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Broken bolt tabs on an 1873 rifle

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     I need some more knowledge so I again came to the smartest folks I know; maybe you can clue me in. 


What causes the tabs on the 1873 Uberti rifle bolts to break off or bend?


Is it because the rifle has gotten “out of time” or is it from inadequate bolt cleaning?


Why and how does an 1873 rifle get “out of time?”


Is it from normal wear and what precautions should an 1873 owner take so this doesn’t happen?


Thank you for any and all replies.


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Broken Cartridge Guide Tabs at the bottom of the Breach Block (Bolt) are caused when the bolt is not fully retracted when the cartridge rim rises and hits the tab on the way up.  Cause number one is bad timing.  Normally bad timing is not caused by wear, but by poorly timed Carrier Block Arm and Lever interface resulting in the carrier block rising too early.  This happens most often with Short Stroke Parts.  Cause number two is a "hitch" in the git-a-long of the operator.  If the problem is carrier timing, a small amount of metal is removed from the bottom of the Carrier Block Arm to delay the rise slightly.  If it's the other thing, the operator needs pay more attention  :rolleyes:

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Small caliber bolt history in a Uberti 1873 rifle. 
Years ago Uberti made a very good bolt that was held together with a small pin. They redesigned the bolt so the extension was held in by a wedge shaped keeper and the bolt was still a very good bolt that lasted for years and years of cowboy action.  Then something changed, people speculate they changed the steel or manufacturer and the lower tab started breaking.  At first for a year or so Uberti had this problem and continued making the same bolt.  Then about the W4XXXX serial number they made a modification.  The tab was beefed up to resemble I'll call a mini large caliber tab design.  This had a design flaw by having a sharp corner at the face of the bolt and they also started failing.  This ended about the late W5XXXX or very early W6XXXX when they introduced the removable tab.  This has so far proved to be a good design.

Timing can change if a lever bends then the round would hit the tab, however, every tab I've seen is bent down and not upward indicating the opposite.

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Thank you, C. C. and thank you Lefty.


I didn't know they were called Cartridge Guide Tabs and I didn't know the bolt was called a breach block.


Thank you for cluing me in.  I knew I was asking the right people.  :lol:


Thanks again,



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Breech is the rear of something (in firearms useage, its rear of a barrel).  Breach is a breaking of a promise or contract, or to open a hole in something protective. 


So, a 73 has a breech block.  (but, it's not wrong to call it a bolt either)


Good luck, GJ



Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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