This is a very good example of an early 3rd Model Winchester 1866 Musket. Standard 27" round barrel, long forewood, ladder rear sight, military/carbine style buttstock, and sling swivels. The 24" tubular magazine held seventeen rounds of .44 rimfire ammunition. The serial number is in the high 32,000 serial range. It was made in 1870 and while unmarked, the serial number is right in the middle of a group of muskets that shipped to the Louisiana State Militia in the 31,000 to 34,000 range. There is an old issue of "The Gun Report" about the LSM muskets and how just over 300 were lost in New Orleans in 1874 during the battle of Liberty Place:
In addition to the Lousiana muskets, I've seen a couple of others with South Carolina markings not to mention a huge contract that went to the country of Turkey...about 30,000. That said, many of us here in America don't realize how important the Model 1866 Musket was to Winchester during its first years. During the early 1870's, the 1866 musket was Oliver Winchester's best-selling product. There is some really interesting correspondence between Oliver Winchester and the Turkish Minister of War discussing the two large Turkish contracts of 1870 and 1871 in the back of the book, The First Winchester by John E. Parsons. In a world of single shot rifles, these Turkish 1866 Winchesters turned the military world upside down in 1877 when they were used against the Russian Army at the Battle of Plevna with devastating results. Suddenly, repeating rifles with magazines were seen not as just a novelty but as a necessity in modern warfare. Rifles like the Mauser 71/84 with its tubular magazine were almost certainly a direct result of the Model 1866 Winchester.
Overall Condition is NRA Antique Good++ to Very Good with nice edges and good markings throughout. The brass frame and buttplate have turned to a mellow patina with the iron components aged to a brown patina. The wood is solid with no cracks or repairs and correct original fit that has never been sanded. There is one minor chip on the left side of the forewood just below the rear sight...otherwise, Very Good. Everything on this rifle is correct and original. There are lots of 1866's out there posing as the real thing with non-original components...often from Model 1873's. That is not the case here...this is a nice untouched example with matching assembly numbers on the frame, stock, and buttplate. Note the high comb on the stock which rises up about an inch. This is correct for a Model 1866 and it's the first thing to look for when inspecting one as a short comb ALWAYS indicates a Model 1873 stock has been substituted as a replacement. Original ladder right sight is intact with original elevator. Barrel address is good and completely legible. Hammer checkering is correctly cross-hatched just like a Henry rifle and remains sharp. Original bolt still has its dual opposing .44 rimfire firing pins and has never been altered to centerfire. The magazine tube has the correct early threaded cap. Early Model 1866 sling swivels are intact and are both in perfect working order. Early lever is a correct one with small loop and still has its original screw-in lever latch. Lastly, the mechanics on this rifle are perfect. The bore is incredible...it's a perfect 10 of 10 in Mint Condition. These 1866 Muskets played an important role in both Winchester's early history as well as military history.