Came in the mail today. I won it on auction. I did not get it for a super good deal, but with this particular tool, I have no problem making exceptions.
This one happens to be a first version of the third modle Winchester tool, patented in 1880. It is an improved version of the two previous cast iron modles. The third modle was made of forged steel. This particular tool is oversized to fit the cases of the larger 1876 rifle. A more popular and smaller version of the third modle was also being made at the same time for smaller calibres for other rifles. The 3rd modle 1880 patent tool would see a second version come out later on that did away with the spoon shaped handles. This improved version continued on in all of the calibres that the spoon handle version did. However, the improved version had more streamlined handles which made it lighter. It came out around 1890. I also find it interesting that Winchester was not stamping their name in this version of the 1880. They did so in the second version.
This particular version of the 1880 patent has some significance to me. It is somewhat rare, being only produced for roughly a 10 year span. Also, this tool was made for the 1876 Rifle that was essentially obsolite by 1888. Then there is the fact that four different calibres were produced in the 1876 modle, and the 45-60 was second in production falling in behind the 45-75. So with that, not too many of these particular calibre 1880 tools were made compared to other calibres, versions, and patent modles.
Well, regardless, I continue on with my ventures to reload for my black powder cartridge rifles with the old original tools. I am proud to be the new owner of this one. I found it to do an excellent job of repriming and seating by conducting a few trial runs. I seated two different bullets cast from original Winchester fourth vesion moulds made specifically for the 1876. The down side though is that I do not have an original 1876 to shoot the loads from. So a Uberti reproduction will have to do. A look at the Uberti. The 1876 is a huge lever rifle weighing in at ten pounds. The receiver and forend are huge compared to an 1873 and the later 1892's and 1894's. Pack one in the woods on a hunt and you will know that you have quite the hunk of steel and wood in your grip. But damn are they one fine and unique piece of American history.