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Discussion Starter #1
I have recently checked out a 1886 Win. saddle ring in .50 Ex., it is in fair functioning condition, with some case hardening clearly visible. I was surprised to note that the barrel around the muzzle was incredibly 'thin' like maybe around 1/8". Does this sound correct? It does have visible rifling...
 

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I looked at one of those at a gun show in Knoxville Tn last year and that was the first thing that struck me too, it just looks extremely thin for a rifle barrel and would almost seem to be about right for a shotgun. I think the 1/8" is being generous with the size and I seriously doubt it is even that thick but I also doubt it matters much since they have been around for a lot more than just few years now and have no reputation for failure. I just wish I owned one so I would have it to worry about! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
...yeah, I got ta thinkin after I posted, that the barrell wasn't even 1/8", a shotgun barrell is a good reference, well if you saw one too, it's probably the way they are. I had thoughts of it being turned down or maybe some kind of Hollywood gun used for blanks or something, Thanks for the input...
 

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Winchester offered many different barrel contours and lengths the "light rifle" rapid taper barrels were offered from 22" up to 36". They were quite thin at the muzzle. Remember, these were the days when gun companies would make (within reason) most anything you wanted. Carrying a full length rifle with a full length magazine full of 50Exp all day, would have grown old, real quick. I recently sold an '86 in 45-90 with a 24" rapid taper barrel, button mag. The rapid taper bbls are not all that uncommon. 33WCF and 45-70 were "std" calibers for an Extra Light rifle. any other caliber would have been a "special" order and would add to the rarity. I think I've seen more variations in the '86 than any other Win lever gun. I would want a letter on the .50 Ex '86 before I laid out serious money for it.
 

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The .50-110 was dropped from the lineup, along with the .45-90, in 1919. I have handled .50-110 Extra lightweight 1886s and they do have very thin barrels at the muzzle end, but also have all the metal that is needed at the breech, where it counts. Serial number information on the 1886 is available from the Cody Firearms Records Office. The have information on serial numbers 1-156599, with some large gaps of missing numbers. Not available are 135125-135144, and 146000-150799. Keep in mind that there are many "contrived" Winchester rifles of all models, not just the '86. Unscrupulous "dealers" will go so far to research a gun's serial number and "build" a gun to meet the specifications. As we all know, you must do your homework when considering the purchase of any antique or older rifle, regardless of the manufacturer.
 

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It's been almost 2 months since the first post, but all the 50 caliber 86's are crazy expensive if it's the original caliber. Carbines are even more rare and expensive. If the price is even close to reasonable it's likely a good deal, as an investment if nothing else.

All the orginals I've seen at the Cody Winchester shows in original chamberings have been $7500 minimun, up to over $20k depending on special order features etc. Don't know how many sell at the higher prices, but none are cheap. Always get a letter from the Cody Museum on the more collectible guns, most sellers of older guns already have them with the gun. It's money well spent, tho there are a few fakes even with letters.
 

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The last correct 1886 Extra Lightweight Take Down 1886 in caliber .50 EX was that I personally examined was a 1919 built gun that had a $24K price on it. It did sell, but for exactly how much was not divulged, but it is safe to say that the cost exceeded $20K.
 
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