Original U.S. Winchester Model 1886 .45-70 Rifle with 26" Round Barrel made in 1891 - Serial 51965

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This pretty much is the Cadillac of late 19th century big game hunting rifles! Many consider the Winchester 1886 to be the finest lever action repeating rifle ever made! This very fine example is in .45-70 Government caliber (marked 45 - 70 over the chamber) with a long 26" octagonal barrel, and full length magazine tube. It has the classic Winchester "blade" front sight, and the rear sight is a "flip up" adjustable ladder sight. The serial number on the lower receiver tang is 51965 denoting the year of manufacture as 1891.

The top of the barrel has the early style Winchester barrel address which reads:



This 1886 has John Browning's OCT. 14. 1884 and JAN. 20. 1885 patent dates stamped on the lower receiver tang. The upper tang simply marked - MODEL 1886 -, the standard marking for this model.

Stocks are in very good condition, with no major structural issues. There is wear under the for grip, and there are some scratches and gouges, but nothing out of line with wear from use. They do not appear to have been reconditioned at any time, and are really in great shape. There really is nothing like the red-brown color of aged oiled walnut.

This example is offered with a crisp tight action in fully functional condition. Metal work is very good, still retaining much of the factory finish, with a great lightly worn patina. As originally made these had bright steel receivers, and blued barrels and levers. The barrel and receiver markings are fully legible. The bore shows crisp lands and grooves, with a mostly bright finish, showing some fouling in the grooves. Probably rates a 8-9 out of 10.

These are becoming increasingly hard to find on the market in nice condition. Just what you needed when going "On Safari" with "T.R." Ready to display!

More on the Winchester Model 1886

The lever action repeating rifle we know as the Winchester Model 1886 was conceived in the mind of a young John Browning in Ogden, Utah around 1883. At the time, Browning and his younger brothers, all in their teens and twenties, were building an amazing single shot rifle in a small brick factory/sporting goods store they had built with their own hands in downtown Ogden. Between 1879 and 1883, the Browning Brothers made about 600 single shot single shot rifles. Since they had no distribution set up, the rifles were simply sold locally off the racks placed in the front of their store. Legend has it that in 1883, a Winchester salesman named Andrew McAusland came across one of the Browning Brothers rifles in his travels. He purchased the rifle for $15 and shipped it back to Winchester thinking it might interest his company back East. He attached a letter stating such with along with the hopes they would reimburse him the fifteen bucks. All that was stamped on the gun was a serial number and the name Browning Bros., Ogden, UT. The rifle impressed management at Winchester so much that Vice President T.G. Bennett (Oliver Winchester's son-in-law) boarded a train for Ogden in hopes of buying the design from ????... well, quite literally... whoever these Browning guys were.

What I wouldn't give to go back in time and see that Yale-educated Vice President of Winchester Repeating Arms Company dressed in a suit wandering the frontier-era streets of Ogden, Utah in search of the Browning Brothers shop. Can you imagine his surprise when he realized, that the rifle (in 1883, his company had no equivalent to this rifle in their product line, nor a single model that could handle calibers 45-70 and up), had been in production for four years by young Mormon brothers in their teens and twenties on the American frontier? These guys were living quite literally on the very last stop for the railroad on the frontier just about as far as you could get from the Industrial Revolution back East... yet at that moment, they were arguably building the best single shot rifle in the world. At any rate, to get to the point, Bennett purchased the rights to manufacture the Browning Bros. rifle and made them Winchester dealers, "jobbers", in the process. The rifle would be manufactured by Winchester as the Model 1885 Single Shot.

Before departing, John Browning told Bennett about another design he was working on: a new lever action repeater that could handle the 45-70. Bennett was quite interested and encouraged Browning to let Winchester have the first crack at it when a prototype was completed. The following year in 1884, it was John and his younger brother, Matt Browning, who boarded the train, this time for New Haven, CT with their new rifle in tow. This new lever action was granted US Patent No. 306,577 on October 14, 1884. John Browning was just 29 years old. BTW, this was his fifth patent! The 1886 was the first lever action repeater that could handle the Gov't 45-70 as well as the 45-90 and 40-82. These were the first three calibers offered in their new lever action but many more calibers would come over the next several years. The 50-110 was offered for the first time in the Model 1886 in 1887.


Year of Manufacture: 1891
Caliber: .45-70 Government
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 26 Inches
Overall Length: 44 1/2 Inches

Action type: Lever Action Repeater
Feed System: 6-round tube magazine

Note: This gun is NOT considered obsolete calibre, so we are no able to ship to the United Kingdom. Please note that for international shipping, these MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s): New Jersey

    This product is available for international shipping.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


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