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Need help with 1886 45-70 not cycling correctly
January 30, 2017
10:27 pm
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January 30, 2017
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 Rifle: 1886 serial #41,xxx. is now a 45-70. Was a 33 win cal. Unknown what the caliber was when the rifle was made.  Been in family since 1950s. At that time my grand dad chambered and rebarreled it to 33 win. It shot fine and action worked most of the time. Sometimes a cartridge would come out of magazine and eject with the cambered round. About 10 years ago, I had the barrel bored out to 45-70. I handload and shoot 400 or 405 grains jsp. Have tried 300 and 350 grain bullets but they will not group as nearly as well as the heaver bullets. I load to trap door loadings. Most 3 shot groups at 100 yards with heaver bullets are under 2 inch's. Lighter bullets group 3 shots at 3 to 5 inch's.  But all rounds I try will cycle from mag and eject with the cambered round as it ejects. It does not do it every time but, most of the time. If chamber is empty and rounds fed from mag, it also happens. I wonder if it is a magazine tube or spring problem. If I cycle the lever slowly it seems to work OK. Which is fine at the range but, not hunting. Any known ideas about wore out parts or adjustments that will make the rifle cycle correctly.      

January 31, 2017
4:39 pm
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If I'm understanding your question correctly it sounds as though the problem is with the CARTRIDGE STOP.  This part is screwed into the top inside of the left side of the Model 1886's receiver.  It is actually a two part piece with a spring.  The part may be worn but most likely the spring has broken or weakened with age and the tip of the cartridge stop is not springing out when the lever is lowered. 

You can check this with the rifle unloaded and the bolt open.  Push on the tip of the cartridge stop and see if there is any spring tension.  If not, replace it.  I'm not sure if the spring only can be replaced.

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

January 31, 2017
8:28 pm
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Off topic, but I have some 86s and bored one of them out to 45-70.  I was told to not shoot jacketed rounds, or even lead alloy.  To stick with soft lead.  Apparently the old steel will wear fast with harder rounds.

I am no expert and don't know if any of that is true, but when I saw the jsp I thought I'd mention it.

January 31, 2017
11:17 pm
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Huck,

Jacketed bullets and especially lead alloy bullets are not a problem in a Winchester barrel that was originally intended for black powder cartridges. The concern is the pressure and velocity that you shoot them at. If you keep the loads to black powder velocities & pressures, you are not going to harm the barrel.

Bert

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
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January 31, 2017
11:48 pm
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Thanks, Bert.  That is a comfort since I have access to a lot more copper and lead-alloy than I do pure soft lead.  I can't remember who was telling me that but they said the steel back then was softer and would wear down the rifling.  Glad to hear that is not the case.  

February 1, 2017
4:01 am
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Thanks guys for replying. First off regarding the barrel. Grand dad rebarreled it. He was a gunsmith. The barrel actually has no markings including caliber. Anywhere, I have taken it apart and checked.  Dad said he though it was a Douglas barrel. The barrel may have been purchased in 1950s. Dad said the gun was owned by him since 1930s. Dad also said the first barrel was a different unknown caliber and much longer. Grand Dad also cut the magazine tube shorter to hold 4 holds. How much of that is 100% true is unknown. Grand Dad has been gone since 1963. Dad since 2011.  Since it does not have much collector value. I would like to take it hunting Elk in brush. In 2005 I had a gunsmith check the rifle out. He said it was in great shape, except the muzzle. That smith was able to bore out and put rifling in the same barrel. I had him make it into the 45-70.  

Wincacher, great information. I am still working on it but, checked the cartridge stop while inside the action. It would not move at all. I checked Homestead gun parts and found another cartridge stop. I could not find any information or photo of a spring. I think the stop is spring steel? and just uses a set screw. My screw was real tight. I took it apart cleaned and replaced it. I only tighten that screw to it's stop. The cartridge stop now moves. While cycling dumbie rounds the action loads the rounds from the mag. tube almost 100% normal.         

February 3, 2017
6:50 pm
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I found and ordered a cartridge stop and new magazine spring. The current spring seems to be several inch's longer than needed. It is around 6 inch's longer than the tube.  I did not want to shorten it until I have a replacement.  I will post results when I get the parts installed.   

February 3, 2017
8:48 pm
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New Mexico
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The magazine tube spring should be about 6" longer than the tube to give the correct tension.  Good work on the cartridge stop.

1876-4-1.jpg

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

January 4, 2018
5:44 am
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Update, 2 gunsmiths would not help me. I finally found a 1886 for sale at a gun shop and he allowed me to compare mine with it as it was cycled. We both looked into the action. Mine had a clearly wore out cartridge carrier compared to the other gun. Hours of searching on the web and No one listed a 1886 carrier in stock. Found one on ebay with photos. It was near new condition compared to mine, so I bought it. I installed it myself. The rifle now cycles ammo thru the gun as fast as you can sling the finger lever without any faults. I got it sighted in at 100 yards and hope to kill a elk with it next year. Yeah a rifle made in 1890 killing elk for the dinner table in 2018, sounds cool.   

January 4, 2018
2:27 pm
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Cool, thanks for the update and good luck with the elk!

Regards,

WACA Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

January 4, 2018
3:49 pm
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New Mexico
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ken moore said
Update, 2 gunsmiths would not help me. I finally found a 1886 for sale at a gun shop and he allowed me to compare mine with it as it was cycled. We both looked into the action. Mine had a clearly wore out cartridge carrier compared to the other gun. Hours of searching on the web and No one listed a 1886 carrier in stock. Found one on ebay with photos. It was near new condition compared to mine, so I bought it. I installed it myself. The rifle now cycles ammo thru the gun as fast as you can sling the finger lever without any faults. I got it sighted in at 100 yards and hope to kill a elk with it next year. Yeah a rifle made in 1890 killing elk for the dinner table in 2018, sounds cool.     

1)  Most gunsmiths now-a-days have no idea on how to work with antique lever action Winchesters.  My most recent experience was with one at a well known local gun store who listened to my problem over the phone (headspace on a 32-20 WCF), said he would look into it and then never called back.  And this is a shop where I've bough some 20 rifles, or so, in the past 40 years.

2)  The go-to place to find parts for old Winchesters is eBay.  There are a handful of dealers there that practically make a living out of parting out old guns, as the parts are worth more than the whole gun.  I've even followed one on the internet and seen him purchase low value Winchester from the auction houses and the the parts show up on eBay a few weeks later.  GB also has parts but nowhere as many as eBay, though that's where you'll find receivers.

1876-4-1.jpg

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

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