Sold For: $4,196.00
Make: Winchester Repeating Arms Co.
Model: 1866 Carbine Third Model
Serial Number: 26807
Year of Manufacture: 1869
Caliber: .44 Henry Centerfire
Action Type: Lever Action with 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 “26807” in block letters.
Barrel Length: The round barrel is 20” in length and has a full length magazine tube, it was originally an 1873 barrel.
Sights / Optics: The barrel retains its original 1873 profile sights, the front sight is short blade atop a rectangular base fixed to the top of the barrel just behind the front barrel band. The rear sight is folding ladder sight. With the ladder folded down, a “U” notch at the base of the ladder is presented. When the ladder is folded up, there is a “U” notch at the top of the slider. The ladder is marked from “0” to “20”.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece walnut. The buttstock has an oiled finish while the forend has a lacquered finish. There is a carbine style brass buttplate on the buttstock that has a sliding trapdoor for access to a hole in the stock for storage of cleaning equipment. The forend and buttstock both show oil staining around the metal parts and in old bruises. The buttstock shows four dings on the right side, along with two long scratches. The left side of the buttstock also shows four dings with two scratches, along with compression marks on the left side of the wrist from the saddle ring. There are multiple old shallow bruises under the finish that are dark with oil staining. The forend shows multiple dings and bruises, along with two gouges and a deep ding on the left side. There is a repair at the front of the forend where it looks as though the wood was cracked on both sides. The buttstock is slightly shy of the metal at the receiver. The LOP measures 13 ½” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate shows a mustard colored patina, several dings at the heel and a several tiny dark marks. The buttplate is in about Very Good condition. The stocks rate in about Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel, magazine tube and lever are blued. The frame is brass and the hammer is case colored.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is dark and the rifling is shallow. There is light to moderate erosion the length of the bore with spots of heavy erosion near the muzzle.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 10% of its metal finish, all of it on the brass receiver. The barrel has been polished to remove its original finish while the magazine tube has a plum colored patina. There are spots of pinprick surface erosion scattered over the underside of the magazine tube and the right side of the rear barrel band, multiple spots of light erosion scattered over the barrel and heavy erosion on the left side of the front barrel band and the lever. There are several tiny dings in the magazine tube, a few in the barrel and two scratches and two small dings in the left side of the rear barrel band. The receiver shows a mustard colored patina with a few tiny dings. There are several light scratches under the patina at the front of the left sideplate and the receiver just in front of the sideplate, two bruises and a marred spot at the back of the left sideplate and bruises in the left rear of the receiver from the saddle ring. There is a tool mark around the screw holding the right sideplate and a small marred spot in the sideplate just behind the screw. There are also a few light scratches under the patina in both the right side of the receiver and its right sideplate. The screw heads are disfigured and the markings on the barrel are partially obscured by erosion and wear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety. The breech bolt has a centerfire firing pin and the carrier is 1 3/8” in length, designed for the .44 Henry cartridge. 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: There is a thumbscrew in the lower tang for locking the lever closed and a saddle ring on the left rear side of the receiver.
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 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. This rifle is a Model 1866 Saddle Ring Carbine 3rd Model that has been converted to .44 Henry Centerfire. It has been set up with a Winchester 1873 20” barrel with full length magazine tube and original 1873 sights. The rifle is in about Good condition with none of its original finish remaining, but for the original brass of the receiver. The bore is dark with shallow rifling and heavy erosion near the muzzle. All of the 1866 models are very collectible due to their age and the relatively short time period over which they were made: the M1866 was made up until the 1890’s, but very few were made after the 1873 rifle was introduced with its improved center fire cartridges. Most Winchester collectors would never think that their collection was complete without at least all three variations of the M1866.