Winchester 1876 Rifle in 50-95 Express This is the Big Bear of the Model 1876 line-up...a Centennial rifle in Caliber 50-95 Express. These Express rifles were quite popular for taking big game at short ranges throughout the world. In addition to use in North America, many Express rifles saw use in India and Africa. She isn't the prettiest 1876 we've ever seen but she's real Express rifle and will letter as such. It has a standard 26" round barrel (.50 Express Cal 76's came standard with 26"...everything else was 28"), crescent buttplate, with special order 1/2 button magazine and factory sling swivels. For those of you out there who think that half mags are kind of wimpy, you may be surprised to learn that this rifle is in the exact configuration recommended by Winchester. Here is an excerpt from former Winchester Museum Curator, Herbert Houze's excellent book on the Winchester Model 1876. "Unveiled on May 1, 1879, this new variation of the Model 1876 was described as follows in the pamphlet which accompanied its introduction: "To meet the wants of the hunter who needs a weapon having absolute killing power but not necessarily long range, this rifle is now introduced.....these guns will be furnished in any style of finish used in the model 1876 but the 26 inch barrel is recommended as giving the best results; we also recommend a short magazine as giving a lighter and better balanced gun." Production figures support these statements as Mr. Houze's book also notes that of the roughly 3300 Model 1876's produced in 50-95 Express, 1,856 had 26" barrels and almost half of production, 1,529 had shorter than standard magazines." Serial number is in the 61,000 range. Made in 1890 according to Factory records. Sights include the standard Winchester front with German silver blade and folding ladder rear marked "1876". Caliber designation can be found in 3 places on this rifle. The top of the barrel is stamped 50-95 WCF while the bottom of the brass loading block is marked "50-95" in script. The 3rd place, and by far the most unique is the top of the dust cover which reads, "WINCHESTER EXPRESS / 50 CAL 95 GRS" Only the 50-95's had their dust covers marked with a caliber designation. Note: This rifle has no foreign proofmarks. The Winchester records housed at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming note the following:
On your model 1876, serial number 61209:
Date In: 9-10-1890
Date Shipped: 9-11-1890
Order Number: 17457
Note: Only special order feature not mentioned are the special order Winchester Sling swivels. Based on past experiences with other Winchesters, this is one feature that we find missing from factory records on an almost regular basis when requesting research on Winchester rifles. My guess is that some rifles were never recorded with this feature, while others returned for swivels at later dates, and some installed by Winchester dealers. These swivels are identical to ones we've seen on several 1873 and 1876 Winchesters, many with 7 leaf sights built during the early 1890s. They're 100% Winchester and match the age of the gun perfectly! The swivel base mounted in the stock...the same one as you see on 1873 Muskets. The front swivel is mounted to the base of the forearm cap. Furthermore, the base of the forend cap must be milled flat in order for the swivel to rotate...a somewhat complex and precise operation that would have been quite difficult for just anyone to carry out other than the factory. Overall condition grades to NRA Antique Good with silvery grey metal that is slightly textured from poor storage and scattered pitting. Metal has sharp edges, nice markings, and excellent knurlings. Very slight traces of original blue are present around the edges of the sideplates. The wood is in Very Good condition with no chips, cracks, or repairs. Very good overall wood to metal fit with the wood still standing slightly proud of the metal. Very good action and a good bore.