SOLD FOR: $7381
Model: 1876 Rifle, 1st Model
Serial Number: 540
Year of Manufacture: 1876
Caliber: .45-75 Winchester Center Fire
Action Type: Lever Action with Full-Length Tubular Magazine
Barrel Length: 28″, Round
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 elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The rear sight is not original to the rifle. 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 capped forend, straight grip, straight comb, and steel crescent buttplate with a sliding door over a storage compartment (there is a 4-piece cleaning rod in the compartment). The stocks have some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. The forend has slight rotational play to the barrel/receiver. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 13” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate’s finish has mostly worn or been polished to white with some scattered minor surface erosion and oxidation. The stocks are in Fine overall condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with fairly well defined rifling. There is light-moderate erosion and some pitting scattered through the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 5 or 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 15% of its metal finish. Remaining finish is scattered and mottled with most surfaces gone to a fairly uniform patina. There are some scattered nicks and scratches with a cluster of more notable marks on the right of the barrel in front of the forend. 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 about Very Good condition as Antique (see Mechanics).
Mechanics: The hammer falls from the safety position when the trigger is depressed. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. There is no provision for a lever safety. There is no provision for a dust cover. 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 4-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 is a particularly early example from the first year of production. The rifle’s 28″ round barrel is chambered for the introductory .45-75 cartridge. While the round barrel was standard, the octagonal barrels were preferred making the “standard” round barrels less common overall. The early production rifles have some interesting features, or rather lack of features. The breech-face is flat rather than rounded, there is no provision on the receiver (or extractor) for a dust cover, and the lever safety was not a feature on the earliest guns. While some sources say that the lever safety was phased in around the 400 serial range, this example shows that there were still guns being produced without this feature into the 500 serial range. 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 early 1st year example would be a great rifle to add to a Winchester collection, placed between an 1873 and an 1886. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud