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Winchester 1886 with 30” barrel but doesn’t letter with 30” barrel
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November 25, 2023 - 12:01 pm
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Here’s one that one already knows has been altered from original.  There’s a rear sight blank and prominent case colouring on the upper tang—much more prominent than the rest of the receiver—evidence of where a tang sight once was.  I would also like to see photographs of the area surrounding the blank to see if there’s evidence of wear from a ramp.

But you now have a rifle that is useless as far as any accuracy is concerned with no rear or tang sight at all.

You can, of course, replace the tang sight with another, but why would one remove a rear sight, and that tells up the rifle deviates from original.

And, the learning exercise part of this thread.  Lack of mention of the 30” barrel.  Oversight in the records or replaced barrel (and magazine tube)?

 Regardless, this does not letter as such and can only negatively affect this rifle.  Even with the Browning Brothers Ogden Utah on it—as opposed to being a complete package.

For commentary.

https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/_A__WINCHESTER_SPECIAL_ORDER_MODEL_1886_LEVER_ACTI-LOT592929.aspx

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November 25, 2023 - 1:58 pm
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“Modified by Browning Brothers” – what else do you need to know?  Oh, wait a minute, “could be”.

I actually like the gun Confused  

I also think I understand why the tang sight was removed.  Not from personal experience, but I’ve seen this happened many times over the years.  Some greedy seller decides the can separate the sight from the rifle and sell it for a few hundred bucks.  I’ve seen several special sights for the purpose and in some cases, the seller has admitted doing it.

I love the blank in the barrel.  For me to shoot an iron-sighted rifle, I need a tang or receiver sight and have to search for a vintage blank.  I also hate to remove an original rear barrel sight that hasn’t been touched since the day the rifle was made.  A nice vintage correct tang sight installed on this one and visually, it’s going to be a correct looking piece.  The only thing to foul it up is the letter – and you can throw that away Wink

I like long-barreled 86’s.  From a receiver perspective, this is a brown gun – but still pleasing to my eye.

Thanks for posting.  I am curious how high it will go.

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November 25, 2023 - 2:14 pm
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mrcvs said
Regardless, this does not letter as such and can only negatively affect this rifle.  Even with the Browning Brothers Ogden Utah on it—as opposed to being a complete package.

 

So you prefer a rifle with “no history”?  Reasonable probability someone had the Brownings install this brl., which I’d prefer to same gun with original brl.  If the tang sight was a factory vernier, some dealer might have sold it separately; stupid, but I know that it happens.

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November 25, 2023 - 2:26 pm
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I’m certain that the reason why the tang sight was removed is the reason you gave—someone sold the sight as the part was worth more than the whole.  Except, in this case, I don’t see how that is possible.  You have an unusual barrel length and no rear sight and so the tang sight is essential.

I didn’t say I didn’t like the rifle.  I do, except for being a brown gun makes me quickly lose interest.  Not o mention the fact it doesn’t letter with the 30” barrel.

It will be interesting to see where it hammers at.

I view the value of this rifle as the solution to an algebraic formula, whereas most wouldn’t.  They might see the 30” barrel and look no further.  The 30” barrel and a tang sight gives to a long sighting plane.

The simple algebraic formula:

A + B -C-D=E

A is the value of a brown antique Winchester 1886 rifle

B is the value of the 30” barrel

C is the missing tang sight

And D is the fact that the letter essentially means that the barrel letters as 26”.

E is the total value.

Most don’t look at it that way.  There just are too many brown Winchesters out there for the amount of interest and the letter means the rifle needs explaining even if the ledger is incorrect.

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November 25, 2023 - 2:36 pm
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clarence said

mrcvs said

Regardless, this does not letter as such and can only negatively affect this rifle.  Even with the Browning Brothers Ogden Utah on it—as opposed to being a complete package.

 

So you prefer a rifle with “no history”?  Reasonable probability someone had the Brownings install this brl., which I’d prefer to same gun with original brl.  If the tang sight was a factory vernier, some dealer might have sold it separately; stupid, but I know that it happens.

You could fix the “history” behind this rifle and replace the sight, but you cannot fix the fact that it doesn’t letter.

I am looking more and more at condition and less and less at history.  Some minor wear is desirable as it lessens the cost some and suggests there wasn’t a previous refinish.  But the run of the mill rifles with regards to condition have much less of an upside.

I also have become less enthralled with the history of the ownership of a firearm, unless ironclad documentation.  Too much in the way of notarized letters and claims, attributions, etc.  Someone even discussed that a Smith & Wesson lettering to Frank Butler, Annie Oakley’s husband, isn’t ironclad.  It’s likely that it shipped to him, but he wasn’t the only Frank Butler in the US in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and with no address given, it remains speculation.

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November 25, 2023 - 3:10 pm
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clarence said

mrcvs said

Regardless, this does not letter as such and can only negatively affect this rifle.  Even with the Browning Brothers Ogden Utah on it—as opposed to being a complete package.

 

So you prefer a rifle with “no history”?  Reasonable probability someone had the Brownings install this brl., which I’d prefer to same gun with original brl.  If the tang sight was a factory vernier, some dealer might have sold it separately; stupid, but I know that it happens.

  

If for example, the tang sight was a factory vernier and the dealer sold it separately, he might reasonably object to being called stupid.  Most dealer’s have their sights (pun intended) set on maximum profit.  If he made a tidy sum on the rifle, and also on the sight – and maximum profit was obtained – he’s attained what it’s all about – PROFIT.

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November 25, 2023 - 3:18 pm
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mrcvs said
I’m certain that the reason why the tang sight was removed is the reason you gave—someone sold the sight as the part was worth more than the whole.  Except, in this case, I don’t see how that is possible.  You have an unusual barrel length and no rear sight and so the tang sight is essential.

I didn’t say I didn’t like the rifle.  I do, except for being a brown gun makes me quickly lose interest.  Not o mention the fact it doesn’t letter with the 30” barrel.

It will be interesting to see where it hammers at.

I view the value of this rifle as the solution to an algebraic formula, whereas most wouldn’t.  They might see the 30” barrel and look no further.  The 30” barrel and a tang sight gives to a long sighting plane.

The simple algebraic formula:

A + B -C-D=E

A is the value of a brown antique Winchester 1886 rifle

B is the value of the 30” barrel

C is the missing tang sight

And D is the fact that the letter essentially means that the barrel letters as 26”.

E is the total value.

Most don’t look at it that way.  There just are too many brown Winchesters out there for the amount of interest and the letter means the rifle needs explaining even if the ledger is incorrect.

  

I suspect the winner of this rifle (i.e. the person with the highest bid) won’t be following the algebraic you outline.  Many of the bidders or potential bidders will essentially follow the formula you suggest – and that’s why they won’t end up high bidder. Personally, I’ve always been torn between the cold algebraic formula and the emotion of collecting.  For me, “collecting” is about buying what I like and enjoy vs. investing.  This can involve asking who are you purchasing the gun for – you, or the downrange buyer.  This gun looks like it would letter and that’s cool.  Is that enough for me – that I like it.  But then what about down the line, the potential buyers who will say, “hey wait a minute, that gun doesn’t letter.”  Does that make me enjoy the gun less?

By the way, one way we could know for sure that this rifle wasn’t shipped as it sits, is if the barrel was in a different chambering than what the letter says.  But it isn’t Wink 

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November 25, 2023 - 5:57 pm
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steve004 said

If for example, the tang sight was a factory vernier and the dealer sold it separately, he might reasonably object to being called stupid.  Most dealer’s have their sights (pun intended) set on maximum profit.  If he made a tidy sum on the rifle, and also on the sight – and maximum profit was obtained – he’s attained what it’s all about – PROFIT. 

Greedy dealer’s stupidity was shown in not replacing the high-value (probably) sight he removed with a common low-value Lyman sight; then there would be no speculation about why the gun is presently sightless.  Same reasoning applies to Morphy’s; they couldn’t have dug up a $200 sight just to facilitate the sale?  But they can’t overcome their cheapskate mentality.

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November 25, 2023 - 6:28 pm
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One observation –

I’m not sure I’m sold on the Browning stamp for these reasons: The font is a little different than I’ve seen. It’s usually just block letters and has dots instead of the commas shown on this example. Also, prior to 1896 the stamp had “U.T.” rather than just “U.” since Utah became a state that year. Maybe the T is worn off on this one and its possible there are many variations of that stamp I have yet to see. I’ve owned three Browning marked guns and none of them looked quite like that.

The stamp may very well be correct and the barrel came off a later gun…….hard to tell, but I do like the rifle, even with some questions. Just slap on the correct tang sight and you’re ready to go hunting. 

Here’s one on an 1894 I still own-

DSCF5058.JPGImage Enlarger

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November 25, 2023 - 6:37 pm
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pdog72 said
One observation –

I’m not sure I’m sold on the Browning stamp for these reasons: The font is a little different than I’ve seen. It’s usually just block letters and has dots instead of the commas shown on this example. Also, prior to 1896 the stamp had “U.T.” rather than just “U.” since Utah became a state that year. Maybe the T is worn off on this one and its possible there are many variations of that stamp I have yet to see. I’ve owned three Browning marked guns and none of them looked quite like that.

The stamp may very well be correct and the barrel came off a later gun…….hard to tell, but I do like the rifle, even with some questions. Just slap on the correct tang sight and you’re ready to go hunting. 

Here’s one on an 1894 I still own-

DSCF5058.JPGImage Enlarger  

The font, the way the commas are, etc, lead me to believe the marking is fake.  I don’t have enough to compare to, but that’s one of the reasons I posted this for commentary.

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November 25, 2023 - 6:38 pm
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 Gary,

 I like your barrel and stamp, good example. T/R

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November 25, 2023 - 6:40 pm
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clarence said

steve004 said

If for example, the tang sight was a factory vernier and the dealer sold it separately, he might reasonably object to being called stupid.  Most dealer’s have their sights (pun intended) set on maximum profit.  If he made a tidy sum on the rifle, and also on the sight – and maximum profit was obtained – he’s attained what it’s all about – PROFIT. 

Greedy dealer’s stupidity was shown in not replacing the high-value (probably) sight he removed with a common low-value Lyman sight; then there would be no speculation about why the gun is presently sightless.  Same reasoning applies to Morphy’s; they couldn’t have dug up a $200 sight just to facilitate the sale?  But they can’t overcome their cheapskate mentality.  

My sentiments as well.  A tang sight of any sort, as long as it is is at least as old as the rifle and the finish is appropriate for the condition of the rifle—and this would have not been a point of speculation.  Someone sensible should have put some sort of sight on it.  And the speculation would be only is the 30” barrel original or not, and are the Browning Brothers markings spurious?

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November 25, 2023 - 7:40 pm
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I am of the opinion that the Browning Bros stamped marking on that barrel is original, but that barrel has been lightly buffed and refinished, and the “T’ was obliterated.

I have several Winchesters in my collection with the Browning Bros. stamped marking, and the earliest stamps used commas versus periods.

Bert

Early style marking (on my lone Winchester Model 1873)

Browning-stamp-1.jpegImage EnlargerBrowning-stamp-2.jpegImage Enlarger

 

Later style marking on an 1898 production Single Shot (low-wall)

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November 25, 2023 - 8:11 pm
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Bert H. said
I am of the opinion that the Browning Bros stamped marking on that barrel is original, but that barrel has been lightly buffed and refinished, and the “T’ was obliterated.

I have several Winchesters in my collection with the Browning Bros. stamped marking, and the earliest stamps used commas versus periods.

Bert

Early style marking (on my lone Winchester Model 1873)

Browning-stamp-1.jpegImage EnlargerBrowning-stamp-2.jpegImage Enlarger

 

Later style marking on an 1898 production Single Shot (low-wall)

Browning-Bros.-marking-close-up.jpgImage Enlarger  

Thank you, and so the markings aren’t spurious, and so one learns something new every day on this site!

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November 25, 2023 - 9:48 pm
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mrcvs said

Thank you, and so the markings aren’t spurious, and so one learns something new every day on this site! 

Judging from these examples, I’d be suspicious of a marking that was straight & well-centered!

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November 26, 2023 - 4:14 pm
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Bert H. said
I am of the opinion that the Browning Bros stamped marking on that barrel is original, but that barrel has been lightly buffed and refinished, and the “T’ was obliterated.

I have several Winchesters in my collection with the Browning Bros. stamped marking, and the earliest stamps used commas versus periods.

Bert

Early style marking (on my lone Winchester Model 1873)

Browning-stamp-1.jpegImage EnlargerBrowning-stamp-2.jpegImage Enlarger

 

Later style marking on an 1898 production Single Shot (low-wall)

Browning-Bros.-marking-close-up.jpgImage Enlarger

  

Thanks Bert. After I posted, I did find an example online like those early variations you show. I’m used to seeing the “T” on those early ones so it sure looked questionable. Also, it almost looked too straight. Those Browning stamps remind me of the Super Grade stampings. If they look like a child took a stab at striking them, they are probably correct. 

I wish I had taken a photo of the other two I had before I sold them. The early high block low wall had the stamp and I regret selling it. A friend owns it now so I can try to get a look at it again. The other one was an 1886 33 WCF that was a grey gun. I actually found the stamp after I purchased it. Like many of them, it was stamped so light that it was hard to see. 

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November 26, 2023 - 4:28 pm
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Learned something, I’ve seen “UTAH” and “U. T.”  but quite honestly was looking for a “T” in the subject rifle. Was also impressed with the execution of the stamp. We don’t see many Browning Brothers or Sheard stamps around here, seems those rifles stay close to home.

 

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November 26, 2023 - 5:02 pm
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 I have seen fake J. P. Lower stamps in the last 15 years. It’s good to save pictures of all stampings, real  and fake. T/R

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November 26, 2023 - 6:22 pm
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pdog72 said

Those Browning stamps remind me of the Super Grade stampings. If they look like a child took a stab at striking them, they are probably correct. 

Good comparison…except many of the SG stamps are more carelessly struck than the Brownings.  But even they look good compared to the “US Property” scrawls on some small-bore target models.

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