The Winchester Model 1876 became very popular among those on the western frontier who had a desire for more firepower than was available in the Model 1873. Most of the chamberings available for the Model 1876 were capable of making quick work of even the most dangerous game or enemies that might be encountered in the Wild West. This example, a second model manufactured in 1879, is a prime example of that, with its original owner having a desire for both firepower AND portability, having ordered it with a shorter than standard barrel. According to George Madis in "The Winchester Book", only one of every 800 Model 1876 rifles had a shorter than standard barrel. The special order 24 inch barrel is marked on the upper flat with the two-line address/King's patent and correctly lacks caliber markings. The upper tang is marked with the model designation and the serial number is on the lower tang. The left side of the lower tang is marked "4037", which is repeated in the upper stock inlet. It is fitted with a combination Beach front sight, folding ladder rear sight, and a tang mounted peep sight. Both the Beach and peep sights are listed as special order features. It is mounted with a nicely figured, rifle length, smooth forearm and straight grip stock with a trapdoor crescent buttplate containing a four-piece cleaning rod. The included factory letter confirms the current configuration including the special order shorter than standard barrel and sights, as well as receipt at the warehouse on 11 August 1879 and shipment the same day.
Very good, retains traces of the original blue finish in sheltered areas with the balance showing mostly a smooth bright grey patina with some scattered patches of light pitting and some darker patina on the buttplate, all typical of a gun that saw countless miles in the Old West. The nicely figured, select wood is also very good showing the scattered minor dings and scratches of use, but evidence of care taken by the original owner who likely entrusted his life with this rifle. Mechanically excellent. A scarce special order Winchester Model 1876 short rifle that has the look of many stories to tell!
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