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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a very old gun that belonged to my dad which I'm trying to get more info on.

I believe it is a pre-1899 lever action Winchester. I say I believe its pre-1899 because, in addition to "Winchester Firearms, New Haven, CT" (i'm not looking at the gun right now) there are two patent dates which read, "King's Improvement Patented March 29, 1866 and October 18, 1860". There are also some markings below the lever (288402B) which are probably a serial number but I'm not really sure.

The barrel is about 30" long and octagonal. I have no idea what the model would be nor the caliber. This is the info I'm trying to get.

Now that I rescued it from my mom's, I may have a chance to take it to someone to look at it. Does anyone know any knowledgible people around who I might go see. I may decide to have it restored or if its really valuable....well, who knows.

If I can get the camera to work I'll post up some pics.

Thanks for your help,
 

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So far I found this looking at http://oldguns.net/cgi-bin/f2f/f2f.pl?http://www.oldguns.net/q&a11_00.htm That seems to match your description.

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Winchester 1876 Maybe 45-75 ( Not Marked) Unsure Blue 84XX

Winchester's- Repeating Arms, New Haven. CT. King's Improvement-Patented-March 29, 1866. October 16, 1860 (Stamped on top of the octagon barrel in front of the rear sight). Underside of the stock to the rear of the lever lock believed to be serial number 8421.Top of stock located to the rear of the hammer " Model 1876". This rifle was carried by my Great Grandfather during the settling of the Oklahoma territory, or so I've been told. I'd appreciate any information you could give me concerning the history, value etc. The gun is at least in "very good" condition. I am also seeking information concerning ammunition. I am an avid hunter and I'd like to be able to take a deer with a rifle that my Great Grandfather may have taken buffalo with. Can you recommend a specific book that might shed some more light on this ? Thanks for your time. Mark

Answer:
Mark- Sounds like a neat old gun. Made in 1879, collectors call your the "late second model." The caliber is usually marked on the barrel near the receiver, and on the bottom of the brass elevator block that raises the cartridge inside the action. Once you figure out the caliber (.40-60, .45-60, .45-75 and .50-95 are your basic choices) you can start looking for ammo, which will be hard to find, and probably a tad expensive. A Winchester "Factor Letter" from the Cody Firearms Museum would probably tell when and where it was initially shipped, but tracing it after that is nearly impossible. The value in NRA antique good condition for the Model 1876 according to Flayderman's Guide is either $650, or $1,000 or $2,750, and in fine, the same models are worth $2,000, $3,000 and $6,000 respectively. We cannot guess which of these values applies to yours because you didn't provide the barrel length to help identify it as the carbine, rifle, or musket model. Now you know why we take the time to specifically ask for barrel length. It is not a scheme to increase ruler sales, but a way to help collectors get accurate information. Book recommendations: "Flayderman's Guide" ($21.50 plus $4 shipping- see our book page) for basic information. George Madis "The Winchester Book" for lots of minute details and photos on all the older Winchester models. There is a brand new book out (title???) specifically on the 1876 Winchester that would be fascinating to the owner of the unbelievable display of about TWENTY 1876s in .50 caliber we saw over in Denver last year, but may be a bit more than many of us really need. Hope this helps... John
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quick question.

Thanks for the input.

Would ya'll advise against trying to swab this gun down with some Hopps to see what happens? In addition to being old it is pretty dirty too.

MIK
 

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Cleaning won't hurt any thing as long as you don't remove any finish that is left on the gun.
Patent dates on a gun only mean it was made after that date.
Some pictures of the action would probably let me identify it, you need one from the side with the action open and also from the top and bottom.
From the information you gave, your rifle could be any one of the following. mod 1866, mod 1873, mod 1876, mod 1886, mod 1892, mod 1894, mod 1895, or mod 71. It could have been made any time from 1866 up until the 1960s and still have those markings on it. You didn't mention a brass frame so I doubt that you have a mod 1866, all the rest had iron or steel frames. Octagon barrels are still available on some model Winchester lever actions.
 
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