More Than You Thought You Needed to Know about the Model 1885.

There were High Wall and Low Wall models but both were mechanically identical to this fine Uberti reproduction.

by Chick Blood

The Model 1885, Winchester’s first single shot lever action, was originally designed by John Browning. No big surprise there. The most obvious differences between the Browning production of an estimated 600 guns and the larger, much longer Winchester run were an integral lower tang on the Browning builds and a detachable one on the Winchesters. In addition, Browning receivers met the stock straight on while the Winchester stock followed a curve. Choosing to differentiate further, Winchester chose to play down to near invisibility the Model 1885 designation and offered the rifle simply as “The Single Shot,” a marked departure for a company having grown famous for its lever action repeating rifles. Confirmed buyers of the gun could order it in pretty much anyway they wanted: With or without set triggers, shotgun-style butt plates, Schuetzen or Swiss butts and their choice of receiver and stock finishes. Accommodations went so far as to offer matching the contour and finish of an existing stock on another rifle the customer was accustomed to and loved. In these cases, Winchester would marry a duplicate of the pet piece of wood to a Single Shot. All these special services were performed for a mere pittance in additional charges when compared to the bucks required for similar factory customizing these days, if they’re available at all.

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