SOLD FOR: $2900
Serial Number: 7657
Year of Manufacture: 1887
Caliber: .40-82 WCF
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.-”, “BROWNING BROS, OGDEN, U.T” and at the receiver with “40-82 W.C.F.”. The upper tang is marked “-MODEL 1886-”. The lower tang is marked -“PAT. OCT. 14.1884. / JAN. 20.1885”- and “7657”.
Barrel Length: The Octagonal barrel has been cut to approximately 27″.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a steel blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch semi-buckhorn leaf and elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight (none included).
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, dings, scratches and scuffs. There is a hole in the bottom-front of the forend. There is a small loss on the top-right edge of the forend toward the front. There is dark discoloration at the rear edge of the buttstock. The buttstock has a crack at the toe. The LOP measures 13″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has mostly worn to white with some erosion at the heel and toe. Overall, the stocks are in about Very Good condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray. The rifling shows wear but is well defined where not interrupted by erosion. There is light erosion and minor pitting scattered through the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 15% of its metal finish. Most exposed surfaces have worn to white or gone to a light patina with finish remaining mostly in protected areas. There are some light nicks, scuffs and scratches with a more notable ding in the bottom-left edge of the receiver. There are some spots of minor oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in Very Good-plus 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 Cody Firearms Records Office search which indicates that this rifle’s serial number was applied August 8, 1887, was received in the warehouse August 23, 1887 and shipped October 4, 1887.
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 Model 1886 utilized a locked-bolt action that was much stronger than the M1876, and some think it is faster and smoother as well. The Winchester Model 1886 was touted as a lever action express model, capable of handling any of the North American game animals.
This rifle is chambered in .40-82 WCF, one of the original chamberings for this model. It is an interesting example due to its Browning Brothers’ marking on the barrel. This can be for a couple of different reasons. First and most obvious, the Browning Brothers sold guns at their shop in Ogden, Utah and likely purchased some for stock. Also, some of Winchester’s payments to John M. Browning for his designs were made in the form of rifles for stock. This early 1886 was likely one shipped to Browning Brothers as payment for the design of the rifle itself, which is pretty neat!
The rifle has had the barrel cut back to about 27″, but is otherwise original. Made in 1887, it is very early in M1886 production, and is in Very Good-plus overall condition as Antique. The collectors should be very interested in this rifle and it would be neat to own a rifle that may have been handled by John M. Browning, himself. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud