The Winchester Model 1886 was a real turning point for the company. Their first .45-70 rifle, it was developed in part with John Browning, who would continue to work with Winchester for years. And a large part of the continuing success of the .45-70 cartridge can be attributed to the performance of that rifle.
Unfortunately, Winchester doesn’t give the model much attention these days. They maintain two models, a “short” 1886 (24-inch barrel) and a “light” 22-incher with a half-length magazine. Chiappa’s been the company to look at for a broad selection of Model 1886 rifles for some time, and they’ve just added two attractive lever guns to their catalog.
The Trapper is the traditional rifle, with a walnut stock and hexagonal blue barrel. The brass is all case-colored for that pretty finish. Both rifles have 18-inch barrels and full-length, six round magazines, have an overall length of 37 inches, and weigh a little over eight pounds. But that’s really where the similarities end.
The Kodiak Trapper stands out with a rubberized polymer stock, modern rifle ergonomics and cheek weld, a half-round barrel, (the receiver end is round) dual sling swivels, forward-mounted Skinner Express (aperture/peep) sights with a front fiber-optic insert, and a bright nickle finish.
Both guns are built using modern materials and modern machining, so they’re absolutely rated to shoot current, hot-loaded .45-70 cartridges.
The will set you back a little more than, say, a lever-action rifle in .357 Magnum. Priced in line with Winchester’s 1886 rifles, the classic-looking Trapper runs about $1200, and the Kodiak something like $1300.
Of course, Chiappa is new to the high end of the market and have yet to build up a reputation. But if their rifles work half as good as they look, we want to shoot ’em, bad.