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Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619

1873 Rifle Problem; a "jam"... or not?

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I have an Uberti 1873 rifle in .45 Colt that I bought 16 years back when I came to CAS. I never shot a lot of CAS matches for various reasons, but have always maintained the interest; regularly post in the Saloon. I've kept all my cowboy guns and shoot them regularly at the local ranges. Primarily my OMV .45, my Uberti .44 Russian, and my Marlin 1894 in .44 mag. 

 

But I've seldom taken out the 1873. It seems to have a delicate disposition. A few years back I had it at the range, shot modern loads, and it jammed. I think of a 'jam' as a bad interaction between a cartridge and the rifle mechanism, resulting in various kinds of hang-ups involving both. In that case, the case remained in the chamber, and the next cartridge was stuck halfway up on the lifter. A couple of pards here had the cure, and it worked like a charm.

 

So I took it out  to the range a couple of weeks ago, shooting only cowboy loads. Two or three times, it got stuck; that is, levering the action would not pull the extractor back; it was as if it was affixed to the face of the chamber. There was no 'jam' as such. Some really hard pulls brought it back. We finished off about a hundred rounds.

 

Then last night, I watched Winchester 1873 for the first time in many moons, so, naturally, I got out the rifle to work during the movie. No ammo, of course, no dummy rounds. Just working the action and letting the hammer down easy mostly. 

 

It happened again, repeatedly. Try to work the lever, everything 'stuck', the extractor would simply not pull back from the face of the chamber. If I messed around a bit-- cocked and pulled the trigger a few times, pressed down on the extractor, worked the lever real hard, it would free up for a few cycles, then stop again.

 

Any ideas? Note-- I have probably had fewer than a thousand rounds through this rifle total.

Edited by Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619

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Make sure the carrier is all the way down before trying to open the lever.  If it sticks a little before going all the way down could be dirty or a weak spring.

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I call a jam to be any condition that keeps the action from being worked.   A misfeed or failure to extract/eject will involve ammunition as well.   Either can fall under the general term, calling it a jam until the shooter figures out if the gun or the ammo is the primary cause of failure.

 

A 73 Uberti will be using the small drift pin, 1/16" diameter that holds the extractor tail in the top of the bolt.  That small pin sometimes works out of the bolt far enough to one side or the other that the pin catches on part of the frame as the bolt starts to retract.  

 

To see if this what is jamming the action, close the bolt/lever completely.   Look down into the case ejection opening on the top of the frame, and you see the bolt.  About 0.4" in front of the rear of the opening, just outboard of both edges of the extractor, is where that pin goes through the bolt to hold the extractor in place.   Feel and look at that spot.  If there is nothing sticking out of the bolt surface, you don't have that particular problem.  But if you do, the bolt won't cycle back and forward cleanly.  To fix, the bolt would be taken out, perhaps a new pin installed and filed down smooth to follow the surface of the bolt.

 

Good luck, GJ

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Check the loading gate screw first. If it's a little loose it can wreak havoc. 

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54 minutes ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

Make sure the carrier is all the way down before trying to open the lever.  If it sticks a little before going all the way down could be dirty or a weak spring.

 

That's it. The carrier not coming down most times. Will drift down a bit, to the point that I can push in the loading gate and that pushes the carrier the rest of the way down.

 

Perhaps a cleaning is in order first.....thanks.

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Have a cowboy gunsmith look at it, probably out of timing and just been adjustment

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A little oil might free it up in the short term, if so then yeah needs cleaning.  Be sure the screw on bottom on loading gate side is also snug.  You didn't mention short stroke so hopefully no timing problem.

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Ok.. I ain't a gunsmith.. :blink:

the first thing that popped into this ol brain..

over travel of the links.. 

Kinda like if lever is closed the links should be straight??

maybe the middle section going too far up locking it up..

I think I understand that with lever closed the 3 link pins

should be in a straight line??

Better cowpoke gunsmith's know a lot more than me tho.. :huh:

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin' I know I ain't a gunsmith..:wacko:

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How about tightening the "right side" lifter arm spring.

That is what continues to "push down" on the lifter arm (after the lever closes) to lower the lifter ... (there is only the lifter arm sping and gravity working to get it back down where it belongs).  :lol:

 

1873mod.jpg.9d61c91ac65c5b3813e6a12b0eae4579.jpg

Edited by Patagonia Pete
edit: what photo??
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Don’t know the last time you gave the rifle a good cleaning and lubrication but do it and then give the rifle a range test

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23 minutes ago, John Boy said:

Don’t know the last time you gave the rifle a good cleaning and lubrication but do it and then give the rifle a range test

 

I was thinking the same, a good cleaning, check all the screws and pins and try again.  That's the good thing about 73's the fix is usually simple.

Edited by Tequila Shooter
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11 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

OP, how about details of the ammo you're using. 

OLG

 

To show you how few times I've used the rifle in recent years, I still have a few boxes of Kinematics Research (ammodirect) .45 cowboy left. That dates me and that's what I've used.

 

But the rifle is exhibiting the problem when worked without any ammo.

 

I'll do the clean and lube and report. 

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