The first cartridge called " Express" was the 50-95, which was offered in the model 1876 rifle beginning in 1879. This is a short, strictly blackpowder cartridge, as the '76 is a relatively weak action. It is basically an enlarged 1873 built to handle the bigger cartridges of the buffalo era. The cartridge you are questioning is probably the 50-110 which first became available in the model 1886 rifle in 1887. This was a very powerful round pushing a 300 gr bullet over 2000 fps and developing some 3300 lbs energy. The 50-110 was not dropped until 1919, along with the 45-70 and 45-90. A few special order 50-110 guns were made in the last years of the '86 run. 1886 Winchesters in 50-110 are rare indeed, commanding a large premium over guns of other calibers. This, of course, is assuming that the gun is all original and with provenance, such as a "factory" letter. I would sure like to see Miroku produce rifles in this fine cartridge. This one can really take on any game animal on any continent.
I agree with you and all the Miroku made Brownchesters that I have seen and handled were top quality. The fit and finish is as good as any rifle on the market right now, much better than most and they are scary accurate. I really would like to see Winchester offer it as a production run rifle similar to the 1895 repros and the 1886 45/70 runs. Winchester, if you are listening, how about a color case hardened receiver without the "new" safety.
Mike is correct in his history of the cartridge. There were, however, three different loadings, and therefore names, for the cartridge. The 50-110 referred to the 300 grain bullet, and was an "express" loading; a light bullet with a heavy powder charge. The second loading was the 50-105-350 and the third the 50-100-450. All used the same 2.4" case that had the same rim as the .45-70 case. It was essentially a .50-90-540 Sharps case shortened (from 2.5") to work in the 1886 rifle. The case was later shortened again to 2.25 and necked down to make the .348 Win. That was shortened and necked up to make the wildcats .450 Alaskan and .50 Alaskan. The .348 case was used, with the rim removed for a rimless case and shotened, to make the .300 Win Short Mag. Not too much is new in this world.
great reply dclark1! Much more detail than I was willing to go into. Wasn't the rim diameter on the 50-90 much larger than the Winchesters? The 45-120 3 1/4 had the same rim (or very close)diameter as the larger Winchester cartridges. While all three of the 50s were based on the same case Winchester regarded them as different and marked the guns accordingly.The 50-110 had a much longer rate of twist than the 50-100 and 50-105. Although the cartridges were interchangeable, Winchester did not recommend the practice.
Like Alyeska338, I think that the 50-110 has tremendous potential, even at this date. Starline is making the brass and there are several good bullets available that are designed for it. It's too bad that I didn't have enough sense to keep the one that I had. At the time ammo was not available and reloading was not in the picture, so it was traded for a 45-70 SRC. This little '86 has accounted for much game over the years. I have given some thought to converting a 71 to 50-110. Maybe a Browning can be used, 'cause sacrificing a Winchester just ain't right.
I agree with the notion that the .50-110 is a viable cartridge for hunting. I believe that a "light loaded" .50 would exceed the "killing power" of a .45-70 substantially. With the components again being available, it would be fair simple to convert a Winchester 1886 ELR to a .50. There are some internal difference between the rifles for .45's and those made for .50's, I understand, to insure feeding, but certainly could be done. Off the top of my head, I would thing that a rifle with a 22" - 24" barrel, 1/2 magazine with a weight of about 8 lbs could handle the .50-100-450 loads at about 1,450 fps. What a killer at 150 yards and in! It might be fun to load them with black powder and duplicate the original loads. The new actions should handle anything you are willing to shoot without problems. A while ago I was sent a box (20) of .50 Alaskan cartridges, and that got my clock ticking about such a project. (Just what I need! One more project!) Well, let me get past hunting season and this election, then maybe, I can consider it.
I'm not sure that the '86 EL can be modified to 50 caliber at a reasonable expense. The Miroku appears to be dimensionally the same as the original 1886, but, it will not load longer or larger diameter cartridges through the gate. I tried to load 45-90s into my EL as a test to see if they would cycle through the action. No go. My originals will accept and cycle any cartridge. Maybe only a little work is needed to allow the larger ctgs to feed. I'm would like to modify the EL to 45-90. Both 45-70 and 45-90 ammo could be used.
The older 1886s and ofcourse the model 71 could be converted to 50 AK, but then the receiver for the older 86's were the same for all chamberings, including the 50 cals. An interesting note, all 50-100's, and 50-110's had to be carefully fitted by knowledgeable employees, as they had a good deal of difficulty getting the big fat cartridges to feed reliably, the big difference is in the carrier group, it has to be modified to handle the larger rounds. I have an old 1886 that I bought for a project, I wanted a 50AK, it was going to be a low pressure gun, for even though it wears a 33wcf barrel, the receiver is from 1896 according to the serial #. Alas the 50 cal bug wore off, and I am sticking to the 45-70, I am working with a Ruger #1 now, and am in the process of buying a Marlin stainless guide gun with un-ported barrel, stainless is good for the weather here in Alaska. I know McGowen does the 50 cal conversions, as that is who I was looking into doing mine.
One of the reasons that so few 50-100,105 & 110 rifles survived is because many were sent back to Winchester for rework and/or caliber change. This was due to reliability. as you mentioned. I don't know why I still have the 50 bug. There's nothin' here in N. Ca. that needs such a large round to bring down. I seldom take the 45-90 to camp, either. Even though it is a lt. wt. '86 it's still heavy at 8 lbs. With hot loads the recoil is testy, too. These days I mostly use the 45-70 and 33. Up your way a Big gun is more or less mandatory for some of the local critters, isn't it? I have no knowledge of the 45 and 50 AK cartridges other than a lot of 1886s were converted to them. Years ago a gunsmith friend had one in 45 AK. These cartridges must have been around for a long time since this was back in the early seventies.
Leadbutt, thanks for the info. As a matter of fact I've talked to Dave on this very subject. He will be the man to do the job if and when I get the nerve to commit my 71 to this project. If the chance comes up to grab a Browning repro at a reasonable cost then that's the way I'll go.
When I got my .450 Alaskan, I had trouble loading cartridges that were loaded to a length I thought to be proper. I carefully watched the operation and found that an internal ramp leading to the magazine was the real problem. I used a power grinder on a flexible shaft to slightly re-shape and polish to near-mirror smoothness. That removed the hitch in the feeding and allowed longer loaded rounds to feed properly. The "re-shaping" consisted mainly of removing some tool marks on the ramp.
I have feed .50 Alaskan rounds through my .450 Alaskan, and although they won't chamber, they feed easily. They could be considerably longer and still feed. The .50-110 had deeply seated bullets to deal with that problem, and I suspect the reason that H. Johnson shortened the Alaskan cartridges was to eliminate feed problems.
The .45-70 is listed in Cartridges of the World as having an overall length of 2.70". The .45-90 is listed as 2.88". The .50-110 is listed a 2.75". I can see why you had problems with the .45-90 in feeding. My .450 Alaskan is loaded to 2.73". It can feed longer cartridges at this time, so I think a .50-110 would be feasible, even given the wider bullet. A real interesting idea.
Now this is all quite intersting!
I have been thinkng of having a repro 1886 rechambered to .458Win and looking at having a Marlin rechambered to .50Alaskan.
They are doing 1886's in .45-90 now so is it simply the diameter of the .50-110 that gives it difficulty?
If the c.o.l. of the .50-110 is only 2.73" could it not function in a Marlin 1895?Watching the loading prosses in my two '95's it looks like there is room.I even loaded up a dummy .45-70 to this and it feeds fine.I have read that the Marlins are c.o.l. sensitive so is this piculiar to my rifle?I thought the Winchester was supposed to handle longer cartridges well?
Starline is making .50-110 brass?
In a new 1886 what kind of smokeless hot loads could I do and where can I go to get modern info on this OLD cartridge in NEW rifles/loadings?
I guess what I am looking for is a .50 that will out do the .458Win.,in a lever action,with some room to spare.
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