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Auction Date: December 6, 2015

Lot 3050: Winchester - 1866

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Historic Deluxe Factory Engraved Presentation Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle
Estimated Price: $35,000 - $55,000
Item Views 132 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Winchester - 1866 ManufacturerWinchester Model1866
TypeRifle Gauge44 Rimfire Catalog Page28
Barrel24 Inch Octagon FinishBlue/gold Plated Grip
Stockfancy walnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is a fine example of a factory engraved and inscribed Winchester Model 1866 rifle that was manufactured circa 1869. The rifle has a blue octagon barrel, full-length magazine, casehardened hammer and lever and gold plated brass receiver, forearm cap and crescent buttplate. The stock and forearm are highly figured "3X" fancy grain walnut. The barrel has a dovetail mounted front sight with replacement blade and a Henry style folding leaf rear sight with 900 yard center notch. Factory sling swivels are mounted on the forearm cap and stock. The butt trap has the original four-piece jointed iron cleaning rod. The forearm cap, receiver and buttplate are factory engraved with bold Germanic style scrollwork on a stippled background. The engraving fully covers the receiver sides, side plates and extends to the top of receiver, upper tang, bottom of the cartridge elevator, lower receiver and lower tang. The engraved panels on the receiver have single and double-line scalloped borders. The left side plate features an engraved scroll inscribed "MONTGOMERY/GUARD". An urn-shaped panel on the right side plate is inscribed "From/a Friend". Smaller black urn-shaped panels are located on the forward portions of both sides of the receiver. The engraving is not signed but the style is similar to work attributed to Master Engraver Conrad F. Ulrich (see Model 1866 Rifle serial no. 35969 illustrated on page 60 of "THE BOOK OF WINCHESTER ENGRAVING" by R.L. Wilson). The top of the barrel is roll-stamped "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING-ARMS. NEWHAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29.1866. OCTOBER 16.1860". The serial number, "36050", is stamped on the lower tang behind the trigger and on the inside of the buttplate. "6050" is stamped in the top tang inlet of the stock. All of the visible serial numbers match. The left side of the lower tang is stamped "XXX" beneath the stock. The Montgomery Guard was part of the California State Militia and was named for Gen. William Reading Montgomery who was an 1825 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and served in the 3rd Infantry. Montgomery fought in the Mexican War and was twice wounded but remained at the head of his regiment until the capture of Mexico City. Montgomery served in the Civil War and was commissioned as a Brig. General of U.S. Volunteers in 1861. The Montgomery Guard was mustered out of service in 1866 but returned to duty in 1868 as Company A 1st Infantry Battalion, California National Guard.

ConditionFine. The rifle retains 40% of the original blue and gold plated finish. The blue finish on the barrel is faded and shows light edge wear with some scattered pitting and finish loss on the forward edges of the barrel and magazine near the muzzle. The factory legend on the top of the barrel is sharp. The receiver, forearm cap and buttplate retain considerable amounts of gold plated finish in protected areas. The case colors on the lever have aged to a gray-brown patina. Most of the case colors are present on the hammer. The engraving on the forearm cap, receiver and buttplate is very sharp. The stock and forearm retain most of the high polish "piano" finish with scattered minor handling marks. The stock has an old crack in the wrist that was period repaired with rectangular metal plates on either side of the wrist secured by screws. A modern professional restoration removed the plates, replaced the screws with wooden plugs and refinished this portion of the stock. This is an attractive example of a rare and historic Deluxe Presentation Factory Engraved Winchester Model 1866 rifle.
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