Winchester 1876 Centennial 26″ .45-60 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1881 Antique

SOLD FOR: $3,939.00

WOA#: WY240402SA002

Make: Winchester

Model: 1876 Rifle, 2nd Model

Serial Number: 17037

Year of Manufacture: 1881

Caliber: .45-60 Winchester Center Fire

Action Type: Lever Action with Full-Length 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” in front of the rear sight and at the rear with CAL. 45 – 60″. The lower tang is marked “17037” at the rear. The upper tang is marked “MODEL. 1876.”. The bottom of the lifter is marked “45-60”. The left of the bottom tang and the inside of the buttplate at the toe each have assembly number “303”. The rear sight ladder is marked “1876”.

Barrel Length: 26″, Octagonal

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a german silver blade in a a slotted base dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder-style sight presenting a “V”-notch when folded down and with a “V”-notch slider on the ladder marked from “2” to “10” on the right side (the top is marked “1876”). The ladder’s detent is a little weak when folded down. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a peep sight (none included).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, a straight grip, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate with trapdoor storage compartment (nothing in the compartment). The stocks have some dark discoloration at edges and streaks of dark discoloration along the comb. There is a short crack at the left-front of the forend. There are tiny losses at the top-front corners of the wrist on each side. There are some nicks, scuffs and scratches. The LOP measures 13” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate has worn to white with scattered discoloration from oxidation. The stocks are in about Very Good overall condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright. The rifling is sharp. There is scattered minor erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 7 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 30% of its metal finish. Remaining finish is scattered, strongest in well-protected areas but with some scattered through areas going to a light patina. Some areas are worn to white including edges, most of the magazine tube, and the sideplates. There are scattered nicks, scuffs, and scratches. There is a ding on the dust cover rail, visible when the dust cover is closed. There is some light oxidation and minor erosion. The action shows operational wear. There are tool marks at some of the screw heads. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The bolt has a bushing around the firing pin on the breech-face. The dust cover’s rail is secured to the receiver with screws, typical of 2nd Model rifles. The lever safety functions properly and the hammer has a half-cock notch. 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: This rifle comes with an Ideal Mfg. Co. No. 5 powder measure, 27 loaded cartridges and 23 deprimed cases, each formed to .40-65 with .45-70 headstamp, and a Winchester factory records letter. The letter indicates that this rifle was produced chambered for .45-60 with an octagonal barrel and plain trigger, received in warehouse September 22, 1881 and shipped September 23, 1881 on order number 28338.

Our Assessment: The Winchester Model 1876 was a heavier-framed rifle than the Model 1873, and was the first to be chambered for full-powered centerfire rifle cartridges, as opposed to rimfire cartridges or handgun-sized centerfire rounds. While similar in design to the 1873, the 1876 was actually based on the prototype 1868 lever-action rifle that was never commercially produced by Winchester. It was introduced to celebrate the American Centennial, and earned a reputation as a durable and powerful hunting rifle that was also used by the Canadian North-West Mounted Police and the Texas Rangers. Theodore Roosevelt used one on his early hunting expeditions in the West and one was found in the possession of Apache warrior Geronimo after his surrender in 1886.

Unfortunately, the 1876 lost popularity when the Model 1886 was introduced in heavier calibers. This rifle is chambered in .45-60 Win., a cartridge designed specifically for the Model 1876 rifle by shortening the .45-70 cartridge to fit the ’76 model’s action. This is a 2nd Model 1876 rifle that is in Very Good condition with about 30% of its original finish remaining. The rifle has strong mechanics. Despite its age, and almost certainly exclusive use with black powder, the bore is still fairly strong on this example.

The 1876 Winchester was only made for 21 years, with a total of about 63,871 made in rifle, carbine and musket formats, with the result that ALL are collectable. This example’s matching assembly numbers on the receiver  stock and buttplate as well as the included factory records letter make it a nice specimen for collectors, enhanced by being a transitional model, made after the introduction of the bushing-less bolt but assembled with the original firing-pin bushing bolt. This would be a great rifle to add to a Winchester collection, placed between an 1873 and an 1886. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Winchester 1876 Centennial 26" .45-60 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1881 Antique
Winchester 1876 Centennial 26″ .45-60 WCF Lever Action Rifle, 1881 Antique