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Winchester 1885 in .38-40, shipped January 1889
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October 16, 2022 - 1:31 pm
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Here is a Winchester 1885 rifle I purchased on 30 May 1995, and I paid $750 for it.  As my salary then was $30,119 a year, that was a lot of money then.  As rogertherelic posted his .44-40 with condition, and the return on investment, if any, was surprisingly low, I thought I would post mine. 

Please state current valuation if desired.  I’m not selling it, but just curious as to value.  It’s certainly worth more than I paid for it due to the rear sight, but doubtful it’s kept up with inflation.

It’s not something I’d likely purchase today, as I avoid brown guns.  Having said that, at least the receiver isn’t brown, but case colours are much faded.  At the time of purchase, I likely paid too much for it.  I was limited to what walked in the door of the local gun shop then and I wasn’t nearly as worldly.  At that time I’d probably never seen a 19th Century firearm with much condition, but I did own a very nice Model 1886 with condition that shipped December of 1901, so I wasn’t totally unaware of condition then.  Some day I’ll post photographs of that rifle as well.

I know I purchased this at the time because it was antique status, had a .38-40 chambering which is also in the Colt 1873 and Winchester 1873, it had a 1/2 octagon barrel, and due to the tang sight.  The barrel front sight at the time was intriguing, but I’m not sure if it’s even factory.  I’ll have to get out my Winchester Sights book for reference.

So,

Both of ours are dreaded low wall rifles.

Negatives to rogertherelic’s rifle:  Mine lacks condition and is in a less desirable caliber.

Positives relative to rogertherelic’s rifle:  Antique status, case coloured receiver (what’s left of it), and a 1/2 octagon barrel.

For reference, here’s rogertherelic’s thread:

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/general-discussions-questions/1885-44-w-c-f-questions/

Edit:? I’ll send photographs to Bert to post.  Or, how do you drag photographs from your photos file to this forum?

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October 16, 2022 - 2:36 pm
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mrcvs said

Both of ours are dreaded low wall rifles.

  

Nothing “dreadful” about small caliber LWs–it’s the most sensible choice.  What’s dreadful to shoot (I mean, seriously to shoot, not pop off a few rounds to hear it go “bang”) is a HW in .22 RF. 

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October 16, 2022 - 2:57 pm
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Okay I figured how to attach instead of drag, but get a file size error.  Now what?

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October 16, 2022 - 3:30 pm
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Try opening your photos in Paint and resize them to 50%, save them, and then attach to this forum. That’s what I have to do when I post photos.

Don

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October 16, 2022 - 3:51 pm
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Here are the pictures Ian sent to me…

CFM-letter-29776.jpgImage Enlargerthumbnail_image0.jpgImage Enlargerthumbnail_image1.jpgImage Enlargerthumbnail_image2.jpgImage Enlargerthumbnail_image3.jpgImage Enlargerthumbnail_image4.jpgImage Enlargerthumbnail_image5.jpgImage Enlargerthumbnail_image6.jpgImage Enlarger

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October 16, 2022 - 4:06 pm
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Not a “brown gun” at all!  A very clean one, used but well cared for, just the kind I always used to look for.  The front sight is the thimble from a Ballard Pacific, which was sometimes converted into a globe, whether by the factory, I don’t know.  The long-range tang sight (“graduated peep sight”), though highly desirable in itself, is absurdly out of place on any .38-40.  A Lyman #1 would be far more appropriate & easier to use, as loosening the eye disk to change elevation is slow & tedious.

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October 16, 2022 - 4:12 pm
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clarence said
Not a “brown gun” at all!  A very clean one, used but well cared for, just the kind I always used to look for.  The front sight is the thimble from a Ballard Pacific, which was sometimes converted into a globe, whether by the factory, I don’t know.  The long-range tang sight, though highly desirable in itself, is absurdly out of place on any .38-40.  A Lyman #1 would be far more appropriate.  

Thank you Clarence!  I would have thought the front sight might even have been made by a gunsmith as it isn’t even symmetrical.

I strongly suspect the rear sight is a more recent addition.  It seems to be brighter in appearance than the rest of the gun, which is suspicious.  I agree, it looks out of place, what was it designed for,a thousand yards???

Thank you for your accolades as well.  Like I said, I frown upon anything with condition now but this is an example of what I was inclined to purchase 25 or 30 years ago.  Perhaps this is BETTER than stuff with extreme condition now, as at least it’s convincing it hasn’t been monkeyed with.

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October 16, 2022 - 4:24 pm
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mrcvs said
I strongly suspect the rear sight is a more recent addition.  It seems to be brighter in appearance than the rest of the gun, which is suspicious.  I agree, it looks out of place, what was it designed for,a thousand yards???

  

1000 is about right, for those tough shots you get when Big Horn hunting.  It could be sold for at least $400, I think, or put on another SS in an appropriate caliber; I know you see them on a lever guns, but I think they look equally out of place there too.

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October 16, 2022 - 4:30 pm
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clarence said

mrcvs said

I strongly suspect the rear sight is a more recent addition.  It seems to be brighter in appearance than the rest of the gun, which is suspicious.  I agree, it looks out of place, what was it designed for,a thousand yards???

  

1000 is about right, for those tough shots you get when Big Horn hunting.  It could be sold for at least $400, I think, or put on another SS in an appropriate caliber; I know you see them on a lever guns, but I think they look equally out of place there too. 

As I don’t need the money and rarely sell anything, unless extremely problematic, it’s unlikely I would part with that sight, even for $400.

a I might just have a Lyman #1 sight around somewhere so perhaps, in time, I will replace it.

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October 16, 2022 - 4:45 pm
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The Graduated Peep tang sight was commonly factory installed on many high-wall rifles.  Today, they sell for $600 and up (depending on the condition of the sight).  While it is more sight than you would ever need for that rifle, it does not look out of place, or do anything but increase the value of the rifle.  If you really want a more appropriate sight, I have several that would be more useful on your rifle.  I am open to trades on sights for the Single Shot rifles.

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October 16, 2022 - 5:21 pm
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I like this rifle.  It’s been well cared for with mellow finish wear.  I like the sight and would enjoy shooting it with that sight on it.  The half octagon is a nice feature.  As just a matter of personal preference, I would prefer the .38-40 over most any other smaller Low Wall chambering.  I load for the .38-40 and have more M1892’s in .38-40 than I do in .44-40.  

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October 16, 2022 - 5:34 pm
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Bert H. said
The Graduated Peep tang sight was commonly factory installed on many high-wall rifles.  Today, they sell for $600 and up (depending on the condition of the sight).  While it is more sight than you would ever need for that rifle, it does not look out of place, or do anything but increase the value of the rifle.  If you really want a more appropriate sight, I have several that would be more useful on your rifle.  I am open to trades on sights for the Single Shot rifles.

Bert  

Thank you for your blessing, Bert!

Then I will leave it as is, which I was inclined to do, anyways.

So if the sight is $600 and up, what’s the total package valuation?

What are your thoughts with regards to the front sight?

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October 16, 2022 - 5:38 pm
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steve004 said
I like this rifle.  It’s been well cared for with mellow finish wear.  I like the sight and would enjoy shooting it with that sight on it.  The half octagon is a nice feature.  As just a matter of personal preference, I would prefer the .38-40 over most any other smaller Low Wall chambering.  I load for the .38-40 and have more M1892’s in .38-40 than I do in .44-40.  

I liked this rifle in 1995 when I bought it and still like it!  Shoot it every now and again,too!

It’s not the condition I pursue now, but I cannot knock it, either.  Yes, used but certainly not abused.

Like I said, not for sale.  I’m still too fond of it!?

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May 27, 2023 - 4:04 pm
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The wind gauge globe or Beach combination sight would have been an appropriate front sight for this rifle.  Does anyone have either such sight in a condition appropriate for this rifle?

Also, does anyone have any interest in the Ballard Pacific thimble converted to a globe sight?

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May 27, 2023 - 4:07 pm
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clarence said
Not a “brown gun” at all!  A very clean one, used but well cared for, just the kind I always used to look for.  The front sight is the thimble from a Ballard Pacific, which was sometimes converted into a globe, whether by the factory, I don’t know.  The long-range tang sight (“graduated peep sight”), though highly desirable in itself, is absurdly out of place on any .38-40.  A Lyman #1 would be far more appropriate & easier to use, as loosening the eye disk to change elevation is slow & tedious.

Is there any documentation that the Ballard Pacific thimble front sight was converted at Winchester?

When I purchased this rifle 28 years ago this Tuesday, I thought nothing of the front sight on it.  28 more educated years later, it looks oddly out of place to me.

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May 27, 2023 - 4:30 pm
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mrcvs said

Is there any documentation that the Ballard Pacific thimble front sight was converted at Winchester?

I meant by Ballard, possibly, certainly not Win!

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May 27, 2023 - 5:41 pm
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clarence said 

mrcvs said

Is there any documentation that the Ballard Pacific thimble front sight was converted at Winchester?

I meant by Ballard, possibly, certainly not Win!  

Okay, that makes much more sense.  It doesn’t strike me as Winchester work now.  In 1995, I didn’t know one way or another.

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May 27, 2023 - 6:33 pm
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The wind gauge globe or Beach combination sight would have been an appropriate front sight for this rifle.  mrcvs said

 

The failure of the letter to specify sights means they were the standard “Sporting” rear & front–just what you’d expect for a gun in this caliber, probably bought off the rack in a gun store.  But if you’re satisfied shooting it with the sights it has, why worry about changing anything?   

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May 27, 2023 - 7:03 pm
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clarence said

The wind gauge globe or Beach combination sight would have been an appropriate front sight for this rifle.  mrcvs said

 

The failure of the letter to specify sights means they were the standard “Sporting” rear & front–just what you’d expect for a gun in this caliber, probably bought off the rack in a gun store.  But if you’re satisfied shooting it with the sights it has, why worry about changing anything?     

Okay, a standard front sight could be used.

I thought I would replace it with a Winchester sight, after 28 years…

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May 27, 2023 - 8:43 pm
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mrcvs said

 I thought I would replace it with a Winchester sight, after 28 years…

I just found that globe sight in John Dutcher’s Ballard book, so you could list it on ebay as a factory Ballard sight.  I’ve seen a few over the yrs, but they’re much rarer than, for ex., a Beach.  Big difference, however, is that the Beach is well known & sought after, & few would be looking for this one.  Ballard target rifles always used a windgauge, & most hunting rifles used a Rocky Mt. front.

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