SOLD FOR: $5,300
Make: Winchester Repeating Arms Co.
Model: 1866 Saddle Ring Carbine 4th Model
Serial Number: 145775
Year of Manufacture: 1877
Caliber: .44 Henry Rimfire
Action Type: Lever Action with Tubular Magazine.
Markings: The lower tang is marked “145775”. The barrel address is mostly worn away, but it can be seen that it is marked “WINCHESTER” and with the King’s patent marking.
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 “V”-notch (marked “1”) or with a taller leaf having a “V”-notched aperture (marked “3”) and another “V”-notch at the top edge (marked “5”).
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with a banded forend, straight comb, straight grip and brass buttplate with a sliding door over a storage compartment (there is nothing in the compartment). The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There are a few minor losses around the edges, mostly in the wrist and butt. The LOP measures 13 1/2″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a mustard patina with wear at the heel and toe, a few nicks and a thin scratch above the sliding door. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good-plus condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Brass
Finish Originality: The steel parts have been Refinished in the distant past. The frame’s finish appears Original.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is light erosion and pitting scattered through 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 25% of its metal finish. The barrel and magazine tube have infrequent remaining finish, mostly showing fairly even minor surface erosion. The receiver has gone to a mustard patina with the crystalline appearance of old brass, some areas showing darker discoloration. The bottom tang has been repaired where it meets the body of the receiver. There are some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. The saddle ring’s staple has minor play to the frame. The action shows operational wear. There are tool marks around some screw heads and some screws may not be original to the gun. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with a usable slot. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. 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: Included is a Cody Firearms Records Office search which confirms that this 1866 shipped as a Carbine on November 30, 1877.
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 rifle is a Model 1866 Saddle Ring Carbine 4th Model. The rifle has honest wear given its age and has not been converted for center-fire cartridges, still having its rimfire firing pin bushing. 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 4th Model Saddle Ring Carbine will be a great addition to a collection. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud