Is this normal?

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Larsen E. Whipsnade
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Is this normal?

#1 Post by Larsen E. Whipsnade » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:26 pm

I recently saw an older 1886 Winchester that struck me as unusual. I'll admit all the Winchester leverguns I've seen have been newer, so maybe this is normal for rifles of a certain age. It had no markings whatsoever except for patent dates on the tang under the lever. No serial number, no caliber markings. It had an octagonal barrel that would've been 24" - 26" in length, and looking at the bore, I'd guess it to be between .30 to .35 caliber. I only got to look at it briefly and had no chance to take pictures or any measurements. All the newer Winchesters I've seen had caliber markings on the barrel, so I'm wondering if it may have been rebarreled at some point. Still wouldn't explain the lack of a serial number, though. Thoughts?

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Pete44ru
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Re: Is this normal?

#2 Post by Pete44ru » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:55 pm

.

Buyer beware !

No, it's definitely NOT normal !

ALL Winchester lever action rifles (including the M-1886) had serial numbers when they left New Haven, and if that M-1886 has no apparent SN, it has become illegal to buy, sell, transfer or even POSSESS under US Federal Law (GCA-68) - which forbids firearms (whenever they were made) that were issued with a SN, and have had said SN altered, defaced or removed.


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Re: Is this normal?

#3 Post by Malamute » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:00 pm

The serial number on older 86s should be on the lower tang in script type font. They can be faint if its been refinished and there was a heavy hand at the buffer.

It sounds like its been rebarreled, but there should be markings on the tang behind the hammer with model number.
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Larsen E. Whipsnade
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Re: Is this normal?

#4 Post by Larsen E. Whipsnade » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:16 pm

I saw this when I was visiting with a friend who lives about 250 miles away. He is not as much a "shooter" as an "accumulator". If he sees something that strikes his fancy, he buys it. He has everything from flintlocks to the latest semi-autos. As such, he doesn't really know much about it, even what caliber it is. He was showing me all his acquisitions as fast as he could hand them to me, so I didn't get to look it over as well as I'd have liked. It's possible I missed the ser. # & caliber, but I don't think so. When I get to see him again, I'll look closer & try to get some pictures, but it probably won't be this year anymore.

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Re: Is this normal?

#5 Post by Sixgun » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:45 pm

The serial number on an 1886 is on the lower tang as Malamute said. IF the gun was sent back to the factory for a replacement lower tang.......which also houses the trigger group....it was common when Winchester did replace the tang they omitted restamping the serial number. Or maybe it was a part bought from Winchester and installed by a smith as this too would be a serial numberless item.

No barrel markings?.....octagon?....between 30-35 cal?......The only caliber in that size would be the .33 and there are no factory documented 33 wcf barrels in octagon form.

Taking off the forend MIGHT reveal markings under the barrel, close to the receiver.

Like others have said, it could have been refinished and the smith ground the heck out of all markings....maybe stolen and purposely ground down.

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