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Chertrock Chuck

1887 makers and modifications

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 I recently acquired an 1887 lever action 12ga that is not yet modified for the typical drop 2/load 2 capability used in CAS.

 In my search for one, I came across a few posts stating that there were brands that were not conducive to such modifications or that there were no ‘smiths that would work on them. Specifically the PW87.

 I understand that the Norincos and IAC examples are the most common clones used by ‘87 shooters.

 With Coyote Cap guns, I have learned that not all examples are made ready with said modifications,  (Ask me how I know) but that they were the preferred models of gunsmiths that perform these modifications.

 I am beginning to see the PW87 on the range from time to time, and now see one for sale on the Wire that is said to have a Lassiter mod job in it.

 I was under the impression that nobody would work on these guns but it seems this is not necessarily the case.

 If These guns can be made to run with the rest of the pack(87’s) it seems the only thing that makes me want to pinch my nose over one, would be the horrendous roll marks on the receiver.

 What is the latest consensus on the various makes, and can anyone speak from personal experience how one of the PW87’s perform with mods for cowboy shooting?

It seems to me that a quality action job and modifications may exceed the initial purchase price of a gun that retails for $300-$350.

 Chert Rock 

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Posted (edited)

The PW87 makes a good tomato stake.

 

Lassiter is the only gunsmith I'm aware of that will work on them at this point and I'm not positive he still does; you'd have to call and ask.

Edited by Tyrel Cody
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Posted (edited)

As a qualifier I currently own four 1887s. 2 IAC and 2 Norinco. Two have Lassiter's modification, One has just been slicked up, and one is one of the 200 or so that were marked "Coyote Cap Special" that were sold without his drop 2 modification.

At one time I also owned a PW87 that had Lassiter's magic done to it. It worked just fine. I only sold it because the roll markings made it look as ugly as sin.

 

Of the three Chinese made 1887s the IAC and Norinco 87s are what most people prefer. The quality control on the PW87 is very hit or miss. It also has those horrendous roll marks on the receiver.

Lassiter and one or two others that I cannot remember can make a PW87 function. That said, rather than buy one and send it to them I would buy one direct from them set up and ready to go.

 

AFAIK Coyote Cap is no longer working on 1887s and I don't know if the folks that bought out Coyote Cap's inventory of 87 parts are modifying them or not..

 

There is a another option for a new 1887 that you did not list. Chiappa sells an 1887 that not only looks really nice but the quality is fairly good as well. The Chiappa is made in either Italy or Turkey.

I shoot with a pard that has one with Lassiter's action job and the case hardening colors on the receiver are really nice. Chiappa sells two versions one bone stock and one with their load 2 modification. As I have never seen a new Chiappa with their Load 2 mod I cannot provide any feed back on how well it performs.

 

In case you are not aware Lassiter's modification makes it almost impossible to load the magazine. It can be done but you have to really work at it.

 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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Posted (edited)

I have two 87's, neither of which has a drop two modification, and both of which you can very easily load two rounds at once in.   Perhaps not as "efficiently" as with a modified one, but it can be done.

 

One is a real Winchester and the other is a Chiappa.

 

With both of them, you open the action, push down the lifter and then you can drop one down into the action, but you don't have to press it into the magazine, and then stuff the second into the chamber.  It's not exactly same as the way I've seen guys with a drop two do it, but I can't comment on how different it is since I have never handled one.  And, you can of course still fully load the magazine, a feature you lose with the drop two mod, or so I have been told.

The Chiappa, right out of the box, is every bit as nice and smooth as a real Winchester, and to me that's saying something.   [For the price, it better be.]   Mine is in Mares Leg configuration, which at the moment is not SASS legal for some reason, but I assume the action is identical to their full stocked ones.    I think the Chiappa is very much worth the price, and it's good to go as is.    They have a few options, either a 20" barrel with no choke, or a 28" with screw in chokes.   [The Mares Leg is 18-/2"]  I also understand you get it with or without a drop two, right from the factory.  [If they had a 30" full choke, I'd buy one, but I am weird and like long barrels and hate screw in chokes.]     Mine was able to function just fine with standard 2.75" AA shells.   I've been told that some of the other makes, although the chambers are good to go with that length, the actions are identical to original specs which were built around 2.5" shells and can sometimes be finicky with the longer ones.    I know that my real Winchester, that has had the chamber lengthened, does seem to get a little irked when I try to run the longer shells in it.   For what it's worth, I can also say very nice things about the Chiappa 92 as it comes out of the box.   They seem to make excellent firearms that, depending on exactly what you want to do with them, need little or even no work to be used in our game.    

Bottom line, the Chiappa is a good gun that, while expensive, is worth the expense.  If I ever get another 87, or 92, it will be one of theirs.

 

Someone mentioned Lassiter.  I met and spoke with him a few months back about my Lightning rifle.  While we were talking, he mentioned how he has some sort of a connection to Chiappa, but I don't recall exactly what it was.  Maybe that partially explains why their guns are so good.

 

Oh yeah, made in Italy.

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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OP, confirm your '87 is not a Winchester.

FWIW: my wife:wub: and I have been using Coyote Cap 'race's 87's for many years, and only broke a couple of easy to replace parts.

OLG 

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20” Cap IAC with no mods.

It had a dowel in the magazine tube when I got it, that made it to impossible to load more than 2 in the tube.

 I thought maybe a hunter put it there, but it didn’t simply limit capacity. It was of sufficient diameter to cause compression of the spring.

 Apparently the added pressure on the follower, against the lifter is just enough for a practiced shooter to be able to load 2 shells into the action without them falling too low for the top round to be chambered. This requires starting with the action open, with lifter/carrier up. Carefully loading two shells at one time will leave top shell just high enough to chamber when lever is closed.
 Big time difference in the way the gun runs. The added spring pressure on the follower makes it noticeably more difficult to cycle the action, particularly to the fully open position. This actually makes the whole rule of thumb “drive it like you stole it” almost an understatement. 
 I have removed the dowel. Can’t live with the idea that the spring is causing that much friction on those parts. Hope to have a local ‘87 shooter have a look at it for me sometime soon and offer some advice.

He’s worked on these things for years.

 Chert Rock

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3 minutes ago, Chertrock Chuck said:

20” Cap IAC with no mods.

It had a dowel in the magazine tube when I got it, that made it to impossible to load more than 2 in the tube.

 I thought maybe a hunter put it there, but it didn’t simply limit capacity. It was of sufficient diameter to cause compression of the spring.

 Apparently the added pressure on the follower, against the lifter is just enough for a practiced shooter to be able to load 2 shells into the action without them falling too low for the top round to be chambered. This requires starting with the action open, with lifter/carrier up. Carefully loading two shells at one time will leave top shell just high enough to chamber when lever is closed.
 Big time difference in the way the gun runs. The added spring pressure on the follower makes it noticeably more difficult to cycle the action, particularly to the fully open position. This actually makes the whole rule of thumb “drive it like you stole it” almost an understatement. 
 I have removed the dowel. Can’t live with the idea that the spring is causing that much friction on those parts. Hope to have a local ‘87 shooter have a look at it for me sometime soon and offer some advice.

He’s worked on these things for years.

 Chert Rock

 

That's why your alias sounds familiar,  I sold you that one. Yes the dowel is used to make the spring tension on the follower and catch the nose of the lifter and keep the top shell in line with the chamber. It was that way when I bought it and I left it in there. Keep it lubed and it'll be fine, but hopefully your local guy knows how to "fix" it better to load two.

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The spring pressure on the follower makes it more difficult, but not “hard” for the lifter to pass by the follower each time it moves up, then down.

 While the face of the follower is tapered. It is the flat center that gives the added resistance/friction. This is why, in the fully raised position, two, carefully placed shells will not force the lifter down hard enough to pass the center point of the follower. This leaves the top shell just high enough, as to chamber when the action is closed.

 Not sure if that’s an adequate description,  but surely someone has heard of this before.?.

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1 minute ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

That's why your alias sounds familiar,  I sold you that one. Yes the dowel is used to make the spring tension on the follower and catch the nose of the lifter and keep the top shell in line with the chamber. It was that way when I bought it and I left it in there. Keep it lubed and it'll be fine, but hopefully your local guy knows how to "fix" it better to load two.

 I love the gun, just want to go another route with it if I can. I’m just a greenhorn, trying to figure it all out.

  Shooting Classic Cowboy with a hammer gun right now. Want to give the 87 a go, jus not ready to make the change before our state match in November. It got pushed from March because of the Kung Flu.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Chertrock Chuck said:

  but surely someone has heard of this before.?.

Yes, Coyote Cap had them made that way for a more reliable/faster drop 2.

 

Lassiter and a few other folks weld on the bottom of the lifter and machine the lever accordingly; eliminating the need for a heavy spring/dowel, but also making it hard to load any in the mag tube.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tyrel Cody
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I can live with it being a dedicated cowboy firearm. 
 In the meantime, it sure is fun to stuff it full of seven rounds and let loose the hounds!

 

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Y'all are killing me.

Everytime y'all review another gun, and break down the pros and cons.....I wind up with another new gun !

my wife is going to kill me one day !

maybe there is meaning in the saying "you only live once" ,

i hear when you call Lassiter to be ready to enjoy a long conversation. Sounds like a great way to start a Monday morning !

(sarcasm added by the author for humor...except I'm calling Lassiter tomorrow after the weekly staff meeting at work.)

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Best 1887 instructional video out there.

 

 

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