This rifle has the seldom seen open top frame whereas the later Model 1876s had dust covers. Only around 3,000 were produced out of the total of 63,871 manufactured between 1876 and 1897. This example was manufactured in 1878. The non-factory shortened barrel is fitted with a dovetail blade front sight and an elevation adjustable buckhorn rear sight and is stamped with the two-line address/patent dates marking ahead of the rear sight. The rifle correctly lacks a caliber designation as early production Model 1876s were offered in only in .45-75 WCF. The upper tang is marked "MODEL 1876." Other early features include the large hammer and buttplate with large toe. The action is equipped with a special order single set trigger. The trapdoor buttplate contains a four piece cleaning rod. The accompanying factory letter confirm the 24 inch octagon barrel and set trigger. The rifle was received in the warehouse on June 28, 1878 and shipped the next day.
Very good, retaining traces of original blue finish in the protected areas, otherwise the rifle has a mottled brown patina. Slight traces of original nitre blue finish remain on the loading gate. The wood is also very good with a hairline stress crack at the upper tang and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent. A scarcity in lever action arms collecting, a Winchester First Model 1876 "Open Top" Rifle.
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