This Winchester Model 1886 lever action rifle comes with two Cody Firearm Museum Letters (2007 & 2008). The Cody Museum letters describe this rifle as: "Rifle, 45/70 caliber, Barrel Shape: Octagon, Plain trigger, Checkered stock with pistol grip, Shotgun butt rubber" and "Engraved $5.00 Barrel inlaid & etc. $2.00 Blued" (no mention of sling swivels). The letters states this rifle was shipped from the Winchester warehouse on December 7, 1893. The rifle has a full-octagon 26-inch barrel with standard sporting style front sight with nickel-silver blade and sporting style folding leaf rear sight graduated to "10" and marked "1886" on the top of the leaf with a single silver band at breech and muzzle. The stock and forearm cap are fitted with factory sling swivels. The pistol grip stock has a special order black, hard rubber, checkered shotgun style buttplate embossed with the logo "WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO." in a relief circle. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped with the two-line legend: "-MANUFACTURED BY THE-/-WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN. CONN. USA-" ahead of the rear sight. The caliber: "45/70" is roll-stamped on the top barrel flat just ahead of the receiver in a panel formed by scallop and punch-dot engraving. The upper receiver tang is roll-stamped: "-MODEL 1886.-". The 1884 and 1885 patent dates are roll-stamped on the lower tang behind the trigger and the serial number is stamped in script numerals between the rear tang screws surrounded by an engraved banner. The barrel and full length magazine have a blue finish. The forearm cap, receiver and bolt have the special order high polish blue finish. The loading gate is fiery niter blue. The hammer, trigger and lever are casehardened. The forearm and pistol grip stock are deluxe, highly figured, fancy grade walnut with a high polish piano finish. The forearm and pistol grip have Winchester factory "Style H" checkering and the pistol grip has an ebony inlay. Delicate scrollwork is engraved on the barrel top and flats from the receiver nearly to the rear sight and from the muzzle past the rear sight on the top flat and to the edges of the sight on the sides of the barrel. The forearm cap is engraved with delicate scroll and border work. The top, sides and bottom of the receiver are decorated with Winchester No. 9 engraving as illustrated on pages 20-21 of the October 1897 edition of "Winchester Repeating Arms Co. Highly Finished Arms" reproduced on page 229 of "Winchester Engraving" by R.L. Wilson. The engraving features a vignette of a grazing deer on the right side of the receiver ahead of the loading gate and a larger vignette of a bull elk in a mountain scene on the left side of the receiver. Both vignettes feature extremely fine detail. The game scenes on the sides of the receiver are surrounded by precisely executed line, scallop, zig-zag and punch-dot borders complemented by delicate scrollwork. Fine scrollwork decorates the top of the receiver at the breech and the bottom of the receiver at the junction with the forearm and at the lever. The engraving is delicate, precisely executed and elegantly understated. The engraving was almost certainly executed by Winchester Master Engraver John Ulrich. Note: This rifle's consecutively serialized mate, number 78316, is pictured in R.L. Wilson's "Winchester Engraving" and has a no. 4 engraving and H style stock checkering. This suggests that this rifle was part of a series of Model 1886s that were highly embellished at the factory.
Excellent overall. The barrel and magazine have 97% plus of the original blue finish with traces of thinning at the muzzle and front edge of the magazine. The Winchester legend, caliber designation and scrollwork engraving are extremely sharp. The forearm cap retains almost all of the blue finish with some traces of age spotting under the sling swivel. The receiver has nearly 98% of the special order blue finish with some thinning on the upper and lower receiver tangs and some scattered and very light age spotting on the bottom between the end of the lever and the forearm. There is a small scuff mark on the right side of the receiver behind the loading gate and several nearly invisible scratches on the left side of the receiver. The engraving and delicate game vignettes are extremely sharp. The bolt retains 98% of the high polish blue finish. At least 95% of the fire blue finish is present on the loading gate. The hammer, trigger and lever retain 98% of the casehardened finish with strong case colors. The highly figured walnut stock and forearm have at least 98% of the high polish piano finish. The stock and forearm have very insignificant, scattered, handling and storage marks but remain in excellent plus condition. The fine checkering on the forearm and pistol grip is crisp. The black, hard rubber, shotgun buttplate remains in excellent condition. This is a stunning example of the finest quality finish and engraving available on special order Winchester rifles in the late 19th century. It would be difficult to find a better example of a special order, factory engraved Winchester Deluxe Model 1886 lever action rifle.
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