Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 32: Freund & Bro. Marked Winchester Model 1866 Rifle

Auction Date: August 26, 2022

Desirable, Early Production, Freund & Bro. Marked Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle with Henry Patent Barrel Marking

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $6,500 - $9,500

Desirable, Early Production, Freund & Bro. Marked Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle with Henry Patent Barrel Marking

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1866
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44
Barrel: 24 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1230
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 54
Class: Antique

The story of the Freund brothers as gunsmiths traced its path westward much like the expanding railways and settlers seeking opportunity, as they set up temporary shops along their route. Eventually the brothers settled permanently, with shops in Denver, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming. From those two shops they became known for retailing and improving mostly single shot rifles, particularly the Sharps Model 1874, making a repeater with their markings quite scarce. It is possible that this rifle was simply retailed or repaired in a Freund shop, and had their marking added at that time. Manufactured in 1868 with the Second Model receiver. The octagon barrel has the first style marking "HENRY'S PATENT OCT. 16. 1860/ KING'S-PATENT-MARCH 29. 1866" in two lines ahead of the rear sight and "FREUND & BRO" between the rear sight and the receiver on the breech. The serial number "19555" is stamped on the left side of the lower tang following "VR" and covered by the stock. The serial number is repeated in the stock inlet and inside the buttplate. It is fitted with a blade front sight and the standard Henry style folding ladder rear sight, as well as a sling swivel on the brass forearm cap and on the bottom of the buttstock. The brass receiver has an indented loading port cover that is retained by a single screw and the hammer does not have a half-cock notch and has borderless knurling on the spur. It is mounted with a smooth forearm and straight grip stock with a crescent buttplate featuring the sharply pointed heel and hinged trapdoor that contains a four-piece cleaning rod.

Rating Definition:

Very good, with the iron components showing mostly a mixed grey patina and the balance an mellow, attractively aged brass, having the look of a rifle that spent significant time on the western frontier. The wood is also fine with some minor dings and scratches scattered throughout, but evidence of being cared for, as is typical of a working rifle. Mechanically excellent. A Winchester Model 1866 that looks like it could tell you "how the west was won"!

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