Manufactured in 1866, the first year of production. This very scarce Winchester Model 1866 flat side carbine features highly desirable early features: the Henry and King patent dates barrel marking ("HENRY'S PATENT-OCT. 16. 1860/KING'S PATENT-MARCH 29. 1866," faint), flat loading port cover and "Henry Drop" receiver. The upper tang has the single screw, a feature associated with later production models. The receiver features profuse scrollwork on punch dot backgrounds and border engraving. Amongst the scrollwork on both sideplates is a blank inscription oval. Floral motifs adorn the rear section of the receiver. A dot and checker board pattern decorates the cartridge elevator. Additional scrollwork appears on the buttplate tang and upper receiver tang. The embellishment is well executed, showing the talents of a well accomplished period retailer master engraver. The front sight blade is integral to the front barrel band. The two position leaf rear sight is missing a leaf. The left side of the receiver has the original factory installed staple and saddle ring. The hammer has half and full cock notches. The magazine tube has the early threaded cap correctly without a screw. The replacement brass crescent buttplate has a trapdoor (cleaning rod not included). The matching serial number "13475" is stamped on the left side of the lower tang and stock inlet, while the replacement buttplate is stamped with the serial number "14002." There is also a small assembly number "692" stamped on the left forward side of tang. The barrel, magazine, barrel bands, and loading gate are blued. The hammer, lever, and trigger are casehardened. The buttstock and forearm are walnut. In "The Winchester Book" by author George Madis on page 57 he estimated that the total number of First Model 1866s manufactured was approximately 3,500 guns, equally divided between rifles and carbines. He further estimated that the survival rate for these early Winchesters was about 25% and that "less than 875" First Model 1866 rifles and carbines were available to collectors.
Good as period retailer engraved. The barrel and magazine have a mottled brown patina with faint barrel address. The brass has an attractive mellow aged appearance. The engraving is crisp. Slight traces of original nitre blue remain on the loading gate. The wood is also good with a repaired forearm, couple stress lines at the stock toe, and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically fine.
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