Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1025: Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

Outstanding Documented Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $35,000 - $65,000

Outstanding Documented Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1866
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44 RF
Barrel: 24 inch round
Finish: blue
Item Views: 693
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 34
Class: Antique

The legendary Model 1866 was essentially a Henry Rifle with improvements invented and patented by Winchester shop Superintendent Nelson King in 1866. As a direct descendant of the Henry rifle, the Model 1866 traces its lineage back to earlier repeaters like the Volcanic, went on to see heavy use in conflicts related to 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; and is credited for ushering in the era of the repeating arm, making it one of the earliest and most widely used repeating rifles in the American West. Here is your chance to own an exceptional example of a Model 1866 rifle that will be difficult to improve upon! The accompanying factory letter confirms the rifle configuration with a round barrel and states the rifle was received in the warehouse on July 7, 1882 and shipped the next day on order number 33323. This is a fourth model featuring an iron buttplate instead of brass, a serial number stamped in script, and an even less pronounced drop at the top rear of the frame as compared to proceeding models. This fourth models are found starting in the 149000 serial number range until the end of production c. 1898. The 24 inch round barrel is fitted with dovetail German silver blade front sight and an adjustable buckhorn rear sight with serrated edges. The top of the barrel is stamped with the two-line Winchester New Haven address and King’s improvement patent date marking. The distinctive brass receiver is factory drilled and tapped for a tang sight. The casehardened iron buttplate has a sliding brass trapdoor, and the butt trap contains a four piece cleaning rod. The stock and forearm are straight grain American walnut with an oil finish. Over 170,000 Model 1866s were manufactured but these Winchesters were purchased as working firearms and saw hard use. High condition Winchester Model 1866 rifles are rarely encountered in very good or better condition let alone excellent condition like this one!

Rating Definition:

Excellent. The barrel, magazine tube and forend cap retain 85% original blue finish with thinning to brown on the balance. The excellent brass frame has a highly attractive appearance with tight fitting side plates. The loading gate retains 60% original nitre blue. Traces of darkened original case colors remain on the lever, hammer, and buttplate. The wood is also excellent with some minor dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent. This is a great opportunity to acquire a high condition Winchester Model 1866 Rifle. This Model 1866 is certainly worthy of the most advanced private or public collections. Do not let this one slip away!

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