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1885 Calibers ?
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February 23, 2017 - 2:01 am
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Concerning the 1885 Winchester, does it state anywhere how many of each caliber were made ? As how many 32-40’s, 45-70’s, 40-65’s, etc. My eyesight is literally bad but could not find anything in Campbell’s books. Are any such numbers to be found ? Did Winchester keep records of how many were made in each caliber ? Thanks, Dale.

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Dale Taylor said
Concerning the 1885 Winchester, does it state anywhere how many of each caliber were made ? As how many 32-40’s, 45-70’s, 40-65’s, etc. My eyesight is literally bad but could not find anything in Campbell’s books. Are any such numbers to be found ? Did Winchester keep records of how many were made in each caliber ? Thanks, Dale.  

Question 1; No, not yet.

Question 2; Yes, but not in Campbell’s books… I conducted a caliber survey of the Model 1885 a few years ago (it took me more than 10-years to complete it).

Question 3; No, Winchester did not keep specific records of the caliber production totals. They did record in the warehouse ledger records the specific cartridge/caliber of each serial number that was recorded.  The records are for the most part complete for serial numbers 1 – 109999. For serial numbers 110000 – 140000, I am conducting a separate survey to document as many of them as I can find.  Thus far, I have surveyed 1,793 of them (nearly 6%).  I will add them to my caliber survey at a later date.

I have posted the results of my caliber survey of the Model 1885 records here on the WACA forum several times in the past few years, but will post it again.  In total, there were (91) different cartridges that Winchester chambered the Model 1885 for.  The top 30 cartridges account for 106,299 (96.6%) of the 109,999 recorded in the ledger records.

 

Cartridge/Caliber Qty.  
22 Short 16,449  
32 WCF 12,640  
32-40 11,175  
22 Long 8,936  
22 WCF 8,145  
38-55 7,596  
25 WCF/25-20 S.S. 7,555  
22 Long R. 4,125  
32 Short (RF) 3,903  
44 WCF 3,875  
32 Long (RF) 3,263  
45-70 3,032  
38 WCF 2,789  
40-82 WCF 1,703  
40-60 WCF 1,512  
40-70 Sharps ST 1,428  
30 U.S./30 Army 1,067  
45-90 WCF 994  
40-90 Sharps ST 743  
38-56 WCF 701  
22 WRF 662  
45 EX. 631  
40-65 WCF 562  
25 R.F. 531  
50 ELEY 512  
45 ELEY 468  
38 EX. 431  
40-70 Ballard 316  
22 Ex Long 288  
32 IDEAL 267 106,299

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February 23, 2017 - 6:48 pm
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Thanks Bert. Really appreciate your reply. Invaluable information. Will file it for future reference. Dale.

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Thanks Bert!!!!

Now I understand why it took so long to find my 22 W.R.F.

Roger B 

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Hi Bert and contributors:  I have an 1885 High Wall chambered in 32WS.  I did not see this caliber on your list, but I know that quite a few calibers were used over the years.  It has a number 3 barrel and the original peep sight.  The stock seems to be standard fare.  Do you have any idea how many were made, or what range of value it would be in?  Thanks for any information!

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M said
Hi Bert and contributors:  I have an 1885 High Wall chambered in 32WS.  I did not see this caliber on your list, but I know that quite a few calibers were used over the years.  It has a number 3 barrel and the original peep sight.  The stock seems to be standard fare.  Do you have any idea how many were made, or what range of value it would be in?  Thanks for any information!  

The list I posted only covers the top (30) cartridges by total production.  There were (26) high-wall rifles that were listed in the records as being chambered for the 32 W.S. cartridge.  I suspect that at least another 12 – 18 after serial number 109999.

I will need to see pictures of your high-wall prior to making an attempt to assess its value.

Bert

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May 7, 2018 - 1:08 pm
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Bert H. said 

There were (26) high-wall rifles that were listed in the records as being chambered for the 32 W.S. cartridge.

 

You have #248538? 

Although .32WCF was a common chambering in LW actions, have you run across many in the HW action?  I have one, with a #3, 30″ brl, which I bought quite reasonably yrs ago, because the dealer who’d been flogging it for many months had reached the point of just wishing it gone–though it was in very nice shape, PG, SST.  He said everyone who picked it up set it back down on his table as fast as they saw the caliber marking, & he’d been approaching the point of having it rechambered; such a heavy gun for such a puny cartridge.

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May 7, 2018 - 2:41 pm
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clarence said

Bert H. said 
There were (26) high-wall rifles that were listed in the records as being chambered for the 32 W.S. cartridge.
 

You have #248538? 

Is that a typo?

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Wincacher said

Is that a typo?  

Yes, a big one, & thanks for pointing it out; it’s #87516.  Other one is written on the yellow sheet I have, why I don’t know.

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May 7, 2018 - 3:22 pm
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clarence said

Bert H. said 
There were (26) high-wall rifles that were listed in the records as being chambered for the 32 W.S. cartridge.
 

You have #248538? 

Although .32WCF was a common chambering in LW actions, have you run across many in the HW action?  I have one, with a #3, 30″ brl, which I bought quite reasonably yrs ago, because the dealer who’d been flogging it for many months had reached the point of just wishing it gone–though it was in very nice shape, PG, SST.  He said everyone who picked it up set it back down on his table as fast as they saw the caliber marking, & he’d been approaching the point of having it rechambered; such a heavy gun for such a puny cartridge.  

That is not a valid Model 1885 serial number (one too many digits).

In answer to your second question, Yes, I have found many high-walls that were factory chambered for the 32 WCF cartridge.  Serial number 235 was the first Model 1885 made in that cartridge (11/23/1885), and it was a Special Sporting Rifle.  There were approximately (450) high-walls made in that cartridge before the first 32 WCF low-wall rifle was manufactured.

Bert

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May 7, 2018 - 3:34 pm
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clarence said

Yes, a big one, & thanks for pointing it out; it’s #87516.  Other one is written on the yellow sheet I have, why I don’t know.  

Clarence,

Serial number 87516 was the first Model 1885 high-wall rifle made in 32 W.S.  It was a special order in that it has a 28-inch barrel versus the standard 30-inch, it also has a set trigger, Swiss butt, screw eyes, and a Lyman #8 windgauge front sight.

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Bert H. said

Clarence,

Serial number 87516 was the first Model 1885 high-wall rifle made in 32 W.S.  It was a special order in that it has a 28-inch barrel versus the standard 30-inch, it also has a set trigger, Swiss butt, screw eyes, and a Lyman #8 windgauge front sight.

Bert  

Yes, that’s it, pictured in Campbell’s Vol. I. Absolutely ruined bore, the probable result of chlorate primed ammo.  Bought it sometime after the book was published, by which time the #8 front sight had been replaced by something worth much less.

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May 7, 2018 - 7:36 pm
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clarence said

Yes, that’s it, pictured in Campbell’s Vol. I. Absolutely ruined bore, the probable result of chlorate primed ammo.  Bought it sometime after the book was published, by which time the #8 front sight had been replaced by something worth much less.  

Your post prompted me to take out my Campbell’s Vol I and skim through it.  Always pick up some new tidbit when I do that.  Nice looking rifle with an unusual configuration.

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 Bert, 

I gather that my high wall is one of 26 in 32WS based on your reply.  I have number 95312, the bluing seems to be in fair shape for it’s age.  I have yet to clean it up, as I don’t want to destroy value.  There is surface rust as you can see in the following pictures. 

The main areas that are rough or damaged are the barrel finish (the bore is clean and looks great with prominent rifling), and the stock with chipped wood on the top end. Everything appears to be original and correct as far as I can tell.  Also, the front sight is bent slightly to the side.

From what little information I could find, it seemed like this was a early 1900s production rifle,. Although some have claimed that the case coloring is for pre 1900 and bluing was post 1900.  

I found it interesting that this rifle was chambered in a caliber more likely to be found in a lever action rifle.  At least it is a caliber with factory ammunition availability.

FYI, uploading pics from phone was unsuccessful.  

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May 9, 2018 - 1:43 am
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Yes, your high-wall is one of the (26) made in 32 W.S. that will letter as such. Per my research notes, serial number 95312 was manufactured (serialized) in April of 1903, and it was received in the warehouse in May of 1906. Accordingly, it should not be case color finished (the receiver frame should be blued). The lever, breech block, hammer, and butt plate were case color finished though.

You can send your pictures to me at [email protected]

Bert

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May 9, 2018 - 3:58 am
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Bert H. said
I have posted the results of my caliber survey of the Model 1885 records here on the WACA forum several times in the past few years, but will post it again.  In total, there were (91) different cartridges that Winchester chambered the Model 1885 for.  The top 30 cartridges account for 106,299 (96.6%) of the 109,999 recorded in the ledger records.

Bert

Do you think you (or the Association) could make this some sort of “Permanent Post” about this topic or your results? Perhaps having it located under the “Resources” Tab at the top of the website? That is if you are so inclined, as I know it is your on-going research, and you are still working on / with it and your not entirely through. It maybe a good “backup” just in case previous posted topics are somehow lost again. I know we’ve lost some topics of discussion in the past. 

Just curious of your thoughts on the matter.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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May 9, 2018 - 3:54 pm
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Maverick said 

Bert

Do you think you (or the Association) could make this some sort of “Permanent Post” about this topic or your results? Perhaps having it located under the “Resources” Tab at the top of the website? That is if you are so inclined, as I know it is your on-going research, and you are still working on / with it and your not entirely through. It maybe a good “backup” just in case previous posted topics are somehow lost again. I know we’ve lost some topics of discussion in the past. 

Just curious of your thoughts on the matter.

Sincerely,

Maverick  

Brady,

That is actually a very good idea.  I will discuss it with Rob Kassab.  In the meantime, I can make it a “Sticky” post.

Bert

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Hello everyone.

I am a new member to the site AND to Winchester ownership (even though I have been a big fan for decades).  My elderly Father recently gave me a low wall 1885 that was given to him by his brother back in the late ’40s.  It has an aftermarket 22K Hornet barrel (which it had when My Uncle purchased it used).

It’s value probably makes it a rifle that wouldn’t normally be worth restoring, but to me it means much more.  My Father has always wanted to restore it so it has meant a lot to him for almost seventy years.  

I joined this sight after doing a bit of research and it has already been helpful.  I followed the links to the Cody Firearms Records and filled out the form to get a quote for the records early last week but I have not heard back from them with a price.  I’m waiting patiently on that.  The serial number is 106238 so it sounds like they should have some good information based on that. 

But to my question.  I see an amazing list of calibers Bert H. posted.  It must have taken an incredible number hours. Bert H., could you possibly break the list down into calibers for low wall and high wall?  I’m expecting to get the answer as to my rifle from Cody but if I can’t find the correct caliber for my rifle I would really like to know what calibers I should be watching for.  Also, my Father wrote a note that mentions “Thickside”.  Does that mean anything?

Thanks!

Ross

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March 9, 2021 - 12:39 am
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[email protected] said
I’m expecting to get the answer as to my rifle from Cody but if I can’t find the correct caliber for my rifle I would really like to know what calibers I should be watching for.

Your # is within the range that can be documented, so no reason you won’t find out the original cartridge. But what kind of brl. is on it now–any maker’s name on the underside?  The ’40s were the heyday of these kinds of conversions, & if it’s a well-known brl-maker, I think it would be a shame to “restore” it. 

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March 9, 2021 - 4:19 am
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Ross,

S/N 106238 was originally a 25-20 S.S. (Single Shot), and it is also a Take Down rifle.  It had a 28-inch octagon barrel, No. 1 size.  As much as I like to see 100% original Single Shot rifles, I would not be inclined to spend the $$$$ to restore your low-wall.  It is much more practical in its current cartridge configuration.

In regards to low-wall cartridges, they were advertised as being available in all of the various rim fire cartridges, and the smaller center fire cartridges (e.g. 22 WCF, 25-20 SS, 32 WCF, 38 WCF, and 44 WCF).  There were a very small number of them made in other center fire cartridges, but they are rare.

Bert

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