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Question about Winchester 1886

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by jgommeng, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. jgommeng

    jgommeng New Member

    The Winchester 1886 was chambered for several different calibers from 45/60 to 50/110. I have a newer 1886 chambered for 457 Wild West Magnum. Question is what was done to receiver and loading gate to allow loading of the longer 45/90 or 50/110 cartridge?
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    '86 Winchester

    Howdy jgommeng, and welcome to THR.

    Your question is a little over my head, so I'll let this lay for a day or so
    to see if Jim Keenan or Old Fuff can give ya an answer. If not, I'll move
    it over to Rifle Country and let those guys have a crack at it.


  3. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    I confess - I never heard of a .457 Wild West Magnum, but it sounds impressive.

    As for the others, well, the 1886 is a pretty big gun. But the fact is that those cartridges are not as long as they look in the pictures, though they are bulky. The 50-100/105/110 Winchester (the same except for the powder charge) is only 2.75" overall length (OAL), and the .45-90 is 2.85" OAL. For comparison, a 7.62 NATO is 2.79" OAL, a .30 Caliber M2 ball round is 3.33" OAL, and the 348 Winchester, chambered in the Model 71 (identical to the 1886) is 2.80" OAL.

    Another point of confusion comes in because Sharps cartridges are often much longer, even with similar names. The .45-125 Sharps is a whopping 4.16" long, and the .50-140 Sharps (also used in a Winchester Single Shot) is 3.94. But even when no longer than many modern rounds, those big, straight cases with the short bullet protrusion just look like they HAVE to be longer than they are.

  4. jgommeng

    jgommeng New Member

    I have tried to load my 86 with cartridges loaded to 2.85 O.A.L. and they will not go in. Best it will take is a length of 2.70

    The .457 is a cartridge from Wild West Guns in Alaska. Case is .100 longer than 45/70. Over all case length is 2.205.

    My thought was that if I can load the .457 to a longer O.A.L. I should be able to get an increase in velocity with heavy (up to 540 grain) bullets.

    Jim G.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2004
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    That .457 sounds a bit like the old .450 Alaskan, which was a .348 case necked up to .45 caliber. It was used in re-barrelled Winchester 71's and was pretty hot; with 500 grain bullets it reportedly killed on both ends. Loading was a lot of 4064 with the 500 grainers.*

    I am not sure what you mean by a "newer" 1886. All the original 1886 models were really black powder rifles (except for the Model 71), and should be held to BP pressure levels. So I would not recommend going too hot with that rifle. I suspect 540 gr. bullets would be a stretch, but 500 gr. might be a good possibility.

    You might play with loads and seating depths and see what you come up with. At worst, you might have to have the carrier altered, but I would do that as a last resort.

    BTW, you do have a recoil pad on that gun, I hope.

    *On general principles, I never give loading data on "the net". There is too much possibility of a mistype or a garble getting someone hurt. In your case, the best source of loading info should be the developers of the .457 WWM.

  6. jgommeng

    jgommeng New Member


    My 1886 is one of the modern reproductions made by Winchester. See attached picture.

    I am trying to determine if Winchester modified the loading port and used a longer loading gate to accomidate the longer 45/90 cartridge or was it a function of bullet nose design.

    More info on the 457 WWM can be found at www.wildwestguns.com

    Jim G.

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