Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Choosing the Right 1873…?


Bona Fide
 Share

Recommended Posts

Here’s a question I hope the community can help me with. To have an 1873 in a 20” or 24” barrel?

 

I have a lnib 24” Uberti 73 (.357) that is bone stock. I absolutely love it. Pic below. The plan is to send it off and get all the bells and whistles done to it (short stroke, polished internals, lightened springs, etc, etc, etc.). 
 

Since most stages only require 10 rounds (granted there are exceptions), a 20” barrel would suffice. It would also be lighter and more maneuverable.  With that said, given the choice, would you go with the shorter barrel?  
 

If the general consensus is yes, then would you buy a 20” and then send it off, or buy one already done from a reputable gunsmith?

 

If the general consensus says send it off, where do you all recommend?  If you all say to just buy one already done, where would be the place to go?

 

I appreciate the help. 

358550EC-36CE-44EB-A287-922C0CBD824F.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a 20" but prefer a 24. Feels better to me and a 24 moves less for me as I work the lever. The day after I couldn't find a 24 and bought a 20, they were everywhere.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do what feels best to YOU.

There are pros and cons to EVERY choice.

 

An 18 inch will clear props and windows easier.

24 inch may stay on target better.

20 inches might be best or might simply be a compromise between the two.

 

I assure you this - ALL things being equal; the difference between 18 inches and 24 inches will NOT win or lose a match.

YOUR comfort level with your choice (and willingness to put in the cubic eons of practice) will benefit you infinitely more than a few inches of barrel length one way or the other.

 

Folks in our game will wax on and on about the earth shattering differences made by their calibers and loads, bullet weight and powder charge, barrel lengths, Colt vs Ruger, SxS vs 97, shotgun belt vs bandoleer, cross draw vs straight hang.

 

But the end of the day; our game simply requires smooth reliable tools that work everytime.

Reasonable loads that strike steel with enough authority that misses aren't called by error (without damaging steel or wasting too much time in recoil recovery).

Holsters that retain firearms safely for movement while still being accessible for efficient draw and reholster speed.

IF you have all of the above - the greatest difference between individual shooters is innate skill, practice and commitment.

 

Shoot what makes you happy and do your very best.  Nothing else really makes that much difference.

  • Like 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Creeker’s statement about reliable tools that work EVERY time is spot on. I’ve seen guys who have been shooting for years fight their guns/ammo/gear, never seem to get it right. If you don’t have good gear that you have confidence in then the difference in a 20” vs 24” barrel won’t matter 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have both a 20" and a 24". The 20" feels more balanced to me as the 24" seems front heavy. However the 24" is in a 32 WCF so there is more barrel weight then a 24" 38/357 so that is probably the difference in the feeling to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most, but not all, of the competitive shooters around here are using 18-20 inch barrels.

 

I have a Harlan Wolff 18 inch half round half octagon 1873 and a Lefty Wheeler 18 inch full octagon. The Wolff gun is a bit lighter and quicker, but a little whippier. The Lefty gun is heavier and just a bit steadier.
 

Lately I’ve been sticking with the Lefty gun, but they’re both completely reliable and excellent match guns.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Myself…I prefer the 24 inch barrel. I have three…two in 357 and one in45. Also have 3 with 20 inch barrel. My son and grandson use those. I much prefer the longer barrel. I seem to shoot them better 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an 18.5 inch and a 20 inch '73. Both have been worked by the same smith ( Ken Griner @ Griner Gunworks),and run equally well.

For me, it boils down to "feel".The shorter rifle justs feels better to me.

I would advise buying your rifle with the work already done.

Saves time and trouble.

Choctaw

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Bona Fide my rifle is a 24", but has been short stroked and lightened a bit. Next time we shoot together, run a few stages with mine for a fair comparison.

Edited by Fretless
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Creeker's statement is spot on, but you really need to focus on the "eons  of practice" portion!  After your equipment is 100% reliable nothing but the amount & quality of practice separates winners from losers!

 

Well, okay, a little natural talent might help, youth doesn't hurt, but it's practice that's still king!

Edited by Griff
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it is strictly a preference thing. I started with a 24” Marlin, when I switched to a ‘73 I went  with a  20”, at Land Run last year I bought an 18”,  1/2 round and it should be back from the gunsmith soon. I’m anxious to see how it feels. If you have the opportunity shoot several with similar action work and see what you like best. I like the pistol grip but many prefer a straight stock so that is something else to compare. If money is no problem just buy one of each, you can never have too many guns. :D:rolleyes:

 

Randy

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like 'em all.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you "love" it as is when it is "bone stock," why have it modified?

I also have a bone stock 24" octagon .32-20 73 rifle made by Winchester.   As is, I think it is my favorite lever gun.   I do have a 20" 66, which is similar, but not quite the same, and I really don't see much of a difference.

I also have an Uberti made 73 with a 16" barrel, but that's all I'll say about that for now...

Of course, I have become a Lightning guy, so what do I know?  :)

 

Just for fun...

 

1049363540_73andBisley.thumb.JPG.aef10a2a9525d2bc4890e784f2372dfd.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd send it to Sgt. Eli and have him chop the current barrel to 18.5", swap the mag tube out for a stainless one, and have him put in a Cowboys & Indians 5th Gen short stroke kit...

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your options are only limited by your funds.  Economically speaking, the most efficient route is likely to find a used gun that matches the barrel length and stock you prefer that already has had work done to it.  Going rates over the last two months for a used rifle can be found on the wire for around $1,600 - $2,000.  Your barrel length preference should come from slowly handling and shooting a few various lengths OUTSIDE of a competition.  A match is not a great way to compare two rifles with only minor differences because you're thinking more about the shot timer than how one feels over the other.  You don't need to base your opinion of a rifle or it's barrel length after a single stage, 10 rounds and five seconds.  If you can, handle some rifles outside of a match, it gives you more time to work the action, swing the gun, and actual consider what you like or don't.

 

Since you already own one rifle, you're already invested financially and for less than $1k you can get your current rifle modified.  A search of previous posts on the wire will yield a few reoccurring and reputable sources for smiths that could work on your gun, wait times will vary.  Again, if funds are no issue, there are several smiths that will sell you a firearm from their on hand inventory, do the work, and then ship it to your FFL thereby saving you on back and forth shipping costs.

 

I don't have much CAS experience, but I was in a similar boat recently.  The next rifle I buy will be procured differently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Muggins said:

Your barrel length preference should come from slowly handling and shooting a few various lengths OUTSIDE of a competition. 

 

A match is not a great way to compare two rifles with only minor differences because you're thinking more about the shot timer than how one feels over the other.  You don't need to base your opinion of a rifle or it's barrel length after a single stage, 10 rounds and five seconds. 

 

I don't have much CAS experience

With all due respect - your advice is 100% backwards.

 

Evaluating a COMPETITION firearm outside of a COMPETITION environment is completely pointless.

How the gun feels slowly plinking at tomato cans is irrelevant to how the gun feels coming off a table or balances; starting and stopping as you swing back and forth in a 1, 5, 2, 4, 3 sweep.

 

As for "noticing" differences between guns on a stage - the "perfect" gun is one that is NOT noticed during the stage. 

That firearm that doesn't bring attention to itself, but instead that fits, swings and balances in harmony with the shooter.  

 

You must find what feels right and works under competitive duress.

 

A new rifle; cycle the action as slow as possible - brag on the smoothness - but the timing might be off just enough that if cycle it fast - you break extractors.

 

That gorgeous tooled holster rig might feel perfect at the barbeque or walking in the 4th of July parade - but if it doesn't hold the gun tightly enough to run or allow you a blind reholster at speed because the holster angle is off.

 

Nothing means nothing until the timer goes off.  

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I decided to purchase a couple of 1873s from Lefty Wheeler they were in short supply and there was going to be a considerable wait until he could acquire them. He graciously agreed to build mine from guns I supplied so I purchased two on Gunbroker and had them shipped directly to him. He worked his magic then shipped them to my FFL. Depending upon how quickly your smith of choice can acquire them this may be a faster option.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had been shooting a 24". Purchased an 18.5" Uberti Trapper from Longhunter last year and it's become my favorite. Also have a 20" Winchester Miroku.  Your welcome to try both next time our trails cross.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the National champs use a 24", some use a 20", whichever you feel comfortable with. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

With all due respect - your advice is 100% backwards.

 

Evaluating a COMPETITION firearm outside of a COMPETITION environment is completely pointless.

How the gun feels slowly plinking at tomato cans is irrelevant to how the gun feels coming off a table or balances; starting and stopping as you swing back and forth in a 1, 5, 2, 4, 3 sweep.

 

As for "noticing" differences between guns on a stage - the "perfect" gun is one that is NOT noticed during the stage. 

That firearm that doesn't bring attention to itself, but instead that fits, swings and balances in harmony with the shooter.  

 

You must find what feels right and works under competitive duress.

 

A new rifle; cycle the action as slow as possible - brag on the smoothness - but the timing might be off just enough that if cycle it fast - you break extractors.

 

That gorgeous tooled holster rig might feel perfect at the barbeque or walking in the 4th of July parade - but if it doesn't hold the gun tightly enough to run or allow you a blind reholster at speed because the holster angle is off.

 

Nothing means nothing until the timer goes off.  

I guess to each their own.  I couldn't tell a difference between several rifles or pistols when up against a timer.  Which one felt better?  Don't recall.  I focused more on putting rounds downrange, not how one felt over the other.  For me, handling a bunch of firearms was much more enjoyable (and beneficial) when I had the opportunity outside of a match to run one pistol, put it down, pick up a different one and run it, and not have to wait 30 minutes between handling firearms. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My main match rifle is a 66 in 44wcf with a 24" barrel and also have been shooting a Miroku Winchester with a 20" barrel in .38 spcl. My 66 had an action job and short stroked. The other out of the box runs very nicely so am not rushing to have work done on it yet. It's actually a backup rifle for my wife and myself. I prefer the longer barrel...Truth be told I can miss equally as well with either.

 

Hochbauer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

Some of the National champs use a 24", some use a 20", whichever you feel comfortable with. 

Maybe so- but the National speed Rifle Champion used a 16" barrel carbine 

Edited by Hells Comin
+
Link to comment
Share on other sites

At one time 24” was the shortest commonly available barrel length for our game.  When the norm changed to 20”, many folks changed to the new shorter guns by simply having 4” cut off the barrel.  20” then became the de facto standard for many years.  Many folks with the shortened barrels then tried the factory 20” models and realized that they felt quite different. The reason was the length of the fore end.  Very few people even noticed that the fore end was longer on the 24” guns.   
 

Your optimum solution may be to go with your original plan for your existing rifle and add shortening the barrel to 20”.  It will have less effect on the feel that you seem to be happy with. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow!  You all have made some very valid points and made me realize that there are few factors that I never considered.  
 

I believe you all have given me plenty of insight and direction to help me make my decision. 
 

I thank you all for the help!

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think enough other advice has already been given so I'm only going to offer an opinion with regard to your original question.  I don't know this for a fact but my guess is that if you do choose to go with a shorter barrel it would be less expensive to sell your current rifle and buy a shorter one straight from the factory.  Again I'm guessing here, but I would think the labor cost of having your current rifle cut down to your desired length would end up costing you more in the long run. 

 

You don't hear the name Longhunter much anymore but he's a world champion, great gunsmith and darn good person.  He taught me how to choose the right rifle for me.  First is to pick them up off the table and shoulder them with your eyes closed.  When you get it properly shouldered open your eyes and see where the sights are.  If they're not lined up that rifle isn't for you.  That technique is primarily used when choosing between straight stock and pistol grip.  Second is to dry fire the rifle as fast as possibly keeping the sights fixed on one stationary target.  Do the sights stay on the target while you're going at race speed?  (Dammit, I have to agree with Creeker on that one.)  If your cycling of the action pulls the sights off target the barrel is probably too short for you.  Lastly, swing the rifle between different targets.  When you transition from one target to the next do the sights stay on the new target or do they go flying past it?  (Dammit, I have to agree with Creeker AGAIN.) If the sights don't land and stick on the new target the barrel is probably too long.  

 

This is my absolute 100% undiluted OPINION.  After doing all those things what I found is right for ME is a 20" octagonal barrel. It's short enough that it's easily maneuverable around props and also transitions easily from one target to the next.  At the same time it's heavy enough that it stays on target when I'm firing multiple rounds at a single target as fast as I'm able. Again, that's what works for ME.  Now you go find what works for YOU. 

 

 

P.S. regarding Creeker's first post.  He forgot:

 

Ginger vs Mary Ann

Less Filling vs Taste Great

Ford vs Chevy

45 ACP vs 9mm

Beans or no beans in chili

:P

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.