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Thread: Winchester 1885 with serial number gone HELP

  1. #1
    Boolit Master HARRYMPOPE's Avatar
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    Winchester 1885 with serial number gone HELP

    I just purchased a beautiful custom Winchester high wall. When the lower Tang was bent and repolished for a pistol grip the serial number is no longer visible at all. My firearm's dealer has received the gun from the seller but will not transfer it to me as he said it is broken a federal law. I Told him there is no way to prove it is not an antique so he should be able to transfer it to me.

    Ideas?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    rockrat's Avatar
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    The feds would probably look at it that there is no way to prove that it IS an antique. Call BATFE and ask and ask for a letter with what they say. There should be some way to recover the S/N, but it also might damage the lower tang. Acid etching or magnaflux. Is the s/n anywhere else, say on other parts?

  3. #3
    Boolit Master HARRYMPOPE's Avatar
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    I haven't been to the shop to tear into it.
    I hope the maker etched something somewhere.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    It just needs to be recorded as pre 1968 with no serial number. If he cant tell the difference between a japchester and an original he should be in a different business.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 09-16-2021 at 12:15 AM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "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."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."
    – Amber Veal

    "The Highest form of ignorance is when your reject something you don't know anything about".
    - Wayne Dyer

  5. #5
    Boolit Master HARRYMPOPE's Avatar
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    Even if it's pre 1968 the law reads it is illegal to remove any serial number I've already mentioned that. The only way it would be legal as if it was pre 1898.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    I was incorrect. If it had a serial number that was legally removed pre 22 October 1968 it became illegal on the 22nd of October 1968.

    The only two options I can see is purchasing a lower tang with a serial number or requesting that the ATF issue a new number.

    Some detailed info here.

    https://www.pennlago.com/are-firearm...2022%2C%201968.

    The going rate on ebay for straight stripped tangs is about $150. I got lucky a while back and got a couple of complete set trigger tangs for about that.

    Not sure what options the FFL has other than turning it over to the ATF.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 09-16-2021 at 01:07 AM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "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."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."
    – Amber Veal

    "The Highest form of ignorance is when your reject something you don't know anything about".
    - Wayne Dyer

  7. #7
    Boolit Master HARRYMPOPE's Avatar
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    M-Tecs

    Great idea in lower tang. Also good argument with FFL as its replaced,not removed.Being the serial is in a trigger housing the action technically had no serial number

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    It may have never had a serial number to begin with. The proper way to proceed is to log is as NSN, or no serial number. Many firearms manufactured before 1968 never had a serial number.
    Rick

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    Unless it was a lunch box gun - All 1885 Winchesters would have had a serial number.
    Being human is not for sissies.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master HARRYMPOPE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by square butte View Post
    Unless it was a lunch box gun - All 1885 Winchesters would have had a serial number.
    Correct and that is the sticky point of it

  11. #11
    Boolit Master HARRYMPOPE's Avatar
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    A very helpful ATF agent out of Seattle Washington helped me get the gun into my possession. When I explained that the serial number was on the trigger assembly he said due to the age of the gun they are not very worried about it. He just had the dealer logged the gun in as NSN and a description

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub gc45's Avatar
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    Great news! You now have a legal rifle that was legal in the beginning! nor did it need to go to an FFL dealer if made before 1898. Without the serial number though, one would not know it's DOM nor would it be accurate anyway as Winchester never kept track of receiver DOM. Owning several old Winchesters its easy to see nobody cared much about serial number placement back in the day, other than shipping date information and why BATF is not so concerned about them. There are many older firearms with serial numbered parts that got changed within that family of guns and why we now have serials on the action, it's about tracing them in todays world of crime. Happy it all worked out and in your favor.

    GC45
    Last edited by gc45; 10-03-2021 at 12:50 PM.

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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