SOLD FOR: $3025
Serial Number: There is no serial number visible on the lower tang. The tang doesn’t appear to be original to the gun, we suspect it is a replacement and may have never been serialized.
Year of Manufacture: Based on the configuration of the carrier spring screw and the upper tang marking, the receiver was made between 1888 and 1900.
Caliber: The bore has been re-lined and is chambered for .50-110 Express.
Action Type: Lever Action with Half-Length Tubular Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “-MANUFACTURED BY THE- / -WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CONN. U.S.A.-” and at the receiver with “50 EX. The upper tang is marked “-MODEL 1886-”. The lower tang is marked -“PAT. OCT. 14.1884. / JAN. 20.1885”-.
Barrel Length: The round barrel has been cut to approximately 21 3/4″.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a german silver blade in a slotted base dovetailed and screw-set to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a three-notch express sight with three folding “V”-notches, one marked 50, another 1 and the third 2. The rear sight assembly is dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled and tapped with a folding tang sight installed, adjustable for elevation.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and crescent steel buttplate. A notch has been cut into the front of the comb to accommodate the folding tang sight. There is a sling plate with swivel installed in the belly with another swivel mounted to the forend cap. The buttstock has a series of brass-tack decorations with “J.H. Giles” hand-carved in the right side. There is a repaired break in the wrist with a cross-bolt below the front of the comb. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is crazing in the finish of the buttstock. There are a few minor chips at the edges. The LOP measures 12 7/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has mostly worn to white with some scattered surface erosion. Overall, the stocks are in Fair-Good condition as refinished and repaired.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: The receiver’s finish appears Original, the barrel appears to have been polished bright. The bottom tang does not appear to be original to the gun.
Bore Condition: The bore has been re-lined. The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore, but there is some stubborn fouling. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 9 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 0% of its metal finish. The barrel appears to have been polished bright, now starting to go to a light patina. The barrel has some light nicks and scratches, most concentrated around the rear sight and the forend nosecap. The receiver has scattered areas which appear to have a nickel appearance, typical of case-hardened receivers from this era. Other areas have gone to a light patina. The receiver has scattered nicks, mostly on the side-flats. The bottom tang shows erosion and tool marks not congruent with the adjacent areas of the receiver. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear (again, it’s possible that the lower tang is a replacement part which was never serialized, the patent markings are still strong). Overall, this rifle is in Good condition as not parts-original.
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: 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 with this example having a re-lined barrel chambered for .50-110 Express, a cartridge introduced to the line in 1887. The .50-110 Express is one of the most powerful cartridges ever to be chambered in a lever action rifle and would have been suitable for just about any game a hunter could expect to encounter in 1891. This rifle oozes with an Old-West aesthetic, having brass-tack decorations on the buttstock and a been there, done that appearance. It’s probably in better shape than any of us will be at 120 years old! This 1886 will make an interesting addition to a Winchester collection and after inspection by a qualified gunsmith, it may prove to still be a good shooter. Please see our pictures and good luck!