New Win. M-1873, still working on making it shoot.


Float Pilot
May 6, 2016, 08:56 PM
The new Miroku made Winchester 1873 I picked up a couple weeks back is still a challenge as far as shooting consistent groups.
Mine is in 45 Colt and is the short rifle version. I probably should have held out for a 44-40 chambering.

1. The front sight blade is way too high and I have to jeck the back sight up to max to make it work. So a new front sight is on order.

2. the rear full buckhorn sight was made to be used like a ghost ring by CASS shooters at close range as they blast away at high speed. But if you are an accuracy shooter the little notch in the bottom is what you use and the big horns up above just obscure your vision down range.

3. The bore measured 0.4525. So most off the shelf cast bullets in .452 are a wee bit loose in the bore. Plus the bevel base bullets do not work so swell if they are undersized.

Weird how a jacketed .451 bullet gave the best groups so far....

So far:
45 COLT Hand-Load experiments 25 yards

20 inch 1873 rifle..........................................................5.5 inch Uberti SAA

.452 hard cast from Nevada bullet works: Star Line brass and WW Primer, roll crimp
9.0 grains CFE PISTOL
1,120 fps ( 2.0 in grp) ...........................................900 fps ( 2.5 inch grp)

8.0grains Unique
1,082 fps (2.5 inch grp)...........................................780 fps ( 1.5 inch grp)

Old .452 Keith style 250 grain SWCs in Speer Box.
18.0 grains AA-5744
20in Rifle = 1,055 fps (1.5inch grp) ...............5.5 in pistol= 796 fps (2.0 in gp)

10.5 grains HS-6
20in Rifle= 1,050fps (1.30 in grp) .................5.5in SAA= 800fps ( 2.25in grp)

9.5 grains AA #5
20in rifle= 1,000 fps (1.25 inch grp) ...............5.5in SAA= 740fps (1.0 in grp)

230 grain FMJ Tunc flat nose: .451 diameter

11.0 grains SR-4756 ww brass ww primer
20in rifle 992 fps ( 0.80 in grp)....................5.5 in SAA= 698 fps ( 1.7 in grp)

12.5 grains Blue Dot
20in Rifle= 862 fps ( 1.1 inch grp)...........5.5 in SAA= 566 fps ( 2.7in grp)

.454 Diameter hard cast bevel base 250 grain RN FP ( Dardas)

8.8 grains CFE Pistol: WW Brass, WW primer.
20in Rifle 1095 fps ( 2.75 inch group)..............5.5in SAA= 850fps ( 2.2in grp)

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May 7, 2016, 03:48 AM
i used a friends .45 colt in a 1892 clone and could not get it to shoot as well as my old winchesters in 44-40 either. eastbank.well

Steve S.
May 7, 2016, 09:14 AM
At the range just yesterday (Miroku .45 Colt 24.25" Grade I Sporting rifle); could never get anything close to a descent grouping with Unique so decided to try Titegroup- amazingly better results - 1 to 1.5" groups at 50 yards (with a Marbles tang and old eyes). I use Starline brass, WW primers with 250 grain LFN bullets - 6.0 grains Titegroup gave great results - shot low with Unique but right on bull with Titegroup. Anyway as a deer hunter, my results at 50 yards with Titegroup were great for my use. Good luck with your load search.

Float Pilot
May 7, 2016, 06:31 PM
Did you run that Titegroup load over a Chronograph???

Steve S.
May 7, 2016, 08:04 PM
No Float Pilot I did not - no access to one. If you have a mathematical process to get me close to a estimated velocity, I would welcome the help. Thanks.

Driftwood Johnson
May 7, 2016, 09:27 PM
the rear full buckhorn sight was made to be used like a ghost ring by CASS shooters at close range as they blast away at high speed. But if you are an accuracy shooter the little notch in the bottom is what you use and the big horns up above just obscure your vision down range.


Just a clarification of terms. This is a Full Buckhorn Sight. The horns of a Full Buckhorn almost meet at the top. This is the Full Buckhorn that somebody installed on an old Marlin Model 39A that I bought used a bunch of years ago.

Here is another view of the Full Buckhorn.

I sustpect the rear sight that came on your new Winchester is a Semi-Buckhorn sight. Not a great photo, but this is a Marbles Semi-Buckhorn rear sight that comes stock on most Uberti rifles, including my Uberti 1873. Notice the horns do not rise as high up and do not obscure as much of the target as they do on the Full Buckhorn sight.

Here is another Semi-Buckhorn sight on a Winchester Model 1892.

I am afraid I must take issue with your statement about these sights being "made to be used like a ghost ring by CASS shooters at close range as they blast away at high speed." Various Buckhorn sights have been around for much longer than CAS. Here is the original semi-buckhorn sight on a Winchester Model 1873 made in 1887. Notice how tiny the little notch is at the bottom between the horns. With my terrible eyesight I can barely see that little tiny notch. Notice too that all the other sights I have shown here are adjustable for height not only by moving the step elevator forward and back, but they all have a sliding center insert that can be raised or lowered independently by loosing the screw on the right side of the sight. So that affords more options for raising and lowering the sight.

This is a Flat Top rear sight on an old Winchester Model 1894. Notice it does not obscure the view as much as either the Full Buckhorn or the Semi-Buckorn sights, and the insert can also be raised or lowered. Perhaps you would be happier with a rear sight like this on your new Winchester.

Full Buckhorn, Semi-Buckhorn, and Flat Top rear sights are available from Marbles. These sights are standard equipment on many Uberti rifles. They fit standard 3/8" dovetails, and I'll bet they will fit the dovetail on your new Winchester too. You might be happier with one of these. Each of these sights is available in more than one height, and there is information in the links at the bottom of the page for how to figure out which sight you need. In a pinch, you can buy two and install the one which works better, which is what I have done sometimes.

You can buy these sights direct from Brownells.

P.S. I notice that you have gotten pretty good accuracy with 8.0 grains of Unique although you do not list the bullet weight. 8.0 grains of Unique under a 250 grain bullet is the old standard for best accuracy in many revolvers. I don't own any 45 Colt rifles, but you might try messing about with that a bit more. When I used to load Smokeless, my favorite 45 Colt load was 7.5 grains of Unique under a 250 grain lead .452 bullet. Flat based of course, no bevel. You might try messing about a bit more with that load, might try it with .454 bullets too.

Float Pilot
May 7, 2016, 10:27 PM
Driftwood, I was commenting about why they ( Winchester in general and my Cousin Mike who was one of the folks working on the sights ) put the buckhorns on a new production gun when they basically fell out of favor over the years. The CASS / SASS folks being their largest customer base for a 73 repro.

Remember looking through parts catalogs 30 years ago and you would be hard pressed top find a full buckhorn or a 3/4 buckhorn. Now they are all over the place.

It makes me wonder if the advent of smokeless powder and better factory ammo extended the perceived if not actual range of rifles enough to the point that customers requested them less from the late 1890s onward???

The sights on my original 1892s and 1886s are much more reasonable like the last two photos you posted towards the bottom. I do have an old muzzle loader in the safe that has buckhorns that nearly touch on top.

Any ideas where I can find a shorter front sight blade without the ball on top??? I like a good clean flat topped blade sight.

That 8 grains of Unique load was with a .425 sized 250 grains round ojive flat nose. It gave me a nice pistol group at 25 yards of 1.5 inches. But the rifle group was 2.5 inches. I made up some 454 caliber 250 grain hard cast slugs but so far they are not doing any better. The only thing that groups well are the dared 230 grains trunc nosed FMJs that are only .451 in diameter. Which makes almost no sense at all. SO FAR, the best cast lead slug groups have been with the Keith style SWCs which are a 255 grain bullet. They are also not bad from a pistol... BUT they hang up occasionally while loading in the rifle. Sorry for the typos,,,, I am wearing rubber gloves. I am painting my floats and came in for a soda.... Now the wife has caught me... Back to work......

Driftwood Johnson
May 8, 2016, 08:55 AM
Howdy Again

I suspect the reason all the new made lever guns, both Uberti and Winchester, have Semi-Buckhorn sights on them is because that is what was most popular in the 19th Century. I suspect the manufacturers are just trying to reproduce the old designs as authentically as possible.

Marbles makes a Flat Top sight that you can get from Brownells.

Here is a simple blade front sight that is on one of my 1892 Winchesters.

After shaping it looks like this. This is the .100 thick one. It is also available .065 thick.

I have this rifle set up with a folding rear sight, and a tang sight on the rear.

The folding leaf and the tang sight are from Lyman. The Lyman tang sight does not have any adjustment for windage. Marbles makes one that does have windage adjustment.

Can't help you much more with your 45 Colt rifle loads, all my leverguns are either 44-40 or 38-40. All my experience with 45 Colt is with revolvers.

May 8, 2016, 09:44 AM
FloatPilot: Forget about commercial cast bullets. They are mostly too hard, too small diameter, bevel-base, and lousy lubed. .45 Colt rifles (I have both the 1873 and 1892 Models) shoot fine when fed the right projectiles. Most want quality "home-cast" .454 diameter, and a hardness around 10-12 BHN, no harder. You need the right neck expander to be sure your cases aren't sizing down the boolits when they are seated. A medium-light crimp will insure the slugs aren't pushed deeper when loaded into the magazine, but too hard a crimp is injurious to accuracy. A good lube like LBT "blue" will keep barrel condition the same shot to shot. I load 8.5 grains of Unique for my '73 with the Lee .452-255 (drops from the mould at .454") boolit cast from ACWW + 2% tin and get excellent accuracy.

Don McDowell
May 8, 2016, 10:44 AM
I would suggest backing off the crimp a bit. If you're putting a hard roll crimp, you may be buggering the bullets.
Would also suggest doing some lead mining in that barrel, with the various sized and questionable lubed bullets you're shooting you may have the thing half full of lead.
Wet a flannel patch with pure gum spirits of turpentine and push it thru the bore on a jag two or three times, the follows with a dry patch. Repeat until the patches come out the far end the same color they went in.

Steve S.
May 8, 2016, 10:50 AM
Float Pilot, the Marbles web has everything you would ever want to know about rifle sights and then some (even a calculator for front sight height). I have a tang I purchased from them for my 1873 (works as advertised) - if you like a tang sight and do not want to change the front sight, the tang sights have several post height options for elevating your shots to any fixed distances. I like my tang as it really helps my shooting with old eyes. If you want to replace the front sight, they have many different configurations and heights for your needs (just make sure that when you drift the front sight in/ out, the base you are securing the barrel on is rock solid or that sight will not move/ drift - I used a block of composite plastic on my garage floor - the base has to be solid). Good luck.

loose noose
May 8, 2016, 10:48 PM
I've got a Uberti in the 1873 Winchester faux, in .45LC caliber, all I've ever shot in it is black powder, in the Starline brass, using the hand cast .454 with a BP lube/Wonder Wad, I believe they were 260 grain and 27 grains of FFFG Goex. I shot a lot of CAS, and never had a problem with accuracy. For instance at 40 yards I could shoot it off hand, putting 3 out of 5 touching and the other 2 within an inch and a half, for me that is pretty dang good. The rifle has the buckhorn rear sight, I'll try to post a picture here before long if needed.

Float Pilot
May 30, 2016, 04:19 PM
I have been sick for awhile and have not been able to shoot much.
I hobbled out to the range yesterday with four more experimental loads.

The most accurate of yesterdays was:

203 grain cast hollow point. Hand lubed over tumble lube. Sized to .455 flat base. I obtained a few from a brother on this site.
8.8 grains of CFE Pistol
Star-Line brass
WW Stan/Mag primer, roll crimped just below the ojive.
3/4 inch group at 25 yards.
Super sonic crack. I need to find more of these slugs or a mold for them. SEE PHOTO , the hollow point has a weird pentagon shaped hole.

250 grain JHP XTP.
8.8 grains of CFE Pistol
Star-Line brass
WW Stan/Mag primer, roll crimped into cannelure
1.0 inch group at 25 yards.

255 grain hard cast sized to .454
10.0 grains of IMR 4756
Star-Line brass
WW Stan/Mag primer, light roll crimped in groove
2.0 inch group at 25 yards.

230 grain cast round nose .452 for 45 ACP.
11.0 grains SR-4756
WW Brass . WW primer
Roll crimped into flat area.
SHOT GREAT GROUPS FROM PISTOL 1.0 inch at 25 yards.
BUT..... Bullets moved out of case due to pistol recoil.

June 1, 2016, 01:39 PM
The folding leaf coupled with the tang sight looks to be how I need to setup my 1866 .44Spl. Maybe zero the folding leaf for 50yds and the tang for 100yds.

Forget about commercial cast bullets. They are mostly too hard, too small diameter, bevel-base, and lousy lubed.
Nonsense. If you can't find commercial cast bullets to do exactly what you need them to, you're not looking very hard.

Dave Markowitz
June 1, 2016, 03:15 PM
FP, this ( might be the mold you need for that bullet with the pentagon-shaped cavity.

June 1, 2016, 04:10 PM
FP, this might be the mold you need for that bullet with the pentagon-shaped cavity.

Yes, that is the mold and I have it. However, I use that bullet exclusively for .45 ACP and size it to .452". I don't have any unsized bullets at this time, but I highly doubt they come out of the mold at .455".


Float Pilot
June 5, 2016, 10:04 PM
The slugs I obtained have some sort of tumble lube coating. Plus I hand lubed the grease groove before loading them. I just re-checked them and they are all .455 in diameter. Maybe somebody buffed out a mold using grinding compound mixed with lead. ???
While they work well for accuracy I am not so sure they would stay in place under recoil in the tubular magazine. I could not go to the range today. I had surgery a couple days ago and I am not up to much moving around.

June 6, 2016, 12:54 AM
I have a couple of Marlin leveractions, and it took a lot of work to get the 30-30 to shoot two MOA at 100 yards. The typical good groups were between 3 and 4 inches at 100 yards. Bad groups were around 8 inches. I think my 44 Magnum M1894 is a 4 MOA rifle at 100 yards. Lever action rifles are temperamental and even when you develop the best load you can, they are not that accurate. I had issues with the fore end sliding around, point of impact seems to change depending on how much ammunition is in the tube. For my 30-30, low extreme spreads gave the better groups.

Shoot enough rounds through the things and you will become very skeptical about all the sub MOA lever actions that people claim to own.

June 6, 2016, 10:53 AM
sorry to hear yours is not shooting well. i am lucky enough to have a Miroku/Winchester 1873 in .357 with the semi-buckhorn and it is a tack driver. From a sandbag, I can ping 12" plates at 100 yards with ease. My sights were off a bit and I had to adjust the front sight several times to get it on, but now it's dialed in for the small notch at the bottom of the buckhorn.

It is probably my favorite gun. I was considering one in .45 Colt as well, but you've given me a reason to pause....

Float Pilot
June 6, 2016, 12:50 PM
This is the third or fourth lever-gun I have owned in 45 Colt. I sold all the others due to their inability to shoot descent groups. My 124 year old Model 92 in 38-WCF can easily out-shoot this modern Winchester with a worn out and pitted barrel. Even my 16 inch Rossi 44 Mag carbine ( with horrible machine work) will out-shoot this or any other 45 Colt lever-gun I have owned. I have come to believe that the 45 Colt cartridge does not lend itself well to rifle / carbine shooting.

This just happened to be the only chambering I could find in a Miruko made Winchester during my search and I was hoping to match up ammo with my six guns. As it is so far anything the sixgun's like, the rifle hates, and vice versa.

June 6, 2016, 01:08 PM
I was of the same opinion about .45 Colt not being very accurate in a lever action rifle My M92 Rossi was very disappointing with most all cast pistol bullets, A friend gave me a 4 cavity LBT bullet mold that made 280 grain "long-flatnose" bullets. Two cavities were flat base and the others were cut for gas check. The bullets cast right at .454 when poured from a 50/50 wheel weight/pure lead mix. Once I figured how long to load them so they would feed properly in my M92, I was punching out the 10 ring consistently. This bullet is only a tiny bit longer than the usual 230-250 grain "pistol" bullets I had been loading but the "LFN" profile gives more engagement with the rifling, particularly the nose section. Forget bevel-base bullets if you want any accuracy with a rifle cartridge. They are only satisfactory in pistols at close range where their poor accuracy is usually not noticed.I load the plain base 454/280s up to 1400 fps with excellent accuracy and save the gas checked ones for loads over 1400 fps. I can detect no real difference in accuracy with either bullet at 1000 to 1200 fps, but the gas checks do help a bit past 1200 fps. The LBT LFN design is a real "thumper" on feral hogs.

Float Pilot
June 6, 2016, 01:21 PM
Sounds like a bullet photo is needed here....

June 7, 2016, 02:04 PM
Lever action rifles are temperamental and even when you develop the best load you can, they are not that accurate.
Not true. I have two that shoot under MOA at 100yds with factory ammo. Any of the others can be counted on for at least 2" at that range. My Uberti 1873 shoots under an inch at 50yds with every load I've tried in it.

loose noose
June 9, 2016, 11:36 AM
For what it's worth I load a 260 grain hand cast flat nosed bullet in front of 27 grains of FFF black powder, with Wonder Wad, the OAL is 1,555 using a Federal Primer and it doesn't seem to matter Winchester, Remington, or PMC brass. I've consistently shot 1.5-2" groups at 40 yards. My rifle is a
Taylors & Company 1873 Winchester clone, in .45 Colt. Granted it is a bit messy but it cleans up very well, and looks as good as new.

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