The Winchester Model 1885 was Winchester's first firearm capable of firing powerful big game cartridges and is based on designs patented by John Moses Browning in 1879. The .45-125 Winchester Express cartridge was introduced in 1886 and only available by special order and discontinued after only a few years making rifles like this one chambered for this long express cartridge true rarities. This early rifle from 1887 has a beaded blade front sight, the two-line address ahead of the three-leaf express rear sight, "45 EX." on top of the barrel at the breech, "4" on the bottom of the barrel ahead of the forearm, "11" under the forearm, "45 EX 7" on the bottom at the breech, a period modified Vernier tang peep sight on the upper tang, casehardened frame, patent marking and script serial number on the lower tang, and smooth walnut forearm with contrasting insert in the tip and straight wrist stock with steel shotgun buttplate. The included factory letter confirms the 30 inch no. 4 weight octagon barrel in .45 Express and plain trigger. The letter also states the rifle was received in the warehouse on February 26, 1889 and shipped the same day.
Very good with a very attractive frontier used, buffalo hunter look traces of original blue and casehardened finish, mostly smooth plum brown patina on the visible areas of the barrel, mottled dark gray patina on the balance, some patches of light oxidation and pitting, front sight bead absent, the noted repaired/modified peep sight, and general dings and scratches. The wood is also very good and has numerous minor scratches and dings, some surfaces flakes, and general moderate wear. Mechanically excellent.
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