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Old 02-25-2011, 06:37 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Winchester 1885 Low-wall rimfire receiver

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Greetings gents and scholars of the single-shot.
I am a new member, and new to forums, so please excuse any mistakes made on my part.
My question concerns an early (1887) .22 rimfire Low Wall in good mechanical condition that I purchased as my first "self-bought" rifle as a boy of 12. Now it is just one of many interesting pieces in my collection and I am interested in turning this old partner into a centerfire rig - I am considering heavily the 38-55. However some of the research I turn up and some of the gunsmiths I talk to suggest that the receivers made specifically for the rimfire models are not up to the standards to handle the pressures of centerfire cartridges. It seems there were perhaps three different "sizes" of receivers made in Low Wall models (?) Can anybody please verify or dispute this question? If I can change my rifle to a 38-55 is it a matter of a new barrel, new extractor and new firing pin? The current barrel is a No 1 original but was cut too short for good looks.
If this change over is not possible does anyone have receiver/parts of an old 1885 (Low or Hi Wall) that they are interested in parting with for a fair price? Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:37 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Illinois
Posts: 30
There were no size differences that I am aware of, there were 2 different styles. First models were flat sided with a flat mainspring that attaches to the barrel, later models were mortised side and used a coil spring that encased the hammer. Many years ago I rebarreled several to 22 hornet, 25-20, and 32/20. The biggest job is converting the breechblock from rim to centerfire. Extractors can also be a bit hard to come up with unless you can make your own. Low walls are not nearly as strong as the high wall so the pressures must be kept low.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:18 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 140
I recall (hopefully correctly) from Campbell's book on the Winchester Single Shot that the .22rf recievers were not hardened to the degree that the center fires were. I'm not sure if this only applies to the Winder Muskets or all of the .22rfs though.

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Old 03-03-2011, 05:29 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 29
I have a low wall chambered in the 22k hornet. if you check with Ballard arms They have the parts necessary and will also rebarrel for you. They did a great job bringing my rifle back to life. good luck They also produce complete rifles
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:52 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Rural south central Wis.
Posts: 189
IIRC the 22 RF Low Wall receivers had smaller barrel threads than CF models. In Frank deHaas' book Single Shot Rifles and Actions, he states that the Low Wall actions are not nearly as strong as the High Walls. Also that they should be only be used for cartridges developing less than 45,000 psi pressure. He suggests optional cartridges such as 22 LR, 22 WMR, 22 Hornet, 218 Jet, 256 Mag, 25-20 and 357 Mag as being suitable for this action.
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