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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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