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Winchester 1873 recommendations

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by gregp74, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    I think that you are exaggerating for effect here.
    The letter stamping may be offensive to you but it doesn't look all that bad to me.
    It probably won't bother most purchasers who are not die-hard purists either.
    The barrel / magazine tube gap of which you speak just isn't that noticeable to me either.
    As for the firing pin block in the firing pin extension, you make this sound like some gigantic mass visible from a football field away.
    Actually it's a tiny discrete device consisting of a couple of small parts enclosed inside an otherwise normal looking firing pin extension.
    And when the bolt is closed you can't see it at all. I would prefer a stock 1873 firing pin extension myself but this device would not be a deal breaker for me.
    And the aftermarket parts weren't sold to improve reliability. They were sold because CAS purists wanted them so that the firing pin extension would be more period correct in function and appearance.
    But then CAS shooters want all sorts of race gun parts in their rifles that other buyers will never require or want.
    As for the availability of aftermarket parts, only CAS users will really care.
    Depending on Miroku for parts isn't a problem any more than depending on Uberti for parts is.

    CAS shooters can continue to buy their Ubertis to trick them out as race guns, with aluminum carriers, short stroke kits, and whatever else allows them to cycle them at Mach 2 for serious competition.
    But for those shooters who just want a high quality and very attractive 1873 replica that works properly out of the box and shoots accurately, the Miroku will do very nicely.
     
  2. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Have you considered buying an original? I have one in .38-40, much fun to shoot and hit with a 130 year old gun. You can probably find a decent one for close to what a repro will cost.
     
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  3. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    I have but the cartridge looks like a nightmare to reload. I can crank out 357 in my sleep and already set up to do it. I really wish those old rifles used straight wall cases. I think that's what kept the 45-70 and 45 Colt going all these years. If I could buy an original in something like 44 special or 38 special I would be on it like a chicken on a June bug.

    As it is I'll just buy a 357 repro and cry awhile.
     
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  4. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    The cost of ,38-40 ammo is what got me into reloading. I load on a Lee Turret Press and I don’t find loading for it any more difficult than doing .357. I use a factory crimp die for both.

    I think the difficulty factor for doing .38-40 or .44-40 is overrated.
     
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  5. Cowhide Cliff

    Cowhide Cliff Member

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    44wcf is not hard at all to reload and there is nothing like shooting these guns, whether repro or original in the caliber that was designed for them. The tapered cases is what makes those original cartridges so nice for those guns.
     
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  6. Cowhide Cliff

    Cowhide Cliff Member

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    It is certainly overrated. I've never understood that and actually think the wcf cartridges load easier than any of the straight wall pistol cartridges.

    I would take 44-40 any day over the 45 or 44 straight walls cartridges and will take the 32-20 any day over the 357. They feed and shoot better in the guns too.
     
  7. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    I have a couple of Uberti rifles, and I like them just fine.

    Model 1873, chambered for 44-40.

    Uberti1873_zpsa8de5b61.jpg




    1860 Henry, chambered for 44-40.

    Henry08_zps9c489b6a.jpg




    I have a few old Winchesters too.

    Model 1873, chambered for 38-40.

    187303.jpg




    Model 1892 Rifle and Saddle Ring Carbine, both chambered for 44-40.

    1892rifleandcarbine02_zps27b9bf1f.jpg




    Model 1892, chambered for 32-20.

    Model%201892%201911%2032-20%2002_zpsjnwdx0zf.jpg




    No, I don't have any of the modern Winchesters made by Miroku, but everything I have read about them is they are top quality.

    I also agree that for the OP's purposes, the availability of after market parts should not be a concern, he is not interested in completing with his rifle.

    I have not checked recently which one costs more, the Uberti or the Winchester/Miroku. So I can not be of assistance there. Let your pocketbook be your guide. Yes, ALL Uberti firearms have soft screws. That's just how they make them. And the first time you go to take an Uberti apart you better have a good set of gunsmith style hollow ground screwdrivers, or you will probably bugger up the slots on the soft screw heads. I have no experience with Miroku screws. Yes, you can get hardened screws from VTI Gunparts.

    You may have noticed I have a preference for 44-40, as well as 38-40 and 32-20. Those were the cartridges the original Winchesters were chambered for. 357 Magnum had not been invented yet, and rifles were never chambered for 45 Colt in the 19th Century. That is a whole nother story.

    But having loaded these cartridges for many years, I will say that while they are not 'difficult' to load, they do require a bit more care than say a 45 Colt or a 38 Special. That is because the brass at the neck is much thinner with the old WCF cartridges than the venerable 45 Colt or even 38 Special (or 357 Mag). If your dies are not set correctly, or if you are rushing, it is easy to crumple the neck of a 44-40 or 38-40. 45 Colt and 38 Special are much more forgiving in that sense.

    So if the OP wants a '73 chambered for 357 Mag/38 Sp, I say go for it. By the way, the Uberti short rifle chambered for 357 Mag is the rifle most of the serious competitors in CAS choose. 38 Special and 357 Mag ammo are available everywhere. 44-40 and 38-40 are not.

    A word about the strength of a toggle link rifle and 'hot' cartridges such as 357 Magnum: All firearms produced in Italy are proofed in government run proof houses. European proof loads are slightly hotter than those used in the US. So leaving the factory, any Italian rifle has been proofed with proof loads. I have no idea about Japanese rifles, but I'll bet they are proofed too.

    I will say I once saw an Uberti '73 chambered for 357 Mag with a cracked frame. It was on sale used and the crack was barely noticeable, but it was there. No idea how the frame got cracked, no idea what the loads fired in it were. I'm sure a modest diet of 357 Mag will not hurt a '73 made with modern steel. You might not want to shoot much anyway, the report from a short barreled rifle will be very loud.

    Both the Mirouku and the Uberti 357 Magnum lever guns can also be fired with 38 Special ammunition. Sometimes there is a problem if the Over All Length of a 38 Special cartridge is not quite long enough, but most factory ammo should cycle fine.

    One more thing. Both the Miroku and the Uberti '73 will come with a lever safety. This is not a modern lawyer dictated device, it was first incorporated in the Winchester Model 1873 around 1879. With the toggle link rifles, if the links are not lined up straight, in other words if the lever is not closed all the way, and the trigger gets brushed as the lever is closing, recoil will drive the bolt back, folding the links. The shooter's hand will smart as the lever is yanked forwards. I saw one lever that was completely broken off when this occurred. In past years, a lot of guys were removing the lever safety, because its spring is strong and slows down fast shooters when they close the lever. DO NOT REMOVE THE LEVER SAFETY. After market springs are available now so the stiff factory spring can be replaced and it does not require an iron grip to close the lever.

    In this photo of my Uberti '73, the small part poking down from the frame is the lever safety. You can see the other half of it directly behind the trigger, blocking the trigger from being pulled. As the lever closes all the way, it pushes up the rear part of the safety, which also pushes up the part blocking the trigger.

    fullstroke_zps0c9714fd.jpg




    Look what I just found. Here is a photo of my 38-40 '73 which was made in 1887. The arrows are pointing to the lever lock. The side plate has been removed and the links are completely folded because the lever is all the way forward.

    Trigger%20Interlock%2001%20with%20arrows_zpsutlowifr.jpg




    In this photo, the lever is closed. The lever safey has withdrawn all the way up into the frame so the trigger can be pulled. Over on the right the bent piece of steel is the main spring (hammer spring). Just under the main spring is the smaller spring for the lever safety.

    Trigger%20Interlock%2002%20with%20arrows_zpsw9mb9yui.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
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  8. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Nice photos, Driftwood.

    I bought my Uberti 1873 SRC in about 1992. After a short time, that little spring that pushes that safety peg down you were noting in your post broke on mine. I called Uberti, then in the same state I was living in, Connecticut. They had no replacement springs available then; they'd have to order them from Italy.
    So I called Dixie Gun Works in Tennessee, another company I like. "No, we don't have that spring for Uberti 1873s. We do have them for original Winchester 1873s."
    "Will they fit?" I asked.
    "I can't promise but I believe they will."
    So I decided to risk a little $$ and ordered it.
    It fit perfectly and is still in there doing its job.
    Btw, I noticed as I was replacing it way back then, the Winchester part was an identical twin to the Uberti aside from the breakage. They could have been made from the same steel.
     
  9. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    the 38-40 and 44-40 are easy to reload, just don,t rush it and get a lee crimp die. the 38-40 and 44-40 were made to shoot black powder and the thin mouth cases seal the chamber very well, keeping the action clean pretty clean. I don,t shoot much black powder in my original 73,s any more, but have switched to unique with cast bullets.
     

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  10. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

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    I have a Miroku 1873 Sporting in .45 Colt - it is a very well made rifle; if it has flaws in design to the original Winchesters, I am not schooled enough to notice them. Besides, reading about the Uberti 1873 in prior postings makes it sound so, well, “Hey, 1873 called and they want their lever action rifle back!”.
     
  11. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Here is a really nice replacement spring for the lever safety.

    It is not a leaf spring like the original, it is a coil spring. I have one of these in my Uberti 1873. To tell you the truth I don't remember if I put one in my 38-40 Winchester. I may have because the spring force is very light. A bunch of years ago some guys were leaving the safety in, but removing the spring. They thought that gravity alone would be good enough to make the safety work. Not a good idea. It didn't take much gunk in the action to keep the safety in the up position. Much better to put in a light spring.

    http://www.thesmithshop.com/leversafety.html
     
  12. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Thanks. I'll order one and put it my parts drawer for when the 1873 spring goes bad again.
     
  13. Goosey

    Goosey Member

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    Unfortunately no 1873 clones that I'm aware of are perfect replicas, in fact, you can tell replicas from originals at a glance "from across the room" regardless of the finish, restoration or condition of such. The lines are different.
     
  14. Lafitte

    Lafitte Member

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    Good to go right out of the box=====Winchester (Miroku). For what you plan to do either one, Winchester of Uberti will do the job. We Cowboy shooters take or guns to the limit, you will not encounter some of the problems that we find in the guns that we compete with.
    Lafitte
     
  15. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    I've compared my Uberti to an original. The original had a checkered hammer spur, my Uberti had .... what do you call parallel line style checkoring?
    The front sight was different.
    Mine had a step on the receiver just in front of the ejection port /in back of the barrel. Originals had this, but only on guns < or = .38 caliber and mine is .44-40.
    The barrel band on mine is slightly different.
    Nothing really major .... and I doubt I'd notice across the room.

    Oh....the bottom of the cartridge carrier block of the original was marked the caliber, my Uberti is blank. I understand some originals were unmarked....so is this a biggie?

    Again, both Uberti and Winchester (Miroku) 1873s are very good guns ....
     
  16. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    Now all this talk about the Uberti, has anyone tried the Taylor 1873 Winchester clone? I happened to have one in .45 Colt. I bought it for CAS as I was shooting Frontier Class AKA all Black Powder Class. Now that rifle was one of the most accurate, and smooth rifles (off hand with the buckhorn sights) I ever had the opportunity to shoot. The only problem I ever had was that the extractors were obviously made with a lesser grade of steel, so I had to replace them twice in the two-three years I actually shot CAS. BTW it was one beautiful rifle in just about every other way.
     
  17. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    Below are the photos of my 1873 Winchester clone in .45 Colt. I have to apologize for the quality of the pictures as I'm definitely not a great photographer.
     

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  18. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Looks like you moved the camera. You might try bracing it against a doorway, or a piece of furniture.

    Nice rifle b.t.w.
     
  19. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    I'm pretty sure Taylors imports Uberti rifles.
     
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  20. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about Winchester and Uberti rifles. I don't think I could tell them apart from across the room, unless one was shiny and new, and the other was an old antique.

    Anyway, there were three separate styles of knurling on Winchester 1873 hammers.

    This is the middle style, used on the serial number range of approx 79,000 through approx 365,000. The earlier style was similar, but did not have as well defined a border, and was not as deeply impressed. The third style, up to about SN 600,000, had a pointed blank area at the top. After SN 600,000 Winchester reverted to the first style.

    hammer%20knurling%201873%20Winchester%20middle%20type_zps9f7cg8nq.jpg




    I don't know what to call this Uberti style either. I suspect the hammer may be a casting, and the knurling detail is cast in. I know some Uberti revolvers have cast hammers because I remember seeing a parting line on them. I have not had this Uberti apart in a long time, so I don't know if there is a parting line on it or not. This rifle was made in 1988. I don't know if the knurling on the current ones looks the same or not. The knurling on the hammer of my Uberti 1860 Henry, which was made in 2007 is very similar.

    hammer%20knurling%201873%20Uberti_zpsyws9na2g.jpg




    Originally the Model 1873 Winchester was only available chambered for the 44-40 (44 WCF) cartridge. These rifles had no caliber marking on them. According to The Winchester 1873 Handbook, by George W. Stone, 44 caliber markings began to appear around SN 30,000. This would have been in 1879. At about SN 41,000 (also 1879) the Model 1873 was first chambered for the 38-40 cartridge. Stone says the 38-40 cartridge was first listed in the 1880 catalog. At this time it became important to know which cartridge the rifle was chambered for. According to Stone, this is when caliber marking was applied to the rifles, however he states that some rifles from this period have been found with no caliber marking on them.

    Anyway, this 38-40 Model 1873 from 1887 is marked on the bottom of the carrier.

    1873bottomofelevator-2.jpg




    And on the barrel near the frame.

    1873calibermarking-2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  21. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    More great photos!:D Thanks.

    It does makes sense that if you only have one caliber, you don't need to mark the gun, really.

    I have a couple of books on Winchester by Madison (I think that's the spelling) and a couple others. I seem to recall it is believed that it was stated there were four major variations of the 1873, and when you cut it more finally, no one really knew exactly how many.
    Does different knurling count? How about dust cover styles .... which might make some sense... or not.


    I've never bothered to try to memorize all the details --- that's why I have books.;)
     
  22. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Collectors classify the Model 1873 rifle into three separate models. They are identified by their dust covers. The first two photos are from the Stone book.

    The 1st Model had the dust cover sliding between two rails that were raised on the sides of the frame.

    1873%20dustcover%20first%20generation_zps0ay4wlcp.jpg




    The 2nd Model had the dust cover sliding on a center rail screwed to the top of the frame.

    1873%20dustcover%20second%20generation_zpsvrndac2y.jpg




    The 3rd Model had the dust cover sliding on a rail cast onto the top of the frame. Uberti 1873 rifles are all of the 3rd type. I'm not sure about the Miroku rifles, but I suspect the same.

    1873%20Dust%20Covers_zpso3zfzgn1.jpg
     
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  23. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Ahhhhh! The "dust cover method!" :D Ok, just kiddin'. I'm pretty certain one book I have said 4 variations, but I'm in no position to argue.

    Thanks for more great photos! :)
     
  24. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    Can't speak to the Miroku, but I put a lot of rounds through a .45 Colt Uberti 1866 in CAS competition. It still runs like a champ. From what others have said about the Miroku, seems to boil down to your personal preference and what's available. I probably wouldn't run hot .357 loads through any toggle action, but standard factory ammo should not be an issue. Some of the competitors found that .38 Specials did not run well at competition speeds in 1873s.
     
  25. gregp74

    gregp74 Member

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    Thanks for all the advice, fellas! I ended up going with the Uberti (actually a Cimarron imported one) Deluxe Short Rifle. She's a beauty and I'm looking forward to taking her out this weekend.

    L91DWBE.jpg
     
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