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1885 Question
April 24, 2021
10:42 pm
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I recently found an 1885 with a trapdoor in the butt.  The gun letters but no mention of the trapdoor?  Wood to metal fit is fine.

April 24, 2021
11:18 pm
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Chuck,

What is the serial number on the rifle you found?  I know that there are at least (300) Single Shot rifles that letter with “Rod in Butt”.  Most of them are large bore rifles.  What is the caliber of the rifle you found?

Bert

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April 25, 2021
1:24 am
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This one is Ser # 16608. 32-40, case colored, fancy, checkered, pistol grip.  Round barrel, Lyman #5 front, bubble level sight in the rear and a peep sight on the tang.

I also found a 40-60 Ser # 31324. Standard octagon, case colored, set trigger and tang sight.

There is a 1920’s 95 Ser # 407334 that has a carved butt plate. Probably the original butt plate.  Fancy, checkered, the climbing Lyman and take down.  The checkering is large and course, not fine like the earlier guns??

April 25, 2021
2:36 am
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Chuck said
… bubble level sight in the rear…

That is rare…if original.  I have a repro & have shot with it; definitely useful.  Surprised, though, gun wasn’t ordered with a windage front sight.

April 25, 2021
4:41 am
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Chuck said
This one is Ser # 16608. 32-40, case colored, fancy, checkered, pistol grip.  Round barrel, Lyman #5 front, bubble level sight in the rear and a peep sight on the tang.

I also found a 40-60 Ser # 31324. Standard octagon, case colored, set trigger and tang sight.

There is a 1920’s 95 Ser # 407334 that has a carved butt plate. Probably the original butt plate.  Fancy, checkered, the climbing Lyman and take down.  The checkering is large and course, not fine like the earlier guns??  

Chuck,

S/N 16608 is a Special Sporting Rifle, 32-40, but with a 26-inch No. 3 ½-octagon barrel.  The odds are very good that the TD butt is original, but was overlooked when recorded in the ledgers.  It is a very rare feature on a Pistol Grip stocked Single Shot.

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April 25, 2021
4:55 pm
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Bert H. said

Chuck,

S/N 16608 is a Special Sporting Rifle, 32-40, but with a 26-inch No. 3 ½-octagon barrel.  The odds are very good that the TD butt is original, but was overlooked when recorded in the ledgers.  It is a very rare feature on a Pistol Grip stocked Single Shot.  

I’ll have to take a closer look at the gun.  I did not look for the barrel weight and maybe I missed something about the barrel?  I did not measure the barrel and it’s hard to believe that I would have missed the 1/2 octagon.  But anything is possible these days.  The stock has a couple cracks.  One is pretty bad near the toe.  One more wack and a large chunk will fall off. Easy to stabilize though.

I need to look through Rob and Brad’s book for examples of the type of checkering used around 1920 on the 95’s.  My fancy checkered 1903 gun has a different pattern and is much finer..

April 25, 2021
5:00 pm
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Chuck,

Winchester was not checkering Model ’85 stocks in 1920. The stock checkering patterns used on the Single Shot rifles remained constant throughout its production run.

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April 25, 2021
5:03 pm
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clarence said

Chuck said
… bubble level sight in the rear…

That is rare…if original.  I have a repro & have shot with it; definitely useful.  Surprised, though, gun wasn’t ordered with a windage front sight.  

Clarence, I think an owner added these at some point but I wouldn’t change them.  I did not ask to see the letter but should.  I will pay attention to the area around the bubble level to see if it shows signs of having a sporting sight at one time.

April 25, 2021
7:38 pm
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These trap BPs are getting popular again:

https://www.gunbroker.com/Item/898967303

April 26, 2021
4:47 pm
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Bert H. said
Chuck,

Winchester was not checkering Model ’85 stocks in 1920. The stock checkering patterns used on the Single Shot rifles remained constant throughout its production run.  

I meant 1895’s.

April 29, 2021
9:41 pm
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Bert, I looked at the 1885 today.  It has a 26″ round No. 2 barrel.  I pulled the forend and there are no markings except some under the flat spring that I can’t make out.  Here is a poor shot of the barrel address.  I don’t recognize this address, but I don’t study them much.

IMG_0676.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_0677.jpgImage Enlarger

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April 29, 2021
11:24 pm
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Chuck said   I don’t recognize this address, but I don’t study them much.

 

What’s atypical are the little rocket ships, rather than plain dashes, before & after the add. lines.  Not in Campbell’s book, but this may be a variant he never observed. 

Sure do like the level, a Lyman #14.  Catalog calls it “useless” for shooting under 300 yds, so it you don’t plan to be shooting further than that, you can sell it to me.  Marks on brl indicate a rear sight was once mounted there, so you don’t want someone badmouthing the gun because it’s not original!

April 30, 2021
3:22 am
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clarence said

Chuck said   I don’t recognize this address, but I don’t study them much.

 

What’s atypical are the little rocket ships, rather than plain dashes, before & after the add. lines.  Not in Campbell’s book, but this may be a variant he never observed. 

Sure do like the level, a Lyman #14.  Catalog calls it “useless” for shooting under 300 yds, so it you don’t plan to be shooting further than that, you can sell it to me.  Marks on brl indicate a rear sight was once mounted there, so you don’t want someone badmouthing the gun because it’s not original!  

The barrel address is actually typical for all of the early production round or half-octagon barrels. Campbell missed a fair number of the smaller details.

1st-style-round-barrel-286xx-LW.jpgImage Enlarger

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April 30, 2021
3:23 pm
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Bert H. said

The barrel address is actually typical for all of the early production round or half-octagon barrels. Campbell missed a fair number of the smaller details.

  

Explains why I’ve never seen it, though I’ve owned probably about 20 SSs over the last 50 yrs; but no round brls, & only one half oct., which has the straight dashes.  I do like those little rocket ships, however. 

April 30, 2021
5:48 pm
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clarence said

Explains why I’ve never seen it, though I’ve owned probably about 20 SSs over the last 50 yrs; but no round brls, & only one half oct., which has the straight dashes.  I do like those little rocket ships, however.   

I have an early gun that is an octagon and I have a later half octagon.  I will have to dig them out.  Don’t have many round barreled Winchesters.  Octagons look older to me, I know they aren’t, and my dealer mentor taught me that octagon had a better resale.

April 30, 2021
7:06 pm
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Chuck said

I have an early gun that is an octagon and I have a later half octagon.  I will have to dig them out.  Don’t have many round barreled Winchesters.  Octagons look older to me, I know they aren’t, and my dealer mentor taught me that octagon had a better resale.  

They also had a better initial sale, even though a rd brl gun was 50 cents cheaper during the ’90s; but evidently, most customers, like you & I, preferred them ol’ timey hex brls.  Surprisingly, full & half oct were the same price.  Apparently customers of the time, unlike collectors today, saw no special appeal in a half oct.  Quite the opposite with Stevens brls–all were half oct, unless special ordered full oct.

April 30, 2021
7:36 pm
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Through serial number 40,000, Octagon barrels made up 85% of the total, half-octagon 5%, and Round barrels accounted for 10%. If you discount all of the Musket variations, the Lightweight Carbine variation, and the high-wall Shotgun variation (all manufactured with round barrels only), the overall percentage of Single Shot rifles with a round barrel is less than 10%. That stated, I have not yet completed compiling the numbers for serial numbers 40001 – 109999 yet, but I do not expect any surprises.

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