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NAT’L – GUN NEWS – An Ode to the Winchester Model 1886

We had been stalking the herd for the better part of the morning, when we finally saw the bull come wide to the left side of the herd. My father brought his rifle to shoulder, and sent a 400-grain Swift A-Frame into the base of the bull’s neck, precisely where the guide instructed, dropping the beast where it stood. His smile was equally inspired by the bison he stood over—we were hunting the quarter-million-acre Triple U Ranch in South Dakota, where “Dances with Wolves” was filmed—and by one of his favorite rifles: a Browning Model 1886 in .45-70 Government. That rifle Dad carried was released in 1986, as a centennial celebration of the release of one of John Browning’s finest designs, and one of the strongest lever-action rifles ever developed. The Model 1886 was much stronger than the Model 1873 or Model 1876, using two vertical steel bars to keep that action closed and the bolt firmly in place; the receiver was also different in that it was long enough to handle the popular and plentiful .45-70 Government cartridge, among other powerful blackpowder cartridges like the .50-110 WCF, .45-90 (albeit with shorter bullets) and .40-82 WCF. Browning’s beefy lever gun would also prove to be strong enough to survive the transition to smokeless powder when fitted with a nickel-steel barrel, being chambered for the .33 Winchester in 1903. It was even chambered for the 32-gauge shotshell, available as a custom order.  [full article]

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