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1876 No cartridge markings
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January 4, 2019 - 2:44 am
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I am looking at a model 1876  22,404 serial number. It is chambered in 45-75 yet that is not shown on the barrel or beniegth on the brass elevator (probably the wrong term). The story is that since 45-75 was the only chamber offering at that time, the caliber was not noted on the barrel.  It also has a Lyman folding front sight and folding thick base tang rear sight.  Is this correct?  The rifle appears to be in very good condition. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you,

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January 4, 2019 - 2:51 am
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That is correct, I owned serial 16999 and it was unmarked. It was the same for the first 73’s, since there was only one caliber there wasn’t any reason to mark them.

Bob

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January 4, 2019 - 4:02 am
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Those lovely 1st Models!

Maverick

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January 4, 2019 - 3:53 pm
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Thank you for the information.  My collecting has not extend to rifles before 1930 except for a 1906.  I have been watching these old levers sell for a while trying to some idea of the values.  My concern is they look to be prime for the faking.

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January 4, 2019 - 4:11 pm
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On the contrary, the old rifles are easier to spot fakes since the older aged finish can’t be duplicated and most of the guns can be checked with the Cody records. Where the newer guns have less age to the finish and have no records.

Bob

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January 4, 2019 - 4:36 pm
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One more follow up.  I contacted Cody about a getting a letter but I’m a little reluctant to invest $70 in a letter for a firearm I do not own.  They were able to tell me that the firearm had no repairs or any “special orders”.  Would a 26″ barrel (octagonal), the folding globe Beech Front sight, and Folding thick base tang sight constitute “special orders”?  If not a factory original would these modifications negatively affect the value of the rifle?  The rifle does have the standard barrel mounted rear sight.

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January 4, 2019 - 6:19 pm
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FLT said
One more follow up.  I contacted Cody about a getting a letter but I’m a little reluctant to invest $70 in a letter for a firearm I do not own.  They were able to tell me that the firearm had no repairs or any “special orders”.  Would a 26″ barrel (octagonal), the folding globe Beech Front sight, and Folding thick base tang sight constitute “special orders”?  If not a factory original would these modifications negatively affect the value of the rifle?  The rifle does have the standard barrel mounted rear sight.  

The sights may not be from the factory.  If they were they would be listed in the records.  These, if period correct, are actually a plus.  Pictures would really help.   The standard barrel length was 28″.  I would double check the length on this gun.  A shorter than standard barrel would be a special order for sure.

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January 4, 2019 - 7:05 pm
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How many guns do you letter a year? If you do two per year a membership at the Cody museum is worth it. Or how many guns do you look at and are thinking of buying but are not sure about their configuration? You would be able to get records checked via the phone.

Sights are rarely found on the letter, only 4.6% of the 1873 guns with letters list the sights.

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January 7, 2019 - 5:14 am
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A letter is nice, an inquiry will tell you what you need to know if contemplating a purchase. Being a member of the museum is even better, with some packages a few letters and searches are included so you can support the museum without worrying about what a search or letter may cost. 

Today a timely search can save you thousands of dollars, I haven’t and probably never will use all the searches and letters included in my membership but it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made. 

 

Mike

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January 7, 2019 - 5:58 pm
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TXGunNut said
A letter is nice, an inquiry will tell you what you need to know if contemplating a purchase. Being a member of the museum is even better, with some packages a few letters and searches are included so you can support the museum without worrying about what a search or letter may cost. 

Today a timely search can save you thousands of dollars, I haven’t and probably never will use all the searches and letters included in my membership but it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made. 

 

Mike  

I totally agree…  A quick call or email can save you.

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January 8, 2019 - 12:08 am
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Good advice and membership to the Cody Museum is a good cause. The letter does not specify barrel length. Which I assume means it was shipped with a 28” barrel? Should 1876’s show the caliber after serial number 8,500?  The seller, who has a good reputation, say it all looks original but can not attest to the Cody records. The screws, and measurements of sight location and magizine tang all look good.  

Thanks for the advice. 

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January 8, 2019 - 12:25 am
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FLT said
Good advice and membership to the Cody Museum is a good cause. The letter does not specify barrel length. Which I assume means it was shipped with a 28” barrel? Should 1876’s show the caliber after serial number 8,500?  The seller, who has a good reputation, say it all looks original but can not attest to the Cody records. The screws, and measurements of sight location and magizine tang all look good.  

Thanks for the advice.   

No, I had 16,999 and it was 45-75 and didn’t have a caliber mark.

Bob

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January 8, 2019 - 1:04 am
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To add to that, the 73’s in 44 were not marked at first for the same reason and then when they came out with other calibers, the news calibers were marked but the 44’s were not marked consistently. The 76 probably was the same.

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March 20, 2021 - 6:05 am
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Anyone have the starting serial number range or year that Winchester started stamping the caliber on the carrier & barrel in 76’s?

RickC

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March 20, 2021 - 6:11 am
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RickC said
Anyone have the starting serial number range or year that Winchester started stamping the caliber on the carrier & barrel in 76’s?

RickC  

1879 was when Winchester added the 45-60 and 50-95, so it stands to reason that is when they started marking the caliber.

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March 20, 2021 - 12:51 pm
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  FLT, Anytime the letter does not match the gun it affects the value in a negative way. The sights have value so that can be an exception. Posting good pictures will give you access to expert advice on the Forum.

 A 76 has the serial number stamped on the receiver, but the barrel can be screwed on and off. A barrel made before 1886 has a CT. address and one made after has a USA address. The threads on the barrel until about serial number 12,000 were 13/16″ and after 7/8″. Sometimes that information can help you decide if the gun can be right. T/R

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March 20, 2021 - 3:11 pm
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Bert H. said

1879 was when Winchester added the 45-60 and 50-95, so it stands to reason that is when they started marking the caliber.  

I have 1876 rifle SN 33,812 a third model, made April 18, 1883, shipped August 19, 1883 and it does not have any caliber markings on the barrel or lifter.   This is four years after the Express and .45-60 were introduced.   This rifle is about 90% overall condition.

I suspect it was Winchester using up parts on hand.   When they finally used up the unmarked barrels and lifters, the barrels and lifters that were marked .45-75 started showing up in the guns.  Conversely, Express, .45-60 and .40-60 guns should always have caliber designation on barrel, lifter.  Express rifles also have it on the dust cover.

Also, the warehouse records often don’t record caliber for the 1876 if it is .45-75 as that was standard.  Barrel length of 28 inches was also standard and so may not be listed.   The serial number listed above has no caliber or barrel length listed in the factory records.   I have seen .44 WCF 1873 rifles that follow a similar practice.  Of course, like everything Winchester, there are exceptions.  This is not written in blood!   I have an 1876 in .45-75 made in 1887 and its shipping record does show caliber.   Just another inconsistency we see in Winchester collecting.

I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder

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March 20, 2021 - 3:21 pm
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Thanks Bert, Bill, & T/R. Appreciate this info.

RickC

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March 21, 2021 - 12:40 am
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Bill Hockett said

I have 1876 rifle SN 33,812 a third model, made April 18, 1883, shipped August 19, 1883 and it does not have any caliber markings on the barrel or lifter.   This is four years after the Express and .45-60 were introduced.   This rifle is about 90% overall condition.

I suspect it was Winchester using up parts on hand.   When they finally used up the unmarked barrels and lifters, the barrels and lifters that were marked .45-75 started showing up in the guns.  Conversely, Express, .45-60 and .40-60 guns should always have caliber designation on barrel, lifter.  Express rifles also have it on the dust cover.

Also, the warehouse records often don’t record caliber for the 1876 if it is .45-75 as that was standard.  Barrel length of 28 inches was also standard and so may not be listed.   The serial number listed above has no caliber or barrel length listed in the factory records.   I have seen .44 WCF 1873 rifles that follow a similar practice.  Of course, like everything Winchester, there are exceptions.  This is not written in blood!   I have an 1876 in .45-75 made in 1887 and its shipping record does show caliber.   Just another inconsistency we see in Winchester collecting.

That falls in line with the 73’s in 44 not being marked for a while after the other calibers came out.

Bob

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