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Cassalong Hopidy

66 vs. 73

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I hope this has not been the subject of too many prior threads. I am considering moving to Classic Cowboy and looking at a 66 Yellowboy carbine. I have been shooting a 73 and love it. While there will be other differences (like changing from .38 to .45, shooting duelist and using a hammered shotgun), my question at this point is about the rifles. I have talked with a couple of knowledgeable friends, but would be interested in hearing from any of you with experience shooting both a 66 and a 73 in cowboy competition. How would you compare the two? What are the pros and cons of each? Thanks in advance for your comments.

 

Cassalong Hopidy

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I'll let others with more experience discuss the differences as I've only shot a '66 a few times. (Didn't notice anything, really.)

 

I do want to muddy the waters a bit on choice of caliber. IMHO, the .44-40 is a better cartridge than the .45 for rifles. The .45 is a big, thick straight wall case that's more prone to blowback unless you shoot a heavy bullet or use stout loads. Lots of shooters use the .45s because it makes reloading simpler (one caliber vs. two for pistols & rifle). The .44-40 also takes more care in loading, so some shy away from it for that reason alone.

 

A lot depends on what your expectations are for your loads. If you want light loads, the .45 can be frustrating due to inconsistent combustion with some powder and bullet combinations. Mid-range loads & above are less of an issue.

 

I'm painting with very broad strokes here, but just wanted to throw that out there for consideration. I just started reloading the .44-40 and love it.

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73 is easier to take apart and reassemble, and less likely to strip threads in steel vs. brass.

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The only difference of any importance is the lack of a lever safety in the recent 66 guns that blocks the trigger while the lever is still open. This can lead to Out of Battery discharges. As you noted, because Classic Cowboy will require a heavier cartridge than you have been used to (.44-40 is a great one, by the way, for your rifle), the impact of an OOB is more significant.

 

Other than that, the rifles are the exact same to shoot. The 66 is a little more work to completely clean than the 73.

 

Based on those two differences, I shoot a 73, not a 66.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

OK, another reported difference - the 66 seems to have a little more drop in the stock than the same model 73. I've never measured comparative stock drops myself, but several folks have reported this. If true, the 73 is a little better for a person who has a short neck, leans forward, or does not need to tightly weld their stock to their cheek. 66 more for taller, more upright shooter or person needing help getting stock weld.

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It is not apparent from your posts; But the 1873 Winchester is legal in Classic Cowboy.

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This is my thought.

 

If you really like your 73 that you have now.

 

 

I would get one just like it. Set up just like it. Same barrel length, same type stock

Same action work. Get it as close to the one you have as you can. Only in the caliber you

want/need for Classic.

That way you can go from one to the other. Without any real changes.

Just a thought.

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I've had 66's before ( 1 44-40 and 1 38)and can honestly say for an out of the box non-slicked up rifle,the 66 is smoother than the 73.I ended up selling the 66's for the simple reason of the brass frame.Nothing wrong with it,but at our range if we start on stage 1 or 2,the sun coming over the hill top hit the top of that brass and I couldn't see the front sight from the glare.My 1st rifle was a 66 and I never had a OOB even with no lever safety.I guess I never noticed the lack of one since I hadn't shot a 73 at that time.Would I buy another one if it weren't for the glare problem( I could have blackened the top but didn't think of doing it)...the answer is yes.And I agree with the 44-40 being a more efficient cartridge over the 45.It is more fussy to reload,but once you get used to it, it isn't that bad.

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It is not apparent from your posts; But the 1873 Winchester is legal in Classic Cowboy.

 

 

Yes, I know and may end up with a 73 in a .40 or better caliber. I just happen to be looking at a 66 right now and interested in comparisons for that reason.

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I've had 66's before ( 1 44-40 and 1 38)and can honestly say for an out of the box non-slicked up rifle,the 66 is smoother than the 73.I ended up selling the 66's for the simple reason of the brass frame.Nothing wrong with it,but at our range if we start on stage 1 or 2,the sun coming over the hill top hit the top of that brass and I couldn't see the front sight from the glare.My 1st rifle was a 66 and I never had a OOB even with no lever safety.I guess I never noticed the lack of one since I hadn't shot a 73 at that time.Would I buy another one if it weren't for the glare problem( I could have blackened the top but didn't think of doing it)...the answer is yes.And I agree with the 44-40 being a more efficient cartridge over the 45.It is more fussy to reload,but once you get used to it, it isn't that bad.

 

I sincerely appreciate the comments about the 44-40, but have pistols in .45C and really do not want to load two different calibers.

 

Cassalong Hopidy

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Don't forget the dust cover. You don't get a dust cover with a '66. Ya have to pay a lot more money for a '73 to get a dust cover.

 

 

 

Dust Cover

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I have both and I don't notice any real difference in shooting.

 

And sometimes the sun is an issue as I keep my brass moderately bright.

.

Here in Georgia area I haven't needed the dust cover, but back in the great plains, they were helpful, even when using a "sock".

 

If you clean your gun thoroughly, the problems others mentioned are a very real factor.

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Blowback isn't that bad with a 45 Colt model in the toogle link guns - certainly not the horror story it sometimes gets made out to be. Use a good roll crimp, full load BP, and a 200+ grain bullet and you will be fine.

 

GG ~ :FlagAm:

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Blowback isn't that bad with a 45 Colt model in the toogle link guns - certainly not the horror story it sometimes gets made out to be. Use a good roll crimp, full load BP, and a 200+ grain bullet and you will be fine.

 

Use a 250 grain bullet and you will be even better.

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I shot my new 66 for the first time on side match day at the Texas State match last wekend. I shot a 100 + rounds and really dont notice a difference from my 73. That said I have never had a 73 with the sear safety. I weld the trigger to the sear so it's similar to the 66 anyway. The only real difference for me is my 73 is a 4th gen and the 66 is a 5th gen (C&I) and the 5th gen is a little stiffer and requires a little more force when opening the lever. I know everyone said I was crazy to get a 66, but that's also what they said when I switched from 357 to 45 a few years ago. I love the big bore but hate the reloading cost. Either gun when worked up correctly will put a big smile on yer face.

 

Best,

AZ Redneck

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This is my thought.

 

If you really like your 73 that you have now.

 

 

I would get one just like it. Set up just like it. Same barrel length, same type stock

Same action work. Get it as close to the one you have as you can. Only in the caliber you

want/need for Classic.

That way you can go from one to the other. Without any real changes.

Just a thought.

 

 

+1

 

KK

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Yup DJ...that's why I mentioned 200+. Also, a .454 diameter helps a wee bit too. I shoot both a 200 gr .454 and a 250 gr .452 and they both seem to work well.

 

GG

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I use a 180gr with lots of nitro... 140+ power factor and they run out of there faster than a lizzard on the playground at recess :)

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Use a 250 grain bullet and you will be even better.

What he said. A 250 grain bullet in your rifle is the best way to minimize blowback with 45LC. And with the weight of both 73's and 66's, you are not going to feel any increase in recoil by using a heavier bullet.

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The difference in the drop of the stock makes a difference. However, I understand that Uberti now makes them all the same. My older 66 (more than 15 yrs or so) has more drop than a 73, and as a result, since I shot the 66 as a main match gun for at least 15 years (was probably more), it comes up to my shoulder on target. My 73 does not, the barrel appears above the rear sight so when shooting quickly as one must (try), I shoot high with the 73. I personally, for that reason, would find it hard to replace my 66 with a more recently made one, if it's true that Uberti changed the stock.

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Having a 66 and a 73 both for a while, I could not find any difference in the drop of the stocks. But, it took me a long time to get used to shooting the 66 after selling the 73. For some reason, when the gun was shouldered, it always took me longer to find the sights on the 66 than it did the 73. I changed the front site out to one that was much taller than the stock one and that seemed to help me a lot. Never really did decide what was causing that.

As far as actually shooting them, I had short strokes in both of them and did the action work to both of them myself. They both shot pretty much the same. But the 73 was a lot easier to clean.

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Several years back, Uberti standardized the Butt Stock and Rifle Tangs. Drop at the Comb, Length of Pull (Except Henry) are all the same now. Tang dimensions are the same and the screw bores are all the same. Now:

 

The "66 is a bit heavier than the '73 and balances a little closer to the receiver. There is no reason to tighten screws to the point the threads strip out of the brass. After a while the Brass will take on a dull patina and won't reflect glair. Mechanically the two guns are exactly the same, with the exception of the Trigger Block safety in the '73. There is a difference in the "feel" of the brass gun compared to the steel frame gun. I prefer the feel of a '66 and shoot the '66 better than I do a '73. Go figure.

 

Your going to get Blow-By. You can reduce it, but not completely eliminate it unless you go to 38-40 or 44-40. If you want to standardize ammunition with .45 handguns,

no biggie. Your just going to clean it more often and the '66 is really not that much more involved to detail strip than a '73. The difference in cleaning is really a non-issue.

I shoot .45 CS cases, a 160Gr bullet and the smallest amount of Tightgroup I can and still have the bullet reach the target. Just means I clean after each match and tumble the cases a little longer.

 

If you like the look and feel of a '66, go for it. Oh, you won't get a nifty dust cover for engraving though (deal breaker??).

 

Coffinmaker

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I shoot a 66 and like it better than any 73 I have shot ......

When I got mine I took two 73s and stood looking at a knot on the wall about 15 feet across the room, I looked at the Knot intently closed my eyes shouldered the 73 it wasn't pointing at the knot .... I did it 5 times with the first 73, then 5 times with the 66 and then the same with the last 73 .... The 66 came to shoulder better and was pointed at the knot, the 73s didn't ....

As for cleaning I shoot .45s and I have done one complete strip-down for cleaning and to replace the laddle in these past 7 or so years since owning this gun ...

 

I shoot 250 gr. bullets with a power factor of a few notches over the 300 mark ... Blow-by ???? Don't seem to be no problem !!!

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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I use to always shot a 73 but when mine broke I bought a 66 all ready slicked up because I didn't have time to wait to get a 73 built. I have shoot the 66 for 5 months and now that the 73 is here I don't know if I will even switch back.....the 66 feels really good. IMO what you cut yer’ teeth on is gonna' feel right and switching to anything else will feel a bit awkward so get what you want and it learn to shoot it.

 

The main thing is IF you get the 66 put whisper springs or slix springs in it so when you take it apart you don’t have to adjust the lever and lifer springs every time you clean it…….you just have to tighten them down snug and you are right back where you started.

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Ah Cowboy,

 

There isn't suppose to be any "adjustment" of the lever side springs. Those springs are intended to be tight. Because those springs belong under a Dodge Ram, they cause undue wear to the Carrier Block Arm and the Finger Lever. That's one reason we grind 'em down when we do an action job. Extends the life of the internal parts.

Your recommendation for Slixsprings is spot on however. The moving parts will last a LOT longer, '66 or '73.

 

Coffinmaker

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The reason to loosen the springs is that they put pressure on the finger lever screw.

That is what causes the wear of the frame such that it may eventually strip the threads. I've seen it on some guns including one I bought used.

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I have both

 

In shooting there is little difference other than the lack of a trigger block on the 66. For that reason, I tend to run it just a tiny bit more meticulously, of course, I will never win a rifle speed shooting contest against a top shooter and am okay with that.

 

And the frames are not brass, though that is the common name. They are commonly called naval bronze and are a copper-zinc-tin alloy also known as gunmetal. It is significantly stronger than common brass and is very durable. It should not be a concern.

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I don't understand the comments being made about the 44-40 being harder to load. One poster even stated that after you got past the difference you could load with out many problems. I have loaded several different calibers since starting in 1969. I loaded for a Savage 250-3000 which was a nice rifle for deer. Most of my loading has been with all the handgun calibers from .25ACP up.(I will never do that again) I have never found the 44-40 difficult to load in any way. In fact most of the time I don't even lube the cases, and have never crushed a case mouth as people claim to be a problem.I think some just repeat what they have heard with out ever having had the problem themselves.

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And the frames are not brass, though that is the common name. They are commonly called naval bronze and are a copper-zinc-tin alloy also known as gunmetal. It is significantly stronger than common brass and is very durable. It should not be a concern.

 

Howdy Mark.

 

You are correct about the 19th Century composition of the alloy commonly known as Gun Metal. However the modern brass framed rifles made by Uberti truly are made of brass. Last year I was working for a company that made equipment that was capable of analyzing the content of alloys. I had a piece of brass from an Uberti Henry side plate tested. The result came back as 56% copper, 44% zinc. Not a trace of tin. Without any tin content, that makes it a true brass.

 

Here is a link to a thread I started about it over at CAS City.

 

Uberti Brass

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I don't understand the comments being made about the 44-40 being harder to load. One poster even stated that after you got past the difference you could load with out many problems. I have loaded several different calibers since starting in 1969. I loaded for a Savage 250-3000 which was a nice rifle for deer. Most of my loading has been with all the handgun calibers from .25ACP up.(I will never do that again) I have never found the 44-40 difficult to load in any way. In fact most of the time I don't even lube the cases, and have never crushed a case mouth as people claim to be a problem.I think some just repeat what they have heard with out ever having had the problem themselves.

 

Howdy Fairshake

 

I have considerable experience loading the 44-40. It was the second cartridge I learned to reload, after 45 Colt.

 

In my experience, the thinner brass at the case mouth of the 44-40 does make it a little bit 'fussier' to reload. I would not say it is difficult. But I guarantee you that if a case is not centered quite properly in the shell plate and you are working a little bit too fast, if you manage to slam the 44-40 round into the bottom of the sizing/decap die, you will mash the case mouth. Probably bad enough that the case is ruined. The sturdier case mouth of 45 Colt, 44 Special, even 38 Special will probably just shrug off the insult.

 

The other problem that novices with 44-40 run into is forming a good crimp without bulging the brass below the bullet. I managed to bulge quite a few before I got my dies dialed in just right so I was forming the crimp right in the crimp groove exactly where it needed to go. This is why a lot of novices to the cartridge swear by the Lee Factory Crimp Die. It takes the 'fussiness' out setting a standard seating/crimp die and makes forming a crimp without bulging the case much simpler.

 

My comment is always that loading 44-40 is not difficult, but it is a bit fussy. Because of this I always slow down when loading 44-40 and don't try to crank through as many per hour as I do with 45 Colt, 45 Schofield, 44 Special, and all the other straight cased cartridges.

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Although I shoot a 73, I really like the way a 66 carbine comes to the shoulder and balances. The only concern I might have is how stable the sight picture will remain when shooting a .45. This could be totally unfounded as I've heard much about the same in small calibers, yet have not found that to be the case at all when I shoot Sugah's 66 Trapper. With a 16" barrel that is 3" shorter than the carbine, if there was going to be a problem with stability, you would think that it would be more so, but I've found it to be very stable. My thoughts would be to find someone who shoots one and ask them to let you try it. If the carbine bounces around too much and you like the look of a 66 (I do), then try an octagon barrel.

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I thought about the 66 also I have a 22LR 66 and there is another difference that I didn't see mentioned, they do not come in a pistol grip model like the 73 and that has been the main reason for my sticking with 73's I just sold one in 45LC I still have one in the following calibers 45LC and 38WCF(38-40). I have bought one in 38/357 that I will pick up at EOT from Bat Masterson. I went for the 38WCF instead of the 44WCF and in hind sight that may have been a mistake. I like the round and all and it is real easy to differentiate from the 45LC when handled unlike the 44WCF. But, the problem is that the brass is very expensive, the dies are hard to find and the cases are very week in the neck and unless the press is setup correctly you will go though several pieces that are not usable once they are crunched setting it up. The only thing that is easy to find are the bullets since they use the same as the new fangled 40&W.

 

One thing to think about is which ever caliber you choose for CC you can use it in WB. If you shoot many major matches you will want + that is cheap on brass since you do not get your brass back and those usually. So that is something else to think about when choosing a caliber. If you shoot WB and CC with the same rifle that would be close to 250 rounds not including side matches and warmups that you will loose per match.

 

Whatever caliber and model you get you will enjoy it I bet. Also, the 66 rifles tend to be a cheaper investment.

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To me, the two are very different. I have both, and I much prefer the 73 in terms of feel, mount, and smoothness. My 66 is an older version, so it may be, and Coffinmaker states, that Uberti has changed the drop on them - if so, maybe I need to try a newer one! I find the 73 much easier to shoot. :)

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Guest diablo slim shootist

This is my thought.

 

If you really like your 73 that you have now.

 

 

I would get one just like it. Set up just like it. Same barrel length, same type stock

Same action work. Get it as close to the one you have as you can. Only in the caliber you

want/need for Classic.

That way you can go from one to the other. Without any real changes.

Just a thought.

+1 :)

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