Re: value of a winchester 1886
That rifle was originally built and shipped with a standard 26" barrel. It has positively been cut down to its current length. Contact the Cody Firearms Museum research office and purchase a factory letter if you still have doubts.
The date of manufacture was January 1892. As such, I very much doubt that it was a "government gift to an indian chief". More than likely it was the handy work of a previous owner. As was pointed out by Jim K. the receiver frame was originally case color finished. When the color is worn off, the receiver becomes a bright "silvery" or "nickel" looking color.
Due to the extensive non-factory alterations, the collector value is almost non-existant. That is not to say that it has no value though. I highly suspect that somebody out there would be willing to pay more than $1200 for it, more than likely something in the $1600 - $1800 range to an interested buyer of western art. However, rest assured that it is no longer a truly valueable Winchester.
Real Men own and shoot a Winchester SINGLE-SHOT!