SOLD FOR: $6910
Serial Number: 108259
Year of Manufacture: 1896
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Action Type: Lever Action with 1/2-Length (4 cartridges) Tubular Magazine
Barrel Length: 26″, Half-Octagon, Half-Round, Lightweight
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the front of the barrel. 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 top tang is drilled and tapped with a folding tang sight installed, adjustable for elevation.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece checkered deluxe walnut with capped pistol grip, straight comb, and smooth steel shotgun buttplate. The stocks have a few scattered light nicks and scratches. There are two more notable dings on the left of the buttstock. The checkering is smoothed, but visible. There is a thin crack in the top-right edge of the forend, toward the front. There are no chips. The LOP measures 13″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a mottled light patina with some areas worn to white and some scattered light nicks, scratches, and spots of minor erosion. Overall, the stocks are in about Fine condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling is well defined. There is scattered light erosion and infrequent minor pitting in 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. There is some blue finish in protected areas, mostly around the sights and the front of the magazine tube, as well as some strong blue finish on the bolt. Much of the receiver’s surface has gone to a nickel appearance typical of Winchester’s case color after it has muted, but there is some good color on the bottom tang and very strong color under the tang sight. Most other surfaces have gone to a light patina or worn to white. There is some scattered light surface oxidation. There are some scattered light nicks and scratches. 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 Very Good 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 April 7, 1896 on order number 8431. The letter confirms that the rifle originally shipped with its 1/2 Octagon Light Weight barrel, checkered stock with pistol grip, 1/2 magazine and shotgun butt.
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 is particularly desirable due to its mix of special-order features. The barrel is a lightweight half-octagon profile chambered for .45-70 Government. The magazine tube is half-length, also giving some weight savings. The stocks are deluxe checkered walnut with capped pistol grip and shotgun buttplate. Better still, these features are confirmed to be factory ordered by the included Cody Firearms Museum records search. The rifle was made in 1896 and is in Very Good overall condition as Antique. This rifle is a beauty and will make a great 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