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Aug 5th, 2016
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Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 14
btbell Offline OP
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I recently had the pleasure of getting a close look at a Winchester Model 1885 Low Wall (Correction: not low wall, but instead 3rd Model "Model 87" Winder musket) 22LR customized by John Dubiel in the 1932-1937 timeframe.

For those unfamiliar, John Dubiel was a stockmaker for high end custom gunmaker Hoffman Arms from 1923 until 1930, when Hoffman Arms closed due to insolvency. Dubiel shortly thereafter opened his own shop, Dubiel Arms, on the Ardmore, OK premises. His friend Eric Johnson, who had worked with him at Hoffman, and previously at Colt, joined as a partner for a year, April 1932 to April 1933. Dubiel passed away August 19, 1937.

The rifle was originally owned by R. C. Pope, one of the country's top rimfire shooters in the 1930's & 1940's, and is still owned by the family.

Mr. Pope lived in the Dallas, TX area, ~2 hrs from Ardmore, and in competition used a Dubiel stocked & Eric Johnson barreled Winchester Model 52 (pre-A), as well as what looks to be a Dubiel-stocked Remington Model 37. See:

Dubiel Win 52:
https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=601440

Pope's Rem Model 37:
https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=601434

The top of the barrel is marked
DUBIEL ARMS CO.
ARDMORE, OKLA.

The stock has the signature Dubiel cheek rest, sharp checkering, and a bit of a Schnabel fore end.

The rifle has a Weaver 440 scope attached with a Weaver side mount, which may cover some barrel addressing (e.g., "Eric Johnson"). It also has been D&T'd for a Lyman #45 receiver sight, but there is no indication of one having been installed.

According to Michael Petrov, author of Custom Gunmakers of the 20th Century (©2013), "I have seen a lot of stocks made by John Dubiel from the early Hoffmans to his last ones at Ardmore and all are first class. His inletting is just outstanding and it's not very often that this much attention to detail is seen. .... There may have been other custom makers who could make a stock as well as John Dubiel but there were none better."

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There are a handful of other Dubiel Win 1885's out there:

https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=179690#Post179690
https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/1034/6057
https://www.proxibid.com/asp/LotDetail.asp?ahid=9943&aid=108413&lid=29038312

Last edited by btbell; 08/28/21 09:08 AM.
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Not a Low Wall. It's a 3rd Model Winder action. That's a cut-down coil spring High Wall. The dimensions are different.

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btbell Offline OP
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Thanks! I did have a poster on RFC note that it was a "Model 87" Winder Musket receiver, and that the four holes on the side of the receiver are for the Lyman #53 receiver sight, which is specific to this variant. These apparently came both US-marked, and commercial, but I didn't note any US markings on this one.

Here's a nice article from the November 1956 American Rifleman that reviews the history of the Winder Musket and its variants:
https://archive.org/details/sim_american-rifleman_1956-11_104_11/page/34/mode/2up

The above article also refers to the 3rd Model as a "Model 1887".

It was also commented that using the Model 87 was not an obvious choice as the basis for a custom rifle, if you weren't going to be using the Lyman receiver sight. The other three Dubiel 1885's I linked don't appear to be Model 87.

Here's another example of a Model 87, with the Lyman receiver sight:
https://www.gunauction.com/buy/1147...-short-winder-musket-model-87-c-and-r-ok

I've also noted that it is a bit unfortunate that Pope installed the Weaver 440, as the top of the barrel is D&T'd for an externally adjustable scope. It didn't look like one had been installed, and I suppose the Weaver 440 scope (introduced in 1933) was the new cool thing at the time.

Last edited by btbell; 08/17/21 01:10 PM.
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btbell Offline OP
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Here's an excellent and comprehensive article on the Winder Muskets, written by Bert Hartman, historian and board member of the Winchester Arms Collector's Association (WACA). It was first published in WACA's "The Winchester Collector" magazine in winter, 2010.

https://surplused.com/index.php/2020/05/15/the-model-1885-winder-muskets/

Here's a forum post discussing the article and the rifles, along with an update from Bert.

https://winchestercollector.org/for...del-1885-winder-muskets-by-bert-hartman/

It's noted that almost all the Model 87's were chambered for 22 Short, but a snap cap confirmed that the chamber on Pope's gun (with Dubiel barrelj) would fit 22 Long Rifle.

Last edited by btbell; 08/18/21 05:20 PM.

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