SOLD FOR: $3000
Serial Number: 109209
Year of Manufacture: 1896
Caliber: .38-56 WCF
Action Type: Lever Action with Tubular Magazine and Set-Trigger
Barrel Length: 28″, Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a Lyman blade with a white bead. The rear sight is a “V”-notch semi-buckhorn elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The notch is fine-adjustable for elevation. The elevator step is not original to the sight. The sights are replacements. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight (none present).
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb, and smooth steel crescent buttplate. There are sling eyelets in the belly and forend cap. The stocks have scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are a couple of more notable dings in the right of the forend. There are some minor losses around the front edges of the wrist with a more notable filled loss in the right-front. The toe is shy to the buttplate. There is some cracking around the rear edge of the buttstock. The LOP measures 13 1/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has been refinished, retaining generally strong finish with wear at the heel, toe, and the front of the tang, some scattered light marks and minor erosion. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: The finish is Original with the exception of the buttplate. The bore has been re-lined.
Bore Condition: The bore has been re-lined. The bore is bright with sharp rifling and no erosion. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 10 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 70% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. Some areas are going to a light patina, mostly on the magazine tube. The receiver has wear at the bottom-front, along the top and at the top rear with some scattered light surface erosion. The barrel’s finish is generally strong. There are some scattered nicks and scratches with a few more notable dings on the top of the receiver around the front of the bolt. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings show wear, but are legible. Overall, this rifle is in 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 Cody Firearms Museum records search which indicates that this rifle shipped on October 8, 1896 on order number 20544. The letter confirms that the rifle originally shipped with a set trigger, Lyman rear and Beach sights (these sights have been replaced).
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 strong 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 was made in 1896 and has a 28″ Octagonal barrel chambered for .38-56 WCF. The .38-56 cartridge was based on the .45-70 Government case and intended to give improved ballistics over the .38-55, though the round’s performance was fairly similar to its predecessor. It has a set-trigger, which is confirmed to be a factory feature by the included Cody Firearms Museum records search. The bore has been re-lined and is in great shape, so if you hand-load the .38-56 WCF cartridge it should make for a fine shooter. This rifle is a beauty and will also make a nice addition to a Winchester or lever-gun collection. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud