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Flatwater Monte

1873 Uberti Mods w/o Short Stroke Kit?

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I have been shooting SASS for three years now. I started out with a rossi 92 that I worked the action over so that it would run reliably. I acquired an UBERTI 1873 last fall and have run it for a few months with no modifications. I shot a pards 1873 that has been worked over with an aluminum elevator, coil spring conversion and the PGW lifter kit along with a short stroke kit in it. I really liked the way it shot, but am not 100% sold on the short stroke kits yet. My question for you fine folks is, without installing a short stroke kit, is it worthwhile to replace the elevator, lifter springs and convert it to coil springs? I am a fair hand at polishing internals for smoothness, which is my next step regardless, but if I already have the action apart for polishing, then replacing those parts will be easier at that time. Thanks in advance! 

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This is all obviously personal opinion but I'm a firm YES vote here.  We run our guns pretty hard in this game.  I feel anything you can do to smooth them up and make them more reliable will be money well spent.  Even if the mods don't help improve your game, they'll help the guns last longer. 

 

That being said, I've recently learned that the aluminum carrier isn't recommended by all '73 gunsmiths or top shooters.  Seems as though a lightened brass carrier is better for both the gun and the shooter. You'll also get a lot of debate (personal opinions) on the best springs.  Some folks believe properly tuned flat springs are the way to go.  Other folks think SliX  Springs are the greatest things since sliced bread.  You'll have to decide what works best for you. 

 

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Thanks Bill! I should also specify that I run 38s and am not a top shooter by any means, usually middle of the pack shooter here! 

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Installing a short stroke kit is not exactly brain surgery.  Of course, changing out the springs just goes along with changing the toggles.  If you can run a mill file, you can do the work yourself.  It helps with running the rifle with the shorter throw.

 

It won't make the rifle a Cody-Matic, but you will be able to tell the difference.

 

Just my 2 cents from a middle of the pack player.

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What generation kit does your friend's gun have - 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. Makes a huge difference in feel.  My 1873 and 1860 Henry have 3rd gen which isn't as aggressive as 4th and 5th. I don't care at all for the 5th gen. 

 

You can do a lot to improve things by polishing/smoothing and adding lighter springs. Keep in mind that if you put in an aluminum carrier, you're going to need to modify or replace the carrier arm. Without it, the lighter carrier won't drop to the bottom of its travel.

 

My own opinion is that you're going to a lot of effort and missing an opportunity to really make your rifle sing. I think you might like a 3rd gen kit. Got mine from the Cowboys and Indians Store.

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The first modification that I think will make the biggest difference is replacing the Lever Safety spring with a light weight one.

That's my opinion. 

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I'd skip the coil spring conversion as well as the aluminum carrier. The coil spring is more gimmick than go (it makes a difference but its not noticeable unless you are really looking for it), and the aluminum lifter is really only needed if you are changing to a shorter stroke since with a longer stroke the extra few ounces arent a big deal.

 

Instead, get some whisper lifter and lever springs, a light duty main spring, and a lightened lever safety spring all from The Smith Shop. After that spend 30 minutes with some mag polish and just polish up the few parts that interact with each other. It wont be as smooth as a smith'd up one that was really worked over, but for ~50 bucks you will go from clunky to cadillac.

 

Other mods worth doing would be the stainless mag spring and mag follower as those rust quietly in the tube, and tune your main spring tension using the screws in the tang.

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Posted (edited)

I am in the camp of "Yes" on the Short-Stroke. Personally I prefer the "Standard" Short-Stroke (3rd Gen type) over the Super Short Stroke.  I do use some aftermarket springs in some spots, but also use stock springs that have been dressed. Some after market springs were just too weak for my taste.  You should keep in mind that most Short-Stroke kits will indeed just drop in, however, if you want them to perform their best they will usually need some fine tuning to avoid timing issues. Some of the best guns out there have been Short-Stroked by the Cut, Bend and Weld method, and then finely tuned.  I used to do it that way myself, but now I prefer to use aftermarket parts and keep all of the stock parts so that the gun can be put back to it's normal configuration quickly and easily if need be. The Custom work is great, but if you have a problem from a out of battery discharge or some other reason, expect to send it off for proper repair. If you were not able to do the initial cut, bend, weld work yourself, it is doubtful that you will be able to get it back into shape without professional assistance.  Also, I do NOT like the Aluminum Carrier/lifter at all. JMO

Snakebite

Edited by Snakebite
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I agree that the coil spring mod is not required and other springs can be set up to be equal or better.  A short stroke kit is very helpful as others have mentioned.  and the 3rd gen is a little more forgiving - the 4th requires it to be tuned almost exactly.

I like the lighter aluminum carriers but they do not last as well as the brass.  A lightened brass carrier will work for most folks.

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A major issue with a short stroke kit is to check the head space and the timing  once it is installed.  MOst kits have good instructions about the timing, but you may want to use a headspace gauge to be sure of that.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

What generation kit does your friend's gun have - 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. Makes a huge difference in feel.  My 1873 and 1860 Henry have 3rd gen which isn't as aggressive as 4th and 5th. I don't care at all for the 5th gen. 

 

You can do a lot to improve things by polishing/smoothing and adding lighter springs. Keep in mind that if you put in an aluminum carrier, you're going to need to modify or replace the carrier arm. Without it, the lighter carrier won't drop to the bottom of its travel.

 

My own opinion is that you're going to a lot of effort and missing an opportunity to really make your rifle sing. I think you might like a 3rd gen kit. Got mine from the Cowboys and Indians Store.

 

He was running a 5th gen kit in his. He was telling me that he had to do quite a bit of tuning to get it to run reliably, which is one of the reasons I wasn't sold on a short stroke kit. I don't want to sacrifice reliability on any of my guns. 

Edited by Flatwater Monte

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Me.. Myself..:huh:

Lightened Brass carrier.. (Had the aluminum carrier.. Replaced it)

 

3rd.  Generation short stroke 

I'm currently running Super Short Stroke in my '73...

But I enjoyed and had better stage times with a C&I 3rd. Gen. In my '66 Yellowboy..

 

Smaller (in diameter) magazine tube liner with stainless steel spring..

(it keeps the smaller 38's aligned in the magazine..)

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin' I left the springs out of the equation.. 

Even tho ya need them :huh:

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Just depends what you want in the end a well put together 5 th gen will run just as well as a 3rd. I have had both and went with the 5 because that was what felt best to me and my rifle is smooth as can be biggest things are make sure you get the right head space they have different length links to correct it then you have to tune your springs to make it smooth 

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Not a mod for a smoother action but imho worth the money: As the Uberti stock screws are quite soft I would replace them by a set of hardened ones! 

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19 minutes ago, Equanimous Phil said:

Not a mod for a smoother action but imho worth the money: As the Uberti stock screws are quite soft I would replace them by a set of hardened ones! 

 

That's a great idea. I did the same on my 92 as even the gunsmith screwdrivers screwed them up! 

 

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I spent an awful lot time (20 years) building Toggle Link Rifles for CAS competition.  I always explained to my customers, the biggest bang for your buck is a really good action job.  The '73, the '66 and 'Henry will all respond very well to a tuned action.  If your not into spring grinding, you can replace the very heavy over-sprung springs in these actions.  A lighter Main spring is available from "The Smith Shop" and from Slick Magic.  Lighter lever side springs are available from "The Smith Shop" and from Slixsprings.  They may take some fitting.  Also recommended as you lighten the action springs is to reduce or cut the Firing Pin Return Spring and re contour the Firing Pin Tip.  Replace the Trigger Block safety spring with an after-market spring as well.  Safety springs come from Pioneer Gunworks and Cowboys and Indian Store (now in Arizona).  Suggested is also having Positive Slam Down added to the lifter arm.  You will be amazed at how light and fast the stock lever throw can be.  Best of Luck.

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9 hours ago, Flatwater Monte said:

 

He was running a 5th gen kit in his. He was telling me that he had to do quite a bit of tuning to get it to run reliably, which is one of the reasons I wasn't sold on a short stroke kit. I don't want to sacrifice reliability on any of my guns. 

5th gen kits are for race gunners, you're not there yet?

A standard or super short kit from PGW should be fine with whisper lever/lifter springs, an aluminum lifter is also fine and a superlight main spring from Roys Creek Dan in Edmond Oklahoma City. His superlight spring is manufactured in that condition, it's not a ground job. I've been running mine for years with no problem.

He's one of the best 73 smiths around and not all that far from you.

 

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There are plenty of really fast rifle shooter's running 3rd gen guns. IMO they are easier to stroke (which makes em' easier to hold on target) more forgiving to shoot, less sensitive to tuning issues and easier on the rifle too. I'm not saying the 5th's aren't nice but you don't need one to shoot a rifle fast. Best of both worlds IMO. 

 

So for me the 3rd is the preferred. 

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I have been running the same Cody-Matic cut and weld for 13 years now......it's equivalent to a 3rd Gen kit which is what I consider optimal for consistent performance.

 

Bear in mind that ALL of them will need to be tweaked eventually...depends on how hard you are running the gun.....the lifter arm is what I have to look at about once a year. 

 

Other than that you may have a firing pin break or a spring break but again that is with ALL 73's stock or modified.

 

Stan

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IMNSHO, polishing of contact points & spring work, either lightening them yourself or buying aftermarket springs for the trigger block safety, the carrier & lever return springs will be the most bang for your buck.  A common malady of short stroked rifles is jacking out live rounds.  I suppose that diminishes with experience, but I still see many experienced shooters jacking out a live round far more often than I've ever had it happen when using my own non-short-stroked rifles.  (A simply result of trying to go faster and having the lever "bounce" as it hits its new shortened limit)!

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Thank you all for the replies. I believe I will order some Slix Springs for the rifle and polish the internals first, then run it for a while before I decide on a short stroke kit. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/7/2019 at 8:04 AM, Flatwater Monte said:

I am a fair hand at polishing internals for smoothness, which is my next step regardless, but if I already have the action apart for polishing, then replacing those parts will be easier at that time.

Your point above raises a side-bar question about gun cleaning.  It reads like it is an  uncommon thing to disassemble these firearms.  Am I misreading? 

 

In my own case, after every day of shooting, I typically remove the side plates and disassemble (where needed),  clean and re-lubricate the receiver contact surfaces, bolt, extractors, carrier (all surfaces), lifter and lifter pocket, toggles, and grease the leaf spring articulation surfaces on the lever and lifter.  After every full match, I usually remove the stock and clean/lubricate the mainspring and trigger/safety parts.   I've taken some friendly kidding in the past about "cleaning guns with a screwdriver".  

 

So am I alone in taking 73 rifle routine cleaning this far?  Seeing how much powder residue makes it into the receiver area suggested to me that not only reliability, but also speed would rely on clearing out all that crud.   Anyone agree or disagree? Am I overworking the screws, springs and other parts by all the disassembly and reassembly? What level of cleaning does everyone else do? 

(not wanting to hijack FM's thread here, perhaps this side-bar should have been a separate track) 

 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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49 minutes ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

   I've taken some friendly kidding in the past about "cleaning guns with a screwdriver".  


So am I alone in taking 73 rifle routine cleaning this far?  

 

Yes, IMHO yer going way to far, gonna wear out ever screw and thread on that poor gun. When I was shooting  a 73 I'd take it down twice a year, and that's shooting nothing but real BP. Alotta shooters only do it a few times year. Good Luck:)

To the OT I preferred the 3rd. gen.;)

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On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 12:57 PM, Marauder SASS #13056 said:

I agree that the coil spring mod is not required and other springs can be set up to be equal or better.  A short stroke kit is very helpful as others have mentioned.  and the 3rd gen is a little more forgiving - the 4th requires it to be tuned almost exactly.

I like the lighter aluminum carriers but they do not last as well as the brass.  A lightened brass carrier will work for most folks.

 

How long do the aluminum carriers last? And did you lighten the brass carrier yourself or did you purchase a lightened one? 

 

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16 minutes ago, Flatwater Monte said:

 

How long do the aluminum carriers last? And did you lighten the brass carrier yourself or did you purchase a lightened one? 

 

My have lasted years... But they are the good ones: Cowboys and Indian Store!!

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Lightened springs and basic polishing of the action is all you need if you aren't trying for top five at EOT or WR. 

 

Better off spending all that money on ammunition and practice.

 

After shooting the rifle in that configuration for a while, then you can look into short strokes and other things.

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1 hour ago, Howlin Mad Murdock SASS #4037 said:

Lightened springs and basic polishing of the action is all you need if you aren't trying for top five at EOT or WR. 

 

Better off spending all that money on ammunition and practice.

 

After shooting the rifle in that configuration for a while, then you can look into short strokes and other things.

 

Heck, I am happy when I make top five at our local club match that has six shooters! 

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7 hours ago, Flatwater Monte said:

Thank you all for the replies. I believe I will order some Slix Springs for the rifle and polish the internals first, then run it for a while before I decide on a short stroke kit. 

 

While you have it apart polishing it send your carrier to @SGT. ELI 35882 GUNFIGHTER

and get it milled.

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5 hours ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

Your point above raises a side-bar question about gun cleaning.  It reads like it is an  uncommon thing to disassemble these firearms.  Am I misreading? 

 

In my own case, after every day of shooting, I typically remove the side plates and disassemble (where needed),  clean and re-lubricate the receiver contact surfaces, bolt, extractors, carrier (all surfaces), lifter and lifter pocket, toggles, and grease the leaf spring articulation surfaces on the lever and lifter.  After every full match, I usually remove the stock and clean/lubricate the mainspring and trigger/safety parts.   I've taken some friendly kidding in the past about "cleaning guns with a screwdriver".  

 

So am I alone in taking 73 rifle routine cleaning this far?  Seeing how much powder residue makes it into the receiver area suggested to me that not only reliability, but also speed would rely on clearing out all that crud.   Anyone agree or disagree? Am I overworking the screws, springs and other parts by all the disassembly and reassembly? What level of cleaning does everyone else do? 

(not wanting to hijack FM's thread here, perhaps this side-bar should have been a separate track) 

 

I've been doing CAS for about 8 years now and during that time have put probably 30,000 rounds or so through my current rifle.  I've never done more than take the side plates off for cleaning and pull the mag plug.  I do that once every three months or so and run a bore snake through it a few times.  After a match I wipe it down with WD40, spray some CLP into the action, work it a few times then wipe off the crud and excess CLP.  So far so good.

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On 5/7/2019 at 4:56 PM, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

I spent an awful lot time (20 years) building Toggle Link Rifles for CAS competition.  I always explained to my customers, the biggest bang for your buck is a really good action job.  The '73, the '66 and 'Henry will all respond very well to a tuned action.  If your not into spring grinding, you can replace the very heavy over-sprung springs in these actions.  A lighter Main spring is available from "The Smith Shop" and from Slick Magic.  Lighter lever side springs are available from "The Smith Shop" and from Slixsprings.  They may take some fitting.  Also recommended as you lighten the action springs is to reduce or cut the Firing Pin Return Spring and re contour the Firing Pin Tip.  Replace the Trigger Block safety spring with an after-market spring as well.  Safety springs come from Pioneer Gunworks and Cowboys and Indian Store (now in Arizona).  Suggested is also having Positive Slam Down added to the lifter arm.  You will be amazed at how light and fast the stock lever throw can be.  Best of Luck.

What is positive slam down?

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Positive Slam Down is where the Carrier Block Arm or leading surface of the lever are modified to make and hold positive contact forcing the carrier block all the way down.  OEM, from the factory, the Carrier Block is powered down by the Lever Side Spring.  When the Mortice the carrier rides in gets gummy, it can and will jam the rifle.  Positive Slam Down forces the Carrier Block thru the Goo.

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1 hour ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

When the Mortice the carrier rides in gets gummy, it can and will jam the rifle.  Positive Slam Down forces the Carrier Block thru the Goo.

Why not just clean out the goo? That seems way less complicated  than trying to modify the shape of the lifter or front lever surface (as a kitchen table gunsmith) while trying to keep the action properly timed.   

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5 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I've never done more than take the side plates off for cleaning and pull the mag plug.  I do that once every three months or so and run a bore snake through it a few times.  After a match I wipe it down with WD40, spray some CLP into the action, work it a few times then wipe off the crud and excess CLP.  So far so good.

Doesn't the bore and chamber accumulate leading?  Or do you also routinely scour the bore?

 

My (albeit tight bore) rifle requires considerable  scouring with a bronze brush and solvent after every day's shooting.  Even then, it takes about five or six cleaning patches to come free of lead flakes.  

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Light smokeless fouling can be softened with Breakfree.  Light BP fouling can be softened by s shot of PAM, Balistol or water.  Once the fouling is built up and hard, a toggle link rifle must be disassembled to get the goo out.

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