever and hammer. The receiver’s case color has muted or worn to white and there is scattered wear on the magazine tube and barrel, more on the tube. The worn areas vary from white to a light patina. There are scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches as well as some minor surface oxidation. There are a few more notable marks, most notable is a ding on the top edge of the left barrel flat a couple inches behind the rear sight. There is infrequent faint surface erosion. The action shows operational wear. There are tool marks around some screw heads. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear, the serial marking is shallow as is common with this production period. Overall, this rifle is in Very Good-Fine condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock notch. 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: This rifle comes with a slip-on leather cover for the tang sight.

Our Assessment: Winchester’s first attempt at a lever action rifle capable of handling a rifle cartridge was the Model 1876, which was a heavier framed version of the Model 1873. However, the toggle-link action used in the gun was still limited to short cartridges like the .40-60 and .45-60 Win. The Model 1886 was made to handle longer cartridges like the .45-70 Govt., and the .45-90 Win. and .50-110 Win. cartridges. The design utilized a locked-bolt action that was much strong than the M1876, and some think it is faster and smoother as well. The rifle was touted as a lever action express model, capable of handling any of the North American game animals.

This example is chambered for .45-70, a cartridge which has a long history and has had a new lease on life with the advent of smokeless powder and improved projectiles. It has a 28″ barrel and a nice Vernier-style tang sight which has nine different sized apertures to allow for a balance between speed and precision of sight acquisition. The rifle was made in 1891, fairly early in M1886 production, and appears to have seen responsible use in the field. It is in Very Good-Fine overall condition as Antique, retaining 40% original finish, a quite outstanding bore for its age, and strong mechanics. This rifle has a lot of years left in it and would make for a great shooter as well as an addition to a Winchester collection. Please see our photos and good luck!