Lot #3009
Lot #3011

Lot 3010: Winchester Model 1886 .50 Express Lever Action Rifle

Documented Winchester Model 1886 Lever Action Rifle in Rare .50 Express with Factory Letter

Auction Date: December 11, 2022

Lot 3010: Winchester Model 1886 .50 Express Lever Action Rifle

Documented Winchester Model 1886 Lever Action Rifle in Rare .50 Express with Factory Letter

Auction Date: December 11, 2022

Estimated Price: $40,000 - $60,000
Price Realized:

Documented Winchester Model 1886 Lever Action Rifle in Rare .50 Express with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Winchester
Model: 1886
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 50 express
Barrel: 26 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1124
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 11
Class: Antique
Description:

Released in 1893-1894, the .50 Express cartridge was one of the most powerful commercial cartridges available at the time, and it quickly proved popular with big and dangerous game hunters. Many Winchester rifles chambered for this powerful cartridge were shipped to England and then found their way to Africa and India where they were often employed against big cats. Demand for the cartridge in the United States was low however, and relatively few of these rifles were manufactured. The Model 1886 in .50 Express was only produced in limited numbers, especially when compared to the smaller calibers. Today Winchesters in .50 Express are a highly sought after collectible. Examples in any condition are proving difficult to find. The accompanying factory letter lists the rifle with an octagon barrel in .50-105 caliber and plain trigger. The factory letter also states the rifle was received in warehouse on October 23, 1888, "back in to warehouse on July 29, 1889" and shipped on September 20, 1889. The .50-105 caliber was one of a variety of cartridges Winchester offered in their express rifles. Other express cartridges offered by Winchester included .50-90, 50-95, .50-100, .50-110, and .50-140. The .50-105 caliber is certainly one of the rarest of the express cartridges. Knowledgeable collectors assert that only 18 to 22 Model 1886s were originally manufactured in .50-105 by Winchester and examples such as no. 25278 are known to have been factory re-chambered to another type of 50 Express cartridge (see our December Premier Auction No. 66, lot 3029 that was originally in .50-105, which it was marked, and later factory re-chambered to .50-110). This rifle chambers a .50-110 cartridge, but no .50-105 cartridge was available to see the difference, so it is likely that this Model 1886 was re-chambered. The rifle is fitted with a dovetail blade front sight and an elevation adjustable rear sight. The top barrel flat is stamped with the two-line address ahead of the rear sight and "50 EX" at the breech. The upper tang is stamped "-MODEL 1886-." The lower tang has the patent dates marking and the serial number. The receiver has the desirable factory casehardened finish. It is mounted with a smooth forearm and straight grip stock with a crescent buttplate. Provenance: The Tom Selleck Collection

Rating Definition:

Fine. The barrel and magazine tube retain 30% original blue finish with the balance faded to a plum-brown patina. The bolt retains 90% original blue finish. The receiver retains 60% plus original case colors. The hammer retains 90% original case colors. 50% original case colors remain on the lever. Traces of original case colors remain on the forend cap. The wood is very fine with some minor dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent.



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