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I wanted to see what opinions anyone might have on these two rifles. I am really interested in getting a 45/70 lever action. I have handled the Marlin 1895 Cowboy at the gun shop and I like the way it balances. I reallly like the 26" octogon barrel. I have yet to actually handle the Winchester 1886 Extra Light that they have reintroduced in limited numbers, but the picture darn sure looks good! This would be for short-range deer hunting and all around fun. I would stick with the iron sights, I suspect. The Marlin looks and handles well and is much less expensive than the Winchester. However, I suspect that the Winchester will be a better investment since they are being offered in limited numbers. If the Winchester hold true to form it will be much sought after in the years to come. Any ideas???
 

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A couple years ago I went into a gun shop and this full length magazine break down Winchester 1886 aimed itself at me and made me take it home. It was lonely and needing a loving home, I'm a sucker for orphans.
The 1886 is one fine rifle. You can't got wrong.
Jim
 

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Marlin is cranking out truckloads of 1895s every day. If you can make the deal then get the Winchester. Another Marlin will come along if you need one.
 

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I'm a real fan of the '86 Winchester. I don't own a Marlin, so can't make a fair comparison. The model 1886 is one heck of a smooth levergun, and, the strongest of the two. You might give CDNN Investments a call, though. They had '86 ELs available for $599.95. I believe that they still have some in stock. Their land line is 800-588-9500. Check it out; you can't do better.
 

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I just got finished reading the latest Shooting Times, and you have to ask yourself, "Am I a collector, or a practical user?". Personally, I would put my hands on both, and decide from there. If you can't, take the one that is offered, as already mentioned, the other will appear again. It is my opinion that most folks would agree a bad day shooting is better than a good day not.

And if you really can't stand shooting the 1886 (imagine that!), you can always lock it up for resale when there is something new in the offing.
 

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I have test fired a Marlin 45/70 "Powboy" and also an original 40/82 Win 1886.

The marlin is just too light to shoot such a powerful cartridge.
The original Winchester is about 2lbs heavier with a thicker barrel and very heavy steel magazing and fairly thick timber stock.

The Win is just more balanced for big cartridges than the Marlin which will thump you like a heavyweight boxer. Pow! pow!
 

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shootnfan - I have to agree with MikeG, I'd pick it up and get the Marlin later on. I've used both and I really prefer the Marlin Guide Gun for hunting in the thick stuff all day! The Winchester felt like I was carrying a 20lb crowbar at the end of the day. As for the recoil the heavier loads will get your attention from the bench but I've never noticed the recoil in the field. The Winchester is a good rifle and I'm still kicking myself for passing up an 1886 a while back! Good luck with your choice! CEJ...
 

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Like everyone else so far I say go for the '86. I have two of the reintroduced ones from Winchester (USRAC) - an EL and one from the first year with the 26" oct. barrel. The one with the long tube is an absolute tack driver off the bench. The EL is fairly new, so I haven't done a whole lot of shooting and load development. So far it's not quite up there with it's brother, but I'll reserve judgement till I've shot it a good bit.

I've been shooting Speer 400 gr. FP at around 1750 fps from both guns and, while recoil is noticable, it's not at all unpleasant - especially when I don't shoot from the bench.
 

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GET THE 1886

shootnfan,

Several months ago I was faced with the same decision and, thanks to the advice of arkypete, mike, MikeG and others, got the 1886 Extra Light Grade 1 and haven't looked back. However, I was a little disappointed at first because the action was so stiff but after many well-oiled cycles and about 100 rounds it smoothed out.

I installed a Lyman receiver sight and a .290" red Fire Sight up front. This combination greatly aids in target acquisition by my 58 year old eyes.

On the negative side you can't mount a scope on the 1886. That's not so bad because now I have another reason to get the Marlin.

Good shootin'
 

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I also fell for a winchester EL earlier this year . I have ordered the lyman sight for it but am not familiar with the red fire front sight that Nitro put on his . can you provide me with more informantion about it and where to purchase it. I have not shot mine a lot yet but the lenght of pull is pretty short for me and I would like to add a pad to it. Any suggestions ? Would be nice for it to be leather to keep the period look but am open to suggestions .. Thanks Lee
 

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He could be referring to the Williams Fire Sight. It is available along with the FP receiver sight from several sources. Try www.midwayusa.com. I have 1886 Winchester rifles with receiver sights from several different manufacturers and like them all. I wish that Lyman would bring back the great old model 21,though. Their model 66WB is another excellent sight for the '86 Winchester.
 

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Winchrman- recoil pad for 86ELR

Found mine also to be just short enough to regularly give me a whack in the nose from my thumb. I picked up a Pachmayr thin old English type pad. I think the thickness of the pad was about 5/8 or a bit less. Has a simulated leather texture. I didn't square up the butt, rather, boiled the pad for a few minutes in apot of water and curved it to fit the contour of the butt. I also cut a piece of wood 1/2" thick and contoured it on a belt grinder/sander to snug fit the weight reduction hole in the butt and epoxied it in. One of the recoil pad screws goes into this piece and one screw goes in an existing hole. Both the pad and the wood insert are removable if desired to return it to original or the steel butt plate could simply be screwed back on leaving the wood insert in place. Another option is to get one of the Galazan (?) leather and velcro attached slip on pads as sold by Cabelas.
 

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Sights for 1886

mike and winchrman,

The front sight is a Williams Fire Sight and I did purchase it from Midway (product #686722). It is .290" in height and .340" in width. I also got a Lyman #66WB receiver sight and a Marbles rear sight slot blank from Midway.

I have a leather lace-up recoil pad on my 1886 and it works great and also looks good. I bought it years ago and don't remember where I got it. A good bullet for large game is the Speer 350 grain flat point. It is of a tougher construction that Speer's 400 grain flat point and with it's slimmer nose profile has a better ballistic coefficent. It has two crimping grooves and you can crimp it in the rear groove allowing for a little more powder capacity. Crimping in the front groove is required when loading for the marlin 1895 because over all length must be held to 2.60" max. In our USRAC 1886's we can load to a max OAL of about 2.70".

Hope this helps.
 

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I agree with everyone's positive coments about the Winchester 1886. To add a little icing to the cake, I like the fact that it was the first big bore repeater designed by probably the greatest firearms designer of all time, J.M. Browning!

Hey guys, just don't buy up all the 1886 ELs before I get one for me!
 

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The Winchester will hold value much better. . . The Marlin is easier to carry after a long day. . . The Marlin will handle heavier loads a little better without it unlocking the lever as the '86 will with extreme loads such as the Beartooth 540 grainers. Have them all and have gravitated to the stainless Guide gun more often than not. You have to admit that the '86 is a marvel. I just have found the mass produced Marlin the one I like to shoot the best because of weight, or lack there of. Now the Cowboy Marlin will come undone where the magazine tube stud dovetails into the barrel with very upper end heavy loads. Seems to twist itself apart. Not a good setup if after anything that may hurt you. Good shootin'
 

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I don't care who you are, you put a garret magnum load in an '86, you'll be having your wife open every bottle in the house for you for the rest of your life.

The 1895 is made with solid top reciever..... Mucho strongo.....They had the same argument in the 1860's between the colt 1860 and the remington 1858, Who won???? the guy with the solid frame and top reciever. the 1886 and the Marlin are the exact same way..... Because of these factors the Marlin will usually choot consistenly tighter groups... I've never heard of the 86 being praised for its accuracy. sure the 86 has a slicker action and looks quite a bit nicer, but.... I think i'll take functionality rather than good looks into the woods with me.
 

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I don't care who you are, but any Winchester or Browning 1886 of modern manufacture (Mikuro) and in good operating condition can easily take Garrett 45-70 loads (35,000 psi). Original Winchester 1886s are best left to SAAMI pressure spec loads (28,000 psi).
 

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I have a Winchester (limited Edition Miroku-made) .45-70 1886 take-down that is possibly my favorite rifle.. My friend bought the Marlin 1895 Cowboy in .45-70 and we took turns shooting both rifles.

We both concluded that the Miroku was the better rifle as it was "smoother" and better finished (not to mention the take down capability). The Marlin however costs half as much and is pretty close to being as nice.

I would be happy to own either rifle (but am glad I got the Winny when it was available). The Marlin is an outstanding deal at a little over half the price of the Miroku. I say it's a "pick'em" - depending on what floats your boat...
 

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I have owned two different Marlin 1895s, and they were good guns, but they did kick harder then the average 1886. I owned one Win. 1886 EL Reproduction and it shot good, and was very well finished, but I eventually ran into misfiring problems related to the rebounding hammer. I finally got soured on the gun, because of this, and sold it, but it could have been fixed, there is info all over the net on fixing this problem, but I never read any of it untill after I got rid of mine.

I have since purchased a High Grade Browning SRC made in the 80's before everone got trigger happy with all of the safety crap on the leveractions. And this gun is the best, bar none, of all of the leveraction 45/70s that I have ever owned. I wouldn't trade it for half a dozen Marlins. It has a much slicker action, seems to be quite accurate, holds more shots, 8 to be exact, and handles recoil better. All I can say is if you ever get a chance to buy one of the Browning 1886's, don't hesitate.
 

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Reply to yer question

I wanted to see what opinions anyone might have on these two rifles. I am really interested in getting a 45/70 lever action. I have handled the Marlin 1895 Cowboy at the gun shop and I like the way it balances. I reallly like the 26" octogon barrel. I have yet to actually handle the Winchester 1886 Extra Light that they have reintroduced in limited numbers, but the picture darn sure looks good! This would be for short-range deer hunting and all around fun. I would stick with the iron sights, I suspect. The Marlin looks and handles well and is much less expensive than the Winchester. However, I suspect that the Winchester will be a better investment since they are being offered in limited numbers. If the Winchester hold true to form it will be much sought after in the years to come. Any ideas???
(A) = Their both awesome wurks of art and built to last several generations ,if You bot both rifles I cood'nt blame you at all. I don't have the Marlin cowboy even though I want it bad, I dew have the guide series and I dew have the 86 extra light both 45-70 and I love them both the same "B U T"?!? as for a buget plan & aswell for a rifle having a heavier barrel the Marlin wood be the better choice ,like I say a man can never , ever have too many gun nor amo. If you can afford the Winchester or the Browning (1886)'s get'm I favor the short rifle version myself . The 1886 is an outsranding rifle and if You get wun you will not be disappointed and thats a guarantee "GOOD LUCK" and enjoy!!!!!!! For historical facts I have a picture of Jesse James leaning on a Marlin 1881 45-70 at his notorious hide out in Mizeruh ha,ha,! if not mistaken ?!? Marlin came out with the first lever action 45-70 beet'n Winchester at the draw!
 
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