Serial Number: 70659
Year of Manufacture: 1892
Caliber: .38-56 WCF (Winchester Center Fire)
Action Type: Lever Action Rifle
Markings: The barrel is marked “Manufactured By The / Winchester Repeating Arms Co. New Haven. Conn. U.S.A.”. and “38-56 W.C.F.”. The upper tang is marked “Model 1886”. The lower tang is marked “Pat. Oct. 14. 1884. / Jan. 20. 1885.” and “70659”.
Barrel Length: 26″
Sights / Optics: This rifle is mounted with a dovetail set front blade and a dovetail set, semi-buckhorn rear sight (with elevator).
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are original smooth wood. The stock has been lightly varnished, while the forearm appears to be oil finished. There are scattered dings and marks throughout, heavier on the stock. There are hairline cracks that appear to remain tight at both wrists. The rear of the stock and the right side of the wrist show the heaviest marking. The LOP measures 13″. The stocks rate in about Good – Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue / Color Case Hardened
Finish Originality: Factory Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling is deep and visible the entire length. There is erosion in the grooves, the length of the bore, though the bore is still shootable. This bore is probably a 5 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 20% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows thinning at the edges and on the magazine tube, with a general drift to patina. The frame is mostly brown, with evidence of original finish in protected areas (upper tang, where a sight was once mounted). There is a bit of pitting on the lever and the right side of the receiver rail. The pitting is concentrated in these spots and there is very little, if any, additional erosion on the rifle. This is just a pleasing and honest old Winchester. The Screw heads are a bit worn, but serviceable. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The Cody letter is included.
Our Assessment: The Winchester Lever Actions from 1860 to 1873 were primarily chambered for what could be called “Pistol Cartridges”. The 1876 was the first rifle they chambered for “Rifle Cartridges”. The Model 1886 continued the trend towards chambering heavier rounds, and had an all-new and considerably stronger locking-block action than the toggle-link Model 1876. It was designed by John Moses Browning, who had a long and profitable relationship with Winchester from the 1880s to the early 1900s. William Mason made some improvements to Browning’s original design. In many respects, the Model 1886 was a true American express rifle, as it could be chambered in the more powerful black powder cartridges of the day, such as the .45-70 Government (chambering a rifle for the popular .45-70 had been a goal of Winchester for some time). The 1886 proved capable of handling not only the .45 Gov’t but also .45-90 and the huge .50-110 Express “buffalo” cartridge. This rifle will be a good addition to any Winchester collection. The .38-56 Cartridge was introduced in 1887 and it is rare to find an original 1886 in this caliber. In fact it is the second least favorite cartridge in the 1886 family. The Cody letter was scanned and can be seen in our photos.