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Winchester 1866 (NRA Antique Grading)
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June 19, 2023 - 8:07 pm
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Hi Robert,

I will leave it to the experts to tell you how to grade it. But I will say its a pretty neat carbine!

Rob

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June 20, 2023 - 1:00 am
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  I think your gun is a little rough to be graded NRA Fine. I see a $5000 carbine that has been helped, but not done professionally. T/R

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June 20, 2023 - 1:15 am
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I see no original finish on the gun. Barrel has been cleaned up and blued maybe cold blue. Receiver has been cleaned as well. Wood has been sanded.

Bob

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June 20, 2023 - 1:26 am
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1873man said
I see no original finish on the gun. Barrel has been cleaned up and blued maybe cold blue. Receiver has been cleaned as well. Wood has been sanded.

Bob

  

No, you’re wrong about that, it’s definitely original bluing.  Maybe it’s hard to tell from photos, but I’ve owned quite a few 1866s and can tell you the bluing is original. I did wipe some mineral oil on the metal surfaces.  Wood is proud to the metal in most areas, not at the toe of the buttplate however.  

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June 20, 2023 - 5:22 am
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”No, you’re wrong about that, it’s definitely original bluing. ” 

You asked for opinions from other knowledgeable collectors. That’s just what you’re getting. I also see no original finish on your 1866. 

A man can never have too many WINCHESTERS...

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June 20, 2023 - 8:09 am
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The best way to tackle this is to provide a known good example and compare yours to it.

Here’s one that sold at Rock Island Auction recently, for $76,375.  It’s a high condition carbine:

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/88/16/winchester-model-1866-lever-action-carbine

Let’s begin with the fact I am evaluating based on the photographs you provided.  Different views in natural lighting may provide better feedback.

Let’s start with the wood.  Note the rich red hues to the wood, and the sheen it contains. In contrast, the finish of yours is more dull and a more brown hue.  This is not consistent with the finish of the era.  The wood on your rifle is lightly sanded prior to refinish.  This is best demonstrated in views of the interface between the forearm and the frame.  Yours is slightly proud, the example provided is much more proud than yours.  How proud the stock is relative to the frame of each is difficult to discern in photographs of the example I provided relative to yours, and this would be better demonstrated with both rifles side by side.

With regards to the bluing, note the richness to the bluing of the example provided.  This is in contrast to the dull grey of th barrel of your rifle.  This is best seen comparing the photographs of the barrel markings of both rifles.  The dull grey of your rifle means it is limited with regards to the extent of original bluing, if any.  The application of oil might enhance the finish present in the photographs provided, but this is likely an optical illusion and removal of the oil might reveal little or no original finish.  Pitting at the end of the barrel demonstrates less favorable storage conditions as compared to the example provided, and the limited contrast here and where the barrel and left side of the sight on your rifle between the white of the metal beneath and the finish of the barrel suggest, at best, a patina has developed over time, and this isn’t damage to an otherwise blued barrel with original finish.

Both the Rock Island example and your description of the finish on your rifle are described as having 95% bluing present.  Clearly, there is considerable difference between the finish of the example I provided when compared to yours, and so it’s impossible to describe both as 95%.  

Also, note the presence of bluing on the screw heads of the example provided and how yours lack such finish.  And note the sharp edges and warm yellow glow of the example provided in contrast to your carbine.     
This simply demonstrates that the example I provided was exposed to much less use and wear than your example.

From the analysis provided, you can thus determine the NRA Antique grading of your carbine.

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June 20, 2023 - 11:52 am
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I may be missing something , but where are the pictures of this gun on this thread

W.A.C.A. life member, Marlin Collectors Assn. charter and life member, C,S.S.A. member and general gun nut.

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June 20, 2023 - 1:08 pm
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There were pictures when looked at them yesterday

Rob

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June 20, 2023 - 1:19 pm
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Robert Drummond Jr said
There were pictures when looked at them yesterday

Rob 

The OP deleted the post which created this thread.  This is unfortunate, as it was a great learning experience for all of us.

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June 20, 2023 - 1:21 pm
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I should have also mentioned that the appearance of any bluing present on the magazine or barrel is suggestive of an old reblue, or at least that’s how it appeared to me.

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June 20, 2023 - 1:29 pm
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In the picture of the right hand side of the barrel and tube where the bad dent was I could see the same color and texture of finish where there should of not been any left as to protected places. In several places on the barrel there was roughness to the metal and it also had the same color as spots that should of been better blue. I would agree pictures do not always tell the truth and better pictures would be in order but that is what I saw with the pictures provided.

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June 20, 2023 - 1:48 pm
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I agree too bad. I was interested in that rifle and how it would grade.

Rob

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June 20, 2023 - 3:08 pm
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I happened to catch the original post and the pictures yesterday … and agree with everything said by those that posted a reply.

My 2 cent thoughts:

1) This man asked for an opinion… but obviously did not like the consensus observations. 

2) He pre-declared it as “NRA Fine” (and perhaps paid up for the same) … and then wanted an affirmation after the fact.

3) An example of his wishful thinking-  “it is like Spurs made the dents on the tube” . We all want and wish for the romance of “frontier association” for our vintage lever gun or six shooter .. but blaming a series of dings and dents “on spurs” … is a real stretch of the imagination.

4) I suspect he paid much more than the realistic 5k that TR suggested that it was worth… and his pride was damaged… so he removed the post and pics.

5) Funny how he asked for thoughts and opinions … and then when he got some feedback – defended obvious flaws in an assertive post…  where he also said he has owned several others…   (so he obviously could not have made a mistake!).

6) I am reminded of two truisms – a) “rationalization is the second strongest drive in human nature”, and b) “a person is much more likely to believe something is true … if they WANT it to be true”.

Mike

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June 20, 2023 - 3:13 pm
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he had his knickers twisted

Rob

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June 20, 2023 - 3:42 pm
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This happens time and time again—on this forum and others.  An individual asks for an opinion and really doesn’t want an opinion but rather, confirmation that they are right.  And when it doesn’t go their way, they disappear in a huff.

It’s all part of the learning curve.

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June 20, 2023 - 5:28 pm
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Original and correct 66 carbines have always been hard to find – early and with condition even harder. It is none of my business what others want to add to their Winchester collection but historically buying guns which have been messed with has always been a losing propositon. I tucked this little carbine away a long time ago and it still has not gone out of style – serial #76343 (1871).

66cbn.JPGImage Enlarger66stk.JPGImage Enlarger66butt.JPGImage Enlarger66ring.JPGImage Enlarger

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June 20, 2023 - 10:57 pm
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Burt Humphrey said
Original and correct 66 carbines have always been hard to find – early and with condition even harder. It is none of my business what others want to add to their Winchester collection but historically buying guns which have been messed with has always been a losing propositon. I tucked this little carbine away a long time ago and it still has not gone out of style – serial #76343 (1871).

66cbn.JPGImage Enlarger66stk.JPGImage Enlarger66butt.JPGImage Enlarger66ring.JPGImage Enlarger

  

 Burt,

 Your gun does not need a description and any written description would not do it justice. T/R

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June 21, 2023 - 12:43 am
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NRA Fine vs Antique Fine … sorry … that I got your proposed description incorrect … but I was going off memory from more than 14 hours previous … and since you had deleted the post, I could not refer back to it to quote you direct. 

I stand by my other observations.

Mike

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June 21, 2023 - 1:40 am
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long spur hollow said
NRA Fine vs Antique Fine … sorry … that I got your proposed description incorrect … but I was going off memory from more than 14 hours previous … and since you had deleted the post, I could not refer back to it to quote you direct. 

I stand by my other observations.

Mike

  

Again, the initial description I provided in the question was – NRA Antique Fine or Very Good (not NRA Fine vs Antique Fine and I wasn’t pushing that narrative, you are) the whole point being, this is likely a Very Good specimen, but could it be Fine? Or do the list of scratches, dings and areas as itemized and shown, prevent it from being that.  SN is 119XXX, 1874 production.   

I do think it was a spur that repeatedly struck the mag tube, it’s difficult to imagine some other scenario where someone was striking it there so many times. The marks are very consistent.  Also, it does look like a rock or primitive tool was used to strike the left side of the rear sight in an attempt to adjust or remove it, striking it and the barrel area just below the sight. 

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June 21, 2023 - 1:58 am
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TR said
  I think your gun is a little rough to be graded NRA Fine. I see a $5000 carbine that has been helped, but not done professionally. T/R

  

Tom, prices have changed in the last few years covering the Model 1866, probably all Winchesters.  Antique Poor condition 1866s are selling $4500, NRA Antique Fair are selling for $5000. I’ve seen 2 in the last year, each with 1 replaced (reproduction) side plate, broken buttstock with pins and replaced sections of wood, reproduction screws, easily sell for $5000 at competitive auction.  Maybe not in the midwest, but that’s how inflation is in the rest of the country, especially back East and the West Coast.

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