This Winchester Model 1876 rifle was manufactured in 1877. The included factory letter indicates that this Model 1876 left the factory as a rifle with an octagon barrel, plain trigger, checkered pistol grip stock, long range sights, musket buttplate and casehardened. The rifle was received in the warehouse on April 22, 1878 and shipped on April 22, 1878. The rifle has the First Model receiver with no provision for a dust cover or dust cover rail. This rifle is signed "J.ULRICH" in tiny letters on the lower tang behind the trigger. (The factory does not verify this!) The sides and top of the receiver, side plates, forearm cap and buttplate heel feature flowing scrollwork engraving on a punch-dot background with single line and scallop borders. The left side plate is engraved with a game scene that features a highly detailed bison. The special order, 32-inch octagon barrel has a Lyman combination globe and post front sight with bead and a folding leaf rear sight graduated to 1,000 yards. A folding graduated peep sight is mounted on the receiver tang. The stock has a carbine style buttplate with sliding brass trapdoor. The forearm and pistol grip stock are highly figured, fancy grade, walnut with fine checkering and a high polish piano finish. The bottom of the pistol grip has a horn or ebony inlay. With the exception of the blued sights, fire blue bolt and loading gate, and silver barrel and magazine all of the components have a gold-plated finish. The top of the barrel is stamped with the two-line legend "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT/KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29. 1866. OCTOBER 16. 1860." ahead of the rear sight. There are no caliber markings on the exposed portions of the barrel or bottom of the cartridge elevator. The serial number "3550" is stamped in tiny numerals between the rear tang screw and the lever latch.
Very fine as possibly period embellished. This rifle is retains 60% of the replated gold-plated finish. Most of the plating is present on the forearm cap, receiver side plates and buttplate. The highly detailed game scene and intricate scroll engraving are extremely sharp. Small amounts of gold plating remain on protected areas of the barrel and magazine. The barrel and magazine have a well aged patina with scattered light flaking. The barrel edges are sharp and the Winchester legend is crisp. The gold-plated finish on the hammer, trigger and lever is about 30% complete, and the components have a smooth silver patina. The loading gate and bolt retain about 40% of the fire blue finish. The highly figured, fancy grade, walnut stock and forearm remain in very fine condition. The fine checkering on the forearm and pistol grip shows minimal wear. The stock and forearm retain about 90% of the high polish piano finish. Wear is limited to a few very minor handling marks and several age cracks in the varnish finish. One will have to draw their own conclusion about this rifle!
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