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1866 Found a new home
October 10, 2015
11:10 pm
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I got bit last year and have been suffering ever since with this winchester virus. Went to an auction this week to see if I could find a cure and it only got worse. I started out last year looking for a few good lever guns for my wall, but the list keeps getting longer. This gun was in an estate auction and was out of place compared to the other guns there. With my limited experience it appeared to be original except for maybe a screw or two being replaced. I am interested to get opinions whether it is original condition or not. I also was impressed with the condition of the rifling. Some light pitting but seemed sharp to me. Any ideas on value. There are not many examples of 66’s on the internet to compare to. S/N 3972X Circa 1870. Makes it a 3rd edition I believe.

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October 10, 2015
11:23 pm
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Kevin,

The pictures are too small to see any detail.

Bob

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October 10, 2015
11:26 pm
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1873man, Had to downsize them in order to get them to load. I will get some better ones tomorrow when the sun is shining.

October 10, 2015
11:39 pm
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You don’t have to downsize to 32 Kb.  999 Kb will upload.

1876-4-1.jpg

"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." 

October 11, 2015
1:05 am
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Updated pictures in original post.

October 11, 2015
2:20 am
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An even rarer find in that it has a crescent buttplate on a carbine.  Nice acqusition.

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"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." 

October 11, 2015
2:46 am
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Kevin,

The gun had some rust on it and has been cleaned up including the brass. I don’t see any sign of original finish. I see a problem with the stock, it does not match the guns condition or fit. I would then question the butt plate.

Bob

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October 11, 2015
3:03 am
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Kevin,

I tend to agree with Bob. In my opinion, the front sight has been added do to the serial number. The sight should be part of the front barrel band. A neat old gal.

Walter Blake

October 11, 2015
8:03 pm
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The rifle butt plate would be correct for a carbine  at that time. The stock is new to the gun, the metal to wood fit is too good for the condition of the rest of the gun. Someone tried to artificially age it by denting the wood with something but there is no age to the dents. Then you have the wrong front sight as Walter pointed out. I don’t know if someone put on a later barrel or milled the barrel. The gun is worth $4500-$5000 in its current condition

Bob

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October 12, 2015
12:10 am
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Glad that you found an 1866. You are fortunate to have one. I’d love to own one, but have not been able to find one that I could afford. Of course, I could always sell a couple of my other prized original Winchesters, but that doesn’t seem like a good idea at all.

October 12, 2015
11:11 am
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An 1866 was the first Winchester I ever wanted as a teenager . However I realized that they were a premium price over a model I could shoot , and shooting took over, and I never have come across an affordable one. Still would love one tho

Phil

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October 13, 2015
8:15 pm
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Thanks everyone for your observations. I have been taking a closer look at the stock. At first I didn’t agree about it being replaced. Its kinda funny the pictures make the metal look worse but the wood look better. I do believe it is possible the stock was replaced but the forearm seems original. If it was replaced it looks to have been from another winchester of similar or at least very old vintage.

Now I am looking for some 44 HRF ammo. Seems to be a dead end search, other than collector cartridges. I know the rimfire priming is a problem for hand loaders but I figured someone had it figured out. Anyone have any sources that you care to share?

October 13, 2015
8:32 pm
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Kevin,

The forearm is original as far as I can tell and I would of expected the stock to look and fit the same. Your not going to find 44 flats to fire in the gun. I did it in mine about 20 years ago. I bought some Dominion shells for $5 a pop and fired off 2 in a rifle.  The first one went off on the first hit and the second took 2 hits. After the first shot I couldn’t see the rifling. I heard that many years ago someone made a run of 44 flats but it didn’t last long and they stopped because they were worried about liability.

Bob

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October 13, 2015
9:13 pm
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Bob,

What do you mean that after the first shot you could see the rifling.

Kevin

October 13, 2015
9:16 pm
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I miss typed, I meant “couldn’t”

Bob

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October 23, 2015
6:15 pm
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Just received the Fall edition of the Winchester Collector magazine today and was reading an article by David Tawney about his quest for information on an 1860 Henry. Inspired me to do some investigating on my 1866. I had already pulled the stock and could not locate any numbers but the article showed numbers on the butt plate of the Henry, so I checked mine. Happy to report the numbers matched the frame numbers. This does not mean the wood has not been replaced but makes it less likely. At least the stock was not pulled from another gun and fitted to this one. Most likely would have transferred the butt plate too if the stock had been changed in this manner. I was going to get a letter on this gun but it appears that the information is not available for this particular serial number.

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October 24, 2015
1:39 am
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This old girl is going to breathe fire again soon. I am getting closer to having some 44 rimfire ammunition. I successfully reprimed some 22 rimfire today. Now I need to get some brass made, find some 44 heeled bullets and then put it all together. I will keep posting as I make more progress.

October 27, 2015
1:59 pm
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Excellent! I will look forward to a range report. It would be nice to see some photos of the event …. and it would outstanding to see a video of it (although that may be asking a bit much). Seeing an original 1866 being fired would be a real treat.

January 14, 2016
2:55 am
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Well it certainly took a while to get it right, but here is a plate of fun ready to be served to the ’66.

Custom brass machined by me with 20 grains of FFg Goex pushing a 200 grain heeled bullet specifically made for the 44 HRF.

The original Henry cartridge used 28 grains of black powder with the 200 grain bullet as standard.

The muzzle velocity with this load averages 820 FPS and generates 300 pounds at the muzzle.

Its pretty mild to shoot, but it sure get everyone’s attention when you do.

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January 14, 2016
3:07 am
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Quite an accomplishment.  Kudos!

1876-4-1.jpg

"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." 

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