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Winchester 1886 production by year & caliber (.38-56; .40-65; .40-82; & .45-90)
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December 15, 2023 - 3:39 pm
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I was wondering if this is available?  I was wondering when the more common black powder rounds (.38-56; .40-65; .40-82; & .45-90) started to wane in popularity and if all 4 of these calibers started to really decrease in production at the same time, or if some faded faster than others—and when that might have been for each caliber.  I omitted .38-70 and .40-70 as they weren’t all that common.  Same with .50 cal 1886 rifles, although maybe they should be included.  The .45 -70 and .33 WCF cartridges were not included as .33 WCF wasn’t available until 1902 and it and .45-70 were the most popular calibers at the end of production.  My guess, and this is a guess, is that .38-56 dropped off first, .40-65 and .40-82 faded from the scene about the same time, and .45-90 was the last to exit once .45-70 and .33 WCF dominated production.

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December 15, 2023 - 5:41 pm
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I have no idea when things occurred.  But I do know that the NEW RCBS dropped all dies that are not popular sellers.  The 40-65 was not one of them.

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December 15, 2023 - 5:53 pm
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Chuck said
I have no idea when things occurred.  But I do know that the NEW RCBS dropped all dies that are not popular sellers.  The 40-65 was not one of them.

What do you mean by the new RCBS?  Did they change ownership?

I am surprised that .40-65 is even remotely popular these days, although I like it.

Were .38-56, .40-82, and .45-90 dropped?  I would think .40-82 is more popular than .40-65, but that doesn’t mean I’m correct.

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December 15, 2023 - 6:20 pm
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mrcvs said

Chuck said

I have no idea when things occurred.  But I do know that the NEW RCBS dropped all dies that are not popular sellers.  The 40-65 was not one of them.

What do you mean by the new RCBS?  Did they change ownership?

I am surprised that .40-65 is even remotely popular these days, although I like it.

 

  Maybe there’s a lot of guys like me who use these dies to keep our .40 caliber Bullards, Whitney-Kennedys, Colt Lightning Express and Marlin M1881 rifles running.  Don’t forget the .40-65 Marlin M1895’s.  

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December 15, 2023 - 6:25 pm
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mrcvs said

Chuck said

I have no idea when things occurred.  But I do know that the NEW RCBS dropped all dies that are not popular sellers.  The 40-65 was not one of them.

What do you mean by the new RCBS?  Did they change ownership?

I am surprised that .40-65 is even remotely popular these days, although I like it.

Were .38-56, .40-82, and .45-90 dropped?  I would think .40-82 is more popular than .40-65, but that doesn’t mean I’m correct.

  

RCBS was bought out by Alliant techsystems (ATK) in 2001.  Vista Outdoors is a spin off of ATK.

You need to go on their website to see what they carry now.  You better be sitting down when you do so.

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December 15, 2023 - 6:27 pm
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steve004 said

mrcvs said

Chuck said

I have no idea when things occurred.  But I do know that the NEW RCBS dropped all dies that are not popular sellers.  The 40-65 was not one of them.

What do you mean by the new RCBS?  Did they change ownership?

I am surprised that .40-65 is even remotely popular these days, although I like it.

 

  Maybe there’s a lot of guys like me who use these dies to keep our .40 caliber Bullards, Whitney-Kennedys, Colt Lightning Express and Marlin M1881 rifles running.  Don’t forget the .40-65 Marlin M1895’s.  

  

Could be true Steve.  I like shooting my 86 in 40-65 too.

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December 15, 2023 - 6:56 pm
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I rarely buy reloading dies new.  Second hand is cheaper and equal to new if not better.

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December 15, 2023 - 8:51 pm
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Lucky for those of us shooting obsolete calibers, Redding (in upstate NY) is still in business, and makes dies that are at least as good, if not better, than what RCBS made.  They still sell a wide array of old obsolete caliber dies.  I actually prefer Redding dies.

BRP

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December 15, 2023 - 10:27 pm
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Blue Ridge Parson said
Lucky for those of us shooting obsolete caliber’s, Redding (in upstate NY) is still in business, and makes dies that are at least as good, if not better, than what RCBS made.  They still sell a wide array of old obsolete caliber dies.  I actually prefer Redding dies.

BRP

  

I walked into a small local gun store a few months ago and found brand new Redding die sets for 40-82 and 45-90 for $80 each. Couldn’t pass them up so bought both.  Since then, I bought a Winchester 40-82 bullet mold from a fellow forum member.  I don’t currently reload for these calibers but I’ll be ready to go when I do.

Don

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December 15, 2023 - 10:29 pm
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There is some digression here, but back to the original question.  See post #1.  Any thoughts?

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December 17, 2023 - 6:27 am
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I did not have access to Madis’ book The Winchester Book when I created this thread.  Now, a lot of Madis’ work lacks credibility as to generalizations, and sometimes even specifics, but I think the following quote, while maybe not (or maybe) correct as to specific year, provides factual information relative to some date ranges, if not specific years: (pages 305 & 309)

”A large variety of cartridges became available for the 86 over a period of years; these were:  45-70, 45-90, and 40-8 from 1886, with the addition of 40-65, 38-56 and 50-110 Express in 1887, 40-70 and 38-70 in 1894, the 50-100-450 in 1895, and 33 in 1903.  Production of barrels in calibers 40-82, 40-70, 40-65, 38-70, 38-56 and 50-100-450 was discontinued in 1910.  The 45-70, 45-90, and 50-110 Express were discontinued in 1919, but the 45-70 barrel production was again begin in 1927.  From 1920 to 1928 only the 33 caliber was offered in the model 86; however, some barrels chambered for the discontinued cartridges remained on hand and were fitted to guns after the caliber was not publicly offered.  In 1928, the 45-70 was again added to the line and was again dropped in 1931.”

I know that the .33 WCF cartridge was offered as early as 1902, so Madis’ statement fails the fact check on this claim alone, so some of the other specific years may be in error, but it clearly demonstrates a trend.  Circa or exactly 1910, .38-56, .40-65, and .40-82 production would cease except for using a few left over barrels, then the same for .45-90 circa or precisely 1919.

So, my guess is these four calibers saw the vast majority of production before 1900, maybe 1910 for the .45-90, and so production in any of these calibers after circa 1900 (circa 1910 for the .45-90) was unusual due to increased demand and a decade of diminished sales led to their outright discontinuation.

Feel free to support, refute, or modify.

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December 17, 2023 - 7:26 am
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In my research study of the late production Model 1886s I have thus far documented the following;

January 1900 – December 1909 (serial number range 120796 – 145999)

Calibers Quantity Percentage
33 WCF 482 49.18%
33 WIN. 1 0.10%
38-56 WCF 37 3.78%
38-70 WCF 12 1.22%
40-65 WCF 20 2.04%
40-70 WCF 1 0.10%
40-82 WCF 31 3.16%
45-70 258 26.33%
45-90 WCF 73 7.45%
50 EX 46 4.69%
50-100-450 13 1.33%
33 WCF & 45-70 2 0.20%
38-56 & 45-90 1 0.10%
45-70 & 50 EX 1 0.10%
45-95 & 38-56 1 0.10%
     
Total 979  

Calibers observed for the years 1910 – 1932 (serial number range 146000 – 159999)

Calibers Quantity Percentage
33 WCF 711 55.46
38-56 WCF 9 0.70%
40-65 WCF 5 0.39%
40-70 WCF 3 0.23%
40-82 WCF 4 0.31%
45-70 468 36.51%
45-90 WCF 49 3.82%
50 EX 29 2.26%
50-100-450 4 0.31%
     
Total 1,282  

Please keep in mind that this information was derived from an ongoing research survey, and it should not be construed as “factual” production ratios.  Of the 39,204 possible serial numbers, I have documented just 2,261 (5.76%) of them thus far.  As more time passes and I add more (new) specimens to the survey, it will undoubtedly become more accurate.  For those of you that read this and own a Model 1886 that is in the 120706 – 159999 serial range, I would very much appreciate hearing from you.

Bert – [email protected]

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December 17, 2023 - 11:04 am
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Bert,

I didn’t know you were surveying these.  I assume you entered these two when I discussed them in another thread.  The .40-65 is what piqued my interest in this subject matter being that it was 1903 production and all the rest I had seen were definitely earlier than 1900.  129487 (.40-65) and 138889 (.33 WCF).

https://milestoneauctions.hibid.com/lot/174398822/special-order-winchester-model-1886-rifle?ref=catalog

https://milestoneauctions.hibid.com/lot/174398856/winchester-model-1886-lightweight-33wcf-rifle?ref=catalog

From this same auction are the following as well:

134936 (.33 WCF)

https://milestoneauctions.hibid.com/lot/174398838/winchester–1886-lightweight-33-cal–rifle?ref=catalog

137781 (.45-70 carbine)

https://milestoneauctions.hibid.com/lot/174398867/winchester-1886-src-45-70govt-with-1-2-magazine?ref=catalog

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December 17, 2023 - 5:45 pm
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Ian,

Yes, I have all of those rifles documented in the survey.

Bert

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