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  1. #1
    Wrangler
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    Winchester 22 hornet levergun

    A friend that knows I like leverguns called me today and said he inhereted a winchester 22 hornet and wanted to know if i would like to buy it.I dont know winchesters and here is the info he gave me. Winchester rep arms co pat oct 1879 22 hornet. ser # 112133 it has a trap door and 2 triggers. round barrel .The lever is curled and the but stock is adjustable it is in great condition. What would something like this be worth ballpark. Thanks for any advice
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  2. #2
    Marlin Marksman
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    Re: Winchester 22 hornet levergun

    Sounds like a Model 1885 single shot rifle converted into a varmint gun. Value depends on whether it's a high wall or low wall action,
    who did the work, and so on. ASSRA web site might be of more help.

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    Re: Winchester 22 hornet levergun

    As Mike said, it sure sounds like a Win singleshot 1885. Some of those varmintized 1885's can be pretty ugly, and occasionally they are extremely well done. If it's done on a Low Wall action it's bad news, as that's really a bit much cartridge for a Low Wall.
    Regardless of which action it's done on, the values are usually much lower for a varmintized 1885, vs. a original in equal condition. I'd have to see pictures to even give a wild guess.
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  4. #4
    RGR
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    Re: Winchester 22 hornet levergun

    Around this area, the action and parts sell for 400 and up. A show had been open about 10 minutes, I passed up a real tired low wall 22 RF sporter for 350, recently, a buddy ran down to grab it, and it had sold in the 15 minutes of finding my buddy. I have too many projects going already, one a restoration of a low wall RF, made in May of 1886, one of the earliest numbered low walls any of the "experts" have seen, in fact its lower than any shown in any of the books on the rifle. Lots have called BS on it, until I show them the factory letter.

    Same buddy bought a even more tired gun, a highwall last year in 22 WCF, and it the bore was so bad it was questionable seeing light through it, and paid 550. Again, just for the restorable wood and metal. So even if its been "customized" call me if you want to sell it for 400. I would even pay shipping.

    I hate to disagree with the safety issue, ( and this assumes its a Low Wall which it may not be), but I dont ever recall hearing that a low wall isnt safe with the Hornet. Now, agreed an early early gun before smokeless barrels would be iffy, but while Madis does not show any, the Hornet is listed in the calibers, though its not specified High or Low actions.

    Since that guns serial points to the last year of production, modern steel was in use by that time. John Campbell in his second book, (I dont have the first volume) says that an out the door factory Hornet in the 1885, is super rare, but that the factory did sell Hornet barrels to authorized gunsmiths, and the factory did rebarrel them in shop to the Hornet.

    Now in James V Howe's book on gun smithing, he does show a low wall converted to Hornet, and he was one of the premier gunsmiths his day, Griffin and Howe etc. In the chapter on the Hornet, he discusses the "proof steel" issue, and that he converted his first Hornets often using a Win 22 RF barrel, as they were made of same steel as the CF guns. He is specific though, on being cautious of using other RF brand barrels due to the pressure issues.

    If that gun by chance was a factory Hornet, a collector might well get wet skivvies over that aspect alone. Look at the breech area of the barrel, and look for the number of proof marks, if its been rebarrled by an outside smith, or in the factory, there should be TWO proof marks. They typically are right on top, and are the classic W inside of an oval.

    If it left the factory as a Hornet, you should find only one proof mark. Or at least thats the general rule of thumb from the serious
    Win guys that I have talked too.

    Sounds like you may be able to buy it right. Heck the double set triggers would be worth a couple hundred bucks all by their lonesome.

    The USA in 2014 ...Where we keep the deathly ill elderly alive on a machine, even if they want too pass, and yet abort a million unborn babies a year, that have no vote in the matter.


    Its interesting that the media calls conservative protestors, "militia" and "domestic terrorists" while world wide and in the states liberal protestors are always called "students".

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    Re: Winchester 22 hornet levergun

    The .22 Hornet is a 25,000 load in a pretty standard published load of around 2600fps. There's been more than one Low Wall that ended up with a cracked breech using std. loads, and if a guy oushes them even a little they will crack for sure.
    I'll stand by my statement, as I know two people who have cracked Low Wall actions rebarreled to Hornet, and didn't push them to max loads.
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  6. #6
    RGR
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    Re: Winchester 22 hornet levergun

    I have built guns and smithed near 30s years, many of those as a daily profession. I have a whole book case of reference books. I know for sure, I have never heard of a Hornet being dangerous in one, and used the Howe reference as a professional shop apparently not having any problems. I would have to suspect thousands have been converted over the years.

    I dont doubt you have seen two cracked, the question would be if there was some other factor , actions in a fire perhaps, lots of things are possible.

    If we consider how many 218 bees, I suspect thousands at least, some even the improved version that the Low Walls have been converted too as well, and its zippier than the Hornet, I simply fail to comprehend how some more warnings have not been published, than seem to exist on the topic.

    Its an interesting topic for sure. Frank de Hass talks of converting Ballards to the Hornet, as long as the FP is modified, an obvious need for the Win Single shots as well. I have to wonder if the ones you saw damaged had been modified. As far as I know, the Ballard ran similar rounds as the low wall, but admit having not studied the Ballard to the extent that I have the Win singles shots.

    As far as pressure, consider this. In Phil Sharpes "handloading" he shows pressure levels for several rounds that we know the Low wall came in, 25 20 Single shot for example and shows loads ranging from 12,000 to 25,000 and actually even higher "for strong actions".

    Another one the 25 20 WCF, lots of known examples of Lowalls can be found. same pressures shown, up to 32,000 in his tests, no mention of rifle action strength.

    That force against the breech face is directly related to cartridge rim diameter is well known. While rare, at least one Win lowall is seen in Madis book in 32 40 WCF. Now this is one I HAVE HEARD is "they never chambered it in a low wall, " yet Win apparently made them if Madis knows peanut butter from horse apples. And granted, Madis early books on Wins are full of later discovered errors, proven by later research, but I imagine his picture and description is factual.

    Now the kicker is, Sharpe shows breech pressure for the 32 40 in loading data, in the 25,000 level. Sharpe was no wall flower on guns or cartridges either, nor were any of the other sources I have referenced.

    But if 25,000 will crack any and all low walls, I fail to see as too why these other multiple examples did not either in even larger rims size, and similar pressures. And its only reason, that them early reloaders loaded off Sharpes data, using all the rounds in discussion.

    Maybe its simply an "early gun" versus "late gun issue". Maybe once they converted the FP to the Mann or perhaps its the Niedner type, that cured the cracking problem, of which as said, this aint my first rodeo by a long shot, but I have never heard of it surrounding the Hornet in a Low Wall. And there are likely other things I have never heard of as well.

    Joking aside, I am not being argumentative for that sake alone. I was really interested in your reasons for caution on the Hornet in the Low Wall.

    If you have other evidence, please enlighten me, I always am open to interesting technical discussions on rifles, but I feel I have posed some interesting counter points for consideration as well.

    thanks, Ron
    The USA in 2014 ...Where we keep the deathly ill elderly alive on a machine, even if they want too pass, and yet abort a million unborn babies a year, that have no vote in the matter.


    Its interesting that the media calls conservative protestors, "militia" and "domestic terrorists" while world wide and in the states liberal protestors are always called "students".

  7. #7
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    Re: Winchester 22 hornet levergun

    Thanks for the info I will see if it has 2 proof marks
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  8. #8
    Sidewinder
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    Re: Winchester 22 hornet levergun

    Value of low walls can be all over the place. Actions 500 bucks to 5000 for a nice original that's never been altered in some unusual configuration. If you really want to see what you have take some good photos and post on the ASSRA forum.

    I have two in .22 rimfire and they are fine shooters. If I had a unaltered original in .22 Hornet would carefully load and shoot it. Winchester chambered for the Hornet and reasonably loaded they should be fine. Not everyone is reasonable loading. Good thing about a Hornet is it can't hold a lot of powder. Even so a case full of fast pistol powder would cause problems for sure. Building a new one on old actions my personal opinion is to stay with a rimfire. Plenty of better actions for centerfire .22's than low wall's. Old Varmint single shot conversions can be wonderfull rifles, most I have seen are not well done and best stripped and parted out. Lot of demand for good low wall actions to build on. Depends on what's there.

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