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The Model 1876 was the first Winchester lever action rifle offered in calibers truly suitable for hunting large and dangerous game. The larger caliber Model 1876 was popular among those in the West who believed .44-40 wasn't quite enough stopping power for whatever they might encounter. Deluxe variations of the Model 1876 are always in demand in any condition. With only 63,871 rifles and carbines manufactured between 1876 and 1897, surviving examples of the Model 1876 rifle are scarce. Generally being viewed as a working gun, these rifles in deluxe configuration or with special order features are especially rare. This deluxe Model 1876 has all the character of a rifle that has spent a lifetime on the frontier, including the shortened barrel and magazine tube to meet the demands of the day. It is easy to imagine this "short rifle" carried on horseback out west, as likely was the case. The rifle is stamped with a cattle brand style marking, an iconic feature of the American West, on the right side of the butt of an "A" over a bar over "Y." Per the consignor, this rifle was part of the Cody Firearms Museum and was identified as from the "A Bar Yellowstone Ranch that records show was in operation through the 1870s and 1880s." Further information on this ranch could not be found. The included factory letter lists the rifle in .45-60 caliber with an octagon barrel, set trigger, checkered pistol grip stock and casehardened receiver when received at the warehouse on March 28, 1884, and shipped on April 14. This rifle was manufactured as a Third Model with integral dust cover rail and a dust cover with grip serrations at the rear. The top barrel flat is marked with the two-line address/King's patent marking and the caliber marking at the breech. The caliber is again marked on the bottom of the cartridge elevator. The upper tang is marked with the model designation, and the serial number is on the lower tang. The XX deluxe walnut forearm and pistol grip stock have factory "H" pattern checkering. The buttstock has an ebony insert in the grip area and a trapdoor crescent buttplate (cleaning rod not included). The left side of the lower tang is marked "1838 S XX." The assembly number "1838" on the stock inlet and buttplate.
Very good, displaying authentic character of a frontier ranch issued rifle right down to the shortened barrel and magazine tube with traces of original blue and casehardened finishes in the protected areas. The refinished wood is also very good showing the dings and scratches of a working gun and crisp re-cut checkering. The "cattle brand" is clear. The set trigger has been disabled; otherwise, the action functions properly.
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