The accompanying factory letter confirms the carbine configuration, .45-75 caliber chambering, nickel finish and saber bayonet and scabbard. The carbine was received in the warehouse on February 21, 1888 and shipped on March 21, 1888. Model 1876 carbines fitted with saber bayonets are exceedingly rare, and the bayonets are among the most sought after early Winchester accessories. The saber bayonet was more commonly reserved for Model 1876 muskets. The 23 1/2 inch barrel has a carbine type front sight set farther back from the muzzle when compared to the standard 22 inch carbine barrel in order to accommodate the saber bayonet. The saber bayonet lug is on the right side of the forend cap. The correct and rare saber bayonet with the scabbard is included. The 19 1/2 inch blade is marked with a "crown/C" proof and the letter "B." The scabbard is leather with brass fittings. We know of only one other Model 1876 fitted for a bayonet, no. 14356, which was sold by Rock Island Auction Co. in the September 2018 Premier Auction (#74). Winchester expert and author George Madis examined no. 14356, which was originally shipped in 1881, and included with the exceedingly rare carbine was a George Madis authentication letter. What Madis said in the letter provides the context to the rarity of encountering a Model 1876 carbine fitted for a bayonet. In the letter for no. 14356 Madis rightfully proclaimed Winchester "carbines with [bayonet fittings] are almost impossible to find" and this carbine (no. 14356) was "one of the rarest Winchesters seen in over forty years of observing and studying Winchesters." In fact, Madis states that he had examined "more 1 of 1,000 Model 1876s than Model 76s made for saber bayonets" and at the time of examining no. 14356 concluded "it is likely that another carbine with saber bayonet will not be found in the 1876 model." While the discovery of this Model 1876 carbine no. 56776 revises Madis latter proclamation, Madis' observations do show that you are definitely looking at a rarity in Winchester collecting. It is interesting to note that this specific carbine no. 56776 rates higher in condition than no. 14356 that we previously sold for $12,000 in 2018. The barrel has a carbine type front sight, folding ladder rear sight, and the two-line Winchester address/King's improvement patent dates stamped ahead of the rear sight and "45-75/WCF" stamped at the breech. The carbine has a third model receiver with integral dust cover guide rail, dust cover with serrated rear edges, and a saddle ring mounted on the left side. As noted above this carbine has a full nickel finish. Full nickel factory plating is a rare special order feature.
Exceptionally fine, retaining 85% untouched original nickel plating with some minor flaking and smooth gray patina on the balance and a darker patina on the pitted buttplate. The wood is very fine with minor scattered dings and scratches. The bayonet is about good with a pitted blade and attractive appearance on the fine brass handle. The scabbard has dings on the tip and age flaking on the leather. Mechanically excellent. An exceptionally scarce factory documented nickel plated Winchester Model 1876 Saddle Ring Carbine fitted with an included saber bayonet that is missing from even the most advanced public or private collections. A must have for the serious Winchester collector, especially for those who believe they have seen it all!
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