Winchester 1886 Extra Light Weight

posted on April 4, 2011
20114414347-img_4238_2_f.jpg

By today’s standard, referring to a 7½-pound hunting rifle as “extra light weight” might be open to debate, but at around the turn of the last century, this big-game lever-action rifle was state-of-the-art. The Model 1886 rifle was unlike the previous toggle-link Winchesters of 1873 and 1876. It had a stronger, beefier action that could chamber the popular .45-70 Gov’t cartridge. Eventually offered in 10 chamberings ranging from .33 Win. to .50-110 Win., the 1886 was the ultimate medium-range hunting rifle.

The product of brothers Matthew S. and John M. Browning, the Model ’86 owed its popularity to an action as smooth as warm butter, yet strong as a tank, thanks to twin vertical locking bars that slid up through the receiver. When the Browning brothers showed their Model 1886 prototype to an executive at one of the country’s leading firearms dealers, Schoverling, Daly & Gales in New York, they were told their rifle held the key to Winchester’s future. Indeed, it put Winchesters in the hands of serious big-game hunters, not the least of whom was Theodore Roosevelt. In fact, it was TR who indirectly focused on one of the rifle’s faults: it was heavy. Roosevelt responded by ordering an ’86 with a half magazine to reduce the 9-pound weight of the 26-inch octagon-barreled rifle.

Winchester also took note of its popular lever-action’s heft and introduced the 1886 Extra Light Weight in 1896. Chambered in .45-70 Gov’t and featuring a 22-inch round, tapered barrel, a half magazine, a hard rubber shotgun buttplate and a straight-grip stock, this was also Winchester’s way of eliminating many special order options, although a take-down version was available. In 1902, the Extra Light Weight was also chambered for the .33 Win., albeit with a 24-inch barrel.

The Extra Light Weight was discontinued in 1919 but re-cataloged from 1928 until 1931. Not many of these slimmed-down ’86s were produced, making them one of the more desirable Winchester variants.

This Winchester Light Weight, chambered in .33 Win., was manufactured in 1905. It shows years of honest use but retains much of its bluing and traces of casehardening, now drifting to grey. The sights are period replacements, and some of the screws are marred. Nonetheless, it is still occasionally used by its current owner to hunt deer, and in 60 percent condition, it would easily fetch $1,850 to $2,200 at a gun show.

Gun: Winchester 1886 Extra Light Weight
Serial No.: 138XXX
Caliber: .33 Win.
Condition: 60 percent (NRA Good - Modern Gun Condition)
Manufactured: 1905
Value: $1,850 to $2,200

Latest

M1C rifle
M1C rifle

Sniping In Korea: 1950-1953

When U.S. forces rushed to stop the North Koreans from overrunning South Korea in 1950, there were almost no American snipers. As the battle lines stabilized, that would change, and the war would become ideal for the employment of well-equipped and well-trained snipers.

Preview: Archangel Mosin Nagant OPFOR

Greatly improve the ergonomics and versatility of your old Russian workhorse with the Archangel Mosin Nagant OPFOR—one of the few replacement stocks on the market compatible with most variants of the storied bolt-action.

The Armed Citizen® September 20, 2021

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Rifleman Q&A: Bullet & Primer Sealant

From the archives of American Rifleman, one NRA member questions the importance of the colorful or black-colored paint-like coating around the cartridge necks and primer pockets of surplus ammunition.

Preview: Zero Tolerance Knives 0357BW

The U.S.-made Zero Tolerance 0357 Black Wash liner lock features a 3.25" blade of hard, wear-resistant CPM 20CV steel treated with a scratch-hiding blackwash finish best suited for everyday carry.

The French FR F2 Sniper Rifle

Conceived during the Cold War and after thirty years of service, the French are beginning to phase out the FR F2 bolt-action sniper rifle, with the surplus rifles available for sale from Navy Arms.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.