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Snakejaw_Joe

my new Miroku 1866 & introduction

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Posted (edited)

Howdy folks, first post here on the wire, I'm a new member and excited to get into the sport. I guess I could be considered younger (age 33 this July 4) but whats in a number anyway. Wanted to introduce myself, my new rifle and ask a question as well. 

 

I've been a Civil War history nut since i was 8 years old when I wrote my first 2,000 word paper on Lee vs Grant's battlefield tactics. My dad helped me write it :lol: in his earlier days he was a professional fox trapper in upstate New York, canadian border. My parents were italian immigrants. Built themselves a log cabin with a chainsaw and their neighbor's tractor and lived off the land. When my siblings and I were kids we all moved down south to FL and he started his own business (laboratory). Now I'm working there with him.

 

It's a far cry from survival down here (seems everyone comes here to vacation) but having him as a dad keeps me grounded to the dirt. He's taught me everything I know about survival, DIY, and the importance of a humble life.

 

We've gone on a few small game hunts with .22s but mostly growing up we would fell juniper trees, quarter them, season them, hand carve bows with sinew backings and steam recurves, and make/fletch our own arrows to take our game. Nothing like using your own handmade bows and arrows to put meat on the table... but I tell ya, a strong traditional bow strung with sinew will slap your wrists red after nocking 15 arrows.

 

On to the rifle - I just got married to my wife this April, and as a wedding gift she surprised me with my lifelong dream gun: a 24" winchester 1866 in 44wcf with octagonal rifle (made by Miroku). Yep, I made the right choice, the wife's a keeper.

 

Pics are attached in all its glory. It has a weird oxide pattern on the buttplate though, hard to make out on the picture... I used simichrome to buff it out but the weird pattern came back again. Oh well, all part of that 'look'.

 

Part of the sustainable lifestyle includes handloading... so I plan on casting and loading with black powder. The bore measures 0.4295, Already got myself an accurate 43-215c mold and 1:40 lead. Haven't had a chance to take it down the range yet, but I have 20 different load sets worked up with Goex fffg, TrailBoss and Titegroup (all I could get with this mad rush for gunpowder right now) to find out what load makes it 'tick'.

 

Now to the question... Since this was a special occasion gun, I'm worried about the wear and tear on it. I've heard some people say with soft lead and black powder 44-40 barrels won't wear like the modern ARs do. But what about the action? I really want this gun to be something I can pass down to my kids someday, and I don't want to hand them a paperweight. But I do want to enjoy using it. 

 

In the meantime, I'm eyeing a shorter model 66 Uberti (either 19" round carbine or 20" octagon short rifle) to use as my primary, "ok if it gets beat up" gun. Having a hard time deciding between the carbine and the short rifle... on the one hand, the carbine is a nod to the old trappers of the day, the lighter, more portable unit, and is available now new for around $1k. But I like a little heft to my guns and there's nothing like an octagonal barrel. Both buttstocks are fine to me, i'll eventually own both and I've read every thread on here about the pros and cons of each... just have to make up my mind for whats first.

 

But what do you all think of using the Miroku? Since it looks like Winchester/Miroku has completely stopped producing these 1866 models to begin with (website says not in production), parts will be harder to come by, and wear and tear could render it inoperable... or will it just get 'smoother' with time, and any SASS reputable smith can fix any future issue for me no problem?

 

 

 

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Edited by Snakejaw_Joe
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Shoot it!  I have put more rounds through my Miroku in 2 years than my Marlin 336 30-30 in 40 years. Soft Brinnel 12 bullets won't wear out a steel rifled barrel. Remember Ar's shoot fmj. 1232641201_Appshowdown.PNG.1d14f6693b0be1a0699292b84f674709.PNG48668693307_8e79b5ce90_o.thumb.jpg.f21c09f0e9af32620f06a1e11f3a3cb3.jpg

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Use it as your match rifle.  Since it is a clone its' value is in its' use, not as a collectable.  As a family heirloom it doesn't matter if it has wear from use.

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Wow beautiful rifle. I’m with the shoot it folks. These guns are made of better steal and wood than the ubertis and will last a lot longer. I have a 73 that I’ve put through some serious rough use over the last 3-4 years and it’s still in better shape than any of the ubertis I’ve owned and I don’t use them as often. Plus the Winchester models come already setup to play the game. Parts also won’t be a problem. Anything that might break will be the same parts used in the 73 so you can get them from Winchester. 

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Nice Rifle .

And Welcome to the Game, Have Fun shooting that 66 I figure that about 2,000,000 bullets down the bore and I might look for wear ...

Don't use stainless steel cleaning brushes they will wear out  a bore faster than any bullet, and possibly scratch the bore ...

Get the Short Rifle ...

Again Welcome from North of the Medicine Line ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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welcome ,  do what you want but i will take  a  well used gun any day as a pass me down , as to a safe queen... thats just me ... if you take care of it and clean it right even shooting black powder it will out last us all .  yes i shoot black powder  and clean well and hope my kids will know i used the guns i am passing down  ... Burn Through

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I shoot a 20" Miroku 66 in 44wcf with full loads of Black powder 2F or 3F makes no difference.

It runs great and never had an issue with it. 

You can get factory lever and lifter springs from Browning to lighten if you like but they have no main springs and don't know if

they will get any.

 

Shoot it.

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I like the way you all think! Gives me a little more confidence to enjoy it. Thats a nice looking 73 Trooper Ozzy, glad to hear its been holding up.

 

El Hombre, good to know about 66/73 interchangeable parts - thats a big relief. That reminds me, I should probably reinforce that loading gate sooner rather than later.

 

Good tips on not using steel brushes Jabez, thanks for that. I'll stick to solvent and rags. I actually like cleaning my guns, theres something therapeutic about it to me. So I won't complain about a little more time on the bore.

 

JD and Burn Through, that is true. There would inevitably be more stories attached to a well used rifle, giving it more meaning.

 

Thunder Creek do you find you could benefit from lighter springs in your 66? i've cycled through some dummy rounds and it feels nice and smooth but a bit heavy on the force needed. Good idea to modify a second pair and keep the originals just in case. Have you reinforced your loading gate/did you need to do that on yours?

 

I have a lot to learn about these toggle links and I'm looking forward to picking more brains as I go forward. I'm scheduling a range trip next week with the chronograph, I'll post a range report with some general findings. 

 

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Welcome, and nice to meet ya! Shoot it! My uberti 66 had 10s of thousands of rounds sent down range and still hits the targets. We're not shooting fmj or hot loads through them. That barrel will last a lifetime. If you're gonna cast your own lead and shoot BP ya may as well look into making your own powder too. I do. 

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I forgot to mention look into big lube bullets. Makes a huge difference. I can shoot back to back 12 stage matches, with full 44-40 case of black powder, without ever needing to clean the gun. 

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7 hours ago, Snakejaw_Joe said:

 

Thunder Creek do you find you could benefit from lighter springs in your 66? i've cycled through some dummy rounds and it feels nice and smooth but a bit heavy on the force needed. Good idea to modify a second pair and keep the originals just in case. Have you reinforced your loading gate/did you need to do that on yours?

 

 

 

It did help on mine a little. I did not know there was an issue with the loading gate. Have had no problem with mine.

Only small issue I had was the frame at the loading gate had a very sharp edge on it, you had to watch when loading. 

I took a stone and rounded it a little bit so it wasn't as sharp.

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Have the same gun, shoots great , no complaints, only thing I did was put some JB Weld on the tab behind the loading gate as it's about half the size of the one on their 73. This little tab has been known to snap off on some rifles.

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Posted (edited)

Welcome Snakejaw_Joe!  You're off to a great start with that shooter.   Here's some info on ammunition requirements from SHB pages 26-27:

 

Power Factors

The minimum standard for center-fire ammunition used in all smokeless categories in all SASS matches, including State, Regional, National, International, and World Championship competitions is not less than a minimum power factor of 60 and no velocity may be less than 400 fps.

The maximum velocities are 1000 fps for revolvers and 1400 fps for rifles. Ammunition that exceeds these velocities is considered illegal (this does not include ammunition that does not meet the power factor). Pocket pistols, derringers, and long-range rifles are exempt from the power factor and velocity requirements.

Power factors can be calculated by multiplying the bullet weight (in grains) x the velocity (in feet per second) and then the resulting number divided by 1000. Examples:

  • -  100 gr bullet traveling at 600 fps has a power factor of 60: (100x600)/1000=60.00

  • -  77 gr bullet traveling at 800 fps has a power factor of 61.6: (77x800)/1000=61.6

  • -  200 gr bullet traveling at 400 fps has a power factor of 80: (200x400)/1000=80.00

Black Powder Testing

Testing of blackpowder rounds for the production of adequate smoke will also be conducted in a similar matter as described above. Rounds should be obtained from the shooter’s loaded firearms while at the loading table. The rounds should be fired in comparison to test rounds made using the following load data:

  • -  Standard .38 Special case.

  • -  1 cc GOEX 2F powder.

  • -  Federal Standard primer.

  • -  145 grain bullet lubed with SPG.

  • -  Powder lightly compressed with a medium roll crimp.

    Failure of the shooter’s rounds to produce the same level of smoke as the standard rounds will result in a penalty for not adhering to the category requirements. The first offence will be assessed as a procedural penalty, the second offence in the same match a Stage DQ, and the third offence in the same match a Match DQ.

 

With .44-40 just load'em up with BP and you'll never have an issue with smoke 

Edited by Tequila Shooter
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Failure of the Shooter's rounds to Produce at least the same level of Smoke as the standard rounds ,,,,,,,,,,,,,

More smoke is Better and Certainly more fun ,,,,

Have Fun !!!

 

Jabez Cowboy

 

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I have been shooting my Uberti 66 also in 44wcf I changed the lifter springs...other than that its pretty stock. I also cast my  own bullets and make my own lube too. Just fill up the cases with Goex and it will take a few hours for that grin to come off your face after shooting it. On another note if and when you get your reloading dies I bought the Redding profile crimp die. I normally use the Lee factory crimp die for all my other ammo. But the 44-40 gave me some issues when on the rare occasion loading smokeless...collapsing cases. This solved the problem for me...others may or may not agree on that. Lastly that rifle is way to shiny it might blind the RO.

 

Sgt Hochbauer

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Well I took her out to the range today to do some load development, but first I took a peek at that loading gate to see if it needed reinforcing. It did, so I scuffed it up, wiped it down with acetone then applied JB metal putty. Cured for 24 hours then oiled and reassembled, that should last me a decade or two.

 

Unfortunately my chrono wasn't working; its the magnetospeed sporter, strapped it per the instructions and all that and it just said 'no data' despite having shot 50 rounds through <_< have to call on monday and see what the deal is. But I wasn't about to go home so I decided to focus on what load gave better accuracy at 50 yards. Turns out this miroku likes compression! Using Goex fffg and an acurate 215c 1:40, with compression die, I was getting odd groupings up until about 36gr of powder and 38gr really locked it in. When I got to the 38gr rounds the rifle became a tackdriving machine and I shot 3 consecutive rounds one atop the other with the holes touching. 40gr worked well too but I felt it was a little overkill (and not easy to get it all in from a 2 foot droptube. possible, but removing the case from the tube makes a bit of a mess).

 

50 shots of BP and the barrel was still driving the rounds home. They really did well with that 215c design.

 

I noticed something odd though, with the lower velocity loads I was getting grimey blowback and buildup outside the actual receiver... picture below. Is this normal? I had to really attack that stain with bore cleaner and its still not all gone. It pretty much stopped when I got to the more compressed loads.

 

Sgt Hochbauer you weren't kidding about that grin, its still plastered on! Can't wait to go back next week.

 

 

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The easiest way to lighten your springs on that 66 (lever and carrier) is to put very thin washers between the frame and the spring. This raises the spring slightly and takes some of the tension off, adjust thickness to get them where you want them. Sometimes new brass has a very thin plastic film on it. Has that been removed?

kR

PS thanks Pettifoger for the idea on spring tension.

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Not sure if it is true of all the Mirokus, but from researching the 1873...

 

The stock has an oil finish. You can build about a dozen thin coats of stock oil to fill the pores. And this also means you can easily repair any minor scratches in the future.

 

As to being a safe queen versus a shooter, I'm sure your lady wants you to shoot it. Don't leave it in the safe calling your name.

 

And welcome, I'm new here too.

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Yup shoot it for all the above reasons and welcome to a great sport!  SCJ

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8 hours ago, Snakejaw_Joe said:

Unfortunately my chrono wasn't working; its the magnetospeed sporter, strapped it per the instructions and all that and it just said 'no data' despite having shot 50 rounds through <_< have to call on monday and see what the deal is.

 

The Magnetospeed and other chronographs that use a change in a magnetic field to record speed have a tough time with cast lead bullets.  You have to increase the sensitivity to get them to register.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/16/2020 at 6:36 AM, Kid Rich said:

Sometimes new brass has a very thin plastic film on it. Has that been removed?

 

No plastic, there was a coating that I removed before shooting, but the tarnishing in the picture is on the receiver. I ended up taking some simichrome to it and its mostly gone. Just hope this severe splotch doesnt happen everytime I shoot (weekly), otherwise there will be no more brass to polish! I like the look of tarnished brass but splotches like that just look like I dont take care of my stuff.

 

On 5/16/2020 at 8:42 AM, Sedalia Dave said:

 

The Magnetospeed and other chronographs that use a change in a magnetic field to record speed have a tough time with cast lead bullets.  You have to increase the sensitivity to get them to register.

 

Ahh got it, thanks for that tip. I went into settings and changed sensitivity to High2, we'll see next Friday if that did the trick

Edited by Snakejaw_Joe

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Did you give it a thorough internal cleaning before shooting it. Could be the lube in it from the factory.

kR

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Posted (edited)

OP, that is sure a beauty.
My understanding of 1866 vs 1873 is the only real difference is brass vs steel receivers.
The internal toggle-link action is the same.

Digging through the catalogs, it looks like the 1866 was introduced in 2017 and discontinued for 2020.
The Miroku 1873 has a lot longer production life.
However, other than the receiver, I am guessing that most of the 73 parts will interchange with the 66.

I would love to have a Miroku 1866 in 38SP.
Some were chambered specifically 38 Special as two models #534244188 (round) and #534258188 (octagon).
This is especially nice for 38 Special shooters, as the rifle internals are specifically designed for 38SP cartridges.

Uberti continues to offer their 1866 in 38SP, plus an octagon barrel...
As much as I love Miroku quality, If I ever replace my 1894CB, it would be with this one with the otagonal barrel.

Edited by bgavin
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What a lovely rifle!  Keep the wife!!!  I have the same in .45 Colt. Mine also had discoloring, but on the receiver. I used Flitz metal polish and a paper towel to remove. It cleaned up nicely and has not returned. After that, I left it to patina naturally as I shoot it as my main match gun. To me, it’s a tool. It might not remain pretty, but it always has to work. Might not be the same for you since it’s such a wonderful gift.  Enjoy it and welcome to our fold!

 

 

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Beautiful Rifle. 

Welcome to the dance 

 

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great rifle - keeper wife and welcome , the attitude i took getting into this was to buy the shooters as tools , you use-dont abuse but they are intended to be well used , what you have is perfect for the sport and will stand up well , do not fret cosmetics they tend to get their own patina , but clean well when using black to keep things running well , enjoy it all 

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I'm a little late to this thread but wanted to welcome you and congratulate you on the beautiful rifle! I also wouldn't hesitate to "main" that Miroku '66 at CAS matches. (In fact, I came across this thread while searching the forum for others' experience with the limited-run model you have, so am glad to hear you're enjoying it!) I imagine that it will get even better with time and use.

 

Also, it turns out that you and I have a few things in common: I am also new (started in December 2019), am considered relatively young (currently 30 years old), and live in the Tampa Bay area. I can assure you that you will have a great time in SASS, especially in our area which has an incredibly friendly and active community. Besides the three closest matches (Antelope Junction Rangers in Pinellas Park, Doodle Hill Regulators in Ruskin, and Miakka Misfits in Myakka City) there are at least 4 other matches within a 90-minute drive of Tampa during the main season, and several more throughout Florida if you don't mind longer trips or even making a weekend out of it. When I first started a few months ago, I was luckily able to attend one match per weekend (if not two!) and started getting to know the sport and people more and more. Then COVID-19 happened, cancelling several matches including the Florida state match... but things are revving back up and matches are starting to be rescheduled which is exciting.

 

I believe the only Tampa Bay area match running monthly during the summer is @Moog's in Pinellas Park but I'm already hoping to make it to the matches up in Gainesville, Brooksville, Tavares, and Orlando if I'm able to once they resume regular schedules. Hopefully we'll see you around some of the matches soon!

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Posted (edited)
On 5/28/2020 at 4:49 PM, Santa Rosa Slinger said:

I'm a little late to this thread but wanted to welcome you and congratulate you on the beautiful rifle! I also wouldn't hesitate to "main" that Miroku '66 at CAS matches. (In fact, I came across this thread while searching the forum for others' experience with the limited-run model you have, so am glad to hear you're enjoying it!) I imagine that it will get even better with time and use.

 

Also, it turns out that you and I have a few things in common: I am also new (started in December 2019), am considered relatively young (currently 30 years old), and live in the Tampa Bay area. I can assure you that you will have a great time in SASS, especially in our area which has an incredibly friendly and active community. Besides the three closest matches (Antelope Junction Rangers in Pinellas Park, Doodle Hill Regulators in Ruskin, and Miakka Misfits in Myakka City) there are at least 4 other matches within a 90-minute drive of Tampa during the main season, and several more throughout Florida if you don't mind longer trips or even making a weekend out of it. When I first started a few months ago, I was luckily able to attend one match per weekend (if not two!) and started getting to know the sport and people more and more. Then COVID-19 happened, cancelling several matches including the Florida state match... but things are revving back up and matches are starting to be rescheduled which is exciting.

 

I believe the only Tampa Bay area match running monthly during the summer is @Moog's in Pinellas Park but I'm already hoping to make it to the matches up in Gainesville, Brooksville, Tavares, and Orlando if I'm able to once they resume regular schedules. Hopefully we'll see you around some of the matches soon!

 

Hey thanks Santa Rosa Slinger! Believe it or not, I've been shooting at Wyoming Antelope almost every Friday after work to get my sights dialed in.  I still have a ways to go before i can compete, I'm fixing up a coach gun right now, then need to get my pistols and outfit sorted out. But once I'm ready to join officially I'll drop you a PM and see whats going on.

 

I've been testing various loads and self-cast bullets for the past few trips, and though its a pain to clean up, have decided I really like the full black powder load. My groups are tightening up at 50 yards, and I'm getting better at repeatability with my cheek hold. My latest 50 yard target is attached (zoomed in to center), the tan and red one. not quite 1MOA yet :lol:

 

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I decided to venture out to the 100 yard line this past trip and man, that was ROUGH. The ladder sight on the miroku is useless, the RO helped spot me and with the ladder on the lowest notch the rounds were going way high. So I dropped the ladder back down to use the regular notch and used a 12 o'clock hold on the target (as much as I could, I mean, with these old notch sights the entire target was covered and I couldn't really see what I was aiming at lol). But on my last set of 15 rounds, all 15 hit paper, with only 2 off target and the rest on at various degrees. I can live with that for a first try. Picture is attached, the black and green target. Ignore the tiny bullet holes at the bottom, those were from someone else.

 

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I read about a lot of people using tang mounted peep sights and now I get why. If I had a Shiloh, I'd probably use one, but it seems a little much for an 1866. Maybe I'll get one of those antique 34" brass scopes :D I'm kidding. I'd never drill holes into it.

 

We'll see if I can get better/used to it the next few times. For now, I'm happy and just having a good time practicing.

Edited by Snakejaw_Joe
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12 hours ago, Snakejaw_Joe said:

I still have a ways to go before i can compete

It looks like you are about at the point where you can participate.

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If you're practicing at 50-100 yards, you're not practicing for shooting a SASS main match. Total waste of time if you are.

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

It looks like you are about at the point where you can participate.

 

37 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

If you're practicing at 50-100 yards, you're not practicing for shooting a SASS main match. Total waste of time if you are.

 

Probably wasn't very clear in my post, I feel I'm not ready because my coach gun is in pieces on my workbench and I still have to get my pistols and basic costume together. All I have right now is an old Boseman hat!

 

I shoot all of my guns at the 50 and 100 until I master them - mostly as a personal objective. If I own a gun, I need to know how to use it. I'm confident I can ring steel at 15 just fine, albeit slowly. I have snap caps and I practice my cycling and speed for SASS. The rest is a personal challenge. If I don't have the time to master a new gun, I don't let myself buy one. It keeps the finances and the collection in check.

 

I posted the targets mostly to showcase the capabilities of the rifle with stock iron sights for a first- time user. In case it comes in handy for people searching for more info on the miroku.

 

Thanks all for stopping by and for the warm welcomes!

 

Edited by Snakejaw_Joe
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It looks like you did a good job with the JB Weld on that Loading Gate.  I have had one bend during a match and that locks up the action.  I have also had one fly off the rifle during loading.

 

The loading gates have two different size screw holes depending when the rifle was made.  The "W" in the Serial Number indicates which is used.

 

I have what I call Football Player Syndrome or Tool Man Syndrome as I tend to make things heavier or stronger.  Too much JB Weld or weld going back too far on the Loading Gate will rub against the internal toggles, not good. 

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On 6/7/2020 at 9:54 AM, Snakejaw_Joe said:

Probably wasn't very clear in my post, I feel I'm not ready because my coach gun is in pieces on my workbench and I still have to get my pistols and basic costume together. All I have right now is an old Boseman hat!

 

I can totally understand any reservation to participate until you're fully equipped, but just wanted to let you know that there's a CAS match planned this Saturday at WAC in case you'd like to come check it out. I hope/plan to go and looks like a fun group of regulars will be there too, so hopefully the weather holds up!

 

You'd be more than welcome to use any of my gear and I'd wager that the others there will similarly offer various other models/calibers/rigs for you to try. And as for the outfit: It tends to be relaxed especially during the summer, so that Boseman will fit right in even if paired with just old jeans and a button-up shirt!

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Welcome! Keep the wife, ditch the gun. After shooting 1873's I wanted a 66. I bought a Miroku thinking it would be superior to the Ubertis. Its sure enough a fine riflegun BUT, I dont like how hard it is to close the lever the last bit, not a huge deal, the finish was superb, couldnt wait to shoot it. I ONLY shoot real black  powder about 35g, a Big Lube .428 bullet with plenty lube. Second match, so this is bullets number 61-120 through it, the barrel bulged. Not sure why or how, maybe my fault with excessive oil in the barrel BUT, Heres the kicker, CANT GET A NEW BARREL, Winchester/Miroku does not support the gun. There are no more. My only choice is to have a barrel made and it aint cheap! I elected to purchase a Uberti Octagon (My Miroku is round). Thats when I found out no one has any parts for this wall hanger. Some day when I win the lottery, I'll have a 38-40 barrel made for it but for now she sure looks purty hangin on the wall collecting dust. 

1866 Miroku.jpg

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