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I bought an 86 EL last spring. It's just the funnest rifle I've owned in a long time. Shoots very well indeed with jacketed and cast although the trigger pull needs a bit of slicking up. Put a Williams peep sight on it and just finished checkering butt and foreend. If you read Brian pearces article which referred to an oil finish you can scrub that thought. Don't know if he had a factory prototype or can't tell the difference. The finish is some kind of urethane or synthetic. It has the annoying habit of showing scratches as white marks. Recoil with max loads is a handful and tends to rattle your brain a bit but my wife says she can't tell the difference in me.
Found the foreend hard to hang onto in recoil thus the checkering. Haven't decided yet if I'm going to epoxy the tang safety in the off position or not. I kind of like it when unloading but prefer to just thumb the hammer back and shoot -if I've remembered  to slide the safety off !! It's a bit of overkill. They could have done a classier job of enscribing the model # on the tang and there is enough writing on the barrel to be annoying. These things are nit-picky though as it is a good solid rifle.
You won't shoot one long before seeking out some reduced/traditional loads for practice at the range if you want to use it a lot. Save the heavy loads for when they are needed. Mine weighs 7 lbs 6.5 ounces. Not a featherweight but it's well balanced , relatively short and comes up quick. besto
 

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Using a Williams Foolproof. It's not ideal as adjustments require loosening screws before dialing adjustments but it is clean, light and ideal for hunting. Don't like the idea of a tang sight considering recoil but would like to have more flexible elevation adjustments. Wish there was a peep available with a short flip up slide similar to the military Enfield peep sight. If you could adjust quickly for zeros out to 250-300 yds it would be adequate for my purposes. Weight variations are probably the result of different wood densities. The butt on mine has been hollowed out at the factory but don't know if they all were. besto.
 

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Bigal: Haven't tried the Speer but I know some fellows do by seating them deeper and crimping over the curve of the nose. I expect pressures jump a bit if you don't reduce the load to compensate. A compressed load would be essential to prevent bullets pounding back in the cases. An option is to have the rifle throated to accept the Speers but it doesn't appeal to me. I've been told the Speer bullet is not very strongly constructed but can't confirm or deny that. I've been using Rem. 405's for jacketed and they work just fine. Am probably shooting 20 or 30 cast for every jacketed though. Using the RCBS 405FNGC (which casts at 415 from my alloy) and the RCBS 300 FNGC which drops at 325. Have some 350 Horn RNSP's loaded up to test although I made a bit of a jig and filed them off flat. Not too comfortable with bullet to primer contact given the amount of recoil energy. Both cast bullets driven at 1450-1500 are  accurate, commonly getting 10 shots in 1 1/4 at 50 yards. Accuracy declines at higher speeds so plan to cast the next batch harder to boost the load a bit. POI varys quite a bit between weights. besto.
 

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I've had an RCBS case trimmer on order for a couple weeks because my Forster collet won't accept the 45-70. I assumed, wrongly it seems, that RCBS would have addressed this problem. Was also unsuccesful in obtaining a trim die so I could file them back. May have to cobble something up.
 

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This string does go on doesn't it? Everybody including me is pretty happy with their ELR's it seems. As for tang sights Brownells does catalogue one for use with tang safety 86's. I haven't seen one so don't know if mounts over the safety which is blocked in the off position or what. Anybody got/seen one? regards all.
 

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FA18CUB- Provided you carry a tool that lets you access it why not. Not much point if you had to break the stock to get at it though. I once purchased a Model 12 and decided to refinish the wood a year later. Found two 100.00 US bills in the butt screw hole. Talk about hiding your money from your wife! Or maybe it was in reserve to pay his fines. besto
 

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FA18CUB; The forend wood is too thin for a conventional stud. It may be possible to drill the forend cap and attach it there, I didn't care to drill a hole in mine. If you can order-find one from a 71 or an older deluxe 86 as another poster suggested there's your answer. besto.
 
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