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Documented Three Digit Serial Number Factory Inscribed Winchester Deluxe First Model 1876 “Open Top” Lever Action Rifle with
Factory Letter - Serial no. 742, 45-75 cal., 28 inch octagon bbl., blue/casehardened finish, walnut stock. Offered here is a highly sought after deluxe Winchester
“Open Top” First Model 1876 Rifle with several special order features such as a heavy octagon barrel, set trigger, engraved inscription, and deluxe pistol grip stock.
Adding to its historical significance is the fact that the rifle is one of three documented factory inscribed consecutively serialized Model 1876s shipped on March 9, 1878,
to order number 11257. As stated in the accompanying factory letter, this rifle was received in the warehouse on March 2, 1878, and shipped with four other arms on March 9 with a
heavy octagon barrel, set trigger, checkered pistol grip stock, buckhorn rear sight, and casehardened receiver engraved with the name
“Geo. E. Brown.”The included copy of the factory ledger indicates that two other Model 1876s in the same March 9, 1878, shipment to
order number 11257 were also engraved with a name. No. 740 featured the name W.S. Williams. No. 741 had the name Jack W. Swilling.
This rifle, no. 742, has the name “Geo. E. Brown” script engraved on the left side plate. W.S. Williams has yet to be identified. While William
S. Williams is a noted frontiersman, he died in 1849, nearly 20 years after this rifle was shipped. An early pioneer in the Arizona Territory,
John W. “Jack” Swilling is often credited as one of the original founders of the city of Phoenix. During the Civil War Swilling served with
both the Confederate States Army as a minuteman and the United States Army as a civilian aid. When Arizona officially withdrew from
the Union in 1861, Swilling was serving with a militia company named the Arizona Guards. The guard was absorbed into the Confederate
Army. In May 1862 Union forces captured Tucson and soon after Swilling became a civilian employee of the U.S. Army. Throughout his life Swilling worked a
number of jobs. He was an owner of a mine and saloon. He was a builder of a canal, a farmer, and a rancher. When the rifle was shipped in March 1878 Swilling’s health was failing and in August
he wrongfully arrested and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. His time in prison contributed to his decline in health and eventually led to his death soon after he was released. The true
culprits of the crime were discovered after his death. Whether or not rifle no. 741 was ordered by the Arizona pioneer is not known. George E. Brown remains unknown at this time; however, the
George E. Brown & Co. was a well known Aurora, Illinois, cattle and horse breeder of the period. This three digit serial number Model 1876 rifle has the seldom encountered open top frame whereas the
later Model 1876s had dust covers. Approximately 3,000 were produced out of the total of 63,871 manufactured between 1876 and 1897. The rifle is fitted with globe front sight, an elevation adjustable
buckhorn rear sight, an tang peep sight with 5 inch staff. The rifle correctly lacks a caliber designation as early production Model 1876s were offered in only in .45-75 WCF. The top barrel flat is stamped with the
two-line Winchester address/King’s patent dates marking ahead of the rear sight. The serial number is in script font just below the lever catch on the lower tang. The action is equipped with a documented special order single
set trigger. The checkered forearm and pistol grip stock are deluxe walnut. The pistol grip has an ebony insert and the stock is fitted with a trapdoor crescent buttplate (cleaning rod not included). The left side of the lower tang has the assembly number “128,” which is repeated on the stock inlet and buttplate.
CONDITION: Very good. The refinished barrel and magazine tube display a mixed appearance of smooth brown and plum with a few patches of pitting. The remaining metal surfaces display a smooth gray patina with areas of silvered out original case colors mostly on the receiver. The restored wood has a repair on the forearm near the tip, a couple small chips, some minor handling marks, and recut checkering. Mechanically excellent. A rare factory inscribed deluxe open top Model 1876 that will add interest to any Winchester collection.
Estimate: 6,500 - 9,500
Fine Winchester Model 1866 Lever Action Rifle - Serial no. 164796, 44 RF cal., 24 inch round bbl., blue finish, walnut stock. Manufactured in 1880 as a Fourth Model 1866 rifle with the gradually sloped receiver in front of the hammer and the serial number on the bottom of the lower tang in script numerals. These rifles are one of the most iconic weapons of the American West with this example having made it to England, proving that the Model 1866 had international appeal. The direct descendant of the iconic Henry rifle, they bridged the gap between the Henry and the Winchester Model 1873. The Model 1866 was highly prized on the western frontier for its rapid firepower in comparison to many single shot arms of the time, and was used by people in all walks of life. The top of the barrel is marked with the standard two-line Winchester address and King’s patent marking. London proofs are stamped on the left side of the barrel and receiver at the breech. The cartridge elevator is marked “44 CAL.” It is fitted with a German silver blade front sight and a later production replacement elevation adjustable notch rear sight. It is mounted with a smooth forearm and straight grip stock with an iron trapdoor crescent buttplate (cleaning rod not included).
CONDITION: Fine. The barrel retains 40% original blue
finish. The barrel and magazine tube show extensive pitting,
demonstrating that this rifle saw use in a challenging environment overseas. 50% of original nitre blue remain on the loading gate. The very fine brass receiver has an attractive aged mustard yellow appearance and tight fitting side plates. The wood is fine showing a stress line at the upper tang and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent.
  stimate: 8,500 - 12,000

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