Serial Number: 83709
Year of Manufacture: 1894
Caliber: .38-56 Winchester
Action Type: Lever Action with Full Length Tubular Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “MANUFACTURED BY THE / WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CONN. U.S.A.” and “38-56 W.C.F.”. The bottom tang is marked “PAT. OCT. 14.1884. / JAN. 20.1885” and “83709”. The top tang is marked “MODEL 1886”.
Barrel Length: The octagon barrel is 26” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a German silver blade dovetailed into the barrel. The rear sight is a “U” notched semi-buckhorn elevator sight that is dovetailed into the top of the barrel. The upper tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang mounted aperture sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece walnut with a lacquer finish on the buttstock and with traces of an earlier lacquer finish on the left front of the forend. The buttstock has a straight grip with a case colored checkered steel shotgun style buttplate and the forend has a case colored steel nosecap. The buttstock and forend are both dark with oil staining. There is a long drag line on the right side of the buttstock, a few more small dings in the right side of the wrist and several more handling marks scattered over the buttstock. The forend shows a deep compression mark on its lower right, another on its right front, a few more along its top left edge, and a small disfigured area on its left side. There are a few more light marks scattered over the forend. The LOP measures 13” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate fits the stock well and has vivid case coloring and sharp checkering. The buttplate is in about Excellent condition. The stocks are in about Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel and loading gate are blued and the rest of the rifle is case colored.
Finish Originality: The finish on the barrel is original. The finish on the receiver, hammer, lever, forend nosecap and buttplate has been professionally restored.
Bore Condition: The bore is dark and the rifling is shallow. There is light erosion the length of the bore with moderate erosion near the muzzle.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 80% of its current metal finish. There are tiny spots of light pinprick surface erosion scattered over the barrel with heavier spotting on the magazine tube. There are numerous light handling marks in the barrel with a tiny ding on the left top edge about 3” from the muzzle, several light scratches on the left side in front of the forend and a ding in the left side of the barrel at the rear sight. The edges of the barrel are sharp except for the two dings noted. The barrel shows light frosting where it meets the receiver. The magazine hanger shows thinning and the receiver is without marks. The loading gate shows light surface frosting. The two screw heads on the left side of the receiver are distressed. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Fine condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly and the lockup is tight. The hammer has a half-cock safety. We have not fired this rifle.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This rifle comes with invoice from Turnbull Mfg. Co. showing that they restored the finish and markings on the receiver, lever, hammer, forend nosecap and buttplate in August of 2014 at a cost of $1350.
Our Assessment: The .38-56 W.C.F. cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1887 for their Model 1886 rifle. The round was intended to outperform the similar .38-55 Win., but in reality had very similar ballistics despite using more propellant. The cartridge was dropped by Winchester in 1910, the year this rifle was made. This rifle still has its original finish on the barrel, magazine tube and loading gate, but the receiver, lever, nosecap, hammer and buttplate have been professionally restored with a beautiful deep case coloring – please see our pictures to see how nice this rifle looks! The rifle is in about Fine condition as re-finished with about 80% of its finish remaining. There is a light sprinkling of pinprick surface erosion on the barrel, with a heavier dusting on the magazine tube. There is a tiny ding on the left top edge of the barrel and a deeper ding in the left side next to the rear sight. The barrel also shows several light scratches in its finish. There is surface frosting on the barrel at the receiver and on the magazine tube at the forend, with a light sprinkling of surface frosting on the loading gate. The stocks show oil staining . The forend shows finish loss and small dings along its upper edges with a deeper mark on the lower right side and a small distressed area on the left side. The buttstock shows a drag line on the right side, a few small dings on the right side of the wrist, and a few light handling marks scattered over its surface. The bore is dark with shallow rifling while the action is tight. Older 1886’s like this one are considered collectable in almost any condition, but the half-new half-old finish may turn-off the serious collectors. If the collectors don’t show enough interest, this would make a great winter project to get the barrel re-bored and rechambered to .45-70. The rifle could be used for elk hunting, or add a tang sight and use it for those long range side-matches at your local SASS club.