SOLD FOR: $3245
Model: 1876 Rifle
Serial Number: 32286
Year of Manufacture: 1883
Caliber: .45-75 Winchester Center Fire
Action Type: Lever Action with Full-Length Tubular Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “WINCHESTER’S REPEATING ARMS, NEW HAVEN, CT. / KING’S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29.1866. OCTOBER 16.1860.” forward of the rear sight. The lower tang is marked “32286” at the rear. The upper tang is marked “MODEL 1876.”. There are British proof marks on the barrel and receiver.
Barrel Length: 22″, Round
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder-style sight which presents a “V”-notch while folded down. When folded up, there is a “V”-notched slider on the ladder which is graduated from 2-10. 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 shotgun-style buttplate. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is a spot of reddish residue in the left of the comb toward the rear. There is a short crack at the rear of the bottom tang. There are a few small losses around the rear edge of the buttstock. The right of the buttstock has “WLL” hand-carved. 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 surface erosion. Overall, the stocks are in about Very Good condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is light gray with well defined rifling. There is scattered light erosion and some minor pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, this 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 5% of its metal finish. Finish remains only in well protected areas such as on the bottom of the barrel, top of the magazine tube, and around the edges of the sideplates. Most surfaces have gone to a fairly uniform moderate patina. There are some patches worn to white on the left of the barrel and magazine tube toward the front and on the left sideplate. There is some scattered minor surface erosion. There are light nicks and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with usable slots. The markings are generally clear, but there are no visible caliber markings. Overall, this rifle is in about Very Good condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. 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 Records Office records search. The records indicate this rifle shipped with a 22″ round barrel and shotgun butt on June 20, 1883.
Our Assessment: The Winchester Model 1876 was a heavier-framed rifle than the Model 1873, and was the first to be chambered for full-powered centerfire rifle cartridges, as opposed to rimfire cartridges or handgun-sized centerfire rounds. While similar in design to the 1873, the 1876 was actually based on the prototype 1868 lever-action rifle that was never commercially produced by Winchester. It was introduced to celebrate the American Centennial, and earned a reputation as a durable and powerful hunting rifle that was also used by the Canadian North-West Mounted Police and the Texas Rangers. Theodore Roosevelt used one on his early hunting expeditions in the West and one was found in the possession of Apache warrior Geronimo after his surrender in 1882. Unfortunately, the 1876 lost popularity when the Model 1886 was introduced in heavier calibers.
This rifle’s 22″ round barrel is chambered in .45-75 Winchester Center Fire, a cartridge designed for the short action Model 1876 rifle. It has a shorter, fatter case and had the potential to be more powerful than the .45-70 Gov’t cartridge. The design of the 1876 toggle action did limit the power of loads which could be used in the rifle and the later 1886 model would allow for significantly more powerful cartridges to be used. This Model 1876 rifle has some very interesting features for collectors. In addition to its 22″ round barrel and special-ordered shotgun butt, it also has British proof marks, indicating that it made its way across the pond at some point during its life. The 1876 Winchester was only made for 21 years, with a total of about 63,871 made in rifle, carbine and musket formats, with the result that ALL are collectable. This would be a great rifle to add to a collection, placed between an 1873 and an 1886, and will display quite well with its foreign proofs and special order butt. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud