SOLD FOR: $5,042
Make: Winchester Repeating Arms Co.
Model: 1866 Saddle Ring Carbine 3rd Model
Serial Number: 79897
Year of Manufacture: 1871
Caliber: The bolt has been converted for use with .44 Centerfire (NOT .44-40)
Action Type: Lever Action with Tubular Magazine.
Barrel Length: 20”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade integral to the front barrel band. The rear sight is a two-position folding sight, presenting either a single “V”-notch (marked “1”) or having a “V”-notched aperture (marked “3”) with a “V”-notch at the top (marked “5”).
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with a banded forend, straight comb, straight grip and brass (gunmetal) buttplate with a sliding door over a storage compartment (there is nothing in the compartment). The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, bruises and scratches. There is more notable material loss in the comb just in front of the buttplate tang, the area has been sanded. There are cracks at the rear of the tangs and a few tiny losses at edges. The LOP measures 13 3/8″ 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-Very Good condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Brass
Finish Originality: The barrel has been Refinished. Other surfaces appear Original.
Bore Condition: The bore is dark gray. The rifling is generally well defined. There is scattred erosion and light-moderate pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 5 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 30% of its current metal finish. The barrel retains some of its new finish forward of the forend. The receiver has gone to a mustard patina with areas showing the crystalline appearance of old brass. There are scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. The left of the receiver has some scattered evidence of polishing, most notable in front of the sideplate. There is a blemish in the middle of the left sideplate. The barrel and magazine tube have scattered surface erosion. The action shows operational wear. There are tool marks around most screw and pin heads. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good condition as partially refinished 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: None.
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 3rd Models chambered in .44 Henry Centerfire and some converted to Centerfire later.
This rifle is a Model 1866 Saddle Ring Carbine 3rd Model. The rifle has honest wear given its age and has been converted for center-fire cartridges. Most Winchester collectors would never think that their collection was complete without at least all three variations of the M1866, while some would argue for all of the variations of the four different models. This 1866 3rd Model Saddle Ring Carbine will be a great addition to a collection. Please see our photos and good luck!