This is just an ordinary standard Model 1876 Winchester in Caliber 45-60 except it has a very unusual rear sight marked "PAT DEC. 1, 96". Standard 28" round barrel, full magazine, and crescent rifle buttplate. Serial number is in the 25,000 range which dates this rifle's manufacture to the year 1882.
We've never seen a rear sight quite like this one before. The inventor stamped a number "7" on the upper tang (see photos) as he apparently had other rifles with this sight he was developing. The sight appears to be a prototype with a small beam positioned in-line with the barrel atop a modified Winchester sight base. The construction is quite good and appears to have been made by at very least by a proficient machinist. The top is matted to reduce glare while the base of the sight has a small wheel with checkered edges that adjusts the elevation of the beam. Naturally, we were quite curious to investigate who made this sight but all we had to go by was the date on the side of the sight. Unfortunately, a day long trip to the Georgia Tech Library in Atlanta for a Patent search proved fruitless. We found lots of patents for sights....but nothing on this one in the 1890's timeframe. In the end, we suspect this sight was probably submitted to the patent office but was never unique enough for a U.S. patent to be granted. Sometimes, inventors will put spurious patents on their designs to ward off copy-cats....so that's our theory...Dec 1, 1896 could also be a date the model was submitted. The front sight also appears to be hand-built by the inventor. Perhaps one of you sight gurus will know more about what this really is.
Overall, this rifle is in NRA Antique Very Good+ condition. Aside fromt the experimental sights, everything on this rifle is original. The frame has 15-20% faded original blue that is strong in protected. The balance of the finish has turned to a smooth patina with no pitting. Strong traces of original fire blue on the loading port. Barrel and magazine tube have 25% dull original blue remaining along the wood line and in the more protected recesses where the barrel and tube meet. Nice markings and edges with a clear barrel address and nice "45-60" located on the brass loading block and top of the barrel. The wood is in fine condition still retaining much of its original varnish with nice wood to metal fit and no chips, cracks, or repairs. Very good bore with good lands a grooves...just a tad frosty with no rings, bulges, or signs of any serious pitting. A very unique rifle with an interesting American 19th century adjustable rear sight.