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Late assembling dates
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October 23, 2022 - 5:28 pm
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Hello all,

first off, a greetings from Italy  –  glad deciding to join, after many instances of looking at the Forum and reading many interesting topics.  I’ve got through the years a small collection of Winchester guns and other original western-related firearms, almost all of them still fall into the 19th century. At least one specimen is present of Winchesters I like the most, from the Mod. 1866 through the 1886 (not interested so far in the ’92 and ’94 models).

At the time is was for me great enough to find here a ’66 carbine even though of very late production, in 167,000 range, but at least rather nice and unmessed. Requested back then a letter from the Cody Museum and it reads as received in the warehouse  the first week of January 1889 and shipped (unknown) the following June. Thus, less than 3,000 numbers away from the very last specimens but still nine years prior the (theorical, I suppose) end of production in 1898.

Similar speaking for one of the ’76s, an Express rifle w/ 22″ barrel and half magazine, #56,500 range, showing the British proof markings  –   suppose it had been sent to Birmingham ‘in the white’ and, there blued.  This time the letter read it being both received in warehouse and shipped in October 1887, eleven years prior the end of production for the Mod. 1876.  Author H. Houze in his very interesting ‘The Centennial’ book clearly states that even if end of production is always showed as 1898, actual period should rather be around 1888 after wich, procedure was of assembling the existing parts upon receiving the orders.

Please a question I’m not able to satisfy: as time passed and orders came ever more rarified (suppose, more so for the Model ’66?) were the serial numbers anyway applied to existing tangs and left on shelves to wait, or only applied when a precise orders arrived? If in the first instance, who or what decided what the production rate should be? Or, 1898 (for both the models) is meant to be when they definitely ran out of the very last components?

Thanx very much !!  Regards  –  Franco.

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October 24, 2022 - 2:31 am
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Hello Franco and welcome to the WACA forums!

Per the factory Polishing Room records, Model 1866 serial number 167000 was applied to its receiver in late December 1888. The final Model 1866 serial number 170101 was applied on February 12th, 1898. All of the serial number between those two were applied as orders were received.

Bert

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October 24, 2022 - 3:48 am
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Welcome, Franco! I’d always wondered why the 1866 rifles continued to sell long after the centerfire cartridge was introduced until someone posted a period price list. RF ammo was pretty economical until shortly before it was discontinued.
What’s the current ammunition situation in Italy?

 

Mike

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October 24, 2022 - 8:54 am
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Bert H. said
Hello Franco and welcome to the WACA forums!

Per the factory Polishing Room records, Model 1866 serial number 167000 was applied to its receiver in late December 1888. The final Model 1866 serial number 170101 was applied on February 12th, 1898. All of the serial number between those two were applied as orders were received.

Bert

  

Thanx very much Mr. Bert! 

Great infos! February 1898, say exactly a full nine years to have the last (about) 3,000 guns assembled and shipped away. So, applications of s/n in those later times was when orders came to the firm   –  I thought it worked this way but wasn’t sure.  Please still a question, was the Polishing Room the last step of the whole process before the actual assembling? As term seem to suggest, did they put there the last finishing touch to the various metal parts, plus gun’s serialization?

I like to think my ’66 carbine could have been shipped abroad, maybe to South America, or Africa or something, where such firearms even with a relatively underpowered cartridge could make difference thanx to the ammo capacity. In fact there had been a shipping of ’66 carbines having s/n very near mine to Brazil, but if I’m not wrong (just going now by memory) they were modified guns in .44 CF.

Franco.

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October 24, 2022 - 9:24 am
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TXGunNut said
Welcome, Franco! I’d always wondered why the 1866 rifles continued to sell long after the centerfire cartridge was introduced until someone posted a period price list. RF ammo was pretty economical until shortly before it was discontinued.

What’s the current ammunition situation in Italy?

 

Mike

  

Thanx Mike, glad to join.

Yes evidently these guns were still appreciated in later times even with a cartridge being somehow ‘obsolete’ and surpassed as for power/ballistics  –   sure, still firearms that made the shooter able in delivering a dozen, or more, shots very quickly in an emergency. I like very much my carbine of very early 1889 and the musket from autumn 1871.

This latter sports ‘Indian’-style brass tacks in a geometric pattern along its stock, together with a stock repair made of leather strips. A weathered gun still with a very good action, that came to me being fitted with a great-looking scope sight in brass, 4X magnification, it looks fantastic even though it is a repro (possibly from mid-‘900 in my opinion).  Not a few sacrifices in order to get these two, plus some other Winchesters, but I’m happy anyway.

Here in Italy even the antiques must undergo some restrictions as for the laws about firearms, exactly like for modern guns in firing condition   –   a firearm license, some precise and strict rules to follow, and no way of getting and keeping any antique ammunition. In my instance the latter detail wouldn’t count that much;  I’m not really a shooter, just collecting these fascinating Winchesters (together with some Colt SAAs, some S&W revolvers and a couple military Springfield carbines).

Franco.

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October 24, 2022 - 4:59 pm
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Banshee said

 

Thanx very much Mr. Bert! 

Great infos! February 1898, say exactly a full nine years to have the last (about) 3,000 guns assembled and shipped away. So, applications of s/n in those later times was when orders came to the firm   –  I thought it worked this way but wasn’t sure.  Please still a question, was the Polishing Room the last step of the whole process before the actual assembling? As term seem to suggest, did they put there the last finishing touch to the various metal parts, plus gun’s serialization?

I like to think my ’66 carbine could have been shipped abroad, maybe to South America, or Africa or something, where such firearms even with a relatively underpowered cartridge could make difference thanx to the ammo capacity. In fact there had been a shipping of ’66 carbines having s/n very near mine to Brazil, but if I’m not wrong (just going now by memory) they were modified guns in .44 CF.

Franco.  

In regards to the Model 1866, I believe that the Polishing Room was the last step before the assembly process was started.  Final finishing of the remaining parts would have occurred after being fitted to the receiver frame.

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October 25, 2022 - 1:46 pm
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Bert H. said

Banshee said

 

Thanx very much Mr. Bert! 

Great infos! February 1898, say exactly a full nine years to have the last (about) 3,000 guns assembled and shipped away. So, applications of s/n in those later times was when orders came to the firm   –  I thought it worked this way but wasn’t sure.  Please still a question, was the Polishing Room the last step of the whole process before the actual assembling? As term seem to suggest, did they put there the last finishing touch to the various metal parts, plus gun’s serialization?

I like to think my ’66 carbine could have been shipped abroad, maybe to South America, or Africa or something, where such firearms even with a relatively underpowered cartridge could make difference thanx to the ammo capacity. In fact there had been a shipping of ’66 carbines having s/n very near mine to Brazil, but if I’m not wrong (just going now by memory) they were modified guns in .44 CF.

Franco.  

In regards to the Model 1866, I believe that the Polishing Room was the last step before the assembly process was started.  Final finishing of the remaining parts would have occurred after being fitted to the receiver frame.

  

Thanx again.  These are fascinating objects, and I suspect the unknown about where they ended after exiting the warehouse just add some intriguing thoughts…  one is free to imagine many different recipients.

Incidentally, I got my carbine exactly (exactly to the very day) 120 years after it was shipped from New Haven.

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October 27, 2022 - 10:54 am
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If my memory serves me correctly, my grandfather was sent to france etc ww1, and he told me he seen a few Turks in the trenche;s with 66 yellowboys. and years later i read somewhere that Turkey received quiet a few 66’s. has anyone else read about this.

tony

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October 27, 2022 - 11:42 am
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At least 50,000 Model ’66 (perhaps, even more) had been sent to Turkish government in very early 1870s, mostly of the Musket variant.  I had read many of them still were stored in arsenals within the Ottoman Empire at the time of WW1, and most likely many were seized among other firearms models by British forces after occupying Baghdad late in the war.

Those former Turkish (and, former British) 1866s being released at some time for the civilian market do sport a distinctive marking put into the receiver, either at right-side or left side, somehow similar to this  ><

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November 1, 2022 - 2:44 pm
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Ciao Franco,

Benvenuto nel forum. Dove vivi in Italia. Ho visitato il tuo paese molte volte e ho amici molto cari qui in Texas che sono nati lì. Il mio italiano non è un granché, quindi uso Google Translate. Scusa per le imperfezioni.

Michael

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November 6, 2022 - 4:51 pm
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twobit said
Ciao Franco,

Benvenuto nel forum. Dove vivi in Italia. Ho visitato il tuo paese molte volte e ho amici molto cari qui in Texas che sono nati lì. Il mio italiano non è un granché, quindi uso Google Translate. Scusa per le imperfezioni.

Michael

  

Hello Michael, 

just back now on the Forum, thanx for the message in Italian   –   no problem about the language matter, anyway it’s perfect as put down by Google.

I live in Piedmont region, North-Western Italy, more precisely in a small town called Bra (… !!), not a bad name after all ah … Embarassed from ancient Latin, Braida. I’m very fond on western-related firearms and accessories, and a few Winchesters are most prized among my current collection. In particular a couple ’66s are my favorites, together with a ’76 (carrying British proofs) in 50-95 Express dated October 1887.

Thanx again  –  regards. Franco.

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