Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1030: Special Order Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Desirable Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle with Very Scarce Special Order 28 Inch Barrel

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,500 - $8,500

Desirable Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle with Very Scarce Special Order 28 Inch Barrel

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1866
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 RF
Barrel: 28 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 839
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 34
Class: Antique

Manufactured in 1873. The rifle has a special order 28 inch octagon barrel, as standard length was 24 inches. Special order length barrels on Model 1866 rifles are rare. In the article "Survey of Available Winchester Model 1866 Records," William L. Porter evaluated only 50 known Model 1866s with a 28 inch barrel. Blade front and folding ladder rear sights on a barrel stamped with the two-line Winchester address/King's improvement patent dates legend. The receiver, forend cap and buttplate are brass. The straight grip stock is fitted with a trapdoor buttplate (cleaning rod not included). The Model 1866 or "improved Henry" was one of the earliest and most widely used repeating rifles in the American West and saw use in conflicts over land, gold, and other resources on the frontier in the second half of the 19th century in the hands of settlers, Native Americans, outlaws, lawmen, and hunters. '66s were famously used by multiple Native American warriors during the Battle of Little Bighorn, and many commentators, both now and in the period, including Montana pioneer Granville Stuart, have questioned how that battle's outcome would have differed if the U.S. soldiers were also armed with repeating firearms. Interestingly, the Model 1866 was in fact among the first repeating firearms used by militaries, but it was Native Americans warriors and French and Ottoman soldiers that used them on the battlefield. It is the direct descendant of the Henry rifle and traces its lineage back to earlier repeaters like the Volcanics.

Rating Definition:

Very good plus. Traces of original blue finish remain in the protected areas, otherwise the barrel and magazine have a smooth dark brown patina. The receiver, forend cap, and buttplate are all fine and have an attractive even aged patina. The receiver has tight fitting side plates. The wood is very good with a couple divots and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically fine.

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