The legendary Winchester Model 1866 or "improved Henry" was one of the earliest and most widely used repeating rifles in the American West and saw use in conflicts over 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. It is the direct descendant of the Henry rifle and traces its lineage back to earlier repeaters like the Volcanic. This rifle was manufactured in 1870 as a third model with the serial number stamped in block numerals behind the trigger, and the distinctive brass receiver has the more moderately curved shape at the rear when compared to the earlier first and second models. The top barrel flat is stamped with the two-line Winchester New Haven address/King's improvement patent marking which is partially covered by the period replacement rear sight. The rifle is fitted with a German silver blade front sight and a non-factory, period replacement, elevation adjustable notch rear sight. Sling swivels are mounted on the underside of the brass forend cap and walnut stock. It is mounted with a smooth forearm and straight grip stock with a trapdoor crescent buttplate (cleaning rod not included).
Very good, showing the typical wear of a frontier working gun, retains traces of the original blue finish on the barrel and magazine with the balance having thinned to mostly a smooth brown-grey patina and a few scattered patches of light pitting. The brass shows a mellow attractively aged patina overall. The wood is also very good, showing signs of use in the American West, with a barely noticeable frontier repair at the toe, a couple hairline cracks, and some scattered minor dings and scratches. The breech bolt firing pin head is absent, otherwise mechanically fine. A Winchester Model 1866 rifle that looks as if it has frontier tales to tell!
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