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New to me 1885 single shot
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December 17, 2022 - 8:19 pm
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I’ve recently became a member of this forum, and have enjoyed reading and researching the 1885 single shot. I was gifted a 22 long low wall and would like to learn more about it. It’s serial number is 52873 and i believe it was built in 1891. It has a #3 barrel marked with  RFL stamped on it. It also has a Swiss butt plate. The rifle is in rough shape and the bore unusable. The end goal is to get this rifle back in shooting shape. I’ve contacted John Taylor about a reline, he said he’s back logged about 4 months. That’s fine, I can wait. One of the questions I have is, will I be screwing up a piece of history if i do reline. I would appreciate any help, and advice. Thanks

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December 17, 2022 - 8:40 pm
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Hello Dale,

Winchester Single Shot (Model 1885) rifle S/N 52873 was assembled (manufactured) in January 1891, but it was not originally a low-wall rifle.  It is listed in the records as a Plain Sporting Rifle, caliber 38 Express (which was solely a high-wall cartridge), with 32-inch No. 4 octagon barrel, single set trigger, and a standard crescent steel butt plate.

In answer to your question, No, you will not be screwing up a piece of history… that has already happened.

Bert – Kingston, WA

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December 17, 2022 - 8:58 pm
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Bert H. said
 

In answer to your question, No, you will not be screwing up a piece of history… that has already happened.

  

Dale,

Welcome! 

And/or, double check your serial number to make sure it is really 52873.  Converting a high wall center fire .38 Express with 32″ #4 barrel to a low wall, .22 Long rim fire with a #3 barrel and adding a Swiss Butt does not make ANY sense, almost every major component would have to be changed or modified.  It is much more likely there may be an error in your provided serial number (it happens all the time).

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December 17, 2022 - 9:16 pm
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Thanks for waking me up serial # is 52813.

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December 17, 2022 - 9:21 pm
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Aha!  That makes more sense, my guess is that your rifle is probably all, or mostly correct as that was a fairly common configuration, although the Swiss Butt was an upgrade option.  What is your barrel length?

Bert will be along soon with more details I am sure.

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December 17, 2022 - 9:30 pm
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dale fredricks said I’ve contacted John Taylor about a reline, he said he’s back logged about 4 months. That’s fine, I can wait. One of the questions I have is, will I be screwing up a piece of history if i do reline. I would appreciate any help, and advice. Thanks
  

If he says 4, expect 6.  Still, worth waiting, as he’s one of the best.  A lining job is ALWAYS better than a ruined bore.

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December 17, 2022 - 9:34 pm
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Dale, are you sure it’s a LW?  Because the #3 wt brl has a shank too large to fit the LW action.  Which is why if a customer asked for a 3 wt in .22 RF, the HW action was used, despite the difficulty of chambering .22 RFs.

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December 17, 2022 - 9:37 pm
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clarence said

A lining job is ALWAYS better than a ruined bore.

  

I will temper that statement by saying a Professional lining job (such as John’s) is always better than a completely ruined bore.  I have seen some garage hack jobs with Redmon liners “glued” in with Acraglas that, while functional, did not improve or even maintain the value of the Winchester.  John’s work is almost undetectable to the normal eye.

I will also say, clean it, shoot it, clean it, shoot it, etc. before relining, sometimes those horrible looking sewer pipe bores actually do not shoot as bad as they look.

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December 17, 2022 - 9:39 pm
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JWA said
Aha!  That makes more sense, my guess is that your rifle is probably all, or mostly correct as that was a fairly common configuration, although the Swiss Butt was an upgrade option. 

  

But a downgrade in practicality & shooting comfort.  Only purpose of any prong BP is to keep the stock from sliding up when using a palm rest, which changes the balance point of the gun.

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December 17, 2022 - 9:46 pm
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JWA said I will also say, clean it, shoot it, clean it, shoot it, etc. before relining, sometimes those horrible looking sewer pipe bores actually do not shoot as bad as they look.  

Certainly true with jacketed bullets, & I have the sewer-pipe to prove it, but lead presents greater problems.  Nevertheless, by all means test it first. 

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December 17, 2022 - 10:12 pm
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clarence said
Dale, are you sure it’s a LW?  Because the #3 wt brl has a shank too large to fit the LW action.  Which is why if a customer asked for a 3 wt in .22 RF, the HW action was used, despite the difficulty of chambering .22 RFs.

  

Yes, definitely a low wall. Just double checked, #3 barrel. 24 inch

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December 17, 2022 - 10:26 pm
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dale fredricks said

clarence said

Dale, are you sure it’s a LW?  Because the #3 wt brl has a shank too large to fit the LW action.  Which is why if a customer asked for a 3 wt in .22 RF, the HW action was used, despite the difficulty of chambering .22 RFs.

  

Yes, definitely a low wall. Just double checked, #3 barrel.

  

Gee, very strange.  Guess this proves the factory would, on special order, fit a #3 to a LW, but not the way it was usually done.  When a customer ordered a SS, the factory, not the customer, ordinarily selected the most appropriate frame size based on cartridge & brl wt.  Catalogs didn’t even list or identify LW & HW rcvrs separately, & those terms were never used by the factory.

When you test it, try shooting LR cartridges, as they will almost always chamber in a Long chamber.  Maybe a hard-plated bullet, as used in some hyper-velocity LRs, will perform better in your pitted bore.

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December 17, 2022 - 10:35 pm
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dale fredricks said
Thanks for waking me up serial # is 52813.

  

Dale,

S/N 52813 is listed as a low-wall Plain Sporting Rifle chambered for the 22 Long cartridge.  I was shipped (sold) with a 24-inch No. 1 octagon barrel.  As was mentioned by Clarence, it is not possible to mount a standard No. 3 barrel to a low-wall receiver frame.  The barrel shank would have to be turned down from .935 inch to .825 inch and then rethreaded, and then a specially fitted forend stock would need to be made to fit the barrel and receiver frame.  Are you sure that the barrel is a No. 3?  What is stamped on the bottom of the barrel just in front of the forend stock ?  You can send pictures to me if it is easier.

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December 18, 2022 - 12:33 am
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Bert H. said The barrel shank would have to be turned down from .935 inch to .825 inch and then rethreaded, and then a specially fitted forend stock would need to be made to fit the barrel and receiver frame.
  

So someone went to all that trouble to fit the #3 brl, then someone else (I assume) let the bore go to hell shooting corrosive ammo in it.  For anything but target shooting, that brl makes the gun unwieldy, & if it weren’t for the extra trouble of finding a matching fore-arm, I’d re-barrel it with #1 wt brl.; Taylor might have a source.

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December 18, 2022 - 5:29 am
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So, if it is in fact a #3 barrel, in the flowchart of this thread, we are back to Bert’s original response “In answer to your question, No, you will not be screwing up a piece of history… that has already happened.”

That means Dale can choose the best option for himself without fear of wrecking an original and potentially collectable rifle.  New barrel, relined barrel, complete restore, carte blanche, etc.

If it is actually the original 24″ #1 barrel that has been mis-identified as a #3 then we are back to shoot it first, then reline if necessary.

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December 18, 2022 - 3:34 pm
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Bert H. said

dale fredricks said

Thanks for waking me up serial # is 52813.

  

Dale,

S/N 52813 is listed as a low-wall Plain Sporting Rifle chambered for the 22 Long cartridge.  I was shipped (sold) with a 24-inch No. 1 octagon barrel.  As was mentioned by Clarence, it is not possible to mount a standard No. 3 barrel to a low-wall receiver frame.  The barrel shank would have to be turned down from .935 inch to .825 inch and then rethreaded, and then a specially fitted forend stock would need to be made to fit the barrel and receiver frame.  Are you sure that the barrel is a No. 3?  What is stamped on the bottom of the barrel just in front of the forend stock ?  You can send pictures to me if it is easier.

Bert – [email protected]

  

1885-3.jpgImage Enlarger1885-1.jpgImage Enlarger1885-2.jpgImage Enlarger

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December 18, 2022 - 5:35 pm
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Welcome, Dale. It appears the barrel is as described in the factory records. 

 

Mike

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December 18, 2022 - 5:38 pm
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Dale,

The “3” you see stamped on the bottom of the barrel next to the receiver frame is not the barrel size stamp.  The barrel size stamp is located as shown in the attached pictures.  Your low-wall has a No. 1 barrel.

Bert

No.-1-octagon-102881-LW.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-2-octagon-62586-LW.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-3-half-octagon-96782.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-3-octagon-22796-HW.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-4-octagon.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-5-octagon.jpgImage Enlarger

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December 18, 2022 - 6:17 pm
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Bert H. said
Dale,

The “3” you see stamped on the bottom of the barrel next to the receiver frame is not the barrel size stamp.  The barrel size stamp is located as shown in the attached pictures.  Your low-wall has a No. 1 barrel.

Bert

No.-1-octagon-102881-LW.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-2-octagon-62586-LW.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-3-half-octagon-96782.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-3-octagon-22796-HW.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-4-octagon.jpgImage EnlargerNo.-5-octagon.jpgImage Enlarger

Bert, 

Thank you for your help. I found the number 1 where you said it would be. 

Dale

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December 18, 2022 - 10:20 pm
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Dale,

If I were in your shoes, I would have it relined to 22 Long rifle, and then shoot the heck out of it.  I would also carefully clean-up the rest of the rifle, but not refinish it.

Bert

p.s. where in Washington are you located?

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