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Opinions on "mid-range" M1886s?
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January 8, 2024
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January 23, 2024 - 12:25 am
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Hi Everyone,

Looking for some input on what the experts on the board might consider a “nice” 1886 without getting into the tens of thousands? Or if this is even possible (without being very lucky, which we will assume I am not).

In just browsing around I see they sort of group into sub-$2K half mag examples that have little to no finish and are in 33 wcf. Or something like this in .40-82 (sorry all of my examples are Cabelas, this particular store must have bought a collection). I assume this one is not worth getting into given the corrosion on the barrel and condition of finish, etc:


This is a different Cabelas, and this looks like a much nicer “mid-range” example. Maybe the wood is refinished? And I guess one would need to check the records to make sure it was ordered with a blued receiver depending on when it was produced in 1901?


And then keeping with the .40-82 theme, the next step up seems to be something like this listed at $17K, which is out of my price range:


Anyway, not necessarily looking to purchase any of these unless they are excellent deals, more just curious as to the split between the low and high end and if something like this one in the middle is a good example of what to look for. I did search the forum and this same question was asked a few years ago, and the answer was to buy a 45-70 in good condition. But anything that isn’t beat or “restored” is $10K+. But if that is the new baseline, so be it.

Thanks for your advice as always!

North D/FW
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January 23, 2024 - 12:43 am
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I’m personally a fan of the “extra lightweight” 1886s, they’re later in its lifecycle and only available in 45-70 and .33 WCF. Many were takedowns are in great shape. They do not generate as much collector interest (meaning…$$$) and therefore it’s an easier sandbox to play in….I only have one but I”m thinking of making it an area of interest as I still do not have one…a real narrowed down focus that is… 

You’ll get some great insight here though, beyond my measly opinion!

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January 23, 2024 - 1:24 am
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 The first gun is antique which is good but it has a round barrel that makes it harder to sell. The second and third are blued 1886’s with small wood and modern which are not as desirable as case frame and large wood. All three are 40-82 which I like but not as desirable as the larger calibers. The first two guns are priced fair if they have no hidden flaws. The third seems high even if it’s all correct.

 If you want one nice 1886 buy case frame, antique, octagon barrel, and in a 45 caliber as nice as you can afford. Do it right the first time, avoid the upgrade later. I think older 1886’s just look better with the standard case colored receiver.

 Everyone has different tastes in guns so buy what you like and can afford.. T/R

Northern edge of the D/FW Metromess
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January 23, 2024 - 1:29 am
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You asked for opinions and mine is worth every cent you’ll pay for it. I think the “Deluxe” 1886 is one of the most beautiful rifles ever made. Quite honestly, tho, I’m not an 1886 collector but someday I hope to have a really special one in my collection. One thing to consider is whether you plan on shooting it, or in the longer term do you plan to sell it? The nicer guns will generally appreciate better and will always have buyers. I appreciate an honest gun and most of my Winchesters are closer to what you describe as mid-range. Unless Cabelas has changed their inventory numbering system they do not appear to have been bought as one lot. If these guns prove to be original they will hold their value better than the lower end guns as the latter generally have issues that will preclude their purchase by the more finicky collectors. If resale is not a factor then by all means, buy what YOU want. If you plan on shooting them give some thought to the chambering if you don’t reload. Some cartridges make shooting an expensive proposition. OTOH if you’re already set up to load for the 40-82 then you are in luck. 



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January 24, 2024 - 1:28 am
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TG, I will never call myself an expert on 86’s,but they are my passion. They can run from the mundane to the most exquisite rifles ever seen. My opinion is to look for condition. Junk will always be junk. Not to say I don’t have a couple that some would consider junk, but as you grow into this realm of collecting you will find yourself looking for better guns. I have at least one of every caliber except 2. my personal preference is 45-90wcf. Like Tr said the big bores are worth more. And like Mike said if you want to shoot it the 45-70 is a good place to start as ammo is available. My reasoning behind collecting 86’s is that it seems to be the epitome of Winchester’s customer service, ie we will build what ever you want. Now I have been known to deviate from condition for a gun that letters with special order stuff. And that you will find this is a real stickler with some people, BUT, in my mind when i get a rifle with lets say, 9 special order things, you probably have a one of a kind rifle. My other tidbit of useless advice is to join the Cody museum and try for guns that letter.    

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