Iron Sight options for 1886 Lever Guns?


July 14, 2004, 02:38 AM
What options do you have for improving rear sight on Win (US Arms) 1886?

I would prefer a peep or square notch rear sight and flat top front sight.

How many $$$ for parts and smith?

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Jim Watson
July 14, 2004, 08:50 AM
Lyman 57 receiver sight is about $68.
Plain post front rifle sights are not common. The Brockman Marlin front blade would likely do, they're all 3/8" dovetails. $24

Brownell's gunsmith survey shows $20 and up per hole drilled and tapped. You need two, plus costs for screwing down the sight and driving in the front. Gonna be $150 if not more.

July 14, 2004, 09:08 AM
The old Winchesters had a peep sight atop the breechblock.

Jim Watson
July 14, 2004, 10:33 AM
True, mostly seen on model 71.
There are repros available.
$195 plus installation.

July 14, 2004, 10:41 AM
Yes, the Model 71 - an updated Model 1886. The breechblock installation is much neater looking than the side mount dealie, imho.

July 14, 2004, 11:02 AM
Both Lyman and I think Marble make tang aperature sights (think of Quigley's gun from Quigley Down Under... the big rear sight) for Winchesters.

July 14, 2004, 03:30 PM
Depending which version of the 1886 you have may make a difference. If you have one of the later Japanese variety with a tang safety, a Lyman No 2 Tang Peep sight may be out. I believe Marbles makes makes one for the Japanese 1886 with tang safety, $125 from Brownells. Smith Enterprises makes a nice buckhorn sight for the 1886 that fits the original dovetail which means no gunsmithing, providing it is a 3/8" dovetail. Brownells Link (

July 14, 2004, 04:17 PM
A number of options exist for irons for the 1886, though the better ones are pricey and may entail some effort on your part to find the right dealer.

Personally, I wouldn't spend the money to put real period sights on the Japanese made gun--and especially one with the lawyer safeties. I mounted a current production Marbles Tang peep on a Browning 1886 SRC and have a Beach Sight (once carried by Cape Outfitters, now from Jeff's Outfitters for the front--that runs about $70 retail). I have an original Beach front, and I thought about mounting it on my Japanese Browning SRC, but I'm saving it for the right original 1886 at a price I'm willing to pay. Your Japanese made Winchester 86 probably has a tang safety, though, and, if so, that lets out the Tang Peep. The Front Sight as issued is tad low for the zero I want. (I would have used a receiver sight, but I also wanted something that could be used in CAS long range lever side matches and the rules prohibit receever sights).

I use an original Lyman 56 Aperture receiver sight on my 71 Winchester which matches the period in which it was made. The 66 from a bit later in the fifties is a better sight though with more sophisticated click adjustments. Personally, I prefer the older Lymans to current production and they can be had from a number of dealers in sights found in GUN LIST listings. They aren't as pricey as some of the early sights that fit in with the 86's and earlier.

The older sights WILL cost more than current production much more is a factor of condition and dealer and whether you want the original box etc. Some good deals can be had for excellent using sights that don't satisfy a serious collector's desire for condition.

I really prefer the Aperture Receiver sight to either tang or bolt sight as being much more rugged. The old bolt peeps, by the way, had a reputation from those who used them for developing a wiggle that affected POI.

CAS taught me the virtue of the FULL BUCKHORN rear as sort of a 'arf-arsed ghost ring at the closer ranges. With aging eyes I must have the aperture to sharpen the foresight for any kind of precise shooting, and Full Buckhorn works well at the closer ranges with the right foresight. If you must have a square notch rear, it's an easy thing to use a fine triangular gunsmith file to square the notch from any v-notch....or if you are as clumsy as I to get a gunsmith to do it for you. Just don't cut the notch too deep for your foresight and be prepared to replace the foresight.

Congratulations on buying a really nice gun, though, whatever you do. Please don't take this as disparaging of your Japanese made piece. They are well made though the quality of the wood is a far cry from what Winchester offered in dense, seasoned walnut. Took me a while to accept a Japanese Winchester, but I like my SRC and am considering an extra light weight if I can find one without the tang safety. The Japanese guns have better steel than the real 1886's, are probably consistently more accurate, are offered in some of the better and more expensive versions of the original at no collector-driven jump in price, AND, it's sure easier to accept hunting dings on them vice an original 86. I will never be able to afford, for example, a SRC in the 1886, and even I wouldn't take it hunting if I did.

Good luck and I, for one, would like to hear how your search turns out and what you end up mounting on it and how it works for you. Big difference in using irons in the hunting woods (vice the on a range or from a hide with critters in the open). I prefer aperture sights on rifles, but it can be a real problem when you're trying to determine in the woods at first or last light where your aiming point REALLY is or whether that's a critter or a stump with branches configured just so.


July 15, 2004, 07:32 AM
Well, whatever some may think of the Winchester/Miroku '86 rifle, I like mine a lot.

I bought an '86 takedown rifle in '99. At $1,000, it was about 1/3 or more of the cost of an original '86 in .45/70. I simply can't afford an original and if I could, I wouldn't shoot it.

Personally, I wouldn't spend the money to put real period sights on the Japanese made gun--and especially one with the lawyer safeties. :rolleyes:

I don't agree with this statement at all. I think it would be a very nice touch to a fine rifle.

I looked into having a Marble's tang sight installed on mine. It requires the drilling and tapping of one additional hole on the tang. It runs $125.00 MSRP or $83.38 trade discount from Brownell's. I chose not to have my rifle drilled and tapped and besides, I don't think my eyes could take full advantage of the sight. It sure would look great though on this rifle. :D

July 15, 2004, 09:11 AM
Smith Enterprises makes a reproduction of the Winchester ladder type sight that was used on the 1886. It installs in the barrel dovetail. Smith Enterprises (

Go to thier cowboy section.

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