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0296-22 From The Vault - Special Order Deluxe Winchester Model 1886 Lever Action Rifle_Thumb

From the Vault: "Lend-Lease" Deluxe Winchester Model 1886

Author Steve Ostrem
one year ago
Brownells Gun Techs™ Keith and Steve are again enjoying the hospitality of the great folks at Rock Island Auction Co., where they found this very well preserved Winchester Model 1886 chambered in .45-70 Government. This is a Deluxe model, special ordered from the factory, with all the bells and whistles a serious late-19th or early-20th century rifleman could want. These include a tang-mounted Lyman rear peep sight, flip-up rear leaf sight on the receiver, short "button" magazine, half-round / half-octagon barrel, and gorgeous wood with choice checkering. What makes this rifle different from other Deluxe Model 1886s is that it was one of the guns donated by American citizens to Great Britain during the darkest days of World War II.
The plaque on the buttstock reads: "This rifle was loaned to us for the defence of Britain in a time of dire necessity. It is now returned to the owner, Dean Paul D. Andrews, with our grateful thanks. R.B. Pullin & Co. Ltd. London." (Note the British spelling of "defense".) In 1940 after the fall of France, it looked like Germany would soon invade the island - and the British would not have enough small arms to fight them. There was a concerted drive in the U.S. to collect sporting arms from American citizens to send to the British so they could stop the Germans. In the end, enough rifles from U.S. military reserves were sent under the Lend-Lease program that the British did not need to use sporting arms in combat. It certainly would have been a bad day for any Nazi who encountered an angry Englishman wielding this bundle of .45-70 hurt!
Rock Island's Model 1886 was certainly donated by a wealthy individual. This is not an everyday Winchester. On its own, it is a remarkable firearm for its beauty and workmanship. But its wartime trip to the U.K. and return to its original owner make it even more impressive. Certainly adds a unique facet to its provenance!