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extra hole in top tang of model 1886?
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Troutdale, OR
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November 5, 2013 - 9:13 am
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Is there an extra hole in the top tang of this rifle? I’m not real familiar with the top tangs of the 86’s. The one’s that I have encountered only have 2 holes in the top tang, but this one appears to have 3 holes. Is it maybe an earlier model/different design or did someone add a hole for a tang sight?

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Gun-Library/Winchester-Rifles%7C/pc/103792680/c/103589280/Winchester-38-56-1886-Rifle/1614668.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Fwinchester-rifles%2F_%2FN-1103078%2FNo-0%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_103589280%3FWTz_l%3DUnknown%253Bcat103792680%26WTz_st%3DGuidedNav%26WTz_stype%3DGNP%26recordsPerPage%3D40&WTz_l=Unknown%3Bcat103792680%3Bcat103589280

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November 5, 2013 - 10:01 am
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Deerhunter,
I think what you’re seeing is the carrier spring (or stop) screw that comes up from under the tang. The hole for that screw comes all the way through the upper tang on some rifles, and not on others. I’m not sure what time frame that occurred. Maybe some ’86 owners can tell you more about it.

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November 5, 2013 - 1:09 pm
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It was present only on the very very early tangs. The Model 1885 was the same as well.

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November 5, 2013 - 3:01 pm
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So would the 11,000 serial number range coincide with so-called early guns that would have this feature?

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November 14, 2014 - 12:37 am
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According to Pirkle, the third hole for the carrier spring disappeared sometime between serial numbers 19,500 and 23,500.  I have an 1886 with serial number 17,xxx and it does not have the carrier spring screw hole drilled all the way through the tang.  This particular specimen has no collectable value.  I bought it for chump change over 40 years ago as it had the original 40-65 bore re-bored to 45-70, non-original sights and 2 repairs to the buttstock plus the lower tang was cracked at the stock screw hole, so there would have been no reason for the lower tang to have been replaced and must be an authentic serial number.  Besides, eBay wasn’t around then to make changing serial numbers easy.

So, my guess is that the change from 3 holes to 2 holes on the upper tang started sometime before serial number 17,000 or was in transition by then.

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"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." 

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