“Yellow Boy” Winchester Lever Action Rifle, USA 1866

  • Made of cast metal (zamak) and hardwood
  • Can be cocked and dry fired like the original
  • Non-firing replica. Permit free in most countries
  • Excellent for theater and film productions

185

5 in stock

Description of the Product

Winchester is a classic Wild West rifle that appears almost invariably in all Westerns. This rifle has been seen for example in the hands of John Wayne in dozens of films set in the classic Wild West era 1830-1860. The Winchester rifle was already during the 19th century originally advertised as a "weapon that conquered the West" and for a good reason.

This model 1866 is the first rifle made under the Winchester brand name. This first Winchester model was based on a previous rifle called the Henry rifle from the same company. The body of this 1866 model was made of a bronze / brass alloy called gun metal that's also called red brass. Because of the brass-colored body of the rifle, the gun was nicknamed Yellow Boy. Gun metal was commonly used during the 19th century to make guns, hence giving this metal alloy the name "gun metal". Red brass (gun metal) actually lasts better and longer than steel, which became the typical gun body material a couple of decades later for economic reasons.

The biggest improvement of this 1866 Winchester over the previous Henry rifle was a new patented loading port on the right side of the body and a wooden hand guard over the barrel to protect the shooter's hand from the hot barrel. When loading the tubular magazine under the barrel of the Henry rifle, the tube magazine spring was compressed with a sliding lever and the cartridges were dropped from the opening into the protective tube magazine. As a result, the Henry rifle had no forend/hand guard and dust, sand and other debris naturally occasionally entered the magazine from the groove of the loading lever, causing problems. Winchester 1866 indeed was seen as a reliable and dependable weapon that clearly improved on the weaknesses of its predecessor.

Lever action repeater rifles could be loaded with several bullets at once. The tubular magazine under the barrel held typically 14 rounds. Turning the lever the spent cartridge was removed and a new bullet was loaded ready to fire. Repeater rifles were capable of significantly faster rate of fire than single-loaded rifles, and although these used less powerful bullets (same ones that were used in revolvers), the higher rate of fire more than offset the lower impact power of the bullets. The advantages of these rifles that could be loaded with several rounds was already discovered during the American Civil War. Confederate soldiers watched with jealousy with their single shot muskets and marveled at the “damn Yankee rifle that could be loaded on Sunday and fired all week”.

Although Winchester is nowadays seen as the weapon of the US Wild West, the weapon was actively used also in Europe. For example, France bought 6,000 of this Winchester 1866 model during the Franco-Prussian War, which took place in 1870-71. In this war Germany was united and formed into an empire and the second French empire was overthrown. Another way Winchester rifle influenced European history was when the Ottoman Empire purchased 45,000 1866 Winchester rifles, which were used with terrible efficiency in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 that was fought between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Russia invaded Bulgaria to protect Christians in the region and liberate the Slavs and safeguard Russia’s interests in the Black Sea. The war also involved the Finnish Guard, which received recognition and praise from the emperor. However, even the firepower of the Winchester rifles did not help the Ottomans, and Russian-led forces only stopped at the gates of Constantinople. Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro gained independence as a result of this war.

The receiver of this rifle has a saddle ring from which the user could tie his own rifle to a saddle or to a separate carrying strap. The idea was to make sure the gun never accidentally dropped and got lost.

  • This gun is an exact replica of the original. The replica matches the original in size and weight. The mechanisms of the weapon are working. The weapon can be cocked and dry fired like a real one. Due to the materials used, the mechanisms cannot withstand continuous cocking and firing for long periods.
  • Genuine wood and cast metal has been used to make this replica weapon. Zamac differs from steel in many respects, so the structure of the gun does not withstand pressure, it cannot be used to fire bullets, nor can it be converted to a functional weapon by any means.
  • Replica guns such as this do not require permits in Finland, nor in many other countries. However, since the gun looks real, it should not be carried in public.
  • A replica gun is perfect for historical re-enactment, on a theater stage, in film productions, for collectors of historical memorabilia, and as decoration.
  • Length: 100 cm
  • Weight: 3,0 kg
  • Manufacturer: Denix, Spain

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- Hans Segercrantz

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