• Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

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Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

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From the Henry to the 1866 Yellow Boy, to the 1873 and 1876 models, Winchester had chambered its own carbines and rifles with increasingly powerful ammunition. But it was only with the model 1886 designed by John Moses Browning that the big bore lever action rifles era started

Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

The 1873 had been an incredibly successful rifle, but it could handle only pistol cartridges. While this allowed the light and handy carbine to tackle most small to medium sized game and worked well for self-defense, it lacked true range and power.

Technical solutions had to evolve to accommodate for higher powered cartridges and, while the shape remained that of the instantly recognizable Winchester lever action, materials and mechanical details changed a lot.

While the 1876 model got over this problem, being able to chamber some proprietary high-power rifle cartridges, it still made use of the same short, toggle link action that made it unsuitable for longer cased cartridges like the ubiquitous 45-70.

Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

So, just three years later, Winchester had John Moses Browning design a new model that could feed the standard “buffalo” cartridges of the time. For the new gun, Browning choose a falling block with double locking lugs that secured the long bolt in place. This arrangement allowed for a longer bolt throw and a more secure lock.

The 1886 action was so successful and sturdy that it could easily accommodate the smokeless cartridges developed in the late XIX and early XX century and, with just the adoption of a nickel steel barrel, could be chambered for the high speed .33 WCF cartridge and new, smokeless loadings of classic black powder cartridges.

The Pedersoli 1886 is a faithful replica of the original rifle. The Classic Sporting is different from other versions of this model for the long, round barrel and the straight English stock.

The barrel is in the PMG (Precision Match Grade) class in the manufacturer’s range of barrels, meaning it’s machined on CNC centers and rifled by slow turning multiple pass broaches for match grade accuracy.

But as accurate as the barrel may be, what really stands out immediately to the eye is the receiver. Machined from a forged billet for maximum strength and durability, it is beautifully case hardened with dramatically vivid and contrasting colors that are a welcome comeback on modern weapons, where conventional current day case hardening processes create weak colors at best.

The forged steel block used to obtain the robust frame of the Pedersoli 1886 rifle

The forged steel block used to obtain the robust frame of the Pedersoli 1886 rifle

From the forged steel block, a series of CNC automated processes bring to the final frame

From the forged steel block, a series of CNC automated processes bring to the final frame

The breech-bolt locking system designed by John Moses Browning makes use of two robust tenons sliding vertically.

The breech-bolt locking system designed by John Moses Browning makes use of two robust tenons sliding vertically.

When the loading lever is up at at rest, the two tenons lock the breech bolt from the rear, keeping it in position and granting strenght to the whole locking/loading system, with an higher level of reliability in respect of what possible on the Winchester 1866, 1873 and1876 models.

Thanks to this locking system it was finally possible to safely chamber popular big black powder cartridges like the .45/70 Government, the.45/90 Winchester and the .50/110 Winchester.

The breech bolt is closed: the two vetical tenons are up in position, locking the breech from the back

The breech bolt is closed: the two vetical tenons are up in position, locking the breech from the back

When lowering the loading lever, the two tenons lower as well, disengaging the breech bolt, leaving it free to arretrate

When lowering the loading lever, the two tenons lower as well, disengaging the breech bolt, leaving it free to arretrate

You’d probably be thinking what I though myself viewing this receiver: a “showcase” piece exceptionally made for display at gun shows and in the factory’s display room. Not at all: this is a run-of-the-mill, standard production piece, one of many like it. Someway, somehow, Pedersoli managed to recreate the same bright colored, dramatically contrasting clouds and splashes that call back to the traditional case hardening methods of old times.

Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle
Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

All other steel parts are beautifully blued, while the wood is carefully matched to the metal. A gold bead front sight offers good contrast with dark targets while the rear sight is of the buckhorn type: not ideal for accurate target shooting, but offering a fast target acquisition for hunting, which was the original purpose of the rifle.

The half-buckhorn rear sight, adjustable for height and windage

The half-buckhorn rear sight, adjustable for height and windage

Adjustable for windage, the front sight has a brass insert

Adjustable for windage, the front sight has a brass insert

Both sights are adjustable, the front sight horizontally through a dovetail, the rear sight horizontally in the same way (a screw must be loosened) and vertically through the usual sliding step wedge found on many Winchester guns. For those wanting a more accurate aiming device, both the left side of the receiver and the tang have been drilled and tapped to accept a Vernier peep sight.

With 8 45-70 cartridges in the magazine, this is a remarkable, long reaching, hard hitting gun very effective both for accurate, long range shooting (equipped with the optional peep sight) and for large game hunting.

The round barrel is one of the distinctive elements of the Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic rifle

The round barrel is one of the distinctive elements of the Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic rifle

The stock is the traditional Winchester straight one, with a steel butplate

The stock is the traditional Winchester straight one, with a steel butplate

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Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle - Specifications

Manufacturer
Model

Pedersoli 1886 Sporting Classic Rifle

Typology

Lever action rifle

Caliber

.45/70 Government

Action

Lever action manual repetition

Trigger system

Single action

Safeties

Manual safety, on first cock of the hammer

Capacity

8 cartridges

Barrel

26" / 660 mm
6 groves, with 1/18" twist

Sights

Half-buckhorn adjustable rear sight; adjustable front sight

Overall length

44 7/8" / 1.140 mm

Weight (empty)

9,26 lbs / 4,2 kg

Materials / Finishes

Blued steel barrel; casehardened steel frame and lever.
Walnut stock and forearm

Price

Contact your local dealer