July 19, 2013
Gun Fight Friday: 1885 Winchester vs. T/C Encore
By Phil Bourjaily
Today’s Gun Fight is a single-shot shootout between two rifles chambered for old-school cartridges: Doug Tichenor’s Thompson/Center Encore in 6.5x55 Swede, and Sanjuancb’s Browning-made 1885 Winchester in .405 Winchester. Both are deer rifles: the Encore is for sitting, the 1885 is for stalking.
Doug Tichenor’s T/C Encore
Tichenor says the Encore is his blind and treestand gun. It has an aftermarket EA Brown Accuracy Barrel that brings the rifle’s weight up over 9 pounds. It’s chambered for the 6.5x55 Swede, a cartridge developed in the 1890s for the Swedish and Norwegian militaries. The 6.5x55 remains popular in Europe today, especially in Scandinavia where it is used on moose and deer. It has always been something of a cult cartridge, at most, in the U.S.—although its fans love its low recoil and effectiveness on game.
Sanjuancb’s 1885 Winchester
This is my Big (Timber) Rifle. I wanted a rifle that would be at home hunting the deep dark—one that would anchor (if there is such a phenomena) big game as quickly as possible on public land. Of course, like any worthwhile rifle it had to have history. This gun is John Moses Browning meets Theodore Roosevelt. The 1885 Winchester was Browning's first design, and the cartridge that it is chambered in—.405 Winchester—was one of TR's favorites. Dubbed his "Medicine Gun" for lions, Teddy used it to good effect on a number of game animals. I use it for whitetails (and hopefully on an Oklahoma elk once I draw out). The 300-grain Hornady Interlocks step along at 2,200 FPS from the factory and 2,400 FPS over a good dose of Hodgdon Benchmark. And, it doesn't cause any mounting problems when you are in a hurry. The rolling recoil of this gun is orders of magnitude more tolerable than that of the big 30's to me. The fore-end is completely free-floating and the adjustable trigger pulls right at 3 pounds. It shoots like a house-afire and delivers the .411" bullets with authority.
Which single shot do you like? And, as always, keep those gun pictures coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.