Serial Number: 34301
Year of Manufacture: 1889
Caliber: .45-70 Government
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 “45-70”. The bottom tang is marked “PAT. OCT. 14.1884. / JAN. 20.1885” and “34301”. The top tang is marked “MODEL 1886”.
Barrel Length: The round barrel is 26” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight dovetail is empty. There is a semi-buckhorn elevator sight dovetailed into the top of the barrel at the rear. The upper tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece walnut with a lacquer finish on the buttstock. The buttstock has a straight grip with a steel crescent shaped buttplate and the forend has a steel nosecap. The buttstock and forend are both dark with oil staining around the metal parts. There is a compression mark on the left top edge of the forend that at first glance looks like a sliver of a chip is missing, but it is actually a compression mark. The buttstock shows several old bruises that are dark with oil stains as well as several newer dings and drag lines, mainly on the right side of the wrist. The forend also shows several dings and bruises, with a larger bruise on the left side below the front of the rear sight. There are no cracks or chips noted and the wood to metal fit is excellent. The LOP measures 13” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate shows surface loss, light wear at the heel and toe and several dark spots of patina. The buttplate is in about Very Good condition. The stocks are in about Very Good to Fine condition.
Type of Finish: The rifle was originally blued.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is dark and the rifling is shallow. There is moderate erosion from the muzzle back several inches.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 5% of its metal finish. There is no finish remaining except for on the loading gate, bolt and hammer, which show extremely light thinning. The rest of the surfaces have had their finish worn or polished off, and are starting to develop a very light plum colored patina. There are a few light handling marks in the barrel and magazine tube, and several more in the receiver, with a few small dings on the right side of the receiver below the front of the bolt. There is light pitting in the forend nosecap and on the receiver, with a few tiny spots of solid erosion on the left side of the receiver. The lower tang shows several small tool marks. The edges of the receiver are still sharp. The screw heads are mainly sharp but with tiny dings or light pitting, except for the two on the left side of the receiver, which show marks of a screwdriver. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good condition.
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: 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 Model 1886 utilized a locked-bolt action that was much strong than the M1876, and some seem to think it is faster and smoother as well. The Winchester Model 1886 was touted as a lever action express model, capable of handling any of the North American game animals. This Model 1886 rifle has a 26” round barrel with a full-length magazine. It is in about Very Good condition with about 5% of its finish remaining. The loading gate, hammer and bolt show light thinning in their finish while the rest of the gun shows surface loss with a light colored patina forming over the surfaces. There is light pitting scattered over the forend nosecap and the receiver. There are light handling marks scattered over the barrel, magazine tube and receiver, with a few small dings on the right side of the receiver and small tool marks scattered over the lower tang. . There is a mark on the left top edge of the forend that at first glance looks like a sliver of a chip is missing, but it is actually a compression mark. The buttstock shows several old bruises that are dark with oil stains as well as several newer dings and drag lines, mainly on the right side of the wrist. The forend also shows several dings and bruises, with a larger bruise on the left side below the front of the rear sight. There are no cracks or chips noted and the wood to metal fit is excellent. The bore is dark with shallow rifling and moderate erosion near the muzzle, while the action is tight. Older 1886’s like this one are considered collectable in almost any condition, and this one is very nice. The finish remaining on the metal and wood is original and the wood to metal fit is excellent with no cracks or chips in the wood. This will make a nice addition to any Winchester collection.