This is a fine example of a very desirable Winchester Model 1866 third model saddle ring carbine manufactured in 1869 with the "half-nickel" plated finish. The third model receiver is identified by the moderate curve at the rear, and the serial number is correctly stamped in block numerals on the lower tang behind the trigger. It has the desirable staple mounted "saddle ring" on the left rear side of the receiver. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped: "WINCHESTER'S REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING'S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED MARCH 29. 1866 OCTOBER 16. 1860." in two-lines ahead of the rear sight. The barrel has the early style, upper barrel band that is integral with the front sight blade, and the rear of the barrel has been fitted with the second type, two-leaf, non-adjustable rear sight with the apertures marked "3" and "5". There are no markings on the cartridge elevator or the upper receiver tang, and the bolt has been converted from 44 RF to 44 CF which happened quite frequently out West as the center fire cartridge was a much better cartridge. The barrel, magazine tube, barrel bands and loading gate are all blued. The brass receiver, crescent buttplate, hammer, trigger, loading lever and cartridge elevator all have the very rare nickel-plated finish. The stock and forearm are straight grain American walnut.
Fine. The carbine retains 80% of the original nickel-plated finish on the receiver, hammer, trigger, lever and cartridge elevator. The buttplate retains 30% of the nickel-plated finish. The finish on the nickel-plated components shows moderate handling wear and has numerous minor nicks and scratches. There are scattered patches of pitting on the lever and trigger. The barrel, magazine and upper barrel band have a mottled silver-brown patina. There is pitting on the upper barrel band, and the lower barrel band has a silver patina. The barrel markings are faint and only partially legible. The stock and forearm are good overall with moderate handling wear and a crack in the wrist. Winchester Model 1866 carbines were usually working guns, and carbines like this example frequently saw hard service on the frontier during the 1870s when the West was still wild. This rare nickel-plated Model 1866 carbine has been used and has the look and feel of a true Old West 1866 SRC!
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