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bubba5320

help.. 1866 buy or avoid

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Hello all.  I am new here and am looking for some advice. I have a chance to buy the attached Uberti 1866.  I am not quite sure what is is, importer, age, etc. It shows as a 66 but has 73 looking lever and trigger block. Serial number is said to be 31008.  I have read some negative things about the older navy arms. Is this one? Is this worth while or one to avoid? Thanks a lot.

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Edited by bubba5320

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9 minutes ago, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

Unless it's a real bargain I'd by a new '73.

 

Just my opinion

Randy

Thank for your opinion. I really appreciate it.  Any idea what this is? And no not a real bargain at 800.

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Have you looked at the firearm in person?  Most of the importers have them stamped with their name prominently on the barrel.  If you can get a picture of the proof marks, they will pretty well identify when it was made.  (Should be a box with 2 digits or letters).  

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I would not avoid it per se, but that’s not what I would call a deal for what appears to be a pretty well used gun.  I bought a brand new 1873 carbine in 44-40 at my local shop for that (on sale) a couple years ago.  

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Uberti is the manufacturer.  Uberti and Pietta are the two main Italian companies that make the guns we use.  Both companies make good guns.  The lever handle is not an issue, both ‘73’s and ‘66’s use a similar lever. Like Griff said you should look it over in person if possible.  If the gun is in good working order and the wood is not cracked or broken then $800.00 is a good price.  Do you know what caliber it is?  A lot of CAS shooters prefer .38 but they make ‘66’s in other calibers as well.

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Importer appears to be E.M.F.
I have a similar "notched receiver" Uberti 1866 .44-40 with the lever safety made in 1978 (LBH Commemorative) imported by Navy Arms.

 

image.png

 

 

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The rifle is 38spl.  And Pale Wolf thanks for the info. I see the MF. What do you think of the lever and safety set up? Also is the lever an accurate repro for the 1866?

Edited by bubba5320
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What you have there is a desirable gun.  No, it is not a faithful reproduction of a '66, it is better.  It is one of the the run of Uberti '66s that came with a lever safety, (which usually is only found on the '73).  This helps you avoid "out of battery discharges".

It is also late enough in the serial number range so that standard Uberti '66 parts can be used if you need to replace any parts, and "go fast" mods will fit.

Yes, you found a good'un!

 

The 5 digit serial numbers use modern parts, (just had one worked up... I wish it had the lever safety).  Stay away from the earlier 4 digit serial numbers which don't use parts to the same specs.

 

Edited by McCandless
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That is an Early Mfg Uberti... Very Early... Many smiths wont work on em and finding parts can be a problem.

It has a short carrier and internally the links, pins, bolt and most other parts are all different and for the most part unavailable

 

I've owned 3 of em & they shoot fine........

but I would not recommend one to someone UNLESS its Real Cheap and you want a project that you can tinker with.

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My son has a similar gun, and it is a perfectly good gun for SASS as long as you never want to make it go faster, as some of the parts aren't the same as the newer ones.  650.00 would be a better price, be a good starter carbine.

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29 minutes ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

My son has a similar gun, and it is a perfectly good gun for SASS as long as you never want to make it go faster, as some of the parts aren't the same as the newer ones.  650.00 would be a better price, be a good starter carbine.

 

+1

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I have one exactly the same as the one pictured.   It's a great gun.   Now, the real question is, has it been worked on?   Mine had, to be honest, some very jack work done to it.   The lever safety had been removed, and the hammer spring had been lightened so much that as often as not the primers did not go bang.   I took the rifle to the Great Happy Trails before he was retired and asked him to "Return it to factory specs."   He did so, and ever since it has worked flawlessly for me.  I find the action to be very smooth, which may or may not be the result of earlier work, but it runs great.   I kinda like the lever safety, no chance of an out of battery discharge, even if it is a historical.   On the other hand, you see that notch on the front end of the ejection port?   These early 66's were made to almost the same dimensions as the originals, and the ejection port on them is too small for .44-40 brass.   Rather than change the dimensions of the gun, they just cut that notch to allow the brass to be ejected.

I think $800 is a fair price, and if I didn't already have one, I'd not hesitate to purchase it.

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Thanks y’all for the replies so far. Some great info.  And yes 650 is where I am hoping to be but not too many around and these days people I think are putting them higher.  A question I see is a discrepancy between two responses that maybe someone can clarify. I was thinking by the serial number it would be a little older run, as McCandless has stated.  But judging by the lever safety and what silver Sam has said I’m not sure?

 

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PLUS ONE too Springfield Slim.

 

VERY OLD Uberti.  Most internal parts are not compatible with new build parts nor guns.  $800 is NOT a bargain.  If you break it, it's an instant "Wall Hanger" 

 

You would be better served to source up a MUCH NEWER 1866.

 

OOPS:  Forgot your original question:  AVOID. 

Edited by Colorado Coffinmaker
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6 hours ago, McCandless said:

What you have there is a desirable gun.  No, it is not a faithful reproduction of a '66, it is better.  It is one of the the run of Uberti '66s that came with a lever safety, (which usually is only found on the '73).  This helps you avoid "out of battery discharges".

It is also late enough in the serial number range so that standard Uberti '66 parts can be used if you need to replace any parts, and "go fast" mods will fit.

Yes, you found a good'un!

 

The 5 digit serial numbers use modern parts, (just had one worked up... I wish it had the lever safety).  Stay away from the earlier 4 digit serial numbers which don't use parts to the same specs.

 

 

What McCandless sez.  ;)

 

My son has one.  Loves it.  Whatever you do, please don't remove that lever safety; it's there for a reason.  whistling.gif

 

 

 

 

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First off, to find whether you have a short frame or a more standard length frame in that '66, you measure the opening in the bottom of receiver from front to back of opening.  If it is just right at 1.600"  you have a long frame.  If close to 1.50" +/- a few, then you have a short frame.

 

The short frame is older, early 70s or before.  It DOES NOT take most speed parts (links, lifter, bolt, etc).   It is commonly chambered for .38 special only, not .357 magnum.   It usually has the lever safety (or would have had one from factory).   These can be nice smooth guns, but not very fast.   They don't carry the full value of a normal Uberti 1866.  They have to be loaded with short length .38 special ammo.  The receiver normally has a notch at the breech, as shown by PWB pictures. I really believe this is what you are considering.

 

The long frame started to be made by the early 1980s.  In the 1866, it is chambered in .357 magnum, has NO lever safety, and takes almost all the modern speed parts (except the modern bolt assembly and perhaps some minor others).   No receiver notch.  This is normally much more desirable than the short frame, especially if the shooter can get by without having the lever safety. 

 

If you want both a lever safety AND ability to tune up with modern parts, you REALLY want a '73 model gun!!    There's several reasons that the fastest shooters have 73s and not 66s; this being one.  

 

Then again, most SASS shooters are not even dreaming of ever being the fastest anything.   Except maybe fastest to dinner.   :lol:

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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No parts currently made interchange with it.

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20 hours ago, McCandless said:

What you have there is a desirable gun.  No, it is not a faithful reproduction of a '66, it is better.  It is one of the the run of Uberti '66s that came with a lever safety, (which usually is only found on the '73).  This helps you avoid "out of battery discharges".

It is also late enough in the serial number range so that standard Uberti '66 parts can be used if you need to replace any parts, and "go fast" mods will fit.

Yes, you found a good'un!

 

The 5 digit serial numbers use modern parts, (just had one worked up... I wish it had the lever safety).  Stay away from the earlier 4 digit serial numbers which don't use parts to the same specs.

 

I agree with McCandless on this one. It is one that I would be very interested in having. However if you're just getting into the game and wanting a rifle that can have all the high speed low drag parts put in it, it maybe a better option for you to walk away. If this is on an auction site i'd recommend you walking away unless you like taking a gamble. Some of these are fine rifles for plinking or even hunting but with the age of it the parts could be worn beyond handling the rigors of our game and near impossible to find. As mentioned some of the older imports have different tolerances and the new parts will not fit. I picked up an older 73 by navy arms, for what I thought was a great price, on an auction site and lucked out that the new parts fit. But I had to replace a lot of stuff to make it reliable for CAS. By the time it was ready to go to it's first match I could have picked up a newer one that needed nothing for the same money. 

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Thanks everyone for all the information so far, and moreover for all the thought and time y’all have given me. I can take a risk and although I definitely have some concerns about wasting money but the biggest concern is that of ammo.  I want to be able to use standard 38sp ammo like I use in my da/sa newer s&w’s., and this seems to be in question?

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18 minutes ago, bubba5320 said:

Thanks everyone for all the information so far, and moreover for all the thought and time y’all have given me. I can take a risk and although I definitely have some concerns about wasting money but the biggest concern is that of ammo.  I want to be able to use standard 38sp ammo like I use in my da/sa newer s&w’s., and this seems to be in question?

Hard to say without knowing what the rifle is chambered in or what kind of ammo you use. I dont see it mentioned in your original post and dont see it in the pictures. If it's stamped 38 spl then it will work with any standard 38 factory ammo that has  the right  OAL to cycle correctly.  Obviously you wouldnt run +p unless a gun is rated (it will be stamped somewhere on it) for that pressure. I havent seen any toggle link rifle chambered in 38 spl that is +p rated. 

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12 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

First off, to find whether you have a short frame or a more standard length frame in that '66, you measure the opening in the bottom of receiver from front to back of opening.  If it is just right at 1.600"  you have a long frame.  If close to 1.50" +/- a few, then you have a short frame.

 

The short frame is older, early 70s or before.  It DOES NOT take most speed parts (links, lifter, bolt, etc).   It is commonly chambered for .38 special only, not .357 magnum.   It usually has the lever safety (or would have had one from factory).   These can be nice smooth guns, but not very fast.   They don't carry the full value of a normal Uberti 1866.  They have to be loaded with short length .38 special ammo.  The receiver normally has a notch at the breech, as shown by PWB pictures. I really believe this is what you are considering.

 

The long frame started to be made by the early 1980s.  In the 1866, it is chambered in .357 magnum, has NO lever safety, and takes almost all the modern speed parts (except the modern bolt assembly and perhaps some minor others).   No receiver notch.  This is normally much more desirable than the short frame, especially if the shooter can get by without having the lever safety. 

 

If you want both a lever safety AND ability to tune up with modern parts, you REALLY want a '73 model gun!!    There's several reasons that the fastest shooters have 73s and not 66s; this being one.  

 

Then again, most SASS shooters are not even dreaming of ever being the fastest anything.   Except maybe fastest to dinner.   :lol:

 

Good luck, GJ


 

 

 

 

D3D0610A-F195-4A78-A08D-F32E2FCB43C7.png

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Personally, I wouldn't invest more than $500 in that rifle; and I'd have to think really hard about that.

 

You haven't stated your intent for the rifle, are you going to use this for SASS/CAS competition or just plinking at the range? Either way you'd be better off finding a newer model in my opinion.  A Rossi 92 or a Marlin 1894 would be better for ammo other than SASS/CAS specific ammo.

 

Quote

I want to be able to use standard 38sp ammo like I use in my da/sa newer s&w’s.,

 

Don't use round nose or pointed ammunition in a lever gun; wadcutters and semi-wadcutters likely won't feed well either.

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PLUS ONE too Tyrel Cody

 

A lot of gamble for too much money

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On 10/18/2020 at 9:28 AM, McCandless said:

 a desirable gun.  ... helps avoid "out of battery discharges"

 

1) ** late enough serial number range ..  standard '66 parts ...and "go fast" mods will fit.

2) **The 5 digit serial numbers use modern parts, 

3) Stay away from 4 digit serial numbers

 

 

I agree, nice rifles. I like 'em so much that I russled up an "old" Uberti Henry with same safety .

 

I disagree with # 1, 2, & 3.

Modern made major parts do not fit OP's carbine. Parts outlets are out of stock, & Uberti does not build for obsolete versions.

 

I'm guessing McC's 5-digit rifle built after carrier change.

 

There is little difference between my 1978 [AD] #37603, and 1969 [XXV], #2065.  

 

The reciever notch is to allow loaded cartridges to be extracted from chamber. 

 

If receiver notch, then short carrier & obsolete toggles. (Change made between 1980 and '84?)

 

Pro:

1-Strong load gate cup, closer to original cup design; no need to reinforce cartridge stop.

 

Con:

1- Parts availability

2- Quality control; my 1978 unfired commemorative carbine bought in 2016 was pretty on the outside. Full of dirty oil, steel & brass shavings, poor finish on critical cam surfaces. Poor screw quality. (Nothing that BreakFree cleaning, and many hours with a stone cannot fix.  VTI has "hardened" screws.)

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38 minutes ago, John Boy said:

Used 1866 Saddle Ring rifles are not cheap any more... https://www.gunbroker.com/item/881993139

Maybe not but the one for sale in the link is new.

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