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Trouble with a Uberti 1873


R. R. Ranger

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How often do you have to re-tune a 73 to keep it running smooth if you are an aggressive shooter? I have a pard that is one of our top shooters in our area but is always having to have his 73 "tweaked" because the timing is slightly off or after several hundred rounds the hammer falls to half-cock maybe once or twice per 10 rounds.Is this common for a 73 or is his gun just tuned too close the the edge? So far he has had broken bolt replaced and a bent lever. Not sure how much mileage can be expected out of these. The guy shoots almost every weekend and practices at least twice a week at the range ( 150+ rounds ) and I am sure he dry fires at home.

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How often do you have to re-tune a 73 to keep it running smooth if you are an aggressive shooter? I have a pard that is one of our top shooters in our area but is always having to have his 73 "tweaked" because the timing is slightly off or after several hundred rounds the hammer falls to half-cock maybe once or twice per 10 rounds.Is this common for a 73 or is his gun just tuned too close the the edge? So far he has had broken bolt replaced and a bent lever. Not sure how much mileage can be expected out of these. The guy shoots almost every weekend and practices at least twice a week at the range ( 150+ rounds ) and I am sure he dry fires at home.

 

I will sometimes "tweak" mine because of a little glitch that pops up (often others cannot even feel the glitch) because I know how my rifle feels to me and any little variance is noticable. Plus I just like to tinker with my guns. Other than that my guns have lasted for several years without a major malfunction so it would seem that his guns maybe are a little older and needing some TLC in the form of new parts or perhaps he just likes to work on his guns seeking the "ultimate" rifle.

 

As far as an "aggressive" shooter I am not even close to being the fastest around but ran the EOT speed rifle in 2.80 secs and a normal stage time for the rifle is 4 something. Not super fast but ok.

 

Regards

 

:FlagAm:

 

Gateway Kid

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How fast CAN you shoot them? Faster than any other (CAS) lever rifle.

 

If he broke a cartridge guide tab off the bottom of the bolt, almost certainly the gunsmith did not time the action correctly.

 

Hammer following down? Poor trigger and sear angles, or a shortened full cock notch, or too light a hammer spring (a few other minor reasons, too).

 

Bent lever? Either he is a gorilla, or he had an out-of-battery discharge. Is the trigger safety spring still installed? If not, he should know better. Maybe he is just slamming the action much harder than is really needed. A tuned 73 lever should run fast with just two fingers in the loop.

 

Anyway, why are you asking? For his benefit? Let him ask himself. :lol:

 

For your benefit? Get a good smith to tune your 73 and you should not have ANY of the problems you have told us about. Maybe a worn out extractor every 5,000-10,000 rounds; a new firing pin every 20,000. But the rest of a '73 rifle is pretty well designed to go forever.

 

Good luck, GJ

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Well, mine is late '90s vintage, and was "rid hard and put away wet" a LONG time by the original owner before the sencond owner sent it out to Cody for his magic. It's SWEET and I can't run it hard enough to make it glitch, and my rifle work is pretty quick.

 

IMHO the ticket to LONG life in a "race" '73 is mostly spring work and getting the timing RIGHT to start with. Once the god awful heavy springs are replaced and maybe a little slicking (if ya run it a while they will slick up anyway, but the heavy springs can cause em to self destruct). Then ya need to get the springs and timing ON to start with, and keep yer ammo OAL in the "happy" range, Do that, make sure yer levering is a FULL stroke (ya can't cheat em by not making the full forward throw of the lever), and IMHO you can't hurt one of these guns if ya keep oil in it.

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Howdy

 

The hammer falling to half cock should have nothing to do with a tuning job. If that starts happening, something was wrong in the first place. Either that, or somebody messed with the hammer sear engagement and did not really know what they were doing.

 

Bent lever, sounds like he is being a bit too aggressive. The action should be smooth enough that it hardly takes any effort at all to work the lever. With a really good action job the lever can be worked with a flick of the fingers. Should not have to slam it. The lever should never be worked so hard that it bends.

 

Never heard of a bolt breaking. The forward projecting lip on the bolt sometimes breaks off, but that is not the same as the bolt breaking.

 

But these things are mechanical, eventually they will wear out. I remember reading of one young SASS champion who actually did wear out a '73 in a couple of years. But he was practicing far more than anybody I have ever heard of.

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Bent lever is from shooting out of battery. I have done it twice in my 73!! Bending it back is no big deal, but it doesn't solve the problem. A 73 will only shoot out of battery when the safety under the lever wears out.

They do wear out and it sounds like your pard shoots a lot.

I also had the half cock issue? Going to town on a 2, 3 or more rifle dump and the hammer would land on half cock?

Never did know what caused that, but I did solve the problem. I am not advising anyone to do what I did, but it has worked well for me. I welded up the half cock grove in the hammer and filed it smooth. The rifle has no hammer safety. I only use my 73 for CAS, so no half cock is needed.

I think lots of rounds and fast aggressive shooting can push a rifle to it's limits and crazy things can happen.

Another thing I have done over the last few months is figure out what brass runs the smoothest in my rifle. I liked Winchester brass the best. Now I will only shoot Winchester in my rifle for practice and matches. That had helped a bunch in smoothing out my rifle. This might be the issue with his head space & bolt problems?

That's my .02 cents.

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My guess? The shooter did the work himself and don't know what he's doing. Get to a race gun mechanic. There's a dozen around the US that I would trust.

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Bent lever is from shooting out of battery. I have done it twice in my 73!! Bending it back is no big deal, but it doesn't solve the problem. A 73 will only shoot out of battery when the safety under the lever wears out.

They do wear out and it sounds like your pard shoots a lot.

I also had the half cock issue? Going to town on a 2, 3 or more rifle dump and the hammer would land on half cock?

Never did know what caused that, but I did solve the problem. I am not advising anyone to do what I did, but it has worked well for me. I welded up the half cock grove in the hammer and filed it smooth. The rifle has no hammer safety. I only use my 73 for CAS, so no half cock is needed.

I think lots of rounds and fast aggressive shooting can push a rifle to it's limits and crazy things can happen.

Another thing I have done over the last few months is figure out what brass runs the smoothest in my rifle. I liked Winchester brass the best. Now I will only shoot Winchester in my rifle for practice and matches. That had helped a bunch in smoothing out my rifle. This might be the issue with his head space & bolt problems?

That's my .02 cents.

 

 

Not entirely true. A FAST shooter who gets a little out of synch CAN cause an OOB discharge even with a fully functional trigger safety. Cody 'splained it this way. If ya got a light hammer spring, back off the strain screw too much trying to lighten it, etc, ya end up with a slow hammer drop. Now if yer cycling gets a little TOO FAST for that slow hammer, you can have the lever part of the way open by the time the hammer hits the primer, and yepper, bent lever and excess headspace to match. The gun then may show itself to have a bad extractor, as subsequent rounds slip off the hook because of excess headspace. Yep, lever can be bent to fix it, and yep, if the lever/lifter/carrier/bolt timing ain't right, it's still gonna run "funky" and ya likely will wreck more parts.

 

One other culprit can be a nasty dirty, rusty magazine tube that causes the follower to be slow pushing rounds back, and the carrier ends up trying to cut em in half if ya cycle too fast. It plays the devil with timing......

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RRR,

 

I have two '73's that take the brunt of my shooting.

One is over nine years in competition. It still doesn't have any issues such as you describe.

Nor any others. It has run a sub 2 second 10 shot string without any OOB or live ejections (not by me but one of the 'robo' shooters as a test for a new product).

 

I would say any 'properly", completely tuned '73 should last a fast and furious shooter at least five to seven years, unless a new gimmick come along to improve it. But still, any properly set up '73 should accept any improvement.

 

The trick is timing for feed, exact OAL ammunition and properly installed and adjusted springs make all the difference. That and a fast enough (read tight) main spring will help with OOB's! Oh yes, watch the headspce after those OOB's!

 

Those soft, slick "campfire" action jobs can't go fast.

 

Ol' #4

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Yes all true. I had all my problems before I added the Slix spring system and had a few other issues worked out.

Now it purrs like a kitten. If only I could get some rrrythm.

Haha

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I'll chime in with Manatee and OL #4. I've built a LOT of competition rifles. When a '66 or '73 is set up right from the start, there aren't any problems that aren't shooter induced. A '73 or '66 should last indefinitely, not matter how fast is is run.

How "hard" it is run can be a different matter entirely. A lot of folks simply try to run the gun faster than their muscle memory will allow and the shooter gets out of time with the rifle. When that happens, the shooter can do all sorts of damage. Also, many shooters will have a problem with their timing or ammunition and feel the simple solution to solve it "on the clock" is to try to "force" it to work. Stop and smell the roses is a better solution.

The problems you describe all sound like shooter induced trouble. Not the rifle.

 

Coffinmaker

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Lots of information coming in. Think I got it figured out. This is going to make a great boat paddle.

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If only I had more hair to pull out!!

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I have agree with the other smiths here, if it's setup right from the get go you should have those problems.

Poor timing of the short stroke parts has ruined many bolt face rim shelf’s and extractors. The bent lever is most likely an OOB. Either from outrunning the hammer as AJ described or it can also be a stuck firing pin because the FP spring is poorly done. This too will destroy the rim shelf as well as open up headspace. (Too many of the Uberti's come with excessive headspace anyway)

Hammers following are usually because the trigger spring is too light. It will be just fine for awhile but because the pull is so light you don't follow through to pull the trigger nose out of the way of the 1/4 cock notch battering the nose. It usually shows up as a miss fire but eventually the trigger nose gets battered to a point that it will not hold consistently.

You would be really surprised at what the top shooter are using. Most people think a squishy really slick gun is the way to go but these top shooter are more concerned with reliable guns sometimes running heavier faster spring than most.

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To add to what Nate said, IMHO any 73 that will not reliably pop CCI magnum primers has too light a mainspring, exposing it to the OOB potential described above. Give that strain screw (or actual mainspring mount screw) a twist until it's RELIABLE and it won't do that funky stuff. Once the timer "beeps" you will not notice a difference in cycling effort, but you won't be swearing at your rifle.....

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To add to what Nate said, IMHO any 73 that will not reliably pop CCI magnum primers has too light a mainspring, exposing it to the OOB potential described above. Give that strain screw (or actual mainspring mount screw) a twist until it's RELIABLE and it won't do that funky stuff. Once the timer "beeps" you will not notice a difference in cycling effort, but you won't be swearing at your rifle.....

 

 

Thank you.

I often wonder at these delicate flowers that believe they cannot cycle a firearm unless the mainspring is hollow ground to nothingness in the center or the strain screw is dangling by a single thread.

It is amazing how many times, someone has asked me to work their gun and I bring it to my shoulder to cycle like I would in a match and they say, "No, do it slow. Feel how easy that is?"

Why on earth would I care how it feels going slow? I aint going to shoot it that way.

Smooth actions and reliable primer ignition make for fast guns.

I am a pretty strong guy, I think I can muscle thru two or three pounds of spring pressure.

I have diagnosed so many 1897 shotguns that have arrived at the range "Gunsmith Fresh" and then failed to pop primers, (a condition usually corrected by screwing the strain screw back home), that some folks think I actually know something about 97's (I don't).

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Yes all true. I had all my problems before I added the Slix spring system and had a few other issues worked out.

Now it purrs like a kitten. If only I could get some rrrythm.

Haha

 

 

Geeze Ringer, you couldn’t get rythym even if you bought a metronome.:lol::P

 

Boothill

 

 

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Thank you.

I often wonder at these delicate flowers that believe they cannot cycle a firearm unless the mainspring is hollow ground to nothingness in the center or the strain screw is dangling by a single thread.

It is amazing how many times, someone has asked me to work their gun and I bring it to my shoulder to cycle like I would in a match and they say, "No, do it slow. Feel how easy that is?"

Why on earth would I care how it feels going slow? I aint going to shoot it that way.

Smooth actions and reliable primer ignition make for fast guns.

I am a pretty strong guy, I think I can muscle thru two or three pounds of spring pressure.

I have diagnosed so many 1897 shotguns that have arrived at the range "Gunsmith Fresh" and then failed to pop primers, (a condition usually corrected by screwing the strain screw back home), that some folks think I actually know something about 97's (I don't).

 

 

Don't get me wrong, the Cody 73 is light and smooth. I run it or a widdermatic or spur Marlin the same way, two fingers in the loop, thumb aside the hammer, and flick my fingers. It's light and "crisp" I guess I'd call it, not "wilted" Har!

 

When I first got the Cody rifle (used) the PO had it set reallllly light. It FTF the first time I used it in a match, then I amanaged to get it jammed on the clock. As it was the first gun, they gave me a reshoot. I twisted the screw some, and as I went back to the line, told the TO "They told me when I bought a 73, my rifle troubles would be over. They lied". But it's been flawless since and yes, will pop any cap ya wanna use in it (as will all my guns).

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The real trick to having a reliable rifle is to get it "Tuned" all at once.

I have more problem relatd issues with the kitchen mechanic who gets a gun tuned, then decides to add clever part "A", and then sees another great option withg must have part "Z" but never realizes the impact on the rest of the workings.

 

Some recipes of parts just don't run well together.

 

Have it done right the first time and leave it alone. Practice more.

Or ask your tuner the consequences of mixing add-ons.

 

Kind of like building your 350 up with a hot cam but putting the two barrel back on until you can afford the intake and a four barrel, but not matching the volumetric demand with the new intake and carb! Oh, and leaving the single restricted exhaust system until you get your birthday money.

 

Ol' #4

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I know there are a lot of good SASS gunsmiths. But a gunsmith is more than a shop, more than an enthusiast, he must be a professional and checking references is critical.

 

I have short stroked three rifles and worked on a number of shotguns over the years. Oddly enough the reason I had to learn was simply that the SASS gunsmiths I used previously gave me back guns that simply were not properly tuned, repaired or modified. It wasn't always that they were still rough, but sometimes work was not performed and in 2 instances guns were returned that were no longer functional or had trigger/sear engagement so out of whack as to make the gun dangerous. So I learned out of necessity-There is nothing that difficult about tuning a 73 rifle, but there is a lot of information you need to understand before you start.

 

I would allow any of the smiths posting on this thread to work on my guns, so please don't interpret this as a slam on all gunsmiths. If a shooter wants to do it himself or herself, it is not rocket science, but until you understand why you are about to do something, don't work on on any firearm. (and throw away your Dremel)

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