Winchester Model 1886 24″ 1/2 Mag .45-70 Gov’t Lever Action Rifle, 1904 C&R

SOLD FOR: $3125

LSB#: 230914LM121

Make: Winchester

Model: 1886

Serial Number: 135136

Year of Manufacture: 1904

Caliber: .45-70 Government

Action Type: Lever Action with Half-Length Tubular Magazine

Barrel Length: 24?, Round

Sights / Optics: The front sight is an after-market brass beaded blade dovetailed to a base fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “U”-notch elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel; the notch is fine-adjustable for elevation. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight (none present).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece checkered walnut with capped forend, capped pistol grip, straight comb and checkered hard rubber Winchester shotgun-style buttplate. The stocks have some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. There is a mostly filled loss in the left of the wrist at the top-front corner. The checkering is well defined. The borders of the checkering likely indicate that it is not Winchester factory checkering. There are no cracks. The LOP measures 13 1/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has scattered light wear with a small loss at the toe and generally well defined checkering and lettering. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as refinished and/or not original to the gun.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: The finish appears original. Wear on the bottom tang may indicate modification for the pistol-grip.

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore, mostly at the muzzle-end. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 8 or 9 out of 10.

Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 75% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The most notable finish wear is in the receiver, concentrated toward the bottom-front. There is some other scattered more minor wear. There is infrequent minor surface oxidation. There are scattered lgiht nicks and scratches. There is a more notable mark on the left of the barrel about mid-way between the magazine and muzzle. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with usable slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in Very Good condition.

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, 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 .45-70 Government, a cartridge which has a long history and has had a new lease on life with the advent of smokeless powder and improved projectiles. It was the U.S. Army’s service cartridge for the 1873 Trapdoor rifles as well as being quite popular with hunters to this day. Given the powerful chambering, the rifle does have nice balance with a 24″ barrel and half-length magazine tube. Interestingly, we inquired with the Cody Firearms Records Office, but for this serial number we received the response “Record is blank”. The rifle is equipped with checkered walnut stocks including a capped pistol grip and has fairly light wear given its age of nearly 120 years. The rifle retains a nice bore and strong mechanics. While this would make a neat addition to a Winchester collection, it should also still have lifetimes’ worth of use left as a hunting rifle. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Winchester Model 1886 24" 1/2 Mag .45-70 Gov't Lever Action Rifle, 1904 C&R
Winchester Model 1886 24″ 1/2 Mag .45-70 Gov’t Lever Action Rifle, 1904 C&R