This was a special order Winchester 1866 Carbine, serial #16523 made in 1868. The gun is an early 2nd model with the concealed “inside” serial marking and a “Henry” marked barrel.
This special made carbine is New York engraved with the Mexican snake and eagle on the left side.
Stylized initials “RM” on the right side. Top tang is engraved. Top of receiver, bottom of lifter and butt plate are all in matching motif. The engraving is very well executed and of high quality.
The gun was made without any provisions for a saddle ring. All steel metal surfaces were originally nickel plated and the frame and butt plate silver plated. Only traces of each remain. The frame top tang shows what appears to be some gold wash.
This was a very highly embellished carbine with special features, but is too early to letter. “Henry’s Patent” is visible on the barrel with only portions of “Kings Patent” visible. Located under the butt stock is an “RV” and a small “W” before the serial number. There is a small “57” stamped on the engraved right side frame. The engraving on that side includes a small “A” above and after each engraved initial (RM). The "RM" could possibly stand for Republic of Mexico. Most 66' carbines that were purchased by the Mexican government were marked with a small "RM" inside a star burst. The "57" stamping on this carbine may be a property mark and the two "A's" some type of government mark. It may be worth researching these markings as this particular gun may have been special ordered for a high ranking government official or military officer. The top receiver's engraving has been removed. Most likely the removed engraving at the top of the receiver had a name or inscription at one time.
All the parts of the gun, including the screws, appear to be original with the exception of the barrel band, which is a period replacement with provisions for a swivel, and a reproduction cleaning rod in the butt stock. The gun is in overall good to very good – (minus) condition. The upper tang has an old braised repair at the screw hole. All the metal surfaces are a smooth grey color with only some medium pitting. Unfortunately, this pitting is in the barrel address area. The gun is overall well worn, but not abused, and the engraving shows strong and complete, except the upper frame as mentioned before. The walnut stocks appear original and in very good condition and fit well, only being slightly off because of repaired tang affecting original fit. Mechanics are good. The mechanism is a little sticky and could use a thorough and proper cleaning and lube. The bore and rifling are surprisingly very good with little pitting, which is uncommon for an early gun showing lots of use.
A really early carbine with lots of special features and character that suggest use in the South West Territories.