Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by DAP90, Mar 2, 2017.
Yah, I realize they’re pretty different. I’ve used both, or similar rifles in both, and I would enjoy and be happy with either, but can only get one.
I’ve never done any long range shooting, but I have plenty of space at the in-laws in Nebraska. Seems a waste not to use it. On the other hand, most of the shooting I currently do there is off-hand, unknown distance plinking at steel plates or other stuff. Basically, I wander around and have fun shooting. The 73 is a much better fit for that.
Which do you use/enjoy more?
I have seen several new production Winchester 1873s at gun shows in the past 4 months and honestly, I was underwhelmed with the quality of wood that Miroku is using to build them. In contrast, last year I bought a Cimarron Firearms (Uberti) 1873 Sporting Rifle in .44-40. I have been extremely pleased with it as a shooter and everyone I show it to in person practically drools over it.
I found that handloading black powder .44-40 cartridges for it is easy if you do the following:
1. Use Starline brass. It's a thicker than Winchester brass and more durable. I haven't crunched any cases using Starline brass.
2. Use a Lee 2.2cc dipper, which comes out to 35 grains of BP and is a slightly compressed load, which helps the powder combust fully. Use Swiss powder for best results (much cleaner burning and more powerful than Goex).
3. Use a bullet that can carry a lot of lube. I use the Accurate Molds 43-215C with 1:20 alloy.
4. Use a proper black powder lube. I use a homebrew of beeswax and mutton tallow. I pan lube, then size them to .429.
Using the above formula the 24" barrel doesn't foul out even after 50 shots. Cleanup is easy; both sides of 3 patches wet with Hoppe's MPro-7 and they started coming out clean. Also, no powder fouling leaks past the case back into the action. The original Winchester calibers for the '73 -- .44 WCF, .38 WCF, and .32 WCF -- all have relatively thin brass that expands well to seal the chamber. Other calibers chambered in the '73s nowadays don't seal the chamber as well, e.g., .357, .44 Mag, and .45 Colt, due to thicker brass.
My Pedersoli Sharps is equally beautiful and Pedersoli has the Sharps down pat after many years of building them.
I agree that the Uberti `73's give up little to nothing to the Miroku guns.
Dang that's a nice looking rifle. Octagon barrel + tang sight + case hardened = perfect.
I was mainly considering .357 because I already stock it. I've no experience with 44-40 or 45 Colt. FWIW, I'm leaning towards the 73 at the moment.
That said, I would choose the '74 over the '73 if only those were on the table. I have, and adore, a 1885 High Wall, but there's something magical about the old Sharps. One will likely find it's way in the safe at some point.
Well, that's what I see in the Winchester. It's a Winchester only in name. The '73's made by Uberti are practically exact copies of the originals (I should know as I own two originals as well as two Uberti's).
So my vote is for a '73 in .357, but not for the Winchester.
44-40 is not difficult to reload, but it is a bit 'fussy'. Your dies have to be set just right and you have to go slow or you may crush a neck. There are a few tricks to loading 44-40, once those are mastered it is not difficult. I do not suggest 44-40 as the first cartridge to learn reloading with. Learn to reload your 357/38s first, then take what you have learned and apply it to the slightly fussier 44-40.
Regarding a 73 vs Sharps, they are so different I cannot imagine choosing between them. It is correct that a .357/38 '73 will be significantly heavier than a 44-40 version, everything else such as barrel length being equal, because the bore of a .357/38 is smaller.
You really have to decide what you want to do. The Sharps excels at lobbing heavy bullets way out there. The '73 excels at shooting close up targets fast. Two completely different animals. Don't forget, if you go for a Sharps, you will want to spend more money on the sights. Don't scrimp on sights, buy the best you can afford.
Some advice: If you decide on a Sharps, avoid a crescent shaped butt plate. Go with a 'shotgun' style butt plate. Crescent style butt plates require being placed farther out on the shoulder. If you place it on the meaty part of the shoulder as most modern shooters are used to doing, the 'points' of the crescent will dig into your shoulder with recoil and it will really hurt. Trust me on this. Also, avoid the fancy calibers, such as 45-90, 45-110, and 45-120. Stick with 45-70. Components are much more easily available for 45-70 than any of the other calibers. If you are shooting Smokeless, you can stuff all the powder you need into a 45-70 case. The other calibers are pretty much just for Black Powder, where you can stuff them to the gills with powder. When I was shopping for a Sharps a bunch of years ago I looked at all the ones with the fancy fore end caps, checkering, and patch boxes. I was disappointed in the execution of all these details on all the rifles I saw. So I decided to buy a 'plain jane' version, no checkering, no fore end cap. I bought the 45-70 Pedersoli Silhouette model from Dixie Gunworks. It had everything I wanted, pistol grip, shotgun butt, and double set trigger, without any of the fancy stuff I did not want. Check Diixe often because they often run deep discounts on select models.
You can spend big money on sights for a Sharps, these are what I put on mine. They are a bare minimum.
Regarding a '73, the only real drawback to the Miroku/Winchester products is spare parts are practically impossible to find. Otherwise they make fine rifles. Spare parts are no problem with Uberti products.
aperture set for 200yd 500gr Montanna Precision
In truth, I was not looking at Shilohs. I was looking at Italian imports, Pedersoli and a few others. I saw checkering that did not line up properly from one side to the other. And the fore end caps that I saw were pinned in place, and the grinding down of the cap to the pin had been done poorly on several of them, the pin stood out like a sore thumb. I will bet the fore end cap on your Shiloh, if it has one, was done properly, cast in place on the fore end, then ground to shape with the stock so the fit was seamless. I will bet it is not pinned in place.
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