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32 inch barreled M1886 on auction
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March 3, 2021 - 6:43 pm
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Years ago (many), I didn’t think these were terribly hard to find.  Austin mention in his years of collecting, this is the first double barrel banded M1886 he has encountered.  I wouldn’t say the same thing, but it has been a good while since I have encountered a 32 inch or longer ’86.  As we know, Winchester used two barrel retaining bands on rifles with 32 inch and longer barrels.  This rifle brings back memories as I had an ’86 in identical configuration (yes, 32 inch barrel) except for the caliber.  Mine was .50 Express rather than .38-56.  I traded it off nearly 40 years ago.  I have major regret – which builds with each passing year.

For this rifle, perhaps the barrel length aspect will overcome the .38-56 aspect.  I have to say, if this rifle were in .50, or .45-90 or .45-70, it would really get me excited.  Austin mentions there are only a handful of these longer barreled 1886’s left in existence.  I think they are more than that in existence but you sure don’t see most of them.  It seems to me, these go into collections and don’t come back out for decades if not scores of years.  I’ve waited two score for the .50 I had to surface again.  Still waiting.

With that small .38 hole running through the barrel, I’ll bet this rifle is really heavy.

Neat that it letters.

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/893770830

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March 3, 2021 - 7:28 pm
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Steve,

I suspect it is because Austin is located in the Eastern part of the country that he does not see many of them.  I personally have seen at least a few dozen of them in the past 20+ years.  I suspect that Russ Day has more than “a handful” of them in his collection.

Bert

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March 3, 2021 - 8:15 pm
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 Bert, When did Austin move? Last I new he lived in western Iowa not to far from Sioux Falls South Dakota. I guess east and west is a relative term, west of me, east of you.

 Honest original two barrel band guns go into collections and stay there. I only own four 86’s and two are two band guns. Selling one is hard and buying one is harder. Most long barrel collectors do not have just one and often not just one model. Take the time to look at everyone you see, they are rare. T/R

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March 4, 2021 - 2:10 am
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TR said
 Bert, When did Austin move? Last I new he lived in western Iowa not to far from Sioux Falls South Dakota. I guess east and west is a relative term, west of me, east of you.

 Honest original two barrel band guns go into collections and stay there. I only own four 86’s and two are two band guns. Selling one is hard and buying one is harder. Most long barrel collectors do not have just one and often not just one model. Take the time to look at everyone you see, they are rare. T/R  

Iowa is definitely considered “Eastern” in my neck of the woods.  I suppose that some consider it “central” U.S., but I doubt anyone would consider it “western” U.S.

In regards to long barreled Winchesters (especially Single Shots and Model 1886 rifles), I have seen as many as (10) of them in a single gun show. While they certainly are not “common”, they conversely are not overly “rare” either.  I remember surveying (9) Single Shots with a 36-inch barrel at one single show in Cody approximately 10-years ago.

In regards to the long barreled Model 1886 rifles, I believe that John Madl has the number of them listed in his book (my copy is on loan to a friend).

Bert

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March 4, 2021 - 2:24 pm
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 According to the William Porter Research on the model 1886 records show, 60 rifles with 36″ barrel, 35 with 34″ barrel, and 200 with 32″ barrel. An additional 374 muskets were made with 32″ barrels. Many of these two barrel band 86 rifles had the barrel shortened before they were collectable. A “honest” 1886 rifle with two barrel bands is not common. There are enough of us long barrel lever collector’s to support the value of these guns. The 34″ is the hardest to get. T/R

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March 4, 2021 - 3:55 pm
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I recall George Madis writing that longer barrels were more popular in the early days.  Shorter barrels became more popular in the 20th century.  I wonder if the change from black powder to smokeless had something to do with it as well.

I sometimes find a rifle with only two inches longer than standard in barrel length. For example, a 26 inch 1873 or 30 inch 1876.  Makes me wonder why they even bothered.   

A 32 inch 1886 is a pretty good add on in length over standard.  Maybe those old time shooters figured it would burn the black powder more completely? 

I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder

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March 6, 2021 - 1:28 am
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Bill Hockett said
I recall George Madis writing that longer barrels were more popular in the early days.  Shorter barrels became more popular in the 20th century.  I wonder if the change from black powder to smokeless had something to do with it as well.

I sometimes find a rifle with only two inches longer than standard in barrel length. For example, a 26 inch 1873 or 30 inch 1876.  Makes me wonder why they even bothered.   

A 32 inch 1886 is a pretty good add on in length over standard.  Maybe those old time shooters figured it would burn the black powder more completely?   

 

A 32 inch barreled ’86 would be plenty heavy to carry afield.  Especially given they didn’t ride around in pickup trucks back then.  Out west they had horses, but a heavier than standard ’86 wouldn’t be good for the horse keeping its’ balance  Wink

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March 6, 2021 - 4:25 am
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 Bill, I bought a 36″ 1886 out of Tommy Rholes’s collection, the gun was traceable back to it’s original owner William Sammons who bought it new in 1887 in Gunnison Colorado. I don’t know why he ordered a gun with a 36″ barrel but I do know who he was. He and his father a Civil War veteran in May of 1873 drove their 300 head of cattle from Iowa to Castle Rock Colorado. They ranched in the Powderhorn Valley all their lives. William’s son Lewis Sammons born in 1883 used the gun until his death in 1961. When his widow sold the gun in 1965 she was quoted as saying “that her husband used to joke about the length–said if he missed with the first shot he could reach out and knock en in head with that long barrel”.

 William Sammons was one of sixty people who bought a 36″ barreled 86. William along with his father, drove their cattle to Colorado, and begian ranching in an area never ranched before. They were successful! Bought the Rifle in Gunnison Colorado in 1887. Passed the gun down to his son and he kept it until he died. The gun was never messed with, used for it’s intended purpose, and kept original.

  I think Winchester only found 60 individuals willing to buy a 36″ 1886, it’s that simple. William Sammons was one and I’m glad he did. T/R

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March 6, 2021 - 7:04 am
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That’s a great story TR! Thanks for sharing. Known history from the day it was first ordered, wow! 

I would sure love to see a picture of it! 

Chris

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March 6, 2021 - 12:44 pm
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Great story about your 36″ 1886.  I don’t think there are too many that can be traced back to the original owner. 

I agree with Chris, I’d love to see a picture.

Thanks,

Al

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March 7, 2021 - 12:59 am
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I’ve seen a whole lot more 1886’s with long barrels than I have 1892’s or 1894’s.  The ARMAX survey sheds some light on this – as far as 1894’s go.  For the Model 1894, just 46, 32 inchers, and just 22, 36 inchers.

Michael – do we know the numbers for long barreled M1892’s?

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March 7, 2021 - 2:39 am
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 Steve, I tried very hard to get one of the 22, 36″ 1894s. Ron Dickson got it.

 The ARMAX survey only covers serial numbers before 353,999 on 1894s and 379,999 on 1892s. The 1892 would be the rarest, no doubt! Once 92s and 94s went smokeless long barrels made no sense. Just like the Colt Single actions had their 7 1/2″barrel cut to 4 3/4 the long barrel Winchesters were cut. Many of what you see today are not original. Any original 36″, 73, 76, 86, 94, 92, is rare! T/R

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March 7, 2021 - 3:43 am
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It is interesting to see just how many extra length barrels were made in the various models.  For comparison purposes, the table below shows the numbers I have verified thus far for the Single Shot rifles;

 

Barrel Lengths Total Surveyed
31” 4
32” 2,300+
33” 5
34” 386
35” 1
36” 629
38″ 2
  3,261

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March 7, 2021 - 2:44 pm
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Was a 32 inch barrel the optimum length,most common choice of the time,or an odd choice. Whenever I here people talking, everyone refers to a 32 inch barrel on a model twelve as being what they have always been looking for(as well as other models). I have often wondered if it had to do with performance or just desirability. So since the topic cam up I figured I would ask

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March 7, 2021 - 2:56 pm
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TR said
 Steve, I tried very hard to get one of the 22, 36″ 1894s. Ron Dickson got it.

 The ARMAX survey only covers serial numbers before 353,999 on 1894s and 379,999 on 1892s. The 1892 would be the rarest, no doubt! Once 92s and 94s went smokeless long barrels made no sense. Just like the Colt Single actions had their 7 1/2″barrel cut to 4 3/4 the long barrel Winchesters were cut. Many of what you see today are not original. Any original 36″, 73, 76, 86, 94, 92, is rare! T/R  

TR – that’s sad you missed out on a 36 inch barreled M1894.  My condolences.  I’ve mentioned it before – nearly 40 years ago I had an opportunity to purchase a M1894 .32-40, round barrel, full magazine from a dealer.  I think the price might have been $6500.  It was supposedly, “factory refinished.”  It was way too much money for me at the time and I didn’t pursue it to the point that I could confirm if there was an R&R notation or markings on the barrel to add legitimacy to the claim of factory refinished.  My point is, I never forgot that rifle.  I think in all my years of collecting, it’s the only opportunity I’ve had to purchase a 36 inch my 1894.  Speaking of long barrels, I recall many years ago, Merz offered a collection of Model 1873’s – all octagon barrels with full magazines.  Every barrel length (in two inch increments) from 24 inches through 36 inches.  

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March 7, 2021 - 3:42 pm
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  Steve, I think the collector in us drives us to pursue the unattainable.

  James Perry out of Laramie Wyoming put together a display of 86s in all barrel lengths 20-25 years ago. I asked him how he did it, he said he wore out 3 cars. I asked him which one was the hardest to get, he said the 34″. Did you ever see his display? I think that sparked my interest.  T/R

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March 7, 2021 - 3:56 pm
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TR said
  Steve, I think the collector in us drives us to pursue the unattainable.

  James Perry out of Laramie Wyoming put together a display of 86s in all barrel lengths 20-25 years ago. I asked him how he did it, he said he wore out 3 cars. I asked him which one was the hardest to get, he said the 34″. Did you ever see his display? I think that sparked my interest.  T/R  

T/R

I never saw the display you mentioned but I would have been enthralled with it.

I know the drive you speak of.  I’ve seen it in many other collectors over the years.  Such a drive can add a lot of spice to life, but also can be a burden.  A drive like that can own a person.  

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March 8, 2021 - 4:50 am
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Bill Hanzel said
Was a 32 inch barrel the optimum length,most common choice of the time,or an odd choice. Whenever I here people talking, everyone refers to a 32 inch barrel on a model twelve as being what they have always been looking for(as well as other models). I have often wondered if it had to do with performance or just desirability. So since the topic cam up I figured I would ask  

I like a 32” barrel in a Model 12 but I prefer a 30 or shorter barrel in a double. In a shotgun it’s all about balance but in a rifle it’s probably about velocity, sight radius or accuracy. I like my long-barreled Single Shot but the long barrel combined with the #4 barrel contour it balances rather poorly. I doubt it was intended to be carried or fired offhand. I can only speculate that Mr. Sammons and the other gentlemen were familiar with muskets and felt comfortable with the longer barrels. 

 

Mike

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March 8, 2021 - 2:29 pm
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TXGunNut said

 I can only speculate that Mr. Sammons and the other gentlemen were familiar with muskets and felt comfortable with the longer barrels. 

 

Mike  

 That sounds right, especially with the Civil War history and Kentucky up bringing of Lewis.

 In 1981 Loline Sammons wrote a book, They Came To Powderhorn. In it she outlines the first settlers including the Sammons Family, I have contacted her and we have disgusted the gun and related family history. It appears William Sammons was a pioneer that thought outside the box. He did what he had to do to make a living in the frontier. In the book Loline writes about William Perry Sammons, who she refers to as “Perry”, “Perry worked at many jobs, from bullwacking and hauling lumber, to riding in the Douglas County cattle roundup in 1874 and 1875. Because he was a skilled hunter, his job was to furnish the camp meat for as many as 75 riders. Buffalo, antelope or a mavererick calf without a mother were on the menu each evening. During the winter of 1875-76 Perry worked for the Hawker Saw Mill on the Hunt Ranch, eight miles south of Castle Rock.”

 If you have ever hunted those eagle eyed antelope you need a gun with range and maybe that 86 was the gun he wish he had then. T/R

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March 9, 2021 - 8:02 pm
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steve004 said

A 32 inch barreled ’86 would be plenty heavy to carry afield.  Especially given they didn’t ride around in pickup trucks back then.  Out west they had horses, but a heavier than standard ’86 wouldn’t be good for the horse keeping its’ balance  Wink  

I guess you’d have to ask the horse, but I doubt an extra 1/2-1lb would make much of a difference. I don’t have a 32″ model 86, but my old man’s 32″ model 1873 has some pretty substantial saddle wear on it. What is an extra 1lb when you got a 25-60lb saddle with a 150-190lb human on you? Laugh 

Sincerely,

Maverick

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