Winchester Model 1886 ’86 26″ .45-70 Gov’t Lever Action Rifle, 1896 Antique

SOLD FOR: $3,475

LSB#: 240221BP041

Make: Winchester

Model: 1886

Serial Number: 103898

Year of Manufacture: 1896

Caliber: .45-70 Government

Action Type: Lever Action with Full-Length Tubular Magazine

Barrel Length: 26″, Octagonal

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a King triple bead dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The sight has three beaded blades that can be rotated into the top position, one with a brass bead, one with a “black lead” bead and the third is missing its bead. The front sight is not original to the gun. The rear sight is a semi-buckhorn “V”-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 smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and crescent steel buttplate. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches, more notable in the buttstock than the forend. There is a very notable scratch in the left of the buttstock at the rear. There are a couple of small fills in the belly. There is some discoloration around the tangs. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 13 1/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has worn to white with scattered nicks, scratches, and spots of oxidation. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Original

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

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 55% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The barrel and bolt have generally strong blue finish, there is wear along the bottom of the magazine tube. The receiver has mostly gone to a nickel-like appearance, typical of Winchester casehardening of this era and age. The lever has mostly muted, but has some good color in protected areas. There is some blue remaining on the loading gate. There are some scattered nicks and scratches. Some worn areas show discoloration from oxidation, most notable on the magazine tube. There is infrequent minor surface erosion, most notable on the right of the hammer. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots, there are tool marks around some screws. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in Fine condition as Antique.

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. The Model 1886 was made to handle longer cartridges like the .45-70 Govt., and the .45-90 Win. and .50-110 Win. cartridges. The design utilized a locked-bolt action that was much stronger than the M1876, and some think it is faster and smoother as well. The rifle was touted as a lever action express model, capable of handling any of the North American game animals.

This example is chambered for .45-70, a cartridge which has a long history and has had a new lease on life with the advent of smokeless powder and improved projectiles. The rifle was made in 1896 and is in great condition for its age. Of particular interest to those who would want to take this classic back out in the field, the bore is in quite outstanding condition and the mechanics are spot-on. This is a great old Winchester equally suited to adding to your collection or taking on your next hunt. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Winchester Model 1886 '86 26" .45-70 Gov't Lever Action Rifle, 1896 Antique
Winchester Model 1886 ’86 26″ .45-70 Gov’t Lever Action Rifle, 1896 Antique