Specifications and History:
The Winchester Model 1866 is also known as "the Yellow Boy" due to its polished brass receiver frame. Developed from the Henry, it utilized a loading gate on the side of the action instead of loading through the under barrel magazine.
Approx. 175.000 Model 1866 rifles were made, with production ending in 1898. The 1866 was chambered in .44 caliber rimfire and took a 28 grain powder weight. The reduction in the projectile weight from the single-shot rifles managed to increase the projectile's velocity. The Model 1866 had a 24 inch round or octagonal barrel and weighed 9 to 9 1/2 lbs. There were other variants, including a musket with a 27inch barrel. The musket 1866 weighed 8 1/4 lbs. The most common variant was the 1866 Carbine with a 19inch barrel, weighing 7 1/2 lbs.
1866 rifles and mukets held a maximum of 17 rounds, but they were usually loaded with fewer rounds to prevent strain on the magazine spring. The carbines held a total of 13 rounds.
The Model 1866 rifle also had military significance, though not normally rated as a military arm; thje lever action Winchester 1866 was responsible for two great Turkish victories over the Russians at Plevna.
The Winchester Repeating Arms Company was formed in 1866 at New Haven, Connecticut. It was merely a reorganization of the New Haven Arms Company. Early records and catalogs show the Henry Rifle being listed as the Winchester Model 1866. One Winchester catalog states, "The latest improvemeents consist of and entire change in the magazine and arrangement for filling it." Actually, it was a very minor modification of the last Henry Model.