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Winchester 1886 questions...
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November 8, 2013 - 5:00 pm
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I have a letter for a Winchester 1886 Rifle that was produced in 1903. It is a deluxe Extra Light Weight Rifle and letters as such. It did go back to the factory in 1906. The gun letters as it currently exists, except for the following:

1) No mention of it being a takedown.
2) Listed as a full length magazine.

Would letters omit the takedown feature rarely? Sometimes? Often?

Are magazine lengths often erroneous, as this contains a 1/2 magazine with the takedown lever?

Is it possible it was converted from a solid frame (not mentioned in letter either, by the way) to a takedown rifle with half magazine? I would think this is unlikely, but ‘could’ it have been done? I guess in a way I am asking also if the receiver itself in a takedown model is identical, or not, to its solid frame counterpart, other than the metal part behind the forearm?

When 1886 rifles, or any takedown rifles, for that matter, were produced, were the receivers forged on the same line and then fitted to a takedown or solid frame gun, or were there separate runs based on the type of frame? If separate runs, would takedown guns tend to be in a numerical sequence, solid frame guns in another numerical sequence, or was the assigning of serial numbers to these frames completely random?

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November 8, 2013 - 6:09 pm
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The frames were forged the same, td frames were then machined for the td set up.the early 86s even had a ring put in the frames mag hole because the hole was too big for the td mag. The ring was then pinned in place with a pin drilled thru the forward edge of the frame..

I have even seen an 86 that left the factory as a solid frame then went back as an RR and converted to td.

The problem with the 86 is that the sn is on the lower tang, lower tangs can be replaced easily.

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November 8, 2013 - 6:35 pm
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This one is from a very old collection and in 95% condition. Shipped on 12 June 1903, having been received in the warehouse the previous day. Repair and return on 08 October 1906. I suppose it is possible, and even probable, in this case that it was changed from a solid frame with full magazine to a takedown with half magazine at that time, especially since you have seen this to be the case before.

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November 8, 2013 - 11:43 pm
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I have a pre-1898 that letters as 38-56 oct, solid frame, standard rifle R&R shipped as 33, TD, full mag.SGB

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November 9, 2013 - 4:38 am
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I have seen that RR conversion done once. The RR stated convert existing gun to td, to include the barrel. That was a funky looking barrel, forend had been shortened, sight placement was off etc.

As I stated earlier, the lower tangs with the sn are easily swapped. My guess is that the lower tang was changed at some point.

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November 9, 2013 - 3:53 pm
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It ‘could’ be that the lower tang was replaced, and maybe this is the case with this rifle. But WHY would someone do this? It was last sold in the late 1960’s, (before there was great financial incentive to monkey with these Winchesters) and is a deluxe rifle that is in great shape (90-95% condition, clearly original and not refinished). It seems odd that someone would simply replace a serial number with another one. Conversely, I suppose if it was 1906 and I had a deluxe 1886 Winchester solid frame that was 3 years old, and was desirous of a takedown rifle (probably, I would guess, to fit in a case to travel on a train), I would either live with the one I have or simply purchase another that was takedown. If money were an issue, which would be less likely, since I had the means to purchase a deluxe rifle, I would trade an existing rifle for a takedown model, and pay the difference. This would still probably cost less than shipping back to Winchester and retrofitting.

My guess is the letter is wrong, due to erroneous entries in the Winchester ledger. It seems like the logical explanation for this particular gun. I just cannot come up with a logical reason for swapping out the serial number??? It seems equally unlikely it would have been retrofitted in 1906 to the takedown configuration. But, also, it seems odd for a gun of only 3 yrs old to have been an R & R gun, especially since the gun was VERY lightly used at all?????

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