This is a fine example of an original Model 1866 Winchester musket that was manufactured in 1870. This is a mid production Third Model with the block serial number (49718) stamped behind the trigger. The 1866 muskets are a very rare rifle as they were the least popular of the Model 1866s with most being sold to foreign customers, especially to South America. This scarce example as noted was evidently sold to Belgium as it carries the Belgium proofs on the left side of the barrel and receiver. They consist of a "Asterisk/A", "Crown/R", "Perron", and the "Crown/E.L.G." proof from the Liege Proof House in Belgium. The receiver also has the same small "Asterisk/A" proof. It has the earlier recessed barrel, with the top of the barrel marked with the Second Pattern markings of "WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS, NEW HAVEN CT/ KING'S IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MATCH 29,1866, OCTOBER 16 1860". It has the correct 27 inch round barrel with the magazine tube that stops about 2 3/4 inches from the muzzle allowing this rifle to have a full 17 round capacity. The barrel is fitted with three barrel bands, along with the "First Pattern large sling loops mounted on the middle band and lower buttstock area. As noted it has the Third Pattern receiver with the block serial number located behind the trigger, original rimfire firing pin with the Second Pattern breech bolt with the crosslot on the front end, early trigger with the mainspring screw on the end with the early beveled loading gate. It has the Henry pattern two position folding rear sight with the staff marked 2-8 (200-800 yards) with the 900 yard sighting notch on top. It is fitted with a straight grain American walnut stock with 3/4 length forearm. The buttstock has the musket style brass buttplate with the sliding trap door with an original four section brass tipped cleaning rod.
Fine overall with 30% of the original blue finish still remaining on the barrel and magazine tube with the majority of the blue in the protected areas under the forend and the front end of the magazine tube, with the balance of the metal showing a light brown/gray mixed patina. The entire receiver, side plates and buttplate are all very fine with an excellent attractive dark aged yellow patina finish overall. The loading lever and hammer both have browned out with hints of finish. The buttstock and forend are both very fine showing a nice original matching medium brown oil finish mixed with some minor handling marks and scratches overall. The wood to metal fit is tight. This is a fine example of a Winchester Model 1866 musket.
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