Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 36: Winchester Model 1876 .50 Express Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2020

Very Desirable Winchester Model 1876 .50 Express Lever Action Rifle with Freund Sights, Cartridge Belt and Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $14,000 - $22,500

Very Desirable Winchester Model 1876 .50 Express Lever Action Rifle with Freund Sights, Cartridge Belt and Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1876
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 50-95 Express
Barrel: 28 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 2621
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 32
Class: Antique

The accompanying factory letter lists this rifle with an octagon barrel and plain trigger when received in the warehouse on July 19, 1882 and was shipped the next day (it does not, however, mention the .50 Express caliber!) The second model receiver has a dust cover guide rail attached to with two screws. The dust cover is marked "WINCHESTER EXPRESS/.50 CAL 95 GRS." The cartridge elevator is marked "50-95." The barrel has the two-line address/patent dates marking stamped ahead of the rear sight and ".50 CAL. EXPRESS" stamped at the breech. A leather sling is included. The straight grip stock has a trapdoor crescent buttplate (cleaning rod not included). It is fitted with a Freund's patent blade front sight and a Freund's patent folding ladder rear sight graduated from 2 to 10. The base of the rear sight is marked with a June 29, 1880 patent date. The rear sight has the date of the "More Light" sight patent which was jointly held by Frank and George Freund (see Balentine's "Freund & Bro.: Pioneer Gunmakers to the West" on page 241). Like many in the American firearms industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Freund brothers Frank W. and George were German immigrants. They had various temporary shop locations as they followed the Union Pacific westward and established more permanent shops in Denver, Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, where they regularly modified firearms, particularly Sharps rifles, to fit their customer's needs. They sold rifles to the likes of generals Philip Sheridan and George Cook, as well as Theodore Roosevelt. In addition to mechanical alterations and creating new configurations, the Freunds also designed new sights. Includes a period leather cartridge belt holding 14 rounds of .50 Express and 5 brass casings.

Rating Definition:

Very fine, retaining 80% original blue finish with the balance thinning to brown. 70% original niter blue remains on the loading gate. 50% of original case colors remain on the hammer. The wood is very good with a hairline crack on the forearm at the cap and scattered minor dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent. A very attractive Model 1876 .50 Express Rifle with highly desirable and rare Freund sights. Provenance: The John Fox Collection.

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