Winchester Model 1886 Carbine 22″ .45-90 WCF Lever Rifle, 1886-1888 Antique
SOLD FOR: $3975
Model: 1886 Carbine
Year of Manufacture: 1886-1888 (based on the exposed carrier spring screw in the top tang)
Caliber: .45-90 Government
Action Type: Lever Action Tube-Magazine Fed Rifle
Serial Number: 4033. The serial marking is not in the proper style for this era of production. It is not clear if the original serial number (which was quite lightly stamped) was re-marked or if the serial was applied to match the included letter.
Barrel Length: 22″, Round
Sights: The front sight is a one-piece post/blade fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder-style sight which presents a “V”-notch when folded down and has a “V”-notch on the slider. The slider is tight at the bottom of the ladder, but moves freely on the other portion. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight (none present).
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut. The forend is a Carbine-style nearly full-length with a steel nosecap and a barrel band. The band is intended to be secured by a spring-clip, but it will not sit far enough back in its step to allow the clip to secure it. The buttstock has a straight grip, straight comb, and steel carbine-style buttplate. The stocks have scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are scattered losses around the edges. There is wear on the bottom of the forend in front of the band. There is a repaired crack in the left of the wrist, there is evidence of sanding around this repaired crack. There is some discoloration where the wood meets metal. The LOP measures 13 1/4? from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has been refinished, showing light wear at the heel and toe as well as some erosion under the finish, most notable at the toe. Overall, the stocks are in about Good condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bore is dark. The rifling is worn, but visible. There is moderate erosion and pitting in the bore with some spots of more severe pitting. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 3 out of 10.
Overall Condition: The rifle retains approximately 92% of its current metal finish. The new finish is generally strong throughout. The rear of the bottom tang, where the new serial marking has been applied, is worn to white. There are scattered nicks and surface erosion under the finish. There are a few other nicks and scratches, most notable on the top tang behind the hammer. The action shows operational wear. There are two screws missing from the bottom tang which likely accounts for the weak mainspring. The remaining screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with useable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, and incomplete. Overall, this rifle is in about Good condition as refinished Antique.
Mechanics: The mainspring is weak, likely due to the missing screws on the bottom tang. Otherwise, the action functions correctly and smoothly. 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 a Winchester Factory Records letter for serial 4033. The letter indicates that 4033 had its serial applied on January 11, 1887 and was a Carbine chambered for 45/90 with a half-nickel finish. The rifle was received in warehouse on March 23, 1887 and shipped July 12, 1887.
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 bit of a mystery. The original serial marking has been removed and the bottom tang marked “4033” in a style which doesn’t match early 1886 serial markings. It’s not clear if the rifle’s original serial was re-marked when it was refinished or if it was marked to match the included Winchester Factory Records letter. The letter indicates that serial 4033 was originally a Carbine chambered for .45-90 with a half-nickel finish, and apart from the finish, and this rifle has been refinished, matches this gun to a “T”. In any case, the rifle is a Carbine configuration chambered for .45-90. It needs a couple replacement screws, but otherwise functions well. Altogether, this is a neat example of a Winchester 1886 which should display well in a collection missing a Carbine. It will also make for a worthwhile restoration project for the lucky winner. Please see our pictures and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud