I finally ordered my Uberti 1873


January 4, 2007, 03:27 PM
I ordered a Uberti 1873 short rifle in .357 magnum today.
All the fellas at the range told me that it can shoot .357 or .38 special with no problem. A lot of them say they use this gun with the .38 at the cowboy shoots. But I have read on this forum that you can only shoot the .357, not the .38. What is the true story?
I also read here that the 1873 cannot hold up to the .357 magnum round because of its design. If I shoot .357 ammo within the SAMI specs, why shouldn't I expect the rifle to "hold up" since it is made for .357 magnum?

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Father Knows Best
January 4, 2007, 04:30 PM
You may or not be able to shoot .38 specials without modification. The issue is one of cartridge OAL. Most repeating rifles are somewhat sensitive to OAL, with tubular mag guns being especially so. With the "toggle link Winchester" replicas (Henry, 1866 and 1873) that is especially so. The reason is that these guns do not have cartridge stops in the mag tubes. When the lifter drops to the bottom position, the mag spring pushes the column of rounds rearward, forcing the rearmost cartridge onto the elevator. As you close the lever, the arm lifts the elevator again to bring the cartridge to the line of the chamber. As the elevator starts to move up, it blocks the mag tube, keeping the next round in line in the tube. If the round on the carrier is too short, however, the next cartridge in line may protrude from the tube onto the carrier and prevent it from moving upward. The lifter has a bevel on it to help push that cartridge back into the magazine, but depending on cartridge length and the way the bevel is cut, it might not be enough. It seems to be hit or miss with Ubertis. Most .357 Uberti toggle link rifles will handle .38 specials without modification, but some won't. In many cases, just keeping your 38's loaded a little on the long side will solve and problems.

As for whether or not it will "hold up" to .357's, the answer is yes, it will. The concern is that the toggle link action design is inherently weak because the action is never truly locked closed. That's why you will never see one chambered in .44 Magnum, despite the fact that the action is more than large enough for that round. If pressure is high enough, the links will collapse or the pins attaching the links to the bolt will fail, in either case resulting in the bolt blowing backwards out of the receiver. :what: Not good.

The 1873 has been available in .357 for many, many years, however, and I've never heard of one failing catastrophically. Still, I wouldn't go hot-rodding those loads -- keep them on the moderate side and you'll be fine. If you want a lever gun capable of shooting hot .357 loads, get a Marlin 1894.

January 4, 2007, 05:27 PM
Great info FKB. Thank you. At least now I understand why the .38 may not feed properly. I have no intention of using high power .357 loads as this is more of a "fun" gun for me to shoot. I just love the way it looks, especially with the color case-hardending, and I also love the way it handles and cycles so smoothly (I have handled a friends).

Father Knows Best
January 4, 2007, 06:09 PM
Glad to help. You'll enjoy it. The 1873 was a fine rifle, and Uberti makes an excellent repro. They are indeed super slick.

If you do have trouble getting short rounds to function, the fixes are pretty simply. Simply enlarging the bevel on the elevator and polishing it will usually do the trick, but you have to be careful not to remove too much material or the round being lifted may not have enough support.

January 4, 2007, 08:57 PM
Most of the pards I know at the cowboy shoots that are using the 1873 in 357mag just down load the rounds, so they are basicly shooting 38's in a 357 cartridge Hope this helps. You might check out the SASSNET.com

January 5, 2007, 09:04 AM
I got the 1866 back in Nov. and the one thing I found out about these rifles is that you need to do the loading gate modification. Search the CASS website and you can see how it is done. Basically, when you chamber a round the, the rounds in the mag tube are forced back against a small tab bent on the inside of the loading gate. The rounds slamming agains this eventually breaks off the tab, and can result in a nasty explosion in the mag tube of the rifle. It has happened. In a nutshell, take a small piece of steel, about 3/16" square and JB Weld it to the back side of the tab as a gusset for re-enforcement.
You need to order a set of "Gunsmithing" screwdrivers from Brownells. I had to order new bits for mine along with a new side plate screw to the tune of $5.00 (just for one small screw) A mechanics screwdriver will booger up the slot of gun screws. Nothing uglier than a new Uberti with boogered up screws.

January 5, 2007, 09:22 AM
I own two Uberti rifles now.
An 1860 steel frame Henry in .45 Colt and an 1873 carbine in .45 Colt.
No problems to report other than the sight elevators are not properly regulated for range as they are.
The guns function just fine and are actually amazingly accurate out to 150 meters and that is as far as I have tried throwing bullets with them.

I still want Uberti to produce the 1860 Henry in .44 Russian and would like to see the Cimarron 1876 in a .45-60 Carbine version.
I really doubt they will make the Russian caliber Henry because they had to stretch the frame from original Henry specifications to allow the use of longer centerfire cartridges and I don't think the stubby .44 Russians will feed well in the current frame.
This relates to your question on your new .357 magnum by the way.
You will have better luck if you use .357 cases and download them, the .38s do sometimes hang-up on the carrier and end up stovepiping from the top of the receiver if you cycle the rifle too aggressively.HTH

Father Knows Best
January 5, 2007, 10:49 AM
I still want Uberti to produce the 1860 Henry in .44 Russian It's not hard to convert a Henry to work flawlessly with .44 Russians, but I'm not sure why you'd want to. Don't get me wrong -- I love the .44 Russian round. I load .44 Russians with black powder for my revolvers. In the rifles, though, you can download 44-40, .44 Specials or .45 Colts to .44 Russian levels just fine using smokeless powder, and if you want to shoot black powder then the bottlenecked cases (.44-40 and .38-40) are far superior, anyway. My rifles (1866 and 1873) are both 44-40. These are heavy rifles, so even with 200 grain bullets and a full charge (35 grains) of black powder, the recoil is minimal.

and would like to see the Cimarron 1876 in a .45-60 Carbine version.Check out Chaparral Arms. They recently introduced 1873 and 1876 replicas that are gorgeous, and for my money are better made than the Ubertis, and I'm pretty sure they are offering the 1876 in .45-60. A buddy of mine is the importer, so I will check with him to make sure.

January 5, 2007, 10:50 AM
Thank you for this very useful information. I do plan on dowloading the 357 cases to prevent the possibility of any hangups with the action. Right now I am using 13.9 grs of H110 for my .357 revolver loads. Will this be OK for the rifle? If any of you have any suggestions for a few different loads I would appreciate hearing about them. I am looking for the maximum MV with the least pressure.

January 5, 2007, 11:57 AM
I think the idea behind chambering the Henry in 44 Russian is that it would make is a perfect companion to a conversion or a S&W Russian model.

Father Knows Best
January 5, 2007, 12:48 PM
Yeah, that's what I figured. Some guys like to shoot the same ammo in both the rifle and revolvers. Personally, I don't. I like to load 'em up hot for the rifles (where recoil isn't an issue and the extra barrel length makes the most of the additional propellant), but keep the loads more mild for the revolvers (for faster shot-to-shot recovery). Since I'm using different loads, anyway, I prefer to have different cartridges. That way I don't have to worry about mixing up rifle and revolver loads -- the stubby ones go in the revolvers, and the long ones go in the rifles.

In addition, I shoot mainly black powder in my 66 and 73. Straight wall cases like the .44 Russian/Special and .45 Colt don't obturate well and you get a lot of fouling that blows back into the action. The bottle-necked WCF rounds like the 44-40 and 38-40 don't have that problem at all. They seal the chamber perfectly and keep the action nice and clean.

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