Winchester Model 1886 26″ .45-70 Gov’t Lever Action Rifle, MFD 1888 Antique

SOLD FOR: $4075

LSB#: 230603HC004

Make: Winchester

Model: 1886

Serial Number: 23419

Year of Manufacture: 1888

Caliber: .45-70 Government

Action Type: Lever Action with Full-Length Tubular Magazine

Barrel Length: 26″

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a german silver blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder-style sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The sight presents a fixed “V”-notch when folded down. When folded up, the ladder has a “V”-notched slider with markings graduated from 2 to 10, presumably in hundreds of yards. 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 crescent steel buttplate. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scratches and scuffs. There is a tiny loss at the top-front of the wrist on the left. There are no cracks. The wood is generally well fit to the metal, but is shy at the buttplate. The LOP measures 13″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate worn to white with scattered discoloration from oxidation. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright. The rifling shows wear but is well defined. There is scattered light erosion and some minor pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 7 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 30% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The receiver has a mottled appearance with some areas showing the nickel appearance of muted case color and others showing discoloration from oxidation. The barrel and magazine tube have almost all of the remaining finish, strongest in the bottom of the barrel and top of the magazine, but with other surfaces showing scattered finish interrupted by areas going to light patina. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. There is a patch of more notable wear on the left of the magazine tube behind the magazine bracket. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly disfigured with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. 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: None.

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 .45-70 Government, one of the chamberings for this model which has stood the test of time. Made in 1888, it is from early in M1886 production, and is in Very Good-Fine overall condition as Antique. The collectors should be very interested in this rifle and it may still prove to be a good shooter. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Winchester Model 1886 26" .45-70 Gov't Lever Action Rifle, MFD 1888 Antique
Winchester Model 1886 26″ .45-70 Gov’t Lever Action Rifle, MFD 1888 Antique