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Winchester 1886 on GB
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April 5, 2023 - 10:55 am
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Someone got burnt on this one! 2″ cut off the barrel. https://www.gunbroker.com/item/976546807

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April 5, 2023 - 3:20 pm
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Ouch.  But, looking at the bid history, I’d say there’s some doubt that the sale will be completed.

NR bidder may have made a mistake or may not be legit 

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April 5, 2023 - 4:12 pm
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Absolutely shameful.  There’s a reason the seller doesn’t extol the rarity of a 24 inch barrel – he knows what’s up!

A friend e-mailed me this auction and commented that for some (low information) buyers, they might send for a letter and be highly pleased when the letter arrives as the rifle will indeed letter.  I said, “no it won’t” and he said, “of course it will – the letter will say .45-90 and octagon barrel.” The letter won’t specify 26 inch barrel, just octagon barrel.  Hence, it will “letter” with as a .45-90 with an octagon barrel Wink

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April 5, 2023 - 6:31 pm
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The placement of the front sight is also a clue that something is amiss.

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April 5, 2023 - 7:21 pm
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The sight and front band placement jump out at you, wow Steve I didn’t think of it being standard, a letter won’t have the 26” and fool someone! I hope buyer realizes and returns 

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April 5, 2023 - 10:57 pm
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Hi Guys,

The letter I have on my 1886 1905 doesn’t call out barrel length either

Rob

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April 5, 2023 - 11:03 pm
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Robert Drummond Jr said
Hi Guys,

The letter I have on my 1886 1905 doesn’t call out barrel length either

Rob  

it shouldn’t if standard length.  26”

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April 6, 2023 - 2:08 am
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After examining my 86 45-70 made in 1893 I thought about shortening the barrel. First I would have to remove the barrel band pin and the forearm cap screws and slide out the magazine. Then I would have to cut off 2″ of barrel. There goes the front sight and dove tail, slot and screw hole for magazine cap. Now the magazine sticks 2″ beyond barrel. Now do I cut 2″ off the receiver end of magazine or off the front end ? If off the receiver end the barrel band pin hole and forearm cap screw-hole won’t line up. If off the front I will have to machine slot and drill screw-hole for magazine cap and make dovetail for sight. Maybe lt is easier to remove 2″ from barrel and magazine at receiver end. Okay, now I remove barrel and magazine and shorten both 2″. So good so far but have to rethread  and rechamber barrel. Just noticed I have lost the caliber markings but I will restamp them. The rear sight now seems pretty close to receiver. Same sight radius as before. This has gotten damned complicated. Maybe I will believe page 83 of THE WINCHESTER HANDBOOK by Madis where he says Winchester would provide barrel lengths requested by buyer. Don

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April 6, 2023 - 12:00 pm
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 If you cut two inches off the muzzle end of a 26″ barrel the magazine band slot will show. I don’t see that. I would like to see the letter, maybe 24″? T/R

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April 6, 2023 - 2:53 pm
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TR said
 If you cut two inches off the muzzle end of a 26″ barrel the magazine band slot will show. I don’t see that. I would like to see the letter, maybe 24″? T/R

  

The mag tube retainer is the same distance from the end of the barrel weather 24″, 26″, 28″, 30″, and that one is to close to the muzzle, it has most definitely, been shortened. 

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April 6, 2023 - 2:56 pm
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Hi Guys,

Did Winchester make any 86’s with shorter barrels than 26″ in octagon? 

Rob

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April 6, 2023 - 5:07 pm
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Robert Drummond Jr said
Hi Guys,

Did Winchester make any 86’s with shorter barrels than 26″ in octagon? 

Rob

  

Sure.  Quite a few of them.  But all would be special order.  I can’t think of any standard models that came with a shorter than 26 inch octagon barrel. Of all of the M1886 rifles I’ve seen with shorter than 26 inch barrels (and I’m setting aside the .33’s and extralightweights) the majority have been round barrels.  For example, I’ve seen 21 inch extra heavy (1 inch at the muzzle) and a 22 inch which was 7/8th inch at the muzzle (both these rifles lettered).

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April 7, 2023 - 2:55 am
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cj57 said

TR said

 If you cut two inches off the muzzle end of a 26″ barrel the magazine band slot will show. I don’t see that. I would like to see the letter, maybe 24″? T/R

  

The mag tube retainer is the same distance from the end of the barrel weather 24″, 26″, 28″, 30″, and that one is to close to the muzzle, it has most definitely, been shortened. 

  

 The magazine tube extends 3 1/2″ beyond the barrel band and if shortened 2″ would only be 1 1/2″ beyond. It looks like on that gun it’s somewhere in between. Maybe a 28″ barrel shortened to 24″ with improper placement of the barrel band? It doesn’t look like they cut off the breech end. I’m confused and would like to see a letter.

 According to the Porter survey they made 1304 24″ 1886s, but 24″ was standard length for the 33 cal. of which they made 12,457. How does this figure? I have only seen one 1886 with a 24″ barrel in other than 33 making me think they are rare. T/R

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April 7, 2023 - 1:59 pm
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TR said

cj57 said

TR said

 If you cut two inches off the muzzle end of a 26″ barrel the magazine band slot will show. I don’t see that. I would like to see the letter, maybe 24″? T/R

  

The mag tube retainer is the same distance from the end of the barrel weather 24″, 26″, 28″, 30″, and that one is to close to the muzzle, it has most definitely, been shortened. 

  

 The magazine tube extends 3 1/2″ beyond the barrel band and if shortened 2″ would only be 1 1/2″ beyond. It looks like on that gun it’s somewhere in between. Maybe a 28″ barrel shortened to 24″ with improper placement of the barrel band? It doesn’t look like they cut off the breech end. I’m confused and would like to see a letter.

 According to the Porter survey they made 1304 24″ 1886s, but 24″ was standard length for the 33 cal. of which they made 12,457. How does this figure? I have only seen one 1886 with a 24″ barrel in other than 33 making me think they are rare. T/R

  

Interesting thoughts.  I never considered the barrel may have originally been longer than 26 inches.

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April 7, 2023 - 3:59 pm
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I guess it’s possible that it was longer than 26″ and then cut to 24″ and the hanger put in the wrong spot.  The picture of the tape measure makes it look like the barrel is actually 24.5″ or so.

But, I think it was a standard barrel shortened to it’s current length.  There are hundreds of similar “short rifles” floating around.  This one certainly isn’t correct and the winning bidder paid a huge premium to its value.

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April 7, 2023 - 4:41 pm
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This is making my head hurt a bit… but assuming it has not been shortened from the receiver end, and if there is not a hidden dovetail in the barrel for the original position of the magazine retaining band… I can’t see an explanation other than the barrel was originally longer than 26 inches and the current magazine retaining band was put in the wrong location.

From a vintage pragmatic – period of use – perspective, this all makes sense to me.  Remember, unless it was a highly embellished or special rifle, all Model 1886 Winchesters spent a large portion of their lives not being collector items.  The reason we see so many long-barreled rifles shortened is because they were being used and those using them found a shorter length (and lighter) rifle to be more desirable to hunt with.  The longer the barrel, the more likely it would get shortened.  This is quite the tragedy for us collectors.  A long barreled rifle may have some particular use for the person who ordered it, but once it was passed down, it was likely to be viewed as a useless rifle.  Not many want to carry a 30 inch or 36 inch barreled rifle all day.  A very simple remedy was to cut it down.  Voila – you have gone from having a useless rifle to a usable rifle.   Another example is all of the cut-down muskets and full-stock military rifles we see cut down.  Again, hunters were just trying to make them useful.

Continuing along the line of reasoning that this rifle was shortened long ago to make it a more useful rifle, another reason I think this rifle was likely to have been shipped with a longer than 26 inch barrel is why just shorten it two inches?  Two inches off the end doesn’t change the equation that much.  However, 4, 6, 10 inches off does result in a more significant change.  And as far as the exact location of the magazine retaining band – who would care?  As long as it is placed about where it should be, it serves its function.

When I studied the auction, I noted that as much as the buyer extolled the virtues of this, “Ultra Rare” rifle, he doesn’t hype or highlight (or even comment) what should make this rifle very rare – a 24 inch octagon barrel.  This tells me this rifle wasn’t shortened for the purpose of increasing the value.  Which would be foolish anyway given the availability of ledger records.

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April 7, 2023 - 7:08 pm
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The serial number is shown.  Call it in.

Barrels often have damage near the muzzle.  I’ve seen several with bulges under the front sight

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April 7, 2023 - 10:55 pm
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Here’s another short rifle with a high price tag

 

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/969222321

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April 8, 2023 - 2:12 am
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Has anyone considered the fact that it may have been a 1/2 mag originally too? 

A man can never have too many WINCHESTERS...

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April 8, 2023 - 3:18 am
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sb said
Here’s another short rifle with a high price tag

 

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/969222321

  

Glad he is wearing white gloves while handling that museum piece. 

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