Chapter 1.6.7 - Currently Recognized Miniatures of Uberti Henry and Winchester Lever Gun Variants

Henry and Winchester Lever Action Guns

Uberti fabricated miniatures of the 1860 Henry rifle and the 1866 Winchester in rifle and carbine configurations in their typical 47% scale are documented. Here are the stories. 

 

1.6.7.1 1860 Henry Rifle: If memory serves Uberti began manufacturing their full size Henry replica rifles and carbines some time in the 1970s. Today they are available with both brass and steel frame in .44 and .45 center fire calibers. A few miniatures were also made. 

Note different rear sights (top down): "Father" Original rifle #13938 drift adjustable only vs. lader type of "son" miniature #377

Particularly in the German speaking countries the Henry rifle is famous since the turn of the 20th century. Because it was one of the two rifles carried by the gallant westerner, explorer, friend of the Indians and adventurer known by his alias Old Shatterhand of Karl May fame, through his marvelous travel adventures in the Wild West of North America. 

Most aficionados consider Old Shatterhand the alter ego of his German author Karl May. May was born on February 25, 1842 and passed away on March 30, 1912.

However, Shatterhand's so called Henrystutzen (short rifle) described in the Karl May books is not an 1860 Henry at all but a Winchester 1866 in .44 Henry cal.. It is on display at the Karl-May-Museum of Radebeul, Germany (www.karl-may-museum.de) together with Shatterhand's other rifle dubbed Bärentöter (bear killer) and Winnetou's, Chief of the Appaches, noted Silberbüchse (silver rifle). Winnetou was Shatterhand's noble Indian blood brother.

On display at the Karl-May-Museum in Radebeul, Germany three famous rifles (from left): Winnetou's Silberbüchse, Old Shatterhand's Bärentöter and Henrystutzen

The man who made this all happen was Oliver Fisher Winchester (* November 30, 1810 to † December 11, 1880) American businessman and politician. He is best known as being the founder of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A..

Oliver Winchester was the driver of "The Gun that won the West" project!

Close-up of historically correct trapdoors of Winchester 1866 carbine miniature #359 (left) and rifle #377 (right): note .44-40 cartridge for size comparison

The sights and the buttplates with the trapdoor of the miniatures are accurate facsimiles of those fitted to the original Winchesters and the actions cycle identically.

 

The western APPALOOSA was by Ed Harris and co-written by Harris and Robert Knott, Appaloosa stars Harris alongside Viggo MortensenRenée Zellweger and Jeremy Irons

In 1882, the small town of Appaloosa, New Mexico, is being terrorized by local rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons), who killed the town's marshal, Jack Bell, and two deputies. The town hires lawmanand peacekeeper Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and his deputy Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) to protect and regain control of the town. The pair agrees on one condition: that the town follows Cole's law and essentially cedes control to him. 

This movie prominently features a Winchester 66 carbine in the hands of Deputy Marshal Everett Hitch.3)

The lever guns chosen by Aldo Uberti for the regular miniaturization programs were the Winchester Model 1866. Like the Uberti Winchester 66 full size replicas the miniatures are equipped with brass receivers. 

Replicas and miniatures alike were manufactured in two models as in the original, i.e. the regular 19" round barreled carbine and the octagon 24 ¼" barreled rifle. The correct shaped woodwork is fitted to both miniature models. The metal is blue steel and polished brass.2)

References

1. Wikipedia: WINCHESTER RIFLE, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/winchester_rifle

2. Northmore, J.: UBERTI MINIATURES, 2016, http://gunmart.net/militaria/reproduction-firearms/uberti-miniatures

3. Western Movie: APPALOOSA, 2008

 

January 16, 2020/WDN

 

 

 

 

 

Only a few Henry miniatures were made at the Gardone factory but specifics are available of one only. This one is a military version with historically correct octagon barrel, brass frame and swivels. Wayne Driskill, miniatures' collector and dealer from Pearland, TX in the U.S.A. shared some background information on the Uberti miniature Henry project. 

Uberti was going to make a limited production run of 1,500 miniature Henries. During the pilot production his miniature gun artists learnt the hard way that the making of the Henry was a much more difficult task than initially anticipated. Because of the integral under barrel tubular magazine, they had to drill two perfectly aligned parallel holes in the barrel stock, one for the bore and one for the magazine. Eventually, they were only successful in making four (4) correct barrel assemblies. These barrels were made into rifles.

Despite market demand these miniatures never qualified for regular production. The project was shelved because the Henries were just too expensive in their making.

Initially all four miniatures of the Henry stayed at Uberti. But two were sold some time back and one of them could be liberated for the Driskill collection.

Given the opportunity we would love to add an Uberti Henry miniature to the Hunzinger Collection. If you hear of one for sale, please let us know at wn@american-frontier-miniatures.com. Thank you.

 

1.6.7.2 Winchester Model 1866 Lever Guns: The good news for the miniature rifle collectors is this. Uberti munfactured miniatures of the Winchester Model of 1866 in much greater quantities than the Henries. Plain Jane and embellished variants of the Winchester 1866 as rifle or carbine are offered by internet auction houses from time to time on both sides of the Atlantic.

Technically the Winchester Model 1866 lever gun of the 19th century is the modified and technically improved successor of the Model 1860 Henry rifle. Like the Henry it is chambered for the .44 Henry rimfire cartridge. Due to public demand, the Model 1866 continued to be manufactured and sold until 1899, despite availability of the advanced Winchester Models 1873 and 1892.

Winchesters were produced during the 19th century at this plant in New Haven, CT., U.S.A.

In contrast to the originals of the 19th century today's Uberti replicas of the 1866 model are available in center fire calibers ranging from .32 WCF to .45 Colt. Aficionados of full size replicas will remember the launch of the company's first Winchester 66 carbine in .22 lfb. cal. as early as 1965 already. But in 1966, 100 years after its original's launch, this small bore lever gun was followed by a big bore pistol caliber variant in .38 special.

Contemporary drawing of the Winchester 1866 Rifle, patented Sept. 4, 1866

The Winchester 1866 was nicknamed the Yellow Boy because its receiver was made of a bronze alloy called gunmetal1) whereas Uberti's Winchester 66s sport brass frames.

1.6.7.2.1 Uberti Winchester 1866 Carbine: Comparative pictures were taken of miniature "son" #359. Two Uberti Winchester Carbine replicas were ready for shots as "fathers", namely

  • #62694 in .44-40 WCF cal., no visible Italian year code (courtesy Ingo Standke Collection) and
  • #W76887, in .38 Special cal. year code CT (2018, courtesy Lutz Viertel Collection). 

Two Uberti Winchester Carbines displayed on Connecticut State flag (top down): Replica "father" #W76887, note oiled stock finish and saddle ring vs. miniature "son" #359 with high gloss varnished stock

Displayed on a United States flag are two Uberti Winchester 1866 carbines (from top): Note Indian style bead embellishment on the butt stock of replica "father" #62694 vs. miniature "son" #359 

vwo comparative views of the receiver/rear sight area of the carbines (top down): Father #W76887 vs. son #359

Views of Winchester 1866-carbine miniature #359, for size comparison a Mexican Peso was added, note shotgun shape butt plate 

1.6.7.2.2 Uberti Winchester 1866 Rifle: Two full size rifles were compared to miniature "son" #377, namely

  • #75865 "father" Uberti Sporting Rifle replica in .44-40 WCF cal. Italian year code BM (1999, courtesy Lothar Karges Collection),
  • #13938 "father" original Transitional Winchester Rifle in .44 Henry RF of ca. 1865/66 production (courtesy Collector Firearms, Hofheim)

Two Uberti Winchester 1866 rifles displayed on United States flag (from top): Uberti replica "father" #75865 vs. miniature "son" #377 

Two Winchester 1866 Rifles displayed on Connecticut State flag (top down): Original "father" #13938 with oiled stock and swivel vs. miniature "son" #377 with varnished stock

Two Views of Winchester 1866 "Sporting Rifle" miniature #377, for size comparison a Mexican Paso was added, note crescent buttplate 

1.6.7.2.3 Uberti Winchester 66 Miniatures' Duet and Details

Size comparison to Mexican Peso (top down): Rifle #377 pointing to the left, carbine #359 pointing to the right

Period correct rear sights fitted to both Winchester 1866 miniatures: Folding leaf on carbine (top), ladder on rifle (bottom)