SOLD FOR: $4445
Make: Winchester Repeating Arms Co.
Model: 1866 Rifle 3rd Model
Serial Number: 126477
Year of Manufacture: 1875
Caliber: .44 Henry Rimfire
Action Type: Lever Action with Tubular Magazine.
Barrel Length: 24” nominal, 24 1/4″ measured, Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the barrel at the front. The rear sight is a “V”-notch elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The rear sight is not original to the gun, the barrel was inlet and dovetailed for a Henry-style sight. The original dovetail has been filled and blended to the barrel profile.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with a brass (gunmetal) capped forend, straight comb, straight grip and brass crescent buttplate. There is a sling swivel in the belly mounted to an inlet plate and another mounted to the bottom of the forend cap. The wrist has some gaps to the top tang. There is a metal washer installed in the top tang inlet at the mounting screw, but it may be causing an issue with removing the buttstock from the receiver, we were able to remove the mounting screws but not the stock from the receiver. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scrapes and scratches. There is a loss at the toe and notable cracking in the right of the forend. The forend shows signs of sanding at deeper marks, mostly at the rear. The LOP measures 13 1/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a mustard patina with scattered nicks and scratches. Overall, the stocks are in Good-plus condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Brass
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is dark gray. The rifling is well defined. There is scattered light-moderate erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 5 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 30% of its metal finish, all in the receiver. The barrel and magazine tube have gone to a fairly uniform light patina. The receiver has gone to a uniform mustard patna. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches with some more notable wear on the bottom of the lifter and a few more notable dings. There are tool marks around most screw and pin heads. There is notable erosion on the lever. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this rifle rates in Very Good condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety. 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 which indicates that the rifle was received November 25, 1875 and shipped the same day on order number 2316.
Our Assessment: The Model 1866 rifle was the first firearm to be built by the new Winchester Arms after they changed their name from the New Haven Arms Company in 1866. The Model 1866 was a much-improved version of the Henry rifle, with a loading port on the right side of the receiver featuring a spring-loaded cover, through which cartridges could be fed into a new solid magazine tube that was much stronger than the slotted tube used on the Henry. The loading gate precluded the need for an external follower, allowing for a walnut forend to be installed which prevented the user from burning their hands during extensive firing. The M1866 was made in rifle, carbine and musket versions and in four different models dependent on date of manufacture. All of the different models were chambered in .44 Henry Rimfire, with some of the later 4th Models chambered in .44 Henry Centerfire and some converted to Centerfire later.
This is a Model 1866 3rd Model Rifle made in 1875, after the successor Model 1873 had been introduced. The rifle has honest wear given its age, but retains surprisingly strong mechanics. Most Winchester collectors would never think that their collection was complete without all the variations of the M1866, while some would argue for all of the variations of the four different models. This 1866 3rd Model Rifle will be a great addition to your collection. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud