Model 1866

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Winchester First Model Inscribed 1866 SRC .44 RF s/n 13157 mfg 1866
Private Collection

Winchester First Model Inscribed 1866 SRC .44 RF s/n 13157 mfg 1866 - 20” round barrel; silver plated receiver & crescent buttplate; inscribed on left sideplate “ARMERIA AMERICANA / Wexel & Degress / MEXICO” and on right sideplate and frame is inscribed “Francisco Hidalgo P / 1867”. Wexel & Degress was a well-known arms dealer in Mexico City, and Francisco Hidalgo P was apparently the gun’s original owner in 1867. Traces of original silver plating remain on the receiver and buttplate; barrel and mag have turned plum patina; barrel address is clear and readable; walnut stocks are in excellent condition; bore has good rifling; all serial and assembly numbers match.

Winchester First Model 1866 Engraved SRC .44 Henry Flat RF s/n 13284
Private Collection

Winchester First Model 1866 Engraved SRC .44 Henry Flat RF s/n 13284 mfg 1866 - 20" round barrel; full magazine; integral front band/sight & 500 yard 2-position flip rear sight. Left side of receiver has a staple, missing the saddle ring. Mounted with uncheckered, straight grain American walnut with straight stock & crescent rifle buttplate with trap containing an original 3-pc brass & iron cleaning rod. Bottom of the stock & forearm band have small European sling loops. Left side of lower tang, under the wood is stamped with the SN along with a tiny assembly number "788". Matching SN is also found in top tang channel of buttstock and inside toe buttplate. Rear face of buttplate is stamped "HB / 5". Top flat of receiver is engraved "WEBER = RUESCH IN ZURICH." In 1867, Weber-Ruesch acted as Winchester's agent in Switzerland. Receiver & side plates are beautifully engraved in intertwined foliate, leaf & vine patterns with spectacular herringbone borders. Receiver ring is engraved in a beautiful flower blossom. Engraving patterns extend over the top tang. Receiver & buttplate are silver plated retaining a high degree of an original blue silver tarnish patina. Screws are all Henry type with thick, square heads. This carbine is the very early type with flat front side panels on the receiver and has the Henry & King's patent barrel address. This carbine has a number of Henry features including the sloping radius at the top rear of the frame, 2-screw top tang, Henry style screws, small loop finger lever and the Henry bbl address. Overall condition is fine to very fine, all matching; barrel & magazine tube retain a thin brown patina with no trace of blue which indicates they may have originally been a brown finish; barrel bands retain 30-40% blue; receiver & buttplate retain 75-80% strong silver plating which was applied after the engraving; stocks are sound with a few light nicks & scratches, a small gouge by the left heel and overall retains about 95% original varnish; mechanics are fine; bright, shiny bore with a few scattered spots of pitting.

Winchester 1866 SRC .44 RF s/n 13285 mfg 1866
Private Collection

Winchester 1866 SRC .44 RF s/n 13285 mfg 1866 First model, 95% bright barrel blue, 95% OA.

Private Collection

Winchester 1866 First Model SRC .44 Henry RF s/n 14412 mfg 1866 - 20" round Henry-marked barrel; full mag; correct first model half-inch dovetail carbine rear sight marked 100, 300, 500 yards; straight grain walnut stocks with correct Henry bump and crescent buttplate; correct short segment 3-piece cleaning rod in butt. Serial number is on left side of lower tang under the wood, inside the top tang channel of buttstock, and inside toe of buttplate; and left side of lower tang has the assembly number "987" all are correct and matching.

CONDITION: Very Good. Traces of original finish remain in the most sheltered areas with the barrel & magazine tube being a smooth silver/brown patina with a couple of spots of rust pitting. Receiver has sharp edges and retains a medium mustard patina. Top edges of sideplates show no damage at all. Lever is a mottled silver/brown patina and the hammer a dark patina showing wear on the sides. Stock has a shallow crack back of top tang; otherwise wood is sound with light handling & use marks. Mechanics are completely functional. Strong sharp bore with moderate pitting.

The First Model 1866 was originally promoted by Winchester in their marketing materials as the "Improved Henry" and is often referred to by today's collectors as a "flat-side" 66. From the receiver back through the buttplate, all parts are Henry with two major modifications. One is the addition of a saddle ring, and the second is a King's Patent loading gate system which is integrated into right side of the receiver. Some first models have conical loading gates, while others have the earlier-type and more desirable flat shaped gate with retaining spring. The front section of first model 1866s are made of all new/improved parts designed by B. Tyler Henry and Oliver F. Winchester to reduce the bulkiness and weight of the Henry. Of the approximately 2,500 manufactured, only about 200 -300 have survived today as most saw extremely hard use on the American frontier in usually extreme adverse climatic conditions with little or no maintenance. As the foundation of a serious Winchester collection, they difficult to find, and one in this condition is considered rare.

Winchester 1866 SRC .44 RF s/n 14431 mfg 1866
Private Collection

Winchester 1866 SRC .44 RF  s/n 14431 mfg 1866 - First Model, "G. AMES." on left side plate, exe uncleaned brass patina, traces of blue in protected areas on barrel and mag, exe wood w/traces of original finish remaining, exe mechanical action & screws, very good bore.

Winchester 1866 Deluxe First Model SRC .44 RF s/n 15089
Private Collection

Winchester 1866 Deluxe First Model SRC .44 RF s/n 15089 - mfg 1867 – 20” round barrel; full mag; flat loading gate with retainer spring; carbine style leaf sight; fancy walnut stocks with high gloss varnish finish.

Winchester 1866 Second Model Henry-Marked Nimschke Engraved Rifle .44 Henry RF s/n 16114 mfg 1868
Private Collection

Winchester 1866 Second Model Henry-Marked Nimschke Engraved Rifle .44 Henry RF s/n 16114 mfg 1868 – 24” octagon barrel; full mag; beautiful and masterfully executed engraving appears to be the work of Louis D. Nimschke or his NY shop on the receiver, forend cap and buttplate with traces of old silver plating; correct early second model "pinched" forend cap sling swivel mount; correct early s/n location inside lower tang; 900 yard retaining screw folding leaf rear sight; sporting front sight; uncheckered 1x (or "extra finish") walnut stocks with correct factory-installed sling swivels. Barrel and magazine retain a high degree of original blue finish with a plum patina mixing in; stocks retain have been cleaned and retain an oil finish; receiver has sharp edges; action is crisp; bore is bright, shiny and retains good rifling and is considered an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10; s/n marking "16114" is correctly stamped on the left side of the lower tang under the stock, on the inside toe of the crescent buttplate, and on the stock's upper inletting channel.

Private Collection

Engraved Winchester 1866 Third Model SRC .44 Henry Flat s/n 36033 mfg 1870 - 20" round barrel; full mag; crescent buttplate; silver wash receiver is engraved with a Mexican eagle on left side and inscribed "Pedro G. Blanco" on the right side and is stamped "W. Y. DE G." on the right rear side for the legendary Mexico City gun dealer, Wexel & DeGress.

This is the only (known to this writer) Mexican Eagle Winchester with "REPUBLICA MEXICANA" engraved inside the banners below the eagle. Also, there are two rivet or screw holes at the ends of the banner "Pedro G. Blanco", presumably indicating the banner was covered with a plate, perhaps to conceal the name. .

This gun shows a classic "south of the border" look with heavy dark taffy colored patina to brass frame and traces of silver wash in protected areas, dark bore, good action, heavy brown patina to barrel, loading tube, lever, barrel bands, etc.; stocks are well-worn with pommel wear to fore stock and heavily worn, period-replaced butt stock with classic period Mexican frontier repairs and re-working of shape. Documentation is a letter from noted Western author and collector Lee Silva indicating the carbine turned up on a ranch outside of Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2007, and has been in his personal collection since that time.

Private Collection

Winchester Third Model 1866 Saddle Ring Carbine .44 Henry Rimfire s/n 48052 mfg 1870 - 20" round barrel; full mag; straight-grain walnut stocks with crescent buttplate. This gun is in exceptionally fine condition, apparently from very good storage over the past 140-years, retaining a very high degree of bright blue on the barrel and mag; receiver is sharp with a beautiful mustard color patina; screws are excellent; action is crisp and in near new condition; bore is bright with sharp rifling; stocks have handling marks, and some small compression bruises, however stocks are sound and retain a high degree of their original varnish finish.

Winchester 1866 SRC .44 RF s/n 88473 mfg 1872
Private Collection

Winchester 1866 SRC .44 RF  s/n 88473 mfg 1872 - Third model, Conrad Ulrich signed engraved, barrel even plum finish.

Private Collection

Winchester 1866 SRC .44 RF s/n 125980 mfg 1877 - Nimschke engraved in classic scroll motif on frame and buttplate with elk within panels on each side of frame. Original patina on frame and 80% original blue on barrel and tube with brown mixed in. Verified by George Madis as genuine Nimschke engraved.

Winchester 1866 Third Model Nimschke Engraved SRC .44 RF s/n 131377 mfg 1876
Private Collection

Winchester 1866 Third Model Nimschke Engraved SRC .44 RF s/n 131377 mfg 1876 – 20” round barrel; full mag; full nickel-plated with case-hardened hammer; blued screws, trigger and pivoting rear sight carbine sight; straight grain oil-finished walnut stocks. Profusely engraved in distinctive Nimschke-style scroll and border motifs, with elk in foliage panel scene on left side of frame; running whitetail buck on right panel scene to match; engraved coverage on frame, carrier block, buttplate, forend band and barrel band. 95% original factory nickel overall; stocks show a few nicks and marks, primarily on buttstock, and retain a high degree of their original oil finish; action is crisp; bore is bright with sharp rifling and is considered a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. Featured in R.L. Wilson’s Winchester Engraving book, page 61.


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