This is a nice example of the Model 1876 Winchester Rifle in 45-60 with a Special Order octagon 30" barrel. Standard full magazine, ladder sights, and crescent rifle buttplate with brass sliding trap that still houses this rifle's 5 piece set of cleaning rods. Serial number is in the 35,000 range which dates its mfg. to the year 1883. During the late 1870's through the mid-1880's, this was one of the most desirable repeating rifles in the world. It comes with a 1989-dated factory letter from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody Wyoming stating it as the following:
- 30 inch, octagon barrel
- Plain Trigger
- Received in the warehouse on September 15, 1883
- Shipped from the warehouse on September 15, 1883
- With 7 other arms to order number 7205
This is actually the 2nd time we've had this rifle in our possession. This rifle has been in several collections but I originally purchased it from a Winchester Collector named Vince McMahon. Sometimes, words only cheat us when describing someone we both knew and respected. Vince is just of those guys you can't define with a few kind words. He was simply a Great Man, not just as a collector but as a human being. I had done a little business with Vince in the past but I didn't know him very well the day this Winchester came along. I remember it was at a big show and was just browsing when I spotted this 1876 on Vince's table. I had a customer who needed a good 1876 to fill a gap in his collection but my funds were already completely exhausted. I was just going to make a note of the gun to discuss with my client when I returned home and the next thing I knew, Vince hands me this rifle and says, "Brent, why don't you just take it with you....if your customer likes it, then send me a check...if he doesn't, you can send it back if you can't find it a home." Like I said, we didn't know each other all that well, and he was just turning this beautiful rifle worth several thousand dollars over to my care with no conditions except to return it if I couldn't sell it. I was completely floored! Over the years, our friendship grew. When it came to collecting, Vince was a guru on all Winchesters but he was particularly fond of the Model 1876 and early 1873's. However, his real area of expertise was on the subject of Winchester sights. Jim Gordon, another avid Winchester collector spent nearly 4 decades surveying Winchesters to write his book on the Model 1873 Winchesters. However, it was Vince he asked to write his chapter on Sights. I think Vince liked people as much as he did the old guns and if you ever went to Ron Dickson's show at Louisville, Vince's table was the first one you saw when you walked through the door. He was the perfect guy to represent to us all and what collecting is all really about. Sadly, Vince passed away a few years after a short but courageous battle with cancer. This was quite a blow to us all so when this rifle came back into our hands, I wanted to write a short tribute to this rifle's former owner and why Vince was such an asset to our hobby.
Overall, this rifle is in NRA Antique Fine condition. The frame has 60% thinning original blue and 20% bright fire blue on the circumference to the loading port. The original case colors on the hammer and lever have faded out to a nickel-silver appearance slight hints and shadows of mottled colors. The barrel and 20-25% original blue mostly in protected areas...along the wood line and down between the barrel/tube. Original sights include the standard "1876" marked ladder rear sight and German silver blade front sight. Both the barrel and bronze loading block are clearly marked in script "Cal 45-60" and "45-60" respectively. Sharp clear 2 line barrel address and Model designation located on the upper tang. Screws are fine to excellent overall and show very little turn wear. The wood is very good overall showing considerable amounts of original varnish with perfect wood to metal fit. There are two rather large bruises on the right side of the forewood and a smaller bruise on the right side of the stock just above the lever. There are no chips, cracks, or repairs of any kind. This rifle has very nice mechanics and a very good bore to match. All in all, a very respectable example of a 30" Winchester 1876 Centennial Rifle.