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Earliest known M1886 .50-100
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July 26, 2020 - 2:43 pm
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As I’ve mentioned before, the M1886 Winchester has been my favorite Winchester since early grade school (if not before).  No chambering gets me more excited than the .50-100-450. Hence, this one coming up for sale is a very significant piece.  I’ve read through the auction material several times and I am not convinced.  The rifle sits with a 32 inch heavy barrel and the Cody letter makes no mention of either the special length or the weight.  Next, the barrel is marked .50 Ex, which in my understanding, is the standard barrel marking designation for the .50-110.  Would the rate of twist be different between the .50-100-450 and .50-110-300?  If so, this barrel should have the twist rate of the .50-100.  

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/80/3007/earliest-known-winchester-model-1886-50100450-rifle

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July 26, 2020 - 3:39 pm
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Beautiful rifle. My biggest problem is the caliber marking and the price. Can’t say I’ve seen a marking like that but more experienced eyes than mine seem to be OK with it. OTOH a lot can happen in 34 years. Even if the gun and provenance are correct I would be very impressed if it sold for the estimated price. I feel the metal finish appears better than the wood and that’s generally a red flag. Very nice rifle, maybe a bit too nice. 

 

Mike

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July 26, 2020 - 4:06 pm
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TXGunNut said
Beautiful rifle. My biggest problem is the caliber marking and the price. Can’t say I’ve seen a marking like that but more experienced eyes than mine seem to be OK with it. OTOH a lot can happen in 34 years. Even if the gun and provenance are correct I would be very impressed if it sold for the estimated price. I feel the metal finish appears better than the wood and that’s generally a red flag. Very nice rifle, maybe a bit too nice. 

 

Mike  

Mike – isn’t the caliber marking the standard 50 EX marking for the .50-110?  Here’s another example.  The “X” is very distinctive (if you zoom in) and I think that clearly that X is stamped with the same die for both rifles.  I’m still wondering how this is not a 50-110 barrel?  I too, thought the metal finish was a bit nicer than I thought it should be.  And as far as the provenance, I’m still hung up on what I consider the most important provenance – the Cody letter.

Here’s the comparison:

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/59/3105/winchester-model-1886-50-express-lever-action-rifle

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July 26, 2020 - 4:23 pm
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Steve,

My take on it is this… call the CFM and get a new worksheet on it. If the ledger records do not mention the 32-inch heavy (or extra heavy) barrel, I would be very suspicious of the barrel now on the rifle. The caliber marking on it should be 50-100-450, and based on the old Cody letter, it should have a 26-inch standard octagon barrel. I would proceed with caution on this rifle.

Bert

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July 26, 2020 - 5:45 pm
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Bert H. said
Steve,
My take on it is this… call the CFM and get a new worksheet on it. If the ledger records do not mention the 32-inch heavy (or extra heavy) barrel, I would be very suspicious of the barrel now on the rifle. The caliber marking on it should be 50-100-450, and based on the old Cody letter, it should have a 26-inch standard octagon barrel. I would proceed with caution on this rifle.
Bert  

Bert – 

Very wise advice and input Cool

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July 26, 2020 - 11:17 pm
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Folks,  NOT a particular 1886 expert here, but the caliber marking is used on the .50-110 barrels and the few with the faster twist for the 450 grain 50 caliber bullet are marked .50-100-450 or just .50-100.  Like Bert says, this is one to move very cautiously on, if at all.  Similarly, there is a model 1873 carbine touted as belonging to a friend/contemporary/occasional opponent of “Liver Eating” Johnson, and maybe used in their shoot out.  Trouble is the carbine was made too late for that story.  Several rifles seem to have long stories POSSIBLY attaching some significance.  Usually the longer the story, the less believable.  My opinion.  Yours may vary.  TimWink

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July 26, 2020 - 11:51 pm
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Not by any means an expert on much of anything but the caliber stamp still bothers me, Steve, especially with the later rifle for comparison. If anything the later rifle’s stamping is sharper than the earlier rifle’s (look closely at the top of the “5” and the sides of the “0”. If it was the same stamp it could have been cleaned up a bit before the later rifle was stamped but those details better support the theory that the barrel is not as old as the rifle. 

Steve, to answer your question on the 50 caliber markings I don’t know. I know just enough about the big 50 caliber cartridges to be confused. 

 

Mike

 

Edit: “earlier” instead of second “later”

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I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
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July 27, 2020 - 12:00 am
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  Not a big deal but the front sight sets pretty high on the barrel and I don’t like the fact that’s it’s marked 50 ex. Some of the receiver screws look right and some don’t. That’s a gun that you need to look at in person to be sure it’s right. T/R

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August 4, 2022 - 11:10 pm
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After reviewing this rifle again:

https://www.proxibid.com/Rifles/Bolt-Action-Rifles/Earliest-Known-Winchester-Model-1886-50-100-450-Rifle/lotinformation/55593956

On the topic of the barrel marking “50 EX” when it is a .50-100-450 (so it is essentially marked as a .50-110 would be) I think it would be very interesting to see the underside of the barrel.  After re-reading Jim Paul and Tom Adams summer 2012 article on the .50-100-450, one would predict there would be a, “54” marking there (indicating the rate of twist for the .50-100-450 cartridge).  In my mind, that would go a long ways toward authenticating that is the original .50-100 barrel on that rifle.

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