Model: 1876 Rifle
Serial Number: 15338
Year of Manufacture: 1881
Caliber: .45-75 Winchester
Action Type: Lever Action with Full Length Tubular Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “WINCHESTER’S-REPEATING ARMS, NEW HAVEN, CT. / KING’S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29.1866. OCTOBER 16.1860.”. The lower tang is marked “15338” at the rear. The upper tang is marked “MODEL 1876”.
Barrel Length: The octagon barrel is 28” in length. .
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a copper blade made from a coin held in a slotted base which is dovetailed into the top of the barrel. The rear sight is a flip-up ladder sight. When the ladder is folded down, there is a deep “V” notched sight presented. When the ladder is folded up, the rear sight is a “V” notch in the slider. The ladder is marked from “2” to “10” along the right side and at the top with “1876”. The upper tang has a single drilled, tapped and filled hole for a tang sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece walnut with a lacquered finish that are dark with oil staining. The buttstock has a blued crescent shaped buttplate and a smooth straight grip, while the forend has a blued steel nosecap. We believe the wood finish to be original. The wood to metal fit is excellent and there are no cracks or chips noted. There are numerous handling marks and dings in the stocks. In addition, the forend shows finish loss and several gouges, a few of which are deep. There are several drag lines and a few scratches in the buttstock, with a compression mark at the right front of the comb and a few gouges and compression marks in the belly. The LOP measures 13 1/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate, which has a hole in it with a brass trap door for storage of cleaning equipment. The buttplate shows a dark plum colored patina surface loss and light wear at the heel and toe, light pitting and a few dings, with a few smaller dings in the edges of the trap door hole. The buttplate is in about Good condition. The stocks are in about Very Good Fair overall condition.
Type of Finish: The rifle is blued with a case colored hammer and lever.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray, tending to dark at the muzzle. The rifling shows moderate wear. There is moderate erosion from the muzzle back several inches.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 16% of its metal finish. There are still traces of bluing remaining in the protected areas: the loading gate, around the sideplates on the receiver, on the top of the receiver around the hammer, at the front of the lower tang, on the base of the rear sight, with a few thinned areas in the barrel. The remainder of the surfaces show surface loss or a plum colored patina forming over bare metal or remnants of the finish. The barrel and magazine tube have a mottled appearance due to spots of pitting scattered over their surfaces. There is pinprick surface erosion scattered over the sides of the receiver and its sideplates, with a spot of erosion on the lower tang. There are several handling marks in the barrel and magazine tube with a few dings in the left side of the magazine tube a few inches in front of the nosecap. The edges of the barrel are sharp except for a few tiny nicks. There are a few scratches in the left side of the receiver, the lower tang in front of the trigger and at the front of the upper tang. The brass carrier has developed a mustard colored patina with verdigris showing on its inner surfaces. The hammer checkering shows light wear. The screw heads are sharp except for the upper tang stock screw, dust cover screw and left sideplate screw, which are distressed. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, but the mainspring is a little stiff, requiring a little effort to open the action. We have not fired this rifle. It has a dust cover on the receiver that slides on a rail screwed to the top of the receiver, typical of the Second Models. The dust cover is the standard late model dust cover, not the thumbprint cover.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This rifle comes with a letter from Winchester Repeating Arms stating that it was made in August 1881 with an octagon barrel.
Our Assessment: Per Wikipedia: “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 1886.”. Unfortunately, the 1876 lost popularity when the Model 1886 was introduced in heavier calibers. This rifle is chambered in .45-75 Win., a fatter but shorter version of the .45-70 Govt. which is too long to fit through the action of this rifle. The .45-75 Win. cartridge fired a 350 grain bullet with a velocity of about 1383 fps., which was more than adequate for elk and moose. This is a 2nd Model 1876 rifle with a 28” octagon barrel and a dust cover that slides on a rail screwed to the top of the receiver. This rifle is in about Very Good condition with about 15% of its original finish remaining in the protected areas. The barrel and magazine tube show surface loss and thinning with scattered spots of pitting, with a mottled plum colored patina forming. There is pinprick surface erosion scattered over the sides of the receiver and its sideplates, with a spot of erosion on the lower tang. There are several handling marks in the barrel and magazine tube with a few dings in the left side of the magazine tube. The edges of the barrel are sharp except for a few tiny nicks. There are a few scratches in the left side of the receiver, the lower tang in front of the trigger and at the front of the upper tang. The wood to metal fit is excellent, with no cracks or chips noted. There are numerous handling marks in the stocks. In addition, there are several gouges in the forend and the belly of the buttstock, with a few that are deep. The bore is gray, turning dark near the muzzle. The rifling shows moderate wear and there is moderate erosion in the bore from the muzzle back several inches. 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, some just more so than others. With its original metal and wood finishes, this rifle is perfect for the collector who needs a ’76 to put between the ’73 and ’86 that are already in his safe.