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Thread: Antique Winchester 1886 experience sought.

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Antique Winchester 1886 experience sought.

    I have an antique 1886 in .45-70 coming. It was made in the 1880's, and went back to Winchester in 1921 for a new barrel. I don't have any experience with these, don't know what Winchester had for chamber specs like throat diameter and freebore.

    I'm going to slug it when it arrives, so I'll have the groove diameter, but I don't have any cerrosafe to make a chamber mold.

    Any advice is appreciated.
    Last edited by Greg G; 06-29-2018 at 07:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Man
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    What caliber? I have a 45-70 gov't that's all original and I use an Accurate 46-400M with plain base gas checks that I make with Pat Marlin's gas checks. Load up with some H-332, size and lube to .459, and get great results with no leading at all.

    http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_...=46-400M-D.png

    https://www.patmarlins.com/product/45pbr-rifle-cal/




  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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    Sorry, edited the first post. It's a .45-70.


    Do you think I need a gas check?
    Last edited by Greg G; 06-29-2018 at 09:05 PM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    More than likely, depending on the alloy and velocity.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    WWJMBD?

    "I'M MELLLLLLLLLLTING!" - Elphaba

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    At first I saw a button mag rifle. Not common. Second look, I see the full mag in hiding in the pillow. Great old rifle! Enjoy!!!

    BTW- nothing wrong with getting chamber dimensions, but even if you don't, if you cast some Lyman 457124 or a 457 193, pan lubed or lubed in a 0.459" lube sizer.... I would take 100 to 1, you would be good to go with this rifle.
    I love original Winchester 1886 rifles and have a more then a few. You wont have any trouble with getting a good load or twenty, unless some past someone thought they knew more than Winchester, and stuck a cutting tool in the chamber. In other words; Messed with it.

    Nice rifle!
    Chill Wills

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    smokeywolf's Avatar
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    Here you go C.W.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Button mag and half octagon barrel.
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    "While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny."
    - Rev. Nicholas Collin, Fayetteville Gazette (N.C.), October 12, 1789

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Hello Smokeywolf. I hope you are doing well.

    That Winchester is interesting to say the least! It looks to be a really neat rifle! Was this one of your dad's?
    The single picture in the above post cuts off most of what is ahead of the forearm but does show the octagon to round barrel and contrast between the gloss and checkered stocks and what appears to be lack of finish on the action metal. Does the rifle have new or refinished wood?

    (as it shows up on my end) The picture is cropped before the magazine tube ends in a button. In other words, the end of the magazine is out of the picture. How far does it extend forward of the octagon/round transition?

    -Chill Wills
    Last edited by Chill Wills; 07-01-2018 at 10:49 AM.
    Chill Wills

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Not so well; back muscle(s) in spasm.

    I'll see if I can find another photo. What appears to be magazine ahead of the forend is actually my pendleton shirt hanging on the peg on the wall in the background. Wood is original XX or XXX. Tang sight is not original and does not belong on a model '86. In better light you can make out some remaining case colors.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    "While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny."
    - Rev. Nicholas Collin, Fayetteville Gazette (N.C.), October 12, 1789

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Sorry all, for getting so far OT.

    Smokeywolf,

    I am very sorry to hear about your back! I get that about twice a year too. Lower back Spasm! When I am Okay, I am 100%, but about any trigger, I never know what or when, and it is basically a Charlie-horse that can last and last. At that point I am useless!
    I go to a trained PT who has my number and can make the spasm let go. She can get me going to 75% in a few days. After that, it takes a month to regain the last 25%.

    Getting old! #$%&@
    Chill Wills

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Greg, while your 1880s manufacture Model '86 is a black powder gun, if Winchester re-barreled it in 1921 it may have a "Nickel Steel" barrel on it, which means it should handle "Level II" smokeless loads without problem. Check for the words, "Nickel Steel", stamped on the barrel.
    In Winchesters that do not have "Nickel Steel" or "Winchester Proof Steel" stampings on the barrel, I stick with loads that mimic black powder pressures.

    Always consult your reloading handbook(s) for detailed information.

    I kind of gravitate toward IMR 4198 powder for the older model '86. Gets you closer to the original black powder pressure curve than many other smokeless powders. Have also used 4198 in an original Model '76.

    Because I'm pretty stove up right now and can't get to my journal, I can't check to see what COL (cartridge overall length) I've been using. Your reloading handbook(s) will have that information.
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    "While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny."
    - Rev. Nicholas Collin, Fayetteville Gazette (N.C.), October 12, 1789

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    Thank you Sir. I looked the barrel over and don't see Nickel Steel or Winchester Proof Steel stamped on it. The previous owner said the serial number was stamped on the bottom side of the barrel under the handguard and magazine tube. Possibly it's stamped there?

    I glanced at the throat and there isn't any freebore I can see, just a taper. I have two molds comings, hopefully they'll work out. They have about .050" of .460" that should fit into the taper of the barrel about right. We'll see.

    I was amazed at how big this gun is. Very hefty. Sitting side by side with my Browning 1892...the poor little Browning looks like a kids toy. LOL.

    Edit: On the top of the barrel just forward of the ".45-70" marking there is an oval with WP inside it. is that how Winchester marked their proof steel barrels?
    Last edited by Greg G; 07-04-2018 at 09:05 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy

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    I have two 1886s (1888&1891), for smokeless loads I shoot 2400 and Lasercast 405s, for BP I use the Lyman 457193 and the Gould 33oHP (sized .459) none are gas checked all shoot good.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    On the top of the barrel just forward of the ".45-70" marking there is an oval with WP inside it. is that how Winchester marked their proof steel barrels?
    The oval with the WP inside is the "Definitive" proof mark indicating that the barrel was tested with a load proving the physical integrity of the barrel. Winchester started applying that stamping on their barrels right around 1905.

    Greg if your date of 1921 is correct for Winchester re-barrelling your rifle, it won't be "Winchester Proof Steel". The "Proof Steel" barrels didn't come out until I believe 1924-25.

    I stick with Trapdoor level loads in my black powder era Model '86.
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    "While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny."
    - Rev. Nicholas Collin, Fayetteville Gazette (N.C.), October 12, 1789

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    I have an 1886 in 40-82. Button mag, octagon barrel. Good rifles. Keep the velocities low. around 1500fps.

  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    The 1886 next to my 1892.



    396 grain NOE round flat.



    The bullets are sized to .459", and when chambered engage the throat a bit. I think when I enlarge the sizing die to .460" it will reduce the flat ahead of the mouth and chamber with a little less resistance.




  17. #17
    Boolit Man
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    I shot the rifle today with the NOE 396 RF. This was with 3031 powder, at 50 yards. The bullet, when sized to .459"
    has about a .100" wide driving band ahead of the case mouth, and it jams into the lands pretty hard. Enough so that the lever is hard to close. This rifle has basically no freebore, just the leade right ahead of the cartridge.

    I put this thread in the mold section so someone loading for an old Winchester 1886 might be able to learn about this detail on these guns before buying a mold.


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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check