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Total Newbie - Opinions on this Winchester Model 1866 for displaying purposes?
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January 28, 2023 - 6:52 pm
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Hello everyone, it is a pleasure to meet you all.

I am looking to purchase “an authentic piece” from the American Frontier era, something that represents ranchers, cowboys etc as a display piece for my home. I never shot a gun in my life! I came across this online and would love the opinion of experts like you all.

https://ciscosgallery.com/collections/old-west-cowboy-firearms/products/winchester-model-1886-ae0654

I don’t care that it has been modified (cut), to be honest I like it even more – it adds character! Just wanted to have opinions – I don’t intend to make it functional or anything like that but I would love to have something really authentic. Might lightly clean it (carefully, no polishing or refinish) but that’s it.

Thank you very much for your time and have a great weekend!

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January 28, 2023 - 7:17 pm
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Hello Charles and welcome to the WACA website.

The Model 1886 rifle you are looking at is appropriately priced, and I would not recommend doing anything to it other than a cursory wipe down with a soft rag. Apply a very light coat of oil to the steel surfaces and clean the stocks with any quality wood furniture oil.

Bert

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January 28, 2023 - 7:49 pm
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Welcome!

For display purposes at the asking price, this might be an okay purchase.  But I’d like to see it closer to $1500.  I’d offer that and then negotiate.

Having said that it is antique, which is good, but it lacks condition in addition to the cut barrel.  A rifle that costs you more with more condition would be a wiser purchase in the long run.  You say you have never fired a gun before but I get the impression you want to.  I would purchase a Model 1886 (which is what you are looking at, not a Model 1866 as it states in your title) chambered in .45 – 70, which is the only caliber in which the Model 1886 was chambered that is commercially readily available today.  That way you could fire this rifle if desired.

If you desire a rifle from the Frontier era, the Model 1886 is an okay choice, but the Models 1866, 1873, or 1876 are better choices.  A Model 1873 would be the most common and most affordable of these three choices.

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January 28, 2023 - 8:09 pm
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Hello Bert and mrcvs, thank you so much for your detailed responses! I really appreciate it. Those are all great suggestions that I will keep in mind – I will keep searching for one of your recommendations. Have a great day!

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January 28, 2023 - 8:19 pm
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Welcome, Charles.

If you’re looking for a rustic display Winchester with a good bit of character I’d say you found it. It’s a bit heavy so please ensure the mount is sturdy. Most collectors value a gun based on condition but if rustic is what you want there is some value to an honest old working gun. Wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of haggling, I try not to invest that much in a wall hanger.

Be careful dabbling in this sort of thing, Winchesters are known to cause certain folks to spend considerable time and resources in their pursuit. It doesn’t matter that you don’t shoot, a surprising number of collectors seldom if ever fire the guns they collect. You’ve been warned, enjoy!

 

Mike

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January 28, 2023 - 8:42 pm
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For a wall-hanger that will never be fired, a gun in this cond. is the perfect choice, though it would be perfecter if the price could be knocked down by $500 or so.  Never hurts to ask, & never believe a gun dealer who tells you “I’ve got more than that in it”; in fact, never believe anything a dealer tells you, like the phony story that ranchers commonly amputated barrels in this way.  However, for your specific purpose, it’s good someone did, as it dropped the collector value by several hundred.  An undesirable caliber is likewise a “good” thing for the same reason.  

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January 28, 2023 - 9:40 pm
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Appreciate all the help guys, really! Thank you

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January 28, 2023 - 11:18 pm
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  Charles,

 The add says extra lightweight which it is not. It’s a cut down round barrel 1886 model rifle priced $800 high. I think a carbine or an octagon rifle in the same condition would display better. An old carbine would cost more but you could get an octagon rifle for $2000 or perhaps a model 1894 cheaper. A model 1894 in octagon, full magazine, and crescent butt is just as old cowboy west as a 1886.   Buying an original no condition working gun might have better resale when you decide to sell. T/R

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January 28, 2023 - 11:46 pm
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TR said
  Charles,

 The add says extra lightweight which it is not. It’s a cut down round barrel 1886 model rifle priced $800 high. I think a carbine or an octagon rifle in the same condition would display better. An old carbine would cost more but you could get an octagon rifle for $2000 or perhaps a model 1894 cheaper. A model 1894 in octagon, full magazine, and crescent butt is just as old cowboy west as a 1886.   Buying an original no condition working gun might have better resale when you decide to sell. T/R

  

Yes, I meant to mention what you stated about octagon barrels but forgot.  A strike against the OPs rifle he may purchase is that it has a round barrel and octagon barrels are far more desirable.

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January 29, 2023 - 12:33 am
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clarence said
For a wall-hanger that will never be fired, a gun in this cond. is the perfect choice, though it would be perfecter if the price could be knocked down by $500 or so.  Never hurts to ask, & never believe a gun dealer who tells you “I’ve got more than that in it”; in fact, never believe anything a dealer tells you, like the phony story that ranchers commonly amputated barrels in this way.  However, for your specific purpose, it’s good someone did, as it dropped the collector value by several hundred.  An undesirable caliber is likewise a “good” thing for the same reason.  

  

It’s already been marked down from $3500 to $2000 Laugh

My take – if the name “Gallery” is part of the name of the business – abandon the idea they’ll let something go for less than very overpriced.

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January 29, 2023 - 1:02 am
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TR said
  Charles,

 The add says extra lightweight which it is not. It’s a cut down round barrel 1886 model rifle priced $800 high. I think a carbine or an octagon rifle in the same condition would display better. An old carbine would cost more but you could get an octagon rifle for $2000 or perhaps a model 1894 cheaper. A model 1894 in octagon, full magazine, and crescent butt is just as old cowboy west as a 1886.   Buying an original no condition working gun might have better resale when you decide to sell. T/R

  

Hi TR – thank you so much for your comment. I’ll make sure to look into that instead!

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January 29, 2023 - 2:16 am
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Charles,  take a look at this Model 1873: https://www.gunbroker.com/item/968704925

It has too many defects to list, but as a wall-hanger it would do just fine.  The folks who advise you to spend more for a “better gun” have missed your point.

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January 29, 2023 - 2:29 am
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clarence said
Charles,  take a look at this Model 1873: https://www.gunbroker.com/item/968704925

It has too many defects to list, but as a wall-hanger it would do just fine.  The folks who advise you to spend more for a “better gun” have missed your point.  

No, I understand the OP wants a wall hanger but the OP also said he had never fired a firearm before and the tone of his language suggested he might want to do so.

Let’s kill two birds with one stone.

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January 29, 2023 - 12:28 pm
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clarence said
Charles,  take a look at this Model 1873: https://www.gunbroker.com/item/968704925

It has too many defects to list, but as a wall-hanger it would do just fine.  The folks who advise you to spend more for a “better gun” have missed your point.

  

I can’t even fathom how many stories this rifle has to tell.

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January 29, 2023 - 2:47 pm
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steve004 said

 I can’t even fathom how many stories this rifle has to tell.

  

Pretty sure I saw a photo of Geronimo holding this very gun!  Or one that looked just like it.  That beaded case is no fake.  I’d frame them both together, if I had it. 

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