Long Range BPCR Shooting

Long Range BPCR Shooting
Wagon Box Willy
aka Bill Esposito

After having fun during the 2011 Cowboy Action Shooting season up here in New Hampshire which was my first real shooting experience since I was a kid, I decided I wanted to expand my new found hobby a bit and try some long range shooting.  Since I’ve fallen in love with shooting black powder cartridge (45 Colt) and loading my own, I decided I wanted to get a BPCR (Black Powder Cartridge Rifle) and be able to shoot the long range side matches at the CAS events as well as other long range matches.

Now I’m really new to this so if I say something stupid please feel free to send me an email and correct me.

My search for the right rifle began with lots of internet Googling and reading of the message forums.  I found the Sharps (just like Quigley), Rolling Blocks, Trap Door Springfield’s and Winchester 1885’s.  For some reason that I honestly don’t know I ruled out the Sharps, which is quite odd since Quigley Down Under is one of my favorite movies.  I then got really interested in rolling blocks but thought the stock comb seemed a bit low for the longer range shooting.  Really did not even consider the Trapdoor simply because I didn’t like the musket look.  Yes, this is all about getting a rifle that looks as good to me as it shoots…it’s my hobby after all.  More research convinced me that I didn’t want the button rifling which is found on many of the cheaper Italian imports (figures) so that left me looking at the Pedersoli rifles.  Then someone responded to one of my message threads and mentioned that I should take a look at the new Winchester BPCR rifles as they were on par in price with the Italian Pedersoli.  That’s really only true if you buy the Sporter or Hunter models and then you still need to add sights.

I watched Gunbroker for a few days and lo and behold a brand new Winchester limited Edition High Wall BPCR model with Badger half round 30″ 45/70 barrel, Monte Carlo stock and no sights was up for sale at a decent price.  I watched it for a few days and then pulled the trigger.

The modern Winchesters (and Brownings) are not faithful reproductions of the original gun, if you want that you’d better buy a Pedersoli or Uberti though you wont get the same quality barrel that you get with the Badger equipped BPCR models.

Here are some pictures of it.


And here’s the new 45/70 model 1885 and the model 1866 in 45 Colt

I have the dies on order from Track of the Wolf so I can load 45/70 as well as some Postell style 535gr bullets from Springfield Slim

I next need to order some sights which I will get from Lee Shaver.

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16 Responses to Long Range BPCR Shooting

  1. Donald P Rexer says:

    I inherited my brother’s Uberti 1885 High Wall in 40-65. He obtained some target sights but they have not been installed. I need to get brass, dies, and bullets so I can get to shooting it. It has not yet been fired…
    Don Rexer in Middle Tennessee

    • Willy says:

      Don, Sorry, I don’t know how I missed your post. Thats a great caliber. Shooting season has just started and my first long gun foray is going to be a black powder cowboy shoot using my Trapdoor. I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to shoot the 1885 but my eyes are getting really bad, not sure how much time I have left with it.

  2. Larry Whitehouse says:

    How do you free float the the forearm on an 1885 built in Japan ?

    • Willy says:

      Larry, I’ve never done it but the 1885 forearm is technically, if not really free floating as it attaches to a hanger that is not attached to the barrel. Wayne McLerran (Texas Mac) has a book out where he describes things you can do to better float the forearm.

      He talks about it a little in this article but you’ll have to buy his book for the details.

  3. Slick PaPa says:

    I was looking at you shooting stick, and really like the looks of them.
    I have been looking for the five star knobs, but haven’t been able to locate them.
    Where can I get them?

  4. Jim Allen says:

    I just bought a Uberti 1885 High Wall. Now I am installing the Lee Shaver sights. Does it make any difference which end of the front sight is facing you? I looked though it both ways and thought it looked best that the opposite way you have it. Doesn’t seem to make a difference, but though there might be a right and wrong way to install this.

  5. w shrabel says:

    I have a new unfired browning 1885 for sale, and a 1895 marlin limited 357 mag,and several others

  6. Willy says:


    I’ve not competed with my BPCR yet either, I’m still having fun playing with loads etc. We do have a couple of clubs here that do a lot of buffalo shoots so I’m hoping ti can eventually compete there, though I do not have any delusions of grandeur regarding my skills, I’ll likely be competing against myself mostly. 🙂

    Cant remember the last time I saw a croc here in New Hampshire….quite a few bear though 🙂

  7. Mick Moriarty (aka Four Fingers of Death). says:

    I have a Browning BPCR in 45/70 which I bought in about 1996 or therabouts. Great rifle, essentially the same as yours it seems. I have never competed with it though. I must get that squared away. I have an old Uberti 1866 in 44/40. My mate was a professional fisherman i nthe Northern Territory of Australia and I think he bought it in the 70s. It was one of the first Ubertis to hit the country. I call it the croc gun, because it has killed a lot of sharks and crocs.

    Just used for cowboy action nowadays, although I want to give it a run with some black powder hunting.

  8. Willy says:

    Howdy Folks,
    Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question


    • Ricky Price says:

      Willy what the proper way to installed the real sight. I brought the best one you have. When I bring mind straight up . It’s strong. how do you adjust that clip under the sight. The soule sight. I have the mid range. O by the way. I thank your sights are good as anybody else that make them.

      • Willy says:

        The screw on the front of the base of the rear sight adjusts the tension on that clip. Between adjusting that and the screw on the side where the sight connects to the base you should be able to get a good locking position of the rear sight when stood up in the shooting position.

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