Custom Winchester Model 1885 Low Wall #3 30″ .32-40 Single Shot Rifle, C&R

SOLD FOR: $810

WOA#: WY240320CC004

Make: Winchester

Model: Custom 1885 Low-Wall

Serial Number: 129685

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1919-1923

Caliber: .32-40 Winchester

Action Type: Lever Actuated Falling Block Single Shot

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “MANUFACTURED BY THE / WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN, CONN. U.S.A.”, and at the rear with “32-40”. The left shoulder of the barrel at the rear has an oval “WP” proof. The bottom tang is marked with the serial number “129685” and at the rear with “A”. The top tang is marked “-TRADE MARK- / -WINCHESTER- / -REG. U.S. PAT. OFF. & FGN.-“.

Barrel Length: 30″, #3 weight octagonal.

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a beaded blade dovetailed to a base which is itself dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear of the barrel has a dovetail currently filled with a blank. The right of the receiver is drilled and tapped with a Lyman aperture sight installed, adjustable for windage and elevation. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight (none present)

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut. The forend has a schnabel tip with a triangular ebony inlay. The buttstock has a straight wrist, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate. There is a hole in the belly, presumably for a previously installed sling stud, there is no provision for a forward sling mount. The forend has a small loss at the left-rear and a repaired chip at the right-front. There are tiny losses in the top-front of the wrist to each side of the tang and a diamond-shaped fill in the right of the wrist. There are some light nicks and scratches with a few more notable dings in the left of the buttstock. The LOP measures 13 1/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has minor wear with infrequent minor oxidation. Overall, the stocks are in Good-plus condition as refinished and repaired.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Refinished. The breech-block is not original to the receiver and we suspect the barrel is also not original to the receiver.

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some scattered light erosion and minor pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 or 7 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 95% of its current metal finish. The new finish is generally strong throughout with a few scattered small marks through the finish. The action shows light operational wear. There are scattered polish marks under the finish with infrequent minor erosion under the finish. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to shallow and incomplete. Overall, this rifle is in Very Good condition as customized.

Mechanics: The action works correctly. The hammer has a safety notch. The trigger breaks crisply and is fairly light. The lever locks up solidly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: When they were first manufactured, the John Browning designed Winchester Model 1885 rifles were deemed stronger than the prior Sharps rifles, and the different sight and trigger options available made them an instant hit with hunters and target shooters alike. The Model 1885 rifles were targeted at competitors in “Match Shooting”, a sport which was extremely popular from about 1871 to 1917. The Winchester rifles challenged the Sharps, Remington, Maynard and Ballard rifles, and quickly became known for their reliability and accuracy. Major Ned Roberts, inventor of the .257 Roberts cartridge, described the Model 1885 as “the most reliable, strongest and altogether best single shot rifle ever produced”. The design is also endlessly customizable with barrels available in a dizzying array of profiles, lengths, and chamberings.

This example is a custom-built rifle, having a high-wall profile breech block installed in a low-wall profile receiver. It’s 30″ #3 weight octagonal barrel is chambered for the .32-40 cartridge. The rifle is equipped with an after-market front sight assembly as well as a Lyman receiver sight. In addition to its custom assembly, the rifle has been refinished so it looks great for its age. This ought to still make for a fun shooter, but it could also be the base for your own custom build. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Custom Winchester Model 1885 Low Wall #3 30" .32-40 Single Shot Rifle, C&R
Custom Winchester Model 1885 Low Wall #3 30″ .32-40 Single Shot Rifle, C&R