This is a really nice example of a Winchester 1866 SRC that's in untouched condition. The patina on the brass frame on this yellowboy is as nice as we've seen for some time. Serial number is in the 157,000 range and still in its original .44 rimfire configuration. According to factory records, it entered the Warehouse at Winchester on December 28, 1881 and shipped with 99 other Model 1866's on February 25, 1882. This is what some collectors might refer to as a late 3rd Model as it was one of the last 1866's to be equipped with a brass buttplate. Note the barrel still has the early style rear sight dovetail close to the frame for the early style rear sight. When Winchester introduced its improved carbine ladder sight in the early 1880's, the workmen had to turn these around backwards in the older style dovetails due to their proximity to the frame. Because the ladder flipped up backwards, the yardage graduations had to be located on the opposite side of the ladder facing down. Today, these are encountered almost exclusively on late 2nd Model and early 3rd Model 1873 carbines built in the early 1880's. However, they are quite scarce on Model 1866 carbines as production was much lower by the 1880's and these were only used for a short time until the supply of older barrels were used up...not unlike some of the earliest production 1st Model 1873's built in early 1874 that use reversed rear sights. Ladder rear sight....and the only one I've seen in 25 years of collecting. The top is dated "1873" which is correct. However, what we didn't know about this particular carbine is that it has a very special reversed rear sight that we'd never encountered before. Not only does it have graduations of the bottom of the ladder, but the sight base has a flat front. Normally, which is 99.99% of the time, these came with a pointed front with beveled edges, but this sight is squared off at the front with a beveled edge. It's our understanding that just a handful of these were made exclusively for the reversed rear ladder sights. I've been collecting Winchesters for over 25 years and this is the first one I've seen.
Overall condition is NRA Antique VG+ to Fine condition. Everything on this carbine is original and untouched. The barrel and magazine tube are mostly a nice brown patina with 15-20% original blue mixing through the patina with better discernable amounts in protected areas...i.e. along the wood-line of the forewood, around the bands, rear sight, and up against the mag tube & frame. Brass frame has a deep marbled patina. Screws are caked with dirt and have not been turned for what looks like at least a century. Wood is in fine condition that has never been touched in any way. Nice wood to metal fit, and best of all it's original. Many 66's have had their wood replaced...this one is righteous...note the high comb on the buttstock. The buttplate has its sliding brass door that still contains its original set of 3-piece cleaning rods. Nice action that is very untouched with original .44 rimfire dual firing pins intact and even the original extractor. Bore is untouched too but exhibits strong rifling with no rings or bulges and should clean to at least Good. A very strong example of an 1866 SRC!