Gratuitous Gun Pic: Winchester 1886 (.45-70 Govt)

I really need someone to explain to me just what it is about this old warhorse that makes my trigger finger twitch and my overburdened credit card start whimpering:

I mean yes, I know that this particular one is beautiful beyond words, and in a post-Lotto-win era would already be mine, all mine.  But still… I’m not nor ever will be a cowboy, and the chances of my doing any deep-woods black bear hunting are slim to non-existent.  And I already have a .30-30 Winchester lever rifle.

But I still want this one, oh how I want it.

Somebody help me.


  1. For me it was dad collecting them from the 1960s to the 2000s, one of Father Brownings best lever guns, incredible diversity, cut away, line thrower, full musket, numerous configurations, but the saddle ring carbines, #2 engraved, and Serial Number #1 were incredibly beautiful. Out of the factory a new gun had a smooth action and fired things like 50/110 Express. Plain wood was the most common but the case colored guns were incredible (there are a lot of re-case colored guns out there now). To buy an original in 90% condition is a large chunk of change today.

  2. it’s a classic rifle in a wonderful caliber and it has tasteful and graceful embellishment. The only detriment to it is the price tag which is more a failing of my bank account rather than the rifle’s fault.


  3. I worship at the church of St John. What wonderful designs. If you have a chance, at say the NRA annual meeting, or other big shows, make sure to catch Doug Turnbull and the guns he has worked on. Stunning. It is great to see them in person. He is arguably the premier restorer in American today.

    1. Apparently, there is a trick to posting URLs in comments. Would someone be kind enough to fill me in?

      1. You should be able to copy (right click) the address in the address bar up top, then paste it into your comment. It has been my experience that multiple links will get your comment (here and elsewhere) flagged for approval by the blog owner.

  4. I can offer no explanation, only remark that I have it too.

    The one above is absolutely beautiful, but a bit ornate for my taste. Back in the early 80’s, I happened to be in Carson City, Nevada with some time to kill, so I stopped into a small Museum. They had on display an 1886 (full length) that had been made for IIRC, a Chicago Exposition (1906?). It had deep, dark walnut wood, bluing you could fall into, and light engraving in the corners. The muzzle, receiver, lever, and a few other parts were subtlety outlined with thin inlaid gold wire. For my taste, it was stunning. I suppose by now they have cleaned my finger prints and drool off the glass.

    Best I can do is drag out my 1886 Miroku/Browning from the back of the safe so we can go shoot it.

  5. Another Miroku/Browning 86 owner here too.
    Nice thing about it, other than price compared to an original, is that I can shoot more modern ammo through it (if my shoulder can take it).
    I know that Buffalo Bore rates their ammo as safe in any 1886 made post 1903, but I’m not sure I would want to risk it anyway. One made post 1993 is old enough for me in that regard.

  6. Yet another Browning/Miroku owner here. Talked/begged/pleaded my way into getting the first one, in rifle configuration, shortly after getting married. That was back in19(mumble), more than a decade into the previous century. Still have both the rifle and said wife, so I’m convinced they were solid choices. That rifle was my go to cowboy action shooting long range lever action side match rig for the whole time I played that game and it’s won its fair share of said events. One cherished memory with this rifle was of taking second place in one such event to someone that single loaded every round and took ages to pop them off. Comment heard behind me during my turn was “Dang it, Molasses, this isn’t a main match stage!” as bystanders and spotters crowding too close behind started dodging brass.

    The second one, a SRC, was stumbled across about 15 years ago, long after I had despaired of ever finding one that I could convince myself was affordable. It was used, in excellent condition and priced for slightly less than they sold for new back when I bought the rifle version. It’s a delight to handle and coo over, but not so much to shoot. Recoil with the various factory 300gr JHP loads is into the somewhat unpleasant category and the sights aren’t very user friendly, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to swap them out for something both adjustable (sorry, but I don’t consider the traditional Winchester carbine flip up ladder rear sight to be truly adjustable) and sufficiently visible to see under hunting conditions.

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