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Captain Bill Burt

Buying a new Uberti '73 what mods are musts?

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Well I've got a buyer for my Taurus, and I've located a decent deal on a Taylor Uberti 1873 in 357/38, 20" Oct barrel. What should I look out for, and what, hopefully inexpensive mods are an absolute must? Keeping in mind I'm a dirt poor HS teacher and measure my improvements in increments of 5 seconds or more, not 1/10s of seconds.

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Ain't no "Musts". That there rifle should run just fine out of the box. Do you "need" a short stroke/lighter springs/tricky whatsits? nope. Want? that there is an en-ti-rely diff'rent.

 

People run short strokes (my preference is 3rd gen) because this puts the 73 lever throw on par with the Marlin. Will it make you faster and/or is it needed? NOPE.

 

People run lighter springs because they think it makes them faster. While it does allow the rifle to run a bit smoother, there is a law of dimishing returns when you take a spring's power down to minimum and below levels. Things don't work the way they sposed to.

 

Shoot your iron. Enjoy it.

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I have a '73 and a '66 (which is basically the same). Bought both new. After using the '66 about a year, I noticed that the stock lever spring was wearing down the cam surface of the lever. I got Longhunter's Slixsprings for both guns which is supposed to eliminate that problem. They are $45. They are not hard to install. I think that would be a good, inexpensive investment.

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Musts?

None that I can think of. I've been shooting the same stock Uberti 1873 rifle since 1987, ain't changed a thing and the thing still works. If ya wanna change something... that's

wants
, different issue.

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I have grown accustomed to the notion that I need to do something (if ever so minor) to my guns when I get them new out of the box to make them serviceable for my own use. This includes SASS guns, home protection guns, or guns for any other purpose that I may have. The latest to my collection were a pair of Ruger Bisley Vaquero's (plus another pair of the same which will serve as a back up pair of revolvers) as my main match guns. They were perfectly fine out of the box, but my present day conditioning lead me to thinking that I needed to do something to "slick" them up. So a call went into Brownells for four Marshells spring kits (which contained a hammer, trigger, and base pin spring). It gave me a chance to strip the guns and polish the innards while installing the three springs. Needed? I don't think so. Do I feel happier after the installation? You bet! So all in all was it worth it? Yes indeed! A lot of times that is all the reason one needs to do a modification. So if you want a short throw lever and lighter springs, by all means go for it! You may not see those 5 second chunks of time or even tenths of seconds, but I'll bet money you'll feel like you have a superior gun in the end and that is all that matters. Smithy.

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I personally ruind a lever in a matter of about a month on a new 73' just by using it. These guns come from the factory with HEAVY springs that will actually wear it some key points in the internals with use. At bare minimum order a light duty main spring and whisper springs from www.thesmithshop.com. Those two items would are a must for me. It may work for some to shoot these rifles right out of the box but my experience has been very different.

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There are three "absolute musts" with this gun:

 

1- Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

2- Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

3- Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

 

Yes, I'm being facetious (and for the purists I quoted the NRA's three rules of safe gun handling verbatim). I know you were asking about modifying the gun, not handling it, but the point I'm trying to make is that you don't HAVE to do anything. Just shoot safely and have fun.

 

The only thing I've done to my Cimarron 1873 was strip that plastic-looking finish off the wood and hand stain it. When time and budget allow you can start tinkering with springs, short stroke kits, etc., but they are not "absolute musts."

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I think the first thing you should do is clean the heck out of the magazine tube and lube it and the spring. It may come "pre-rusted" as it is.

You may have to file a little on the inside of the frame to fix the first round feeding problem many have.

Light springs will really help.

 

C D

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I personally ruind a lever in a matter of about a month on a new 73' just by using it. These guns come from the factory with HEAVY springs that will actually wear it some key points in the internals with use. At bare minimum order a light duty main spring and whisper springs from www.thesmithshop.com. It may work for some to shoot these rifles right out of the box but my experience has been very different.

 

Deuce is right on.....the springs are so heavy they cause excessive wear on the gun and at the same time it makes the gun harder to cycle for no good return. A lighter stroke makes it easier to keep the gun in position and the sights on target while stroking the lever. It's a win win IMO and all that "needs" to be done. There was a video on the SASS wire that has a POV camera looking down the gun......if you can find it watch it and watch the way the rifle is being twisted and pulled off target in order to cock it. That a great example of why you don't want to fight heavy springs on a lever gun.

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Another must is one of Barley Pop Bill's special bits for removing the magazine tube plug along with a set of good bits for all the screws on the rifle. Contact BPB for the former and Brownells has the latter. You can get a set that stores in the handle of a good auto parts store magnetic tip screwdriver.

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As well as the other suggestions, clean out the magazine tube!!! They get incredibly dirty and rusty. I personally like the stainless steel magazine spring & follower that you can get order from Long Hunter.

 

Ricochet Roy

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First understand that it is not all about time. I used totally untuned guns for years but bought my first tuned pistols several years ago. Next I decided to try a Cody '73 and boy was it great so I had Jimmy Spurs do my next rifle a short time later and was equally pleased with it. My luck has not been the same with shotguns, new shotguns have actually come back worse than they left me. I actually have shot guns that are almost brand new clunkers now, so be very careful and do not even trust the ones recommended by your mother! Probably the best shotgun I ever had was a Stoeger that got broke in for several years and never touched by a cowboy gunsmith. In the end when the guns are done right it makes them much more fun to shoot even if you are not willing to practice for speed and sorry but the gun will not make you faster.

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The '73 has a safety that prevents the trigger from moving if the lever is not closed completely. This safety serves a legitimate purpose and was added when Winchester introduced the '73 as a new model long before product liability lawyers and it should not be removed or disabled. But, many of these rifles have overly strong springs on this safety and make holding the lever closed an isometric exercise and that can really interfere with your shooting. Should that be the case you will want to either lighten or replace the spring, but keep the safety operational. Someone smarter than me can tell you how to do that.

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I personally ruind a lever in a matter of about a month on a new 73' just by using it. These guns come from the factory with HEAVY springs that will actually wear it some key points in the internals with use. At bare minimum order a light duty main spring and whisper springs from www.thesmithshop.com. Those two items would are a must for me. It may work for some to shoot these rifles right out of the box but my experience has been very different.

 

 

What he said.

Want??? Need??? I would want everything. But really only need the above. If even that. The wear Deuce probably puts on one in a month. Might take someone else a few years. :o Because you don't get as good as Deuce without a LOT of practice.

But changing those springs won't cost much and should help a fair amount.

 

As far as shaving time??? Right now you can probably do more time shaving through transitions.

And can practice that dry in the house. More people waste time from beep to first shot and from gun to gun.

That will be your fastest way to shave time right now.

Or at least that is my opinion.

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I bought a new '73 carbine about three weeks ago. I shot a match with it three days after I picked it up. It performed flawlessly, but I did have to straighten the last round loaded each time to avoid getting a jam. After the match, I disassembled it to fix this issue (you have to file a chamfer inside of the receiver). The first problem that you will encounter is that the screws are extremely soft. You will need good fitting hollow ground bits and a small impact driver to remove the screws without destroying them. Once inside, I noticed that the cam on the lever was already getting worn down by the lever spring. This is after a total of 70 rounds were fired through it :o . I ordered the SlixSprings to fix this. After fitting the new springs (they aren't drop in, but it's not too hard), I reassembled and checked function. Unfortunately, the loading issue still persisted. I realized that the loading gate tab was bent in slightly which allowed the bullets to protruded past the carrier, which was causing the last round loaded to jam. I bent this tab back to 90 degrees which seems to have fixed the problem.

 

The new springs are extremely light. I ended up having to bend the carrier spring to get a little more tension on it. With the hammer cocked, there is almost no resistance in cycling the action. I lightened the hammer spring by adding a washer under it, just because it felt so heavy after doing the other springs. Now that it cycles so smooth, the stroke seems way too long; it is smooth enough to cycle with just your fingers, but too long to do so. I guess that I will be ordering a short stroke kit at some point...

 

I had planned on shooting this gun stock for a long time. I figured that for $1,000, it should be perfectly adequate without needing any modifications. Unfortunately, this proved wrong. I would say at the minimum you need:


  1.  
  2. new springs to prevent premature wear on the lifter cam
  3. replacement screws (properly hardened) for any that you damage while disassembling the rifle
  4. file chamfer inside receiver to fix loading issue

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Howdy

 

Although a new '73 should function just fine out of the box, I am also of the belief that the stock springs are so heavy that they can cause premature wear to some of the parts. Not so much the hammer spring, but the lever springs. Specifically the right hand lever spring that bears on a cam on the lever. Over time you may notice that the timing of the rifle has changed a bit and this is sometimes do to wear on the cam. One solution is to simply turn the screws that hold down the springs out a bit, to lessen the pressure of the springs on their bearing surfaces. A better solution is to substitute Happy Trails' Whisper Springs. They were designed specifically lessen the wear.

 

Here is a photo of my '73 with the right hand whisper spring visible. The spring consists of two pieces, a heavy curved piece of music wire and a flat mounting piece. The mounting piece is on the left and you can see the mounting screw protruding through it.

 

Whisper Spring

 

While you have Hap on the line, I also suggest you invest in his Lever Safety Spring. The stock spring that comes on the rifle from Uberti is so heavy that one often notices that the lever has to be held tight to the stock with a lot of pressure in order to pull the trigger. Some shooters remove the safety device entirely, which is a big mistake. You can bend the stock spring, but it is a lot easier to just install Hap's spring. Years ago I made up my own spring for my '73, but once Hap started making his I changed my home made job out for one of his.

 

You can reach Hap here. Be sure to tell him Driftwood sent you because I am making a small fortune in kickbacks. :)

 

 

The Smith Shop

 

 

Now, don't get me wrong, you do not have to run out and change out all the springs in your '73 the moment you get it. As I said, it should work fine out of the box. Shoot it for a while and get used to it. Then think about replacing the lever springs and the safety spring.

 

Action jobs are another subject.

 

If you are planning on replacing the springs yourself, which is not all that hard to do, be sure to invest in a good set of gunsmith screwdrivers. I recommend Brownell's Magna-Tip bits. And be advised, the first time you remove a screw you will meet up with Bongo's work. Bongo is the gorilla who runs around the Uberti factory at night with his torque wrench and overtightens all the screws while no one is watching.

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I build competition rifles in Western Pennsylvania. I don't feel there are any "absolute" must do's. There are several "should do's."

 

You should change out the lever side springs. I like SlixSprings from Pioneer Gunworks or Longhunter. The stock lever springs will ruin a lever in an amazingly short amount of time if your shooting more than once a month.

You should change out the trigger block safety spring. The stock spring is way too heavy.

You must clan out the magazine tube. Most come with no cost optional rust from the factory.

Correct bevel at the back of the Carrier Block mortice.

 

After you take care of the above, you get the most bang for your buck with a good action job. The rifle will be fast, smooth and much more user friendly. Then you can add a short stroke if you feel the need at any time. Taking the rifle apart for the first time will be a real treat. Save yourself some hassle and acquire a small impact driver or partner up with someone who has one. Bongo the Gorilla likes screws. Order a new set of screws from VTI Gunparts. YOur going to need some.

 

Coffinmaker

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Captain Burt,

 

While not a must something that will improve the longevity of the springs is to polish out the machine marks. This applies to the main spring and the lever and carrier springs. You could replace them all, but a cheaper alternative would be to remove them polish them and reinstall them properly.

 

When reinstalling the main spring tighten the mounting screw until the spring touches the lower tang then back the mounting screw off one to one and one half turns. Then tighten the strain screw (the small one in front of the mounting screw) until you get reliable primer ignition.

 

When reinstalling the carrier and lever springs you can put thin washers between the springs and the frame to adjust their tension. You want just enough tension to hold the carrier and lever in the upward position when the gun is held in the firing position. The outer diameter of the washers should not be larger than the width of the spring itself, as this could cause interference.

 

These mods are not "musts" but they are inexpensive and improve the feel and longevity of the gun.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Smoke

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Howdy Again

 

Just a note about polishing springs. Be careful. Don't get them too hot. If you get the spring too hot you will ruin it. It will have lost its temper. You can get in a lot of trouble polishing a spring, it is worthy of a completely new thread.

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Howdy

 

Although a new '73 should function just fine out of the box, I am also of the belief that the stock springs are so heavy that they can cause premature wear to some of the parts. Not so much the hammer spring, but the lever springs. Specifically the right hand lever spring that bears on a cam on the lever. Over time you may notice that the timing of the rifle has changed a bit and this is sometimes do to wear on the cam. One solution is to simply turn the screws that hold down the springs out a bit, to lessen the pressure of the springs on their bearing surfaces. A better solution is to substitute Happy Trails' Whisper Springs. They were designed specifically lessen the wear.

 

Here is a photo of my '73 with the right hand whisper spring visible. The spring consists of two pieces, a heavy curved piece of music wire and a flat mounting piece. The mounting piece is on the left and you can see the mounting screw protruding through it.

 

Whisper Spring

 

While you have Hap on the line, I also suggest you invest in his Lever Safety Spring. The stock spring that comes on the rifle from Uberti is so heavy that one often notices that the lever has to be held tight to the stock with a lot of pressure in order to pull the trigger. Some shooters remove the safety device entirely, which is a big mistake. You can bend the stock spring, but it is a lot easier to just install Hap's spring. Years ago I made up my own spring for my '73, but once Hap started making his I changed my home made job out for one of his.

 

You can reach Hap here. Be sure to tell him Driftwood sent you because I am making a small fortune in kickbacks. :)

 

 

The Smith Shop

 

 

Now, don't get me wrong, you do not have to run out and change out all the springs in your '73 the moment you get it. As I said, it should work fine out of the box. Shoot it for a while and get used to it. Then think about replacing the lever springs and the safety spring.

 

Action jobs are another subject.

 

If you are planning on replacing the springs yourself, which is not all that hard to do, be sure to invest in a good set of gunsmith screwdrivers. I recommend Brownell's Magna-Tip bits. And be advised, the first time you remove a screw you will meet up with Bongo's work. Bongo is the gorilla who runs around the Uberti factory at night with his torque wrench and overtightens all the screws while no one is watching.

Driftwood is telling you straight,same as Deuce did in post #.7. A pard got him a new 73 a couple of years back, I told him he needed to loosen the screws the first time and lighten the factory springs some what before he started shooting his new rifle. He took my advice with a grain of salt. Three months latter I got a call from him,he said their is something wrong with my 73,he described the problem, I said bring it by.Once we got the screws out,the first time by the way,Uberti tends to use a impact to tighten them from the factory. I found that his lever cam had worn down,at a angle and was worn enough in three months of use to cause functioning problems. He said when you told me that I needed to lighten the springs,I didn't think I would need to do it right away. What had caused the wear to the lobe of the lever cam was the rough,tab on the lever spring. If he had just taken it apart he would have seen that and could have by polishing that tab on the spring,that bears on the cam,prevented the damage to his rifle.I suggest following Driftwoods advice to save yourself your rifle eating it's self alive,it does happen. Adios Sgt. Jake

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As others have already said, I would install piano wire springs, cuz the stock truck leaf springs are tough on things.

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Driftwood,

 

Thank you for keeping me honest.

 

When I grind a spring I will use a belt sander or maybe even a grinder and am very mindful of spring temperature.

 

When I polish a spring I do it by hand, and find that my thumb blisters long before the spring loses any temper. :lol:

 

My apologies for not being clearer.

 

Smoke

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Well I've got a buyer for my Taurus, and I've located a decent deal on a Taylor Uberti 1873 in 357/38, 20" Oct barrel. What should I look out for, and what, hopefully inexpensive mods are an absolute must? Keeping in mind I'm a dirt poor HS teacher and measure my improvements in increments of 5 seconds or more, not 1/10s of seconds.

 

Captain,

 

I'm not as experienced/qualified as most of the commenters, but here's a perspective from another relative newbie who has had a few epiphanies regarding equipment.

 

I would recommend getting lightened springs to smooth out the action. Manufacturers save money by relying on heavy springs to make the guns work instead of expensive hand-fitting of parts. This being the case, it is also possible that after receiving the lighter replacement springs (I would resist the temptation to modify the stock springs) that the gun may have some functional issues (unlikely though, IMHO). You should get 70-80% of the benefit of more extensive gunsmithing at a fraction of the cost of going 'whole hog', and no risk of turning the gun into junk.

 

Those who say that "won't make you faster" have a weak argument, even if technically true; less movement of the rifle between shots (cycling the lever) leads to faster sight (re-)acquisition, which means faster times...there's no arguing with physics. And your hands will thank you, too.

 

Your mileage may vary, but based on my own limited experience (none of which includes a '73!), I think the lighter springs is probably good advice.

 

Hi-Yo and Awaaaay,

TMM

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Most of the mods that are commonly done to a '73 will make at least some folks faster. But, you really don't need those speed mods (short stroke, lighter carrier, lighter firing pin extension, etc, etc) (can't take advantage of them) until you can fire a standard '73 at a rate of 4 seconds per 10 well-aimed shots, from off a table. So, practice first, and you'll be learning what mods are important for your shooting style.

 

Another reliability mod that I believe has not been mentioned - reinforcing the cartridge stop portion of the loading gate. The metal tab that sticks out at 90 degrees from the back of the loading gate can break off at the bend. I reinforce it with a generous fillet (blob of JB Weld smoothed with a round stick or finger to give you a smooth rounded transition from the tab to the back of the gate) of strong epoxy. Talk with some other local shooters to see examples of how they reinforced their loading gates.

 

The carrier and lever springs are almost required to be lightened or even easier, replaced with whisper springs. I too wore out a lever in just a few months with factory springs bearing down on it.

Action screws will get buggered up, as they do, replace with VTI screws. I keep complete sets on hand just to keep four rifles in good shape.

 

Good luck, GJ

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Capt. as a poor HS history teacher myself and an owner of a Uberti 73, I did nothing to mine but shoot it for 10 years of Cowboy shooting, keep it clean, lubed, and make sure your ammo is the right length and you should be OK. After bending the lever I had an action job done on it, just polishing etc. no short stroke or aluminum carrier etc. just practice transitions etc. the gun that helped my times the best was shotgun, I practiced with it loading etc. and saved 5-6 sec. a stage. hope this helps

Rafe :FlagAm:

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What he said.

Want??? Need??? I would want everything. But really only need the above. If even that. The wear Deuce probably puts on one in a month. Might take someone else a few years. :o Because you don't get as good as Deuce without a LOT of practice.

But changing those springs won't cost much and should help a fair amount.

 

As far as shaving time??? Right now you can probably do more time shaving through transitions.

And can practice that dry in the house. More people waste time from beep to first shot and from gun to gun.

That will be your fastest way to shave time right now.

Or at least that is my opinion.

 

Thanks Anvil, and everyone else of course! I couldn't agree more about shaving time, I have so much room for improvement that those types of mods won't matter much for quite some time. I should have been more clear in my op. I was thinking more about mods that would prevent any operational problems and wear, although to the extent I can afford it, increased speed will be nice too. I also don't want to pick up bad techniques from operating a gun that I will later modify such that it functions differently.

 

Please continue with the suggestions if you wish as I have a lot to learn.

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So many of you have been so helpful, I could grow old thanking everyone and never get a chance to shoot. I'm going to rereead this several times, then take the weapon to my shoot for feedback from those guys. At least I'll be able to make slightly more intelligent conversation.

 

Thanks!

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I picked up my very first '73, a 20 inch .357, yesterday afternoon. I decided to buy a Codymatic and have the "essentials" covered before I ever touch the gun. As a Dave Ramsey "graduate", I save up for my guns which means I have to wait for what I want. Once I finally get a gun I don't want to ship it off to a gunsmith and have to wait again. I think I'm saving money doing it that way as opposed to buying new guns at retail and sending them off.

 

What I find interesting about this thread and similar ones I've read over the past year are the reports that these new guns, or at least some of them, wear themselves out in relatively short order. We are talking about rifles that sell for well over a thousand dollars, after all.

 

Bill, if you want to drive up I-85 and join us for a Greenville Gunfighters match, we can work on our 5 second improvements together. Cowboy Junky has been giving me some pointers on "transitions". Not that you can tell by my times!

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I picked up my very first '73, a 20 inch .357, yesterday afternoon. I decided to buy a Codymatic and have the "essentials" covered before I ever touch the gun. As a Dave Ramsey "graduate", I save up for my guns which means I have to wait for what I want. Once I finally get a gun I don't want to ship it off to a gunsmith and have to wait again. I think I'm saving money doing it that way as opposed to buying new guns at retail and sending them off.

 

What I find interesting about this thread and similar ones I've read over the past year are the reports that these new guns, or at least some of them, wear themselves out in relatively short order. We are talking about rifles that sell for well over a thousand dollars, after all.

 

Bill, if you want to drive up I-85 and join us for a Greenville Gunfighters match, we can work on our 5 second improvements together. Cowboy Junky has been giving me some pointers on "transitions". Not that you can tell by my times!

 

Just an FYI, you can buy a complete gun from just about any of the other gunsmiths...no additional shipping required...don't know why you thought you couldn't.

 

Oh, and you get to keep all the original parts...in their original condition too!!!

 

Cheers!

Phantom

:FlagAm:

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I'd install the largest bead on the front sight I could find. Then I'd get a leather butt cover so the rifle does not slide around on your shoulder, and wrap the lower side of the lever with some kind of leather so you don't bung up your knuckles cycling the action. And, install lighter springs.

 

 

LL'

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What I find interesting about this thread and similar ones I've read over the past year are the reports that these new guns, or at least some of them, wear themselves out in relatively short order. We are talking about rifles that sell for well over a thousand dollars, after all.

 

The guns don't wear themselves out. But, certain parts are prone to wear quickly with the approach that most reproductions manufacturers take - that is, we won't redesign anything, we'll just copy what was in our pattern gun. The really tight screws made of soft metal has been a Uberti error for over 15 years. They know, but they probably don't have the engineering manpower and research time to really work on the issue and get it right. So, they continue to make "install only" screws, as if the shooter was never going to take the gun apart.

 

Most current reproductions, if they had been sold in the 1800's as a new model, would have failed in the market place, just like most of the guns made by the companies that folded up actually did. Even some well-backed companies like Colt made some models that just would not hold up for heavy use.

 

You also must remember - our heavy shooters are putting as many rounds through cowboy guns in a couple of months as the guns were designed to handle in their working lifetime. It's not all that amazing when you think about it.

 

So, if you bought a high quality 73 rifle, parts fit and steel just as good as the original, take a guess what the price would be. My guess - upwards of $2500 at the volume that they are sold to primarily 50 or a hundred thousand cowboy shooters and wannabees.

 

We actually have it pretty good, especially compared to what cowboy shooters had to do to scrounge up good guns thirty years ago.

 

Good luck, GJ

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then take the weapon to a shoot for feedback

Can we persuade you to call it a gun, a rifle, a long gun, or a firearm? It certainly reads better, sounds better, and, hopefully, you never have to use it in the manner you named it. Thanks,

 

GJ

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Can we persuade you to call it a gun, a rifle, a long gun, or a firearm? It certainly reads better, sounds better, and, hopefully, you never have to use it in the manner you named it. Thanks,

 

GJ

 

I'll certainly work on my terminology, I've got lots of new stuff coming my way here on the forum. OTH, it's original purpose was in fact to be a weapon, correct? Many of the stages I've read about cast the guns being used as weapons. I'm being technical I realize, but on the other hand it has been drilled into me over a lifetime that any time I pick up a firearm I hold something that was designed to kill and will do so if I'm not careful. And please I mean no offense at all, so please don't take any.

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