This is a super rare example of a highly Special Order Winchester 1876 lever action rifle in the extremely scarce 50-95 Winchester Express cartridge that was manufactured in late 1881. The rifle is fitted with a 26 inch round barrel with a raised matte rib. The top of the barrel is marked "WINCHESTER-REPEATING ARMS- NEW HAVEN CT./KING’S IMPROVEMENT PATENTED, MARCH 29, 1866. OCT 16, 1860", and the initials "D.O.K." are marked on top of the barrel near the breech. The right side of the barrel at the breech is marked "50", and "95" is on the left side. The barrel is fitted with a see through style front peep sight, a rare leveling bubble mounted ahead of the rear sight (covering a small portion of the address/patent marking), and a folding ladder/buck horn rear sight. The top of the dust cover is marked "WINCHESTER EXPRESS/50 CAL. 95 GRS.", and the bottom of the brass cartridge elevator is marked "50-95". The upper tang is marked with the early style "MODEL. 1876." without the flanking foliage design, and the serial number is marked on the lower tang between the screw and the lever latch. The sides of the forend cap, hammer and forward sides of the lever have a small amount of floral scroll engraving. The barrel, 1/2 magazine, loading gate and dust cover are blue, and the forend cap, receiver, hammer and lever are casehardened. The rifle is mounted with a delicate hand checkered fancy grade walnut forearm and a nice feathered crotch walnut pistol grip stock with an ebony insert in the bottom of the grip and a checkered hard rubber buttplate. Each side of the stock is stamped with a small "D.O.K.". The accompanying Cody letter verifies the rifle configuration with round matted barrel, plain trigger, checkered pistol grip stock, sights listed "Sights as per letter", 1/2 magazine, rubber buttplate, casehardened, "Engraved $1.50", that it was received in the warehouse on February 13, 1882, and shipped on order number 30589, February 16, 1882. These big 1876 lever actions rifles were intended as an improvement on the 1873 rifle by lengthening the action to accommodate the new and improved rounds such as 40-60, 45-75, and of course, the 50-95. There were only approximately 64,000 made before the introduction of the newer improved 1886 rifle, making any 1876 rifle very desirable with a deluxe special order rifle such as this one even more scarce.
Very fine. The barrel retains 60% original blue finish with a smooth grayish brown patina on the balance. The receiver retains 20% of the original case colors mostly concentrated in the protected areas with the balance a smooth silver gray. The hammer and lever have a smooth gray patina. The stock and forearm retain over 50% of the original factory varnish, showing a little more wear on the forend from normal use with some scattered minor scratches, nicks and dings. The right side of the buttstock is starting to show some very minor age cracks in front of the buttplate. The checkering remains crisp showing some very minor wear and a few minor dings. The engraving and markings remain clear and crisp. The action is very good. A very fine example of a desirable .50 express special order deluxe 1876 lever action rifle for the discriminating Winchester collector.
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