SOLD FOR: $4275
Serial Number: 105645
Year of Manufacture: 1895
Caliber: .38-70 Winchester
Action Type: Lever Action with Full-Length Tubular Magazine
Barrel Length: 26″, Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a folding Beech-style sight, presenting either a blade or a hooded, beaded post, dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. 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 steel crescent buttplate. The stocks have some scattered nicks dings, scuffs and scratches, most finished over. There are small losses to each side of the top tang at the front of the wrist. The LOP measures 13 1/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a moderate-dark patina with some scattered erosion. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good-plus condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright. The rifling is well defined, generally sharp. There is some scattered light erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 or 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 15% of its metal finish. Most remaining finish is along the top of the magazine tube. There is infrequent muted case color in well protected areas of the receiver. Most surfaces have worn to white or gone to a light patina, much of the receiver has the almost nickel appearance typical of aged Winchester case hardening. There is some scattered surface erosion, mostly on the barrel. There are some light nicks and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. 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 check which confirms that this Rifle was originally produced in 1895 and shipped as a .38-70 on order number 19574.
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, its development rushed to ensure that the new model was out in time for the American centennial. The Model 1886 was designed by John Moses Browning to handle longer cartridges like the .45-70 Govt., 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 seem to 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 .38-70 Winchester, a cartridge based on a necked-down .45-90 Win., not a .45-70. The cartridge was introduced in 1895, the year this rifle was made, and stayed in production until 1918. According to “Winchester Lever Action Repeating Firearms Volume 2” by Arthur Pickle, only 830 M1886 rifles were chambered in this caliber, making it the 2nd rarest caliber used in the M1886 after the .40-70 Win. This is a fairly early M1886, made during the period when Winchester was producing the rifle with a case colored finish to the receiver, lever and nosecap. This example shows honest wear for its age, retaining a fairly strong bore and good mechanics. With only 830 of the M1886 rifles chambered in .38-70, this rifle is sure to interest the collectors. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud