Winchester 1866 3rd Model 24″ .44 Henry RF Lever Action Rifle, 1876 Antique

SOLD FOR: $4,937

WOA#: WY240326CM037

Make: Winchester Repeating Arms Co.

Model: 1866 Rifle 3rd Model

Serial Number: 131136

Year of Manufacture: 1876

Caliber: .44 Henry Rimfire

Action Type: Lever Action with Tubular Magazine.

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “WINCHESTER’S-REPEATING ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT. / KING’S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29.1866. OCTOBER 16. 1860.”. The lower tang is marked “131136”. The inside of the buttplate at the toe is marked “1136”, found again stamped in the top tang inlet of the buttstock. The left of the bottom tang is stamped “R”. The left of the bottom tang is also marked “412”.

Barrel Length: 24” nominal, 24 1/4″ measured, Octagonal

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the barrel at the front. The blade is not original. The rear sight is a folding ladder-style sight presenting a “V”-notch when folded down. There is a “V”-notch slider included, but it has broken off and will not properly secure to the ladder. The top tang is drilled and tapped with the front hole filled for a tang sight (none present).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with a brass capped forend, straight comb, straight grip and brass crescent buttplate with a trapdoor over a storage compartment (there is nothing in the compartment). The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scrapes and scratches. There are notable losses along the top edges of the forend. There is a gouge at the toe on the right. The LOP measures 13 3/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a fairly uniform mustard patina with scattered nicks and scratches. Overall, the stocks are in about Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Brass

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is dark gray. The rifling is well defined. There is scattered light-moderate erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 3 or 4 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 25% of its metal finish. The magazine spring and follower appear to be missing. The barrel and magazine tube have mostly worn to white or gone to a dark patina with scattered surface erosion. The receiver has mostly gone to a mustard patina with scattered darker discoloration. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches with more notable dings on the right sideplate. There are tool marks around the screw heads. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this rifle rates in about Good condition as Antique (see Mechanics).

Mechanics: The magazine spring and follower appear to be missing. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The rear sight slider is included.

Our Assessment: The Model 1866 rifle was the first firearm to be built by the new Winchester Arms after they changed their name from the New Haven Arms Company in 1866. The Model 1866 was a much-improved version of the Henry rifle, with a loading port on the right side of the receiver featuring a spring-loaded cover, through which cartridges could be fed into a new solid magazine tube that was much stronger than the slotted tube used on the Henry. The loading gate precluded the need for an external follower, allowing for a walnut forend to be installed which prevented the user from burning their hands during extensive firing. The M1866 was made in rifle, carbine and musket versions and in four different models dependent on date of manufacture. All of the different models were chambered in .44 Henry Rimfire, with some of the later 4th Models chambered in .44 Henry Centerfire and some converted to Centerfire later.

This is a Model 1866 3rd Model Rifle made in 1876, after the successor Model 1873 had been introduced. The rifle has wear consistent with its age of nearly 150 years, but retains surprisingly strong mechanics. Most Winchester collectors would never think that their collection was complete without at least all three variations of the M1866, while some would argue for all of the variations of the four different models. This 1866 3rd Model Rifle will be a great addition to your collection. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Winchester 1866 3rd Model 24" .44 Henry RF Lever Action Rifle, 1876 Antique
Winchester 1866 3rd Model 24″ .44 Henry RF Lever Action Rifle, 1876 Antique