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Straight Stock

1866 barrel: replace, cut-down, or new gun?

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My 1866 in .38 spl has a 24" octagon barrel. I love everything about this rifle except for the length of the barrel. I'd like it to be 20" in length for better balance, feel, etc. Then I would invest in getting it short stroked. So I figured my options are:

 

1. replace the barrel (and mag tube and spring) with a new shorter one

2. Have existing barrel cut down by a smith

3. sell/trade off the entire gun for one with a 20" barrel ('66 or '73)

 

Are special tools required to replace the barrels on '66s? I'd opt for this route, unless special vices and tools are required which I do not have. I can't find any info how how hard or easy it is to replace a barrel. Of course, I could probably have it done by a smith who does have the proper tools. I would prefer this route since I could probably have it changed back to original configuration if so desired.

 

Need help deciding...

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Easiest - sell and buy what you want.  Uberti 66s are fairly common.   But, of course, you are going "against the grain" because many more folks like the short barrel rifles.  Expect to not recover all the cost of the 24" gun.

 

Next easiest and possibly cheapest - have a smith cut it down.  

 

Replacing barrel and mag tube (spring can be shortened in a few seconds by you), swapping sights, testing - Yes, it will take tools that most folks don't have already.  Not something to commit to blindly.

 

If you are not certain about ever wanting to go back to 24" - then leave the rifle alone and buy another!

 

A man has got to know his own intentions and plans!  Good luck, GJ

 

 

 

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Assuming the parts are available, VTI for example has a 20 in barrel and magazine tube for around $300.  Putting on a new barrel is best done by a gun smith, but it can't be too expensive.  If the rifle is in good shape you might sell it and buy a new one with the shorter barrel, however, the net cost might be more than buying and fitting a shorter barrel.  If the smith can cut down the barrel, etc for less than $300, I would opt for that. 

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Boomstick Jay shows as a service on his website that he will cut the barrel, cut a new dovetail and reinstall your original sight for $120. I would imagine for a few dollars more he will cut the mag tube, it might already be included. He also shows several options on action jobs, short strokes, etc. Get it all done in one trip would be my suggestion. I think selling yours and buying a 20 inch rather than shortening will just be a wash in terms of dollars. The one you already own is a known quality, you are always rolling the dice when you buy something new. Anyway, give Boomstick a call and discuss what you want to end up with and give him your budget, I think you'll be pleased. I know you'll be pleased at the quality of his work.

 

Oh, and since the gun already belongs to you you can ship it directly to him through the USPS and he can send right back to you, no FFL fee's involved. When you mail I would suggest you remove the buttstock and wrap it seperate. 

 

https://www.boomstickarms.com/

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Since your rifle hasn't been short stroked already, you may consider putting a "want to trade" ad in the classifieds.  There may be another cowboy wishing he had a 24" rifle instead of his 20" rifle.  The only worry is that you get a rifle of similar quality to yours.

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One more option is replace the barrel and then sell the long one to recoup some of your expense.

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Sounds like a great excuse to buy a new gun . 

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PLUS ONE too Goody.  Get it all done in one.  New Guns from Italy are in short supply right now.  That might pose a problem.  I'd still suggest Boomstick.

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What Goody & Colorado said.

 

You could also ask at your local club if they have a top smith in your area they would recommend as an alternate.  But Boomstick is one of the very bet!

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Straight Stock,

 

I inherited a Uberti 24" rifle in .44-40 from a friend.  It had already been short stroked and the action tuned.  My shoulders are bad and the 24" octagon barrel was heavy for me.  I had Johnny Meadows cut it down to 18" and re-install my front sight and magazine tube.  He did a great job.  I really like it with the shorter barrel and it still holds 10 rounds of .44-40.

 

Buckeye Pete

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It's really not that difficult of a job..... I've done several.

 

Cut down this M/chester round barrel '66 to 18 1/4" a couple of weeks ago with my trusty Hacksaw.......

5 min to cut the Barrel and mag tube, 10 min to refit the shortened mag tube, 15 min to re-crown and polish the Barrel.

 

Then, the Hard Part.... cutting a new dovetail..... I hate that part!

BUT a good Smith with a Mill and the proper Bit can fix you up while you wait for about a $ Jackson or so...........

 

 

Good Luck!!!

 

IMG_1355.thumb.jpg.45f3e9eda8cbb252639a352c23d2dfce.jpg

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I would just buy a new 20” round barreled rifle from Coyote Cap (Ahlman’s Guns - (507) 685-4243).  Cap or his nephew will set up the rifle for you before sending it off to you via your FFL.

 

NOTE:  A round 20” barrel will save several(?) ounces off the weight of your rifle vs. the weight of an octagonal barrel.  It becomes very noticeable after a couple stages, thus being quite meaningful in competition.

 

Cat Brules

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Cut it to 20 and dont look back.  You will be much happier and you don’t need no 24” barrel 

 

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13 minutes ago, Irish-Pat said:

Cut it to 20 and dont look back.  You will be much happier and you don’t need no 24” barrel 

 

Actually, I believe the forearm is a bit longer than that on a 20"...don't think it'll handle as well as a factory 20" rifle.

 

Phantom

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Posted (edited)

There is a local gunsmith in my area. I've never used their services before, and would have to ask if they could do the job proper without hacking it up. If the price is right, I might go that route.

 

It could potentially look like this (yes its an edited photo):

 

image.thumb.png.6ac3ab8447bae55a0bd98a97dae460a3.png

Edited by Straight Stock

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Again, check the length of the forearm. Did a barrel shortening on a 24" rifle for a customer and he never liked it cuz the gun didn't balance well for him. The culprit was the longer forearm.

 

Phantom

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Buy another with a round 20" barrel.

Keep the 24" around as a spare and for pistol calibre long range shooting after installing a tang sight.

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53 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Again, check the length of the forearm. Did a barrel shortening on a 24" rifle for a customer and he never liked it cuz the gun didn't balance well for him. The culprit was the longer forearm.

 

Phantom

Phantom,

 

You're correct, the 24" rifle does have a longer forearm.  I tend to like the way it looks and handle.  It would be perfect if I could get it laser engraved with some type of checkering pattern.  My hand tends to slip on all of the Uberti rifles/carbines due to the factory finish.

 

Buckeye Pete

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I've shortened barrels for several of my customers.  Plus a Trapper for myself.  My customers and myself really liked the longer forearm.  My personal fav is my '73 Trapper, 16 `1/4 inch barrel cut from a 24 inch barrel.  I really like the longer forearm.  Two of the rifles built for customers were built on 24 Inch rifles and both those were cut to 18 inches.  Both customers were extremely happy.  It's a subjective thing actually.  Be sure however.  After the first stroke, you're committed.

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Many folks like the longer forearm on a 24” rifle. They can grasp the forearm at the end and “pull” the rifle into their shoulder.  
 

I know a guy had one cut down, new dovetail etc I think for $175. (Larry Potterfield says cut the dovetail first!) 

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Posted (edited)

Straight Stock,

 

Here is a pic of my Uberti rifle that was originally a 24" barrel in .44-40.  Johnny Meadows cut it down to 18" and I really like it.  And YES, it still holds 10 rounds of .44-40!

 

Buckeye Pete

 

IMG-0394.jpg

Edited by Buckeye Pete, SASS # 29941
additional info

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I've done it both ways,  I got a 66 that I had changed from a rifle to a carbine needed to get  barrel sight mag tube forend etc, had to have it professionally done  cost was 1/2 the price of a new one.  Had my 73 shortened by boomstick jay for  a  few hundred bucks and love it. If I had to do it again I'd do it the  cut down way.

Rafe 

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4 hours ago, Hoss said:

Many folks like the longer forearm on a 24” rifle. They can grasp the forearm at the end and “pull” the rifle into their shoulder.  
 

 

For a number of years I had Cody C do several 24" guns to 19" (mostly before the 20" guns became readily available).  The longer forearm also gives a tad more room underneath for barrel weight reduction, if a interest.  I liked his round, "black powder" crown so crowns are an option to consider in barrel cuts (doubt it matters much for CAS however, mostly cosmetics).

Note: Although I still have a couple of the Codymatic 19" guns, about six years ago I decided that I actually preferred the 20" guns, and without weight reduction other than in carrier.  Lesson here...try some pards guns to be sure of weight and barrel length best liked by you.

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Posted (edited)

Just have it cut down, recrowned, front sight reinstalled 

and short stroked by 1 reliable gunsmith..

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin' easy peasy :rolleyes:

Edited by Rance - SASS # 54090
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22 hours ago, Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator said:

For a number of years I had Cody C do several 24" guns to 19" (mostly before the 20" guns became readily available).  The longer forearm also gives a tad more room underneath for barrel weight reduction, if a interest.  I liked his round, "black powder" crown so crowns are an option to consider in barrel cuts (doubt it matters much for CAS however, mostly cosmetics).

Note: Although I still have a couple of the Codymatic 19" guns, about six years ago I decided that I actually preferred the 20" guns, and without weight reduction other than in carrier.  Lesson here...try some pards guns to be sure of weight and barrel length best liked by you.

And you talked me into cutting back to 19 inches....  LOL....

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25 minutes ago, WymoreWrangler SASS 46187 said:

And you talked me into cutting back to 19 inches....  LOL....

From my experience since those days I would not have the weight under removed again. However there are many who like the lighter weights, I find those harder to hold tight and steady.  19 or 20 for me is good balance and since cutting a 24, 19 makes the gun unique.

 

Cutting magazine and reinstalling is easy as long as you cut off correct end.  Get good measurement from magazine before cutting as to where you will need to file a notch for cross pin that holds magazine in place

Enjoy.. 

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57 minutes ago, Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator said:

From my experience since those days I would not have the weight under removed again. However there are many who like the lighter weights, I find those harder to hold tight and steady.  19 or 20 for me is good balance and since cutting a 24, 19 makes the gun unique.

 

Cutting magazine and reinstalling is easy as long as you cut off correct end.  Get good measurement from magazine before cutting as to where you will need to file a notch for cross pin that holds magazine in place

Enjoy.. 

Yeah...way back when I bought a 20" cut to 19" and had the barrel lightened...had my 20" lightened as well.

 

Boy the things we did...:lol:

 

Oh wait...we still do...:o:P

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On 6/25/2020 at 4:11 PM, Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator said:

For a number of years I had Cody C do several 24" guns to 19" (mostly before the 20" guns became readily available).  The longer forearm also gives a tad more room underneath for barrel weight reduction, if a interest.  I liked his round, "black powder" crown so crowns are an option to consider in barrel cuts (doubt it matters much for CAS however, mostly cosmetics).

Note: Although I still have a couple of the Codymatic 19" guns, about six years ago I decided that I actually preferred the 20" guns, and without weight reduction other than in carrier.  Lesson here...try some pards guns to be sure of weight and barrel length best liked by you.

 

I recall in or about 2005 I purchased a Codymatic from you, a 20 inch 357 straight stock. You told me at the time you had just gotten in 2 and they were last ones Cody had for a while. Shortly after you commissioned him to do the aforementioned lop jobs with the BP crown and the lightening underneath. Dubbed the Billy Boots Special it was quite popular at the time.

 

Oh, the 20 inch I got from you that day? Still have it. Cost at the time, brand new, was $679 American.:P

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Goody, SASS #26190 said:

 

I recall in or about 2005 I purchased a Codymatic from you, a 20 inch 357 straight stock. You told me at the time you had just gotten in 2 and they were last ones Cody had for a while. Shortly after you commissioned him to do the aforementioned lop jobs with the BP crown and the lightening underneath. Dubbed the Billy Boots Special it was quite popular at the time.

 

Oh, the 20 inch I got from you that day? Still have it. Cost at the time, brand new, was $679 American.:P

Yep.

I had  Cimarron ship the guns directly to Cody and many times they sold before I got them back for stock.

Believe the BB Special may still be mentioned on his website.

Edited by Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator

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