Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 5: Exceptional Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle

Auction Date: September 7, 2018

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $35,000 - $55,000

Exceptional Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1866
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 RF
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 2381
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 10
Class: Antique

This excellent original Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle was manufactured in 1869, and has the Third Model features which include receiver with less drop ahead of the hammer and external serial number stamped in block numerals on the lower tang behind the trigger. The receiver has the single upper tang screw and flare at the junction with the forearm introduced on Second Model 1866 rifles. Special order sling swivels are present on the forearm cap and stock. The full octagon barrel has a brass front sight blade and Henry style folding leaf rear sight. The rear sight has a 900 yard center notch with slide stop screw below the notch. The brass forearm cap is the first pattern with retaining screw that passes through the lower portion of the barrel. The receiver has an indented loading port cover retained by a single screw. The hammer spur has borderless hand cut knurling. The brass crescent buttplate has a hinged trapdoor. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped with the two-line legend: "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED -MARCH 29. 1866. OCTOBER 16. 1860" in serif letters ahead of the rear sight. The serial number is stamped in block letters on the lower tang behind the trigger. A "B" inspection mark is stamped behind the serial number. The rifle has the distinctive brass receiver, forearm cap and crescent buttplate. The barrel, magazine and sling swivels are blue. The loading port cover is a fiery niter blue. The hammer, trigger and lever are color casehardened. The stock and forearm are oil finished, straight grain, American walnut.

Rating Definition:

Excellent. This exceptional rifle shows only the slightest handling and storage wear. 90% plus of the original blue finish is present on the barrel, magazine and band. Wear is limited to some very insignificant thinning on the right side of the magazine at the cap and the edges of the barrel muzzle. The barrel edges are sharp, and the Winchester legend is extremely crisp. The rear sight is original to the rifle and remains in excellent condition. 80% of the original niter blue finish remains on the loading port. The hammer, trigger, lever and lever latch retain at least 75% of the casehardened finish. The very attractive receiver, forearm cap and buttplate are all in excellent condition with a stunning, un-touched, patina. The receiver has perfect side plate joints and is free from nicks or scratches. The stock and forearm are in perfect condition with nearly all of the original finish. This is an extraordinary example of a Winchester Third Model 1866 lever action rifle that would be extremely difficult to improve upon.

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