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1886 EHB with unusual stamps
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February 8, 2024 - 4:07 am
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This post edited since first posted.  I am not a Winchester collector and, therefore, I am not familiar with the various stamps used to mark the barrels.  Over the years as a hunter and shooter, I have accumulated a number of lever action rifles, including Winchesters.  The subject of this post is an 1886 chambered for 45-70, with a blued receiver, a 26-inch octagon barrel, and some unusual (to me) stamps on the barrel.  My younger brother bought this gun at a farm auction and I inherited it when he passed away.  Therefore, I don’t know its history.  I just sent an application to the Cody Museum for more information, but will have to wait on their response.  It appears to me that the rifle has been refinished, both the bluing and the finish on the stock.  The stamps on the barrel for “-MANUFACTURED BY THE-” are clear, but possibly slightly buffed and the bluing is like new.  The wood stock looks like new with a few minor dents in the wood and a shiny finish.  There is no pistol grip and no checkering on the stock.  The serial number on the lower tang indicates the gun was manufactured in 1896.

This has the characteristics of an EHB rifle, however, the factory stamp normally indicating the cartridge is not present on the barrel.  Instead, the top of the octagonal barrel is stamped between the receiver and the Winchester rear sight with the marks shown in the following photograph.  The stamps are filled with yellow paint or enamel and the same has been done to all of the Winchester stamps normally on the barrel, upper tang and lower tang.

IMG_3321.JPGImage Enlarger
 

Has anyone seen stamps like this on a Winchester rifle?  I have been advised that this rifle was made during a year when the cartridge stamp was placed on top of the octagonal barrel where this odd stamp is present.  This fact, combined with the factory stamps in the middle of the barrel, lead me to conclude that this is the original barrel, but that the cartridge stamp has been buffed off and a new stamp added by a gunsmith after the barrel was bored out to a new caliber. Once I get the information from the Cody Museum, I will know the features of the original rifle.  In the meantime, has anyone ever seen a barrel marked like this?

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February 8, 2024 - 4:16 am
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Mike,

Your pictures did not make it into your last post.

What I can tell you without seeing the pictures, is that the caliber marking was located on the top of the barrel until the year 1907 (when it was moved to the left side of the barrel).  You did not mention the serial number on this rifle, but I suspect that it is < 130000.

I can also tell you that the caliber marking you mention is not factory original.  Winchester simply marked them “45-70” (no “W.C.F.” or “GOV’T”).

Bert

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February 8, 2024 - 4:39 am
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This post edited since first posted.  Thank you Bert. The serial number is 1055XX.  In my less than expert opinion, the barrel has been buffed such that not only is there some evidence of buffing in the factory stamps in mid-barrel, but the corners of the octagonal barrel are slightly rounded.

I did not know the cartridge data was stamped on top of the barrel in the early models.  This, combined with the evidence the barrel was buffed, suggests the original barrel may have been rebored and/or rechambered, the original cartridge stamp buffed off, and the stamps for 45-70 Winchester Center Fire added by the gunsmith as well as the yellow paint or enamel embedded in the stamps.  I will try to send Some photos with this reply.

The other reason I think it may have been bored to a new caliber is that the stamps in mid barrel look like factory original stamps.

After seeing the rifle had been refinished, I doubted it had any collector value, but it is like new and a good shooter.  Therefore, I used it to hunt elk four years in a row where I lived in Montana.  Now at 78 years of age, I wouldn’t shoot another elk unless it looked like it would roll down the mountain and land in my pickup.  I am currently adding a Montana Vintage Arms vernier sight to the tang on the 1886 so I can show my grandson that you don’t need a scope to shoot a rifle accurately.  Will start him on a trapdoor Springfield, then work through the Winchester 1886 and a 30-40 Krag with the Buffington sight, before getting into a Springfield 1903 and a 1903A3 followed by a Swedish Mauer, an M-40 Tokarev and an M1 Garand.  I have several Winchester 94s in 30-30 and 32 WCF, so will probably play with them a bit as well.  Need to get busy loading some ammo.

Since your input confirms my conclusion that the 1886 rifle has been modified, I assume its collector value is greatly reduced.  Therefore, I see no problem in shooting it or adding a vernier sight to the tang, a change that can easily be reversed.  Any use of the rifle will be limited, but I would like it to be another practical rifle in my gun safe as I did get a a lot of joy out of hunting with the old rifles.  I don’t hunt much anymore, but still like to shoot them on the range once in awhile.  If you, as a collector, have some different advice for me, I would welcome it. Some more photographs are shown below.

IMG_3322.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_3317.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_3318.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_3320.JPGImage Enlarger

The screws are missing in the photo of the upper tang because I removed the aftermarket tang sight to expose the stamp on the tang.  I am waiting for the letters from Cody Museum to learn if this was sold as a extra heavy barrel model.

Mike Kaczmarek

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February 8, 2024 - 4:50 am
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Michael Kaczmarek said
Thank you Bert.  I just went back and edited the post by dragging in the photo and uploading it.  Still no joy.  The serial number is 1055XX.  In my less than expert opinion, the barrel has been buffed such that not only is there some evidence of buffing in the factory stamps in mid-barrel, but the corners of the octagonal barrel are slightly rounded.

I did not know the cartridge data was stamped on top of the barrel in the early models.  This, combined with the evidence the barrel was buffed, suggests the original barrel may have been rebored and/or rechambered, the original cartridge stamp buffed off, and the stamps for 45-70 Winchester Center Fire added by the gunsmith as well as the yellow paint or enamel embedded in the stamps.  I will try to send the photo again with this reply.

Mike K

  

Mike, I faced this when I was a new member….make sure after you drag your photos over to the add area, don’t forget to hit “start upload”….its a two-step process

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February 8, 2024 - 4:55 am
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I did hit upload.  The first try, I copied and pasted the image.  A bit ago, I used the drag function, then uploaded, so will see what happened in a minute.  Thanks for the help.

Mike K

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February 8, 2024 - 6:00 am
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Mike,

If you contact me at [email protected] I can assist you with the pictures.

Bert

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February 8, 2024 - 6:18 am
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Sent you an email.

Mike K

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February 8, 2024 - 5:05 pm
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Michael Kaczmarek said
Sent you an email.

Mike K

I had shut down for the evening before it arrived/

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February 9, 2024 - 5:41 am
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Jeremy P said

Michael Kaczmarek said

Thank you Bert.  I just went back and edited the post by dragging in the photo and uploading it.  Still no joy.  The serial number is 1055XX.  In my less than expert opinion, the barrel has been buffed such that not only is there some evidence of buffing in the factory stamps in mid-barrel, but the corners of the octagonal barrel are slightly rounded.

I did not know the cartridge data was stamped on top of the barrel in the early models.  This, combined with the evidence the barrel was buffed, suggests the original barrel may have been rebored and/or rechambered, the original cartridge stamp buffed off, and the stamps for 45-70 Winchester Center Fire added by the gunsmith as well as the yellow paint or enamel embedded in the stamps.  I will try to send the photo again with this reply.

Mike K

  

Mike, I faced this when I was a new member….make sure after you drag your photos over to the add area, don’t forget to hit “start upload”….its a two-step process

  

Hi Jeremy P, I got the photos edited into my original posts as you can see above.  Was too late at night first time I tried – brain was sleeping.

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February 9, 2024 - 1:59 pm
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Michael Kaczmarek said

Jeremy P said

Michael Kaczmarek said

Thank you Bert.  I just went back and edited the post by dragging in the photo and uploading it.  Still no joy.  The serial number is 1055XX.  In my less than expert opinion, the barrel has been buffed such that not only is there some evidence of buffing in the factory stamps in mid-barrel, but the corners of the octagonal barrel are slightly rounded.

I did not know the cartridge data was stamped on top of the barrel in the early models.  This, combined with the evidence the barrel was buffed, suggests the original barrel may have been rebored and/or rechambered, the original cartridge stamp buffed off, and the stamps for 45-70 Winchester Center Fire added by the gunsmith as well as the yellow paint or enamel embedded in the stamps.  I will try to send the photo again with this reply.

Mike K

  

Mike, I faced this when I was a new member….make sure after you drag your photos over to the add area, don’t forget to hit “start upload”….its a two-step process

  

Hi Jeremy P, I got the photos edited into my original posts as you can see above.  Was too late at night first time I tried – brain was sleeping.

  

Good job, Michael. Welcome!

 

Mike

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February 9, 2024 - 6:11 pm
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I think you have surmised rightly so. Its a nice shooter and that is about the extent of it. Enjoy it for many years as such. 

Sincerely,

Maverick

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February 9, 2024 - 8:11 pm
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Maverick,

Thanks for your input.  It will be interesting to learn what the original gun was when Cody Museum info comes through.

Best regards,

Mike K

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February 9, 2024 - 9:42 pm
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Michael Kaczmarek said

 

Hi Jeremy P, I got the photos edited into my original posts as you can see above.  Was too late at night first time I tried – brain was sleeping.

  

Definitely a shooter, but that just means you can have some fun with it, especially with the kiddo!

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