Lot 2023: Rare and Desirable John Rigby Retailer Marked Winchester Model 1876 .50 Express Rifle with Factory Letter
6th May 2017
The rifle is chambered for the Winchester 50-95 Express cartridge and was manufactured in 1879 with the Second Model receiver with screw-fastened dust cover rail and dust cover with impressed, checkered, thumbprint. The left side plate is hand-engraved: "Jno RIGBY & Co/ 72 ST. JAMES STT./LONDON" in three lines. London proof and inspection marks are stamped along the left side of the barrel below the rear sight and on the upper left side of the receiver. A sliding bar safety which engages a notch at the back of the hammer when the hammer is at half-cock has been added to the upper tang. The safety and hammer notch are professionally executed and presumably were added by the Rigby firm prior to sale. The barrel, magazine, forearm tip, receiver and shotgun buttplate are Winchester commercial blue. The loading gate and dust cover have a fire blue finish. The hammer and lever are color casehardened. The stock and forearm are straight grain American walnut with a polished finish. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped: "WINCHESTER'S-REPEATING-ARMS. NEW HAVEN. CT./KING"S-IMPROVEMENT-PATENTED-MARCH 29.1865. OCTOBER 16. 1860." in two lines ahead of the rear sight. "50 CAL. EXPRESS" is hand-engraved on the top of the barrel between the rear sight and the receiver. The top of the dust cover is hand-engraved: "WINCHESTER EXPRESS/50 CAL 95 GRNS" in two lines. "50-95" is engraved on the bottom of the cartridge elevator. "MODEL 1876." is roll-stamped on the upper receiver tang and the serial number "9776" is roll-stamped in script numerals on the lower tang between the lever latch and the tang screw. The powerful Winchester 50-95 Express cartridge and Model 1876 rifle appealed to British sportsmen looking for a repeating rifle suitable for big game in Africa and India. As the premier English gunmaker and retailer, the Rigby firm supplied a limited number of Winchester rifles to British sportsmen. Winchester rifles with Rigby markings are scarce and desirable. The included factory letter confirms the express caliber, barrel length, round barrel, plain trigger, half magazine and shotgun butt. It was received in the warehouse on November 18, 1879, and shipped the next day.
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