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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I recently purchased an estate gun collection from an old gentleman, and in this collection is an 1886 Winchester rifle. The fellow said it was his grandfathers and knew little about it.
What I've found: The rifle (serial number 457xx) is in decent condition for its age. The barrel has been changed to .30? caliber something, probably early in its life as it has the same general patina as the rest of the rifle. I asked the man if he knew any thing about his grandfathers rifle and he replied that the word Krag was occasionally mentioned around deer season.
He gave me a couple of .32-40 cartridges that he thought belonged with this rifle. They won't cycle from magazine to chamber without jamming under the cartridge elevator mechanism, so I doubt that is the correct round for this gun. I guess a chamber casting is what needs to happen. Since this rifle has been molested early in its life, It may not have any value except as a shooter (if the correct cartridge can be determined), or as a parts donor. I'm looking for some 30-40 Krag rounds to try, but they seem to be non-existant in my small world. I wonder if the 7.62x54R Russian could work in this rifle if it were re-chambered for the same and used with round nosed slugs. Anyways, this is just me thinking out loud and tossing this question out there to see what wisdom might bubble up. Thanks!
 

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Pour a chamber cast. VERY odd an '86 was wildcatted, but it could happen.
 
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If there was mention of Krag, I can't think of any other cartridge someone might rebarrel and rechamber an '86 in being that it is one of few 30 cals that run a rimmed shell.

That said, I wouldn't attempt to fire anything from it without a chamber cast as JBelk said above, or at the very least a thorough inspection by a competent gunsmith to determine what it is and if it's still safe to shoot.

I honestly think an '86 in 30-40 Krag would be pretty cool. But I don't think I could do that to an '86 other than a last resort to keep it shooting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, gentlemen, for the comments! Got a chamber cast this AM and found some 30-40 empty cases that a gun store employee had tucked away. Yes, this is indeed chambered for the 30-40 Krag cartridge. And the empty cartridges chamber and extract as they should. I'll see if I can buy a box of cowboy action (lower velocity) ammo off gunbroker and see how this rifle shoots. If everything checks out with cowboy ammo, I'll try some full power stuff. Will likely put it up for auction at some point as I seldom hunt any more. This has been an interesting project!
 

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I personally think the 30-40 is a perfectly respectable cartridge. It was just found wanting compared to what our enemy at the time was shooting back at us with. And the rest as they say, is history.

I'm planning to pick up an old Springfield Krag in the future. I think they are quite a nice little rifle, and interesting how they got a bolt action to reliably feed a rimmed case.
 

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A friend was given a 1895 Winchester in .30-40. The exterior of the rifle shows a lot of use, not much blue but no pitting and the stock could be refinished to a decent state. Unfortunately the barrel looks like an old rusty water pipe. The action is as slick as they come. I was thinking of striking up a deal with him and having the gun restored but I've seen decent 95's on gun broker for less than the cost of a restoration.
 
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