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1885 High Wall, Browning vs Winchester


Johnny Knight
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Looking to pick up my first rifle for longer distance matches.  Current top contenders are an 1885 High Wall, either Browning or Winchester (aka Miroku manufacture), in 38-55.  The choice of caliber is intended to give a better option in case the wife wants to try her hand at the longer ranges.  I understand it won't carry quite as far as the 45-70, but I'm not likely to hit anything at the ranges where the difference in cartridges will be the limiting factor.  I've read a few articles that compared the two brands, it seems that the main differences are cosmetic, i.e. gloss of finish, degree of polish on the barrel, etc.  Are there any other differences that recommend one over the other?

 

Thanks in advance.

Johnny

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You might want to consider the 40-65 caliber. It is not nearly as punishing as the 45-70 and works great out past 500 yards.

Lucky 

grin.bmp

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I have the Browning model, other then name and cosmetic, I think they are the same rifle. I think the wood is a little nicer on the Browning. The bore is .376 on mine I shoot a .377- 255 gr. bear creek out to 200 yds. can't see much farther with these old eyes, does great. I think pick a name, you will be happy with ether one.

   Rob

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If you can find one, the Browning BPCR model in 45-70 is a heck of a rifle!  I was in the same boat you are in now and I settled on the Browning BPCR model and couldn't be happier.

 

Totes

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One more vote for the 40-65.  

 

C. Sharps will make you whatever you want in an 1885.  Their basic shooter isn’t anywhere near as pretty as either the Browning or the Winchester but it will definitely get the job done.

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If you want a target rifle then get a heavy rifle, helps with the recoil.  The Browning BPCR model was made for the type of shooting you want to do.  But, not just any Browning High Wall is a BPCR model.  Only the ones with a cheek rest and half octagon barrel in calibers 40-65 and 45-70 are BPCR models.  The BPCR came from the factory with a Badger Barrel, one of the best barrels ever made.  The BPCR came with a nice soule sight, great for target work.  For more info on the BPCR read this book: Browning Model 1885 Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, 3rd Edition.

 

You will be better served by the 40-65 than the 38-55.  I have rifles in both cartridges and the 40-65 is my go to rifle.  Brass is easily made out of 45-70 brass.  Oh, one more thing DO NOT buy a rifle with a curved butt plate.

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5 hours ago, Rough 'N Ready Rob said:

There is one of each on Gun Brokers, very pricey.

I seen 1 BPCR in 45-70 and a traditional Hunter in 38-55 he has to make sure to get the traditional hunter with the tang on the receiver there are some brownings without a tang

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1 hour ago, WOODFOX , sass#34179 said:

I seen 1 BPCR in 45-70 and a traditional Hunter in 38-55 he has to make sure to get the traditional hunter with the tang on the receiver there are some brownings without a tang

The BPCR model has a tang and the soule sight that goes with it.  The sight alone is worth $400.  The BPCR is the most bang for the buck you can find.  

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8 hours ago, Clyde Henry #7046 said:

For more info on the BPCR read this book: Browning Model 1885 Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, 3rd Edition


I bought my Browning BPCR from Wayne, the author of the book. Got a signed copy.

 

Totes

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I have a Taylor's (Italian replica) 1885 high wall in .38-55.  The bore slugged at 0.3805.  I shoot .382 bullets from Rimrock.

Double set trigger helps with the fine work.

 

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16 hours ago, Clyde Henry 7046 said:

The BPCR model has a tang and the soule sight that goes with it.  The sight alone is worth $400.  The BPCR is the most bang for the buck you can find.  

The original post was for a 38-55  I was refering to the traditional Hunter about having a tang . I also have a BPCR in 45-70 and would like to find a traditional hunter in 38-55

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Ok I would look at Winchester (older model), Browning, or Pedersoli in .38-55 and buy the one I could get.  The barrel is the main component in accerescy and the 3 all have good barrels.  I don't fell the Pedersoli sights are as good as the Browning but if you want the best check what sights are used in the top BPCR's that win.  MVA   https://montanavintagearms.com  , Baldwin Sights aka Mechanical Accuracy Inc.   https://www.facebook.com/baldwinsights/  , Lee Shaver  https://stores.leeshavergunsmithing.com/super-grade-soule-type-sights/  , Kelley Sights http://www.kelleysights.com/SouleSights.php  .  There are other sights but this is what was recommended to me.  I have a Browning High Wall BPCR that started out as a .40-65 that the former owner changed to .38-55, I put a MVA long range which lets me hit a500 yards.  I use a 335 gr bullets in my single shot while my brother uses a 255 gr bullet in his lever gun.

 

Texas Mac http://www.texas-mac.com/Articles.html

 

 

 

 

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  Still pretty new to all of this, so trying to learn as much as I can from all the years folks have been doing this.  It's my understanding that while some of the specialty shoots can get out to 800 or 100 yards, most ranges and events aren't trying to reach out that far.  What are the 'normal' distances when folks are shooting their 'long range' matches?

At one of our local clubs, we have a number of shooters doing the Cody Dixon category, but I believe that only reaches out to 100 yards or so.

Thanks in advance.

Johnny

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So, out of curiosity, how flexible are the cartridges if you are shooting black powder?  Is there an option to load lighter to soften the recoil with a bit of filler?  Or, do the guns really need the load to work the way they were designed?  I reload, so I can adjust as needed to find loads that work well.

Johnny

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18 hours ago, Johnny Knight said:

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  Still pretty new to all of this, so trying to learn as much as I can from all the years folks have been doing this.  It's my understanding that while some of the specialty shoots can get out to 800 or 100 yards, most ranges and events aren't trying to reach out that far.  What are the 'normal' distances when folks are shooting their 'long range' matches?

At one of our local clubs, we have a number of shooters doing the Cody Dixon category, but I believe that only reaches out to 100 yards or so.

Thanks in advance.

Johnny

You might want to contact THSS about their long range side matches... ask when held, (as few are held in conjunction with monthly matches), and the distances they shoot.  Up here in the NE Texas area they range from 100 out to 300... And, again, seldom at a monthly.  We used to do it quite often at LSFSC, but, changing clientele & desires changed what type of ancillary matches are held monthly, if any.

 

BTW, AFAIK, Pedersoli doesn't use top notch barrels any longer, but rather, their own factory bbls... not that their factory barrels are bad... just not the level of a Green Mountain (which they used to use on their Sharp's 1874 clone), or a Shilen or Badger.   ISTR that the Uberti 1885 clone is actually produced by Pedersoli... 

 

I have a Browning Low-Wall in 45 Colt... it has one feature that I love in a single shot... when lowering the breech block, the hammer goes to full cock and stays there.  This CAN be very desirable in a match rifle where time is the deciding factor in breaking ties.  (As SASS rules state it should be).  Not all 1885 copies have this feature.  It could be frustrating to be 1st place loser because you had to reach up and manually cock your rifle for every shot... 

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Thanks Griff,

I also need to check with Willow Hole as they like to run the long range matches as well.  At this point just trying to learn what questions I should be asking when I get there.

 

Johnny

 

p.s. OOC, are you getting much mounted shooting in?  Been teaching my pony a new challenge.

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I disagree about Pedersoli doesn't use top notch barrels any longer.  They win matches just like CSharps and Shiloh.  Their sights are not the top natch needed though.

 

 

Pedersoli barrels

 

Pedersoli barrels are machined from a chrome moly alloy having the metalurgical composition called 30Cr Mo4 Uni 7845 which is a patented alloy variation developed by Mauser in the 1930s specially for their new M34 light machinegun which has such a rapid rate of fire. The alloy was designed to prevent or minimize the barrel from "walking" the bullets on the target as the barrel heated up. To my knowledge only Mauser, Sako, Mannlicher and Walther use this expensive alloy which Pedersoli buys.

For our action frames ( and other parts such as breech blocks etc.) we use a special alloy which is best suited for the "forging" process we use on ALL our Sharps, Rolling Block, Trapdoor, Colt Lightning and forthcoming HiWall rifles.

This alloy is identified as being 18Cr Mo4. This alloy alows what is called "cementation hardening." Which gives a hard wear resistant surface of proper depth, while maintaining a non-brittle softer internal molecular structure necessary on such parts which are subject to shock and high stress loadings repeatedly.

This alloy also allows us to produce very colorful case hardened exterior surfaces so desired in fine guns. The alloy can also be finished in standard hot blue/black or "coin" color finishes.

Smaller parts are made from equally suitable steel alloys and are properly heat treated by means of induction coil methods and oil or water quenched, according to the desired hardness and type of alloy being used.

Instead of a single point cutter being drawn through a prepared bore hole many many times, the bore hole is prepared to whatever standard the maker desires. Then a long broach having 14-16 sets of cutters on it is pulled slowly through the bore hole. (of course ample lubrication is always flowing).

Each set of cutters is slightly larger than the prior set and as the broach is pulled through, these cutters (made in the shape of the grooves desired) cut equally in all directions and gradually produce the grooves of the barrel.

This broach rifling is the process used by Pedersoli to rifle all the barrels, both for muzzle loading guns as well as for cartridge rifles.

.......................................................................

At Pedersoli all barrels are drilled and reamed but then we add a third step which is to HONE the bore hole to bring it up to the match grade tolerance of the final bore diameter. Also the honing produces a much finer finish in the bore hole and this fine finish becomes the tops of your lands.....mirror finish affect before we start the broaches on their job of cutting all the grooves.

Also, we use two of these 5-6 foot long broaches on each rifle barrel.

The first broach brings the rifling up to within .0020" of the final dimension. The second broach having 15 cutters brings the rifling up the last .0020" to the final dimension.

This second broach has the last three cutters of the exact same size. As cutter #13 makes the final tiny cut it is worn a bit. Eventually cutter #13 will no longer bring the groove up to the final diameter so cutter #14 which has been doing no work, comes into play and handles that final cut.

#14 eventually wears a bit and cutter #15 which has done no work up to this time, comes into play and takes over making the final cut.

Experience tells us when to remove the broaches and have them resharpened back to normal dimensions. Barrels are visually inspected using a borescope which projects the picture onto a large TV monitor. Air gaging is performed to verify the rifling is within match grade tolerances (plus/minus .0002").

The key to preventing or at least minimizing all this gas cutting affect lies in having a barrel which has absolute minimum variations in groove and bore (land) diameters.
Since even match grade tolerances (plus/minus .0002") are not perfect, Pedersoli puts in that little taper affect from breech to muzzle, and in this way keeps the bullet always moving into a slightly tighter region of groove and bore diameters.

We use these same methods for rifled muzzle loading rifle barrels such as the Gibbs model which is dominating out to 1000 yards these past three years.

These old time Italian gun makers like Beretta (right next door to Pedersoli) have been making firearms before America was even explored and settled. They know quite a bit about the business and are 100% up to date as far a modern materials and methods are concerned. The workers are usually multi-generational skilled gun builders whose fathers and the fathers before them were doing the same type of work. The apprenticeship program in the Brescia region gives a priority to workers whose ancestors are or have worked in this business. It is tightly controlled and the quality is always high.
Source: Dick Trenk, Pedersoli US Events Co-ordinator

Pedersoli barrels are made by Pedersoli

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.40 -65 mine uses Bullets Weighing between 370 - 423 gr. with great effect out past 1,300 yards.

Kicks less than the .45-70 and hits miles harder than the .38-55....

 

Jabez Cowboy

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I have the Browning (Muroku) High Wall in 38-55 and it's one of my favorite rifles to shoot. My wife and I both have won many cowboy long range matches with it. I set it up with aLee Shaver Globe front sight and a Montana Vintage Arms vernier treat sight with the adjustable Hadlee eye cup. I have an awesome recipe for a smokeless handload. The rifle and that load combined make that a seriously accurate rifle all the way to 600 yards. The recoil is so mild you could shoot that all day. The only time I lean towards my 45-70 is when it's really windy.  The 38-55 240gn doesn't fly well in high wind. I have a 300gn Snovill round that's better but not as accurate in my gun. I took it on a Buffalo hunt about 10 years ago, using BP, and the guide really got a kick outta me shooting "traditionally"

 

JEL

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Thanks again all.  It sounds like there are a number of ways to get there depending on personal preference and which shoots you are prioritizing ("long range" covering a wide spread from a couple hundred yards out to 1000).  What I'm realizing is that I'm probably looking at two different guns (at least), one for single shot work where time is much less of an element at the longer distances and something designed to shoot a bit faster for something like the Cody-Dixon class where a longer barrelled lever gun with better sights might be a good choice. 

So, focusing on the single shot, I'm likely to be staying under 500 yards for the foreseeable future, so inclined to start with the 38-55.  I've seen there is both longer and shorter brass carried by Starline.  I am guessing that some guns chambered in this caliber require the shorter brass?  Other pros and cons?

Johnny

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Ended up picking up a Winchester 1885 in the 38-55.  In reading up on the cartridge, it looks like the Starline brass in the longer length (2.125) is a good option, but Starline is currently out of stock and not taking back orders.  A bit of searching around on the net also shows everyone out of stock.  Apparently cases can be fire formed out of 30-30, which would at least let me get started on figuring out which rounds will work well for the gun.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks again for all the input.

Johnny

 

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55 minutes ago, Johnny Knight said:

but Starline is currently out of stock and not taking back orders

 

Keep checking the Starline website, they come available every once in awhile.  For example, .38 Special was "no backorder" for a while, then you could backorder them.  I ordered 2K and got them in 3 days.

 

You'll like the High Wall!  Don't skimp on sights.

 

Totes

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Thanks Totes,

I've back ordered with Starline before on 45 Colt, and had good luck.  I just wasn't sure how often they do a run of the 38-55 to have an idea of how long it might be.  While I'm waiting on that, I'll be busy experimenting with a bit of black powder in 44-40.

Johnny

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5 hours ago, Totes Magoats said:

 

Don't skimp on sights.

 

Totes

This is an absolute IMHO.

 

https://montanavintagearms.com/sights/

 

These are phenomenally great sights!

 

JEL

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In looking at the sights, I see references to 'long range' and 'mid range', are there standards in the long distance shooting crowd as to what those ranges cover?  I.e mid is 300-600 yds, long is 600-1000 yds?  If so, I'm guessing I should be looking at the short range sights, i.e. 0-300 yds :rolleyes:

Johnny

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I went with the MVA Long Range Buffalo for my 1885 BPCR High Wall with the Magnum Hadley eye disc.

 

Having that larger eye disc with adjustable apertures really helps!

 

It will help with the rams at THSS.  :D

 

Totes 

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I ordered my rifle with Mid-Range sights on it... the limiting factor was how far I could hold on target... I've since gone to a "Long-Range" sight... and can still hold the sights on closer targets!  :P  The definitions of "long" or "mid" are highly dependent on your load.  My 40-90SBN Express is a flat shooting cartridge, and my Long Range sights get me well into the 1500 yard area...   Whereas, the Mid Range sights it came with, didn't quite make it to 1,000...   I second the suggestion for the Hadley eyecup.  

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So how do the MVA sights compare to the C Sharps?  Seems lots of folks are fans of the MVA sights, but they have several options between the Soule and the Vernier, then it looks like C Sharps also has a handful of options.

Johnny

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8 hours ago, Totes Magoats said:

I went with the MVA Long Range Buffalo for my 1885 BPCR High Wall with the Magnum Hadley eye disc.

 

Having that larger eye disc with adjustable apertures really helps!

 

It will help with the rams at THSS.  :D

 

Totes 

What he said X 10!

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