I’m a sucker for an elegant lever gun, and while cruising through the Benelli booth today, a very lovely, very golden lever gun with a big “NEW” tag hanging on it nearly jumped off the rack at me. Turns out Uberti is dead set on draining money from my pockets by producing a finely engraved 1866 pattern rifle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Winchester’s first rifle . . .
Uberti’s fancy new lever gun is chambered in .45 Colt and features a 20 inch barrel with a tube long enough to hold ten rounds plus the one in the chamber. Advertised weight is a hair over seven and a half pounds. I’ll let Uberti take it from here:
Given the historic breakthroughs achieved with the Henry rifle, Winchester improved on its design to make it even more useful on both the range and the battlefield. In 1866, they introduced Nelson King’s patented spring-steel loading gate, as well as a wood fore-end for added comfort. These changes led to the creation of the “Yellowboy,” the earliest version of the quintessential cowboy rifle whose lines and basic functioning survive to this day.
The Uberti 150th Anniversary Edition features the unique transitional “flat-sided” receiver profile found only in very early 1866 rifles. The receiver’s shape falls in fact somewhere in between that of the Henry and that of the later, more rounded cowboy rifle. It is the exact replica of an 1866-dated rifle with the very low serial number 13546, now part of the Uberti collection.
In an attempt to gain military adoption, Winchester presented the Yellowboy rifle to government boards in the US and abroad. This is a reason why several lavishly-engraved specimens survive, as striking now as they would have been to the officials to whom they were presented. Our 150th Anniversary model replicates a rifle with a particularly fine engraving pattern, almost certainly executed by an American artist. Our engraving is hand-chased so as to ensure that each piece is wholly unique.
The brass is polished to a high shine, and the engraving looks top notch. The action is smooth as silk, and it points like an absolute dream. As you’d expect from a lightweight lever gun, it feels excellent to the hand, best when positioned offhand. MSRP is $1778 while the standard yellow boy 1866 is priced near $1200. If street prices hold, expect the 150th anniversary to be about $200 less than MSRP on the open market. I haven’t bothered to ask for a T&E sample because I don’t think I can hide a purchase of this magnitude.