The Winchester Model 1885 Single Shot was the work of two late nineteenth-century firearms geniuses. John M. Browning was the initial designer and William Mason redesigned Browning’s patent to make it more easily manufactured by Winchester’s mass production methods. It was a resounding success as the Model 1885 was manufactured from 1885 through 1920, producing approximately 140,000 rifles.
The Browning name is well-known to just about all gun enthusiasts and it still exists today as the “Browning Arms Company.” To say that Browning was a genius could be considered as somewhat of an understatement, as he was probably the most prolific and tireless developer of successful firearm designs in modern history. His list of accomplishments, from single shots to machine guns, boggles the mind. With his single shot and lever-action repeaters, he essentially helped put Winchester among the top of domestic firearm manufacturers in the late nineteenth-century.
William Mason was an unsung genius and somewhat of a ubiquitous figure in the firearms industry. He started at Colt’s facility in 1861, and moved between Remington and Colt, finally ending up at Winchester. He is credited with two important design ideas that all gun cranks are familiar with: the side swing-out cylinder, which pervades all modern revolvers, as well as an even more well-known invention, the Model P Colt. This firearm is more commonly known as the Single Action Army or the “cowboy” Revolver. Mason was involved in other new and improved concepts, especially in the modification of Browning’s designs produced by Winchester, starting with the Model 1885 through the Model 1895 and more.
If you have read my previous articles in the Black Powder Cartridge News on Ballard rifles, you know how enamored I am of them. I consider them the best looking, most aesthetically pleasing of the late nineteenth-century single shots. However, as much I like Ballards to look at, I prefer to shoot the Winchester 1885, especially offhand – they seem to fit me just right. In the aesthetic category lineup, the 1885 Winchester comes in a very close second to the Ballard. The rifle discussed in this article is an example of what Winchester was capable of producing outside of the “run of the mill” Model 1885s and it differs radically from the more common rifles.
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ON HUNTING AND SNIPING
Long-range target shooting here in the U.S. has become increasingly popular, at least since the first International Match with the Irish team in 1874.
Death in the Desert
This Colt .45 “Peacemaker” was found out in the desert in historically one of the most dangerous places on Earth.
A COVID-19 Project
As far as the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, I can’t find much good to say about it. One thing I can say, though; I had a lot of idle time on my hands. After perusing YouTube videos during this time of lockdown, I came across a company that makes rifle kits – Kibler’s Long Rifles.
Smithmoor .22 Offhand Target Championship NSmithmoor Rangen Carpenter, Wyoming – February 20-21, 2021
The Smithmoor .22 Offhand Target Championship held February 20-21, was a great success! It was a two-day match with 50 record shots per day on the 100-yard German Ring Target from SPG Sales (blackpowderspg.com). Wyoming Schuetzen Union rules were used.
A .40 Caliber Long-Range Rifle
During a recent stay in New Zealand, we found ourselves in Rotorua, which is the stomping grounds of expert Kiwi rifleman, Laurie Kerr. Laurie has been a friend since we first met at Raton, New Mexico, a number of years ago and we have managed to stay in relatively good communication ever since.
BE MORE THAN A Wannabe PART II
Since my first article was published in Issue No. 113 of The Black Powder Cartridge News, I have received several emails and groups from readers.
The Hide Hunting Exploits of HARRY “SAM” YOUNG
It’s difficult now to remember exactly where I first read or heard about Hard Knocks by Harry “Sam” Young. The book is an extremely entertaining read and in the Publisher’s Note, it specifically states, “The great lesson of this book is that “truth is stranger than fiction.”
World’s Largest Black Powder Target Rifle Match Phoenix, Arizona – March 1-10, 2021 BEN AVERY SHOOTING FACILITY
The Wyoming Schuetzen Union's “Center Shot”
John Bodine, “Old Reliable”
Who Was Albert F. Mitchell?
When somebody hears the words “Sharps rifle,” the first things that probably come to mind are the great buffalo hunts, the “Wild and Wooly West” and tales of long-range shots, Indian attacks, and hunters freezing in blizzards.
The Problem with Low Pressure Loads
Bullets & Brass
Measurements for Rifle Handloading
Handy Techniques for Accurate Ammunition
MONTANA VINTAGE ARMS HIGH WALL
THE HEART OF THE SINGLE SHOT
CIMARRON MODEL 1894 .38-55
ROCK RIVER ARMS AR-10
Loads for a .243 Winchester
7MM SHOOTING TIMES EASTERNER
The 6mm Creedmoor was designed for long-range target shooting with long and skinny, heavy-for-caliber bullets that slip through the air with the greatest of ease. Wind affects these bullets little; they just fly right through it, almost unaffected.
The idea was simple enough: Friend Cole Bender from PROOF Research offered to rebarrel my Winchester Model 770 .243 Winchester, a rifle I hadn’t shot in years. When returned, I would have a heavy-barreled .243 Winchester to replace my beloved Remington 700 BDL Varminter that was sold to pay some emergency debt long ago forgotten. I can say this rebarreled 770 will never replace that old Remington, but it has the potential to do some very useful things in the field.