Custom Winchester 1876 Centennial 26″ .38-56 WCF Lever Rifle, 1881 Antique

SOLD FOR: $2975

LSB#: 230914LM123

Make: Winchester

Model: 1876 Rifle

Serial Number: 18963

Year of Manufacture: 1881

Caliber: The barrel appears to have been replaced with a Model 1886 barrel chambered for .38-56 WCF. We recommend casting the chamber to confirm prior to firing.

Action Type: Lever Action with Full-Length Tubular Magazine

Barrel Length: 26″, Octagonal

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 “V”-notch full-buckhorn 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 a straight grip, steel nosecap and steel crescent buttplate. The plate has a sliding door over a storage compartment (there is a four-piece cleaning rod stored in the butt). The stocks have some light nicks, scuffs and scratches, most notable in the belly. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 13 1/4” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate and forend cap have been refinished. The plate has some spots of surface oxidation with wear at the heel and toe. The forend cap has some light nicks and scratches. The stocks are in Fine overall condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Most remaining finish appears Original to the parts. The barrel is not original to the receiver and the magazine tube may be a replacement. The barrel and dust cover show treatment with cold blue.

Bore Condition: The bore is light gray with well defined rifling. There is some light erosion and infrequent minor pitting scattered through the bore. In this writer’s opinion, this bore rates 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 25% of its metal finish. Remaining finish is scattered and mottled with wear and minor oxidation. There are some spots of more notable oxidation. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches, most notable on the left sideplate and the left of the receiver. There is a bracket-shaped patch of strong finish on the magazine tube in front of the bracket and the tube has a slot for a pin at this location. The checkering cut on the top of the dust cover is not original. Worn areas of the barrel and dust cover show treatment with cold blue. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with questionably usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this rifle is in about Very Good condition as Antique and not parts-original (see Mechanics).

Mechanics: The lever safety does not properly prevent the trigger from dropping the hammer. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety position. The dust cover slides on a rail which is secured to the receiver via screws. 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: There is a four-piece cleaning rod stored in the buttstock.

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 has been rather radically customized. The barrel has been replaced with what appears to be a Model 1886 barrel chambered for the .38-56 Winchester cartridge. The cartridge has similar ballistics to the older .38-55, but in a shorter case suitable for the shorter action of the 1876 (though a gunsmith should look it over to make sure it’s properly headspaced and installed). The result is a unique take on the Centennial model and should be an interesting addition to a collection. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Custom Winchester 1876 Centennial 26" .38-56 WCF Lever Rifle, 1881 Antique
Custom Winchester 1876 Centennial 26″ .38-56 WCF Lever Rifle, 1881 Antique