Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3010: Winchester First Model 1866 Flatside Rifle

Auction Date: May 5, 2019

Extremely Rare Documented Winchester First Model 1866 "Flatside" Lever Action Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $85,000 - $130,000

Extremely Rare Documented Winchester First Model 1866 "Flatside" Lever Action Rifle

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1866
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 rimfire
Barrel: 24 inch octagonal
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: varnished highly figured
Item Views: 1561
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 14
Class: Antique

This extremely rare and desirable Winchester First Model 1866 "Flatside" rifle was manufactured circa 1866. This rifle has the First Model receiver which lacks the flare at the junction with the forearm found on later production Model 1866 rifles. In addition to the "Flatside" receiver, other early production features on this rifle include: (1) rapid drop in the receiver profile at the hammer ("Henry Drop"), (2) un-capped, chamfered, forearm retained by a single screw, (3) two-screw upper tang, (4) screw-fastened magazine retaining band, (5) Henry style stock with straight comb and (6) early, carbine style, rear sight with 100, 300 and 500 yard markings. The loading port cover is the second, indented, style secured by two screws. The rifle has a dove-tail mounted steel front sight. A staple-mounted saddle ring is located on the left side of the receiver. The brass crescent buttplate has the same profile and butt trap door as late production Henry rifles. The butt trap contains the four-piece, jointed, steel cleaning rod with brass tip provided with Model 1866 rifles. The stock and forearm are deluxe, burl grain, piano finished, walnut. The barrel and magazine have a blue finish. The bolt and loading gate are blued and the hammer, trigger and lever are color casehardened. The receiver and buttplate have the natural brass finish. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped with the first style legend: "HENRY'S-PATENT-OCT. 16. 1860/KING'S-PATENT-MARCH 29. 1866" ahead of the rear sight. The serial number is stamped: (1) on the lower left side of the receiver tang concealed by the stock, (2) in the upper tang inlet of the stock and (3) on the inside of the buttplate below the lower screw hole. All of the visible serial numbers match. A tiny assembly number: "1601" is stamped on the lower left side of the tang ahead of the serial number. This particular rifle is illustrated and described on page 58 of "THE WINCHESTER BOOK" by George Madis.

Rating Definition:

Very fine. This rifle is all original. The blue finish on the barrel and magazine remains 40% intact with the balance having faded to a smooth, blue-gray, patina. The barrel edges and legend are crisp. Traces of nitre blue are present on the loading gate cover. The hammer, trigger, and lever have 50% of the casehardened finish. The brass flatside receiver and crescent buttplate are in very fine condition with a handsome, untouched attractively aged patina. The receiver has perfect side plate joints and is free from scratches or handling marks. The buttplate has some very minor wear on the edges of the heel and toe but remains in the same overall condition as the receiver. The deluxe, burl walnut, stock and forearm remain in very fine condition with at 85% of the high polish piano finish. The forearm has a small chip on the upper right side at the junction with the receiver, a repaired hairline crack on the right side running from the tip of the forearm through the retaining screw and several shallow scratches and handling marks. The stock has three shallow compression marks visible near the buttplate on the left side. This is an outstanding, high condition, example of an extremely rare documented Winchester First Model 1866 Flatside rifle.

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