So I took the 1888 Commission rifle out to the range this morning, using a box of factory hunting ammo for the test. Saw the price sticker on that box of Winchester 8mm and wanted to cry: $7.00.
Yeah, I've had that ammo around for a while. Gee, it'd be nice to pay $7.00 for a box of American-made factory ammo again. It's about triple that these days, if you can find any.
But the rifle shoots, and it extracts and ejects just fine. No deformity to the brass noted, and everything works as it should. The downside: It prints about a foot and a half high at 100M.
Now this is probably a throwback to the old "volley firing" days, when soldiers were taught to aim at an opponent's belt buckle with the expectation that the round would produce some sort of upper-body hit from point-blank out to near maximum range, but it makes for some aggravating target practice when your only "opponent" is a paper plate stapled to a backer. Windage looks pretty good though--if I hold under the plate right, the rounds smack it pretty much dead center. (Good thing, too. There's no windage adjustment on the sights other than the old standard of taking a hammer to the front blade.)
The rifle's a pleasure to shoot otherwise, though. Nice trigger pull and no overly-harsh recoil. Hopefully that shooting helps clean the bore up a bit. It'll probably never be a match rifle, but it balances well and fits the shoulder and I look forward to taking it out again just as soon as I can load some new ammo for it.