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Thread: Tell me about the 1873 Winchester trigger

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Tell me about the 1873 Winchester trigger

    Exactly what happens when you pull the trigger, step by step? Does the trigger trip the sear, the sear releases the hammer, the hammer hits the firing pin, and the firing pin wacks the cartridge? Do I have that correct?
    Anything that produces some sort of an explosion, can't be all bad.


    44minimum

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Yes. A friend of mine knew an old gunsmith who died at the age of 94 and who used to work on a lot of '73's in his younger days. He said that the first spot to wear down is the sear where it fits into the hammer notch. As a result, I make sure that area has a good little gob of high quality grease. Here is a diagram of the area ...



    and a parts diagram that gives you a better idea of the shape of the sear ...


  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    That is exactly the information I needed, and that diagram is much better than anything I've found online. So thanks for that. I'm writing a book, a western, and I wanted to be sure that I had things correct.
    Anything that produces some sort of an explosion, can't be all bad.


    44minimum

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Writing a western, eh? Well just in case any of your characters have to make a long shot, here is what an original '73 'forty-four' can do at 200 yards. My '73 is an original made in 1889. This was done using an original tang peep sight.



    Here's a photo of the original tang peep ....


  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    thegreatdane's Avatar
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    It goes "pow!" sorry. I couldn't resist.

    Good info already posted by KirkD, so I had to make a joke
    scrap, smelt, cast, lube, load, shoot. repeat.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Nice target. It's good to know what they're capable of.

    Now for another question. When you pull the hammer back on a Henry rifle to cock it, how many clicks are there? On an original Henry? Are the clicks loud enough for someone 20 feet away to hear them, if it was in a quiet building such as a livery stable?
    Anything that produces some sort of an explosion, can't be all bad.


    44minimum

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I'm looking at a schematic of an original Henry. From the schematic, it looks like there are two notches in the hammer, so two clicks, but just to make sure, I have emailed a friend of mine who owns an original Henry and will get back to you. From the schematic, the trigger and sear were one piece, so it may have been quieter on the cock, but I'm pretty sure you would still hear it inside a barn where there is usually nothing but soft noises like the shuffling of hoofs and the munch of hay being chewed (just came back from the barn a few minutes ago and was thinking of your question while I was in it .... you could certainly hear a '73 being cocked from anywhere in a normal sized barn.

    There is a way a fellow can cock his '73 (or '66 or Henry) without making a sound. I do it all the time when I'm hunting. First, you pull back slightly on the hammer just enough to take the pressure off the trigger. Then you pull both the trigger and hammer right back, then release the trigger, then ease the hammer forward to the full cock position. Absolutely silent and you're ready to go.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    My friend got back to me about your questions on the Henry. He says there is no half cock on the Henry so there is only one click. He also thinks you would hear that click 20 feet away in a barn.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks for the information.

    Since you've already given me two good answers, I've got a bonus question for you.

    In 1875, would the ammunition for a .50-70 govt cartridge have a Brass or copper case?
    Anything that produces some sort of an explosion, can't be all bad.


    44minimum

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    You got me there! There is a fellow on this forum who knows a lot about early cartridges. Send a pm to w30wcf, or better still, start a thread, as I'd like to know as well. From this site http://www.oldammo.com/november06.htm it looks like the cases could be either copper or brass, but the copper cases seemed to be the most common at that time. They also seemed to be in both rimfire and centre fire. However, w30wcf might know something on the early 50-70 cartridges.

    Addendum: I love westerns that are authentic. With the details you are verifying, your book should be a good one.
    Last edited by KirkD; 10-31-2012 at 01:13 PM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    A friend of mine has an old 1877 Indian/Cavalry battlefield on his ranch where he has pipcked up numerous spent and loaded cartridge cases. Some .45-70 and some 50-70 with .45 S&W, .44 RF and a few .38 RF. All copper, most are inside primed center fire.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    One of my writing buddies is doing sort of a rough edit on my little story and she thinks it is as good as a Louis l'amour story, but she is admittedly biased. I guess we shall see when I check into getting it published. I did start a thread asking about the .50-70, over in the single shot section.

    Dan, thanks for that info. I can use that.
    Anything that produces some sort of an explosion, can't be all bad.


    44minimum

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44minimum View Post
    One of my writing buddies is doing sort of a rough edit on my little story and she thinks it is as good as a Louis l'amour story, but she is admittedly biased.
    Now that sound right up my alley! I must have over 50 Louise L'Amour books on my iPad. Let us know when the books is ready to read.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    thanks

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    What kind of book is this going to be? I have a nice little '73 of my own

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Winchester offered various types of set triggers in addition to the standard.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check