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View Poll Results: Which caliber 1873?

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Thread: Which cartridge in 1873 and why?

  1. #1

    Which cartridge in 1873 and why?

    If you had to choose between a Winchester 1873 in 357 mag or 45 colt which one and why?

    I'm not going to share my preference or explain my situation as to why I would lean towards one over the other. I want opinions and reasons that aren't tainted by my current reloading set up or other guns in the same cartridge. Just curious to see what you would do if you were in the market for one or had to down size to just one?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    for plinking, 38/357
    for hunting, probably the 45
    ..

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    That's a tough one. I like the 45 colt much more. But, from a practical stand-point the .357 would get the nod. With it you could plink with 38 specials and hunt with the .357. Also, the 38 and 357's are more common and readily available.
    Domari Nolo

  4. #4
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    If the 73 comes in 357 then I would take that one as I really like that cartridge. The 1873 is really not set up for the 45 Colt hot loads some run through Marlins. For me the 357 is the best cartridge for both deer and small game as it can use 38 specials also. In addition the 357 out of a rifle is not all that shabby for deer.

    DP

  5. #5
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    I voted for the .357 but either will do anything that the other could be used for I.M.O.I have a Marlin in .357 and a Winchester trapper in .45.I just seem to have more fun with the .357 and playing with light loaded 38 specials is a pure blast.
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  6. #6
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    the 73 ain't set up for those kinds of pressures, the toggle link it uses to hold the bolt closed won't hold up.
    I'd go with the 45 colt in this situation, but would pick the 44-40 myself.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Neither one. It's made for the original WCF cartridges and works best with them.

    -Nobade

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    I just went thru this decision making process. I decided on the 357 due to lower cost of reloading. Full power loads will still be plenty if I decide to deer hunt with it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    You need to consider the state of cartridge manufacture at the time. The .45 Colt as then manufactured in folded-head, balloon cases, did not have an extraction groove in front of the rim, and its meager rim was inadequate for rifle use, and the case not strong enough to permit positive extraction in a rifle. THAT is why there were no .45 Colt rifles back when...

    If limited to the guns and cartridges which were actually available in 1873, the Winchester 1873 lever-action rifle and Colt's Frontier Six Shooter, BOTH in .44-40, using the black powder loads available at the time, were pure state of then-current art, and are the obvious choice.

    Given modern, strong, reliable guns like the Ruger Vaquero and Winchester 92 or Marlin 1894, they still do the job with well balanced, powerful loads giving up little to the .44 Magnum. As a cast-bullet cartridge only, which can use either smokeless or black or the common BP substitutes, the .44-40 still gets my vote if I had to give everything up but one rifle and one revolver using the same ammo, which I believe was the point of the OP.

    Attachment 134465Attachment 134466Attachment 134468Attachment 134467
    Last edited by Outpost75; 03-19-2015 at 02:15 PM.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I am not particularly keen on either one in a 73.My choice would be a .38/40 win
    I like original chambering for that rifle,and the .38/40 is very accurate and fun to shoot..
    The .32/20,.38/40 or .44/40 and I would buy one. Otherwise no.
    Last edited by Clay M; 03-19-2015 at 11:46 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by runfiverun View Post
    the 73 ain't set up for those kinds of pressures, the toggle link it uses to hold the bolt closed won't hold up.
    I'd go with the 45 colt in this situation, but would pick the 44-40 myself.
    Uberti chambers it in the 44 Mag. http://www.uberti.com/1873-rifle-and-carbine

    I have an original in 44-40 and a Uberti in 45 Colt. Thinking about a new Winchester in 44-40
    http://www.winchesterguns.com/produc...27c&mid=534217
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 03-19-2015 at 12:11 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy prsman23's Avatar
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    Which cartridge in 1873 and why?



    44-40 of course!
    1873 made in 1883

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Make mine 44/40 too.

    prs

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    I've had nice 44-40 '73 Winchester and 5 1/2" Colt to go with it. They were nice but ho-hum for my purposes.
    My brother shoots a repro in 45 Colt 1873 and loves it. With the longer octagonal barrel it's like a Kentucky rifle that just keeps shooting time after time after time...
    My daddy loved his original 38-40 1873 rifle (full length barrel) and the 4 5/8" long barrel Colt to go with it. Both now stolen.
    He liked the 38-40 for the pass through performance.

    If it was me choosing between the .357 and the .45 Colt I'd prob'ly stick with the shortest .38 diameter brass that I could get to function reliably and shoot accurately and go chase wabbits.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    I recently had to make the same decision when I bought another brand lever action, my choices were .357, .45, or .44 Mag.

    After considering cost of new ammo, cases, etc., availability, recoil, and my intended purposes, I went with the .357. Buffalo Bore makes a hard cast 180g. bullet that travels almost 1900fps out of a rifle barrel, close enough to 30-30 specs that the deer won't know the difference.

    I have an original '73 in .38-40, wish the local laws would let me hunt with that, but they only allow straight walled cartridges. Think you're going to love your '73 no matter which caliber. The one I bought is only 5lbs., if you go with the 24" octagonal barrel, recoil won't be an issue for you.
    Last edited by Speedo66; 03-19-2015 at 03:47 PM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Yup....38-40 or 44-40....Accept no substitutes! Both can be uploaded or downloaded (in a modern rifle) as you please to match recoil and energy of the 357 or 45LC

    And if you decide to shoot Black Powder there is absolutely no choice. The thin brass and great chamber sealing of the 38WCF and 44WCF will rule the day.
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    The linkage in the 73 is not a strong one and the pressures that go with the 357 or 45 LC are not a good idea. My 73 is in 38-40 and that does very well for me in terms of accuracy and reliability. LLS

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I totally love the .38/40 in a revolver and rifle..I have had several that would shoot like a house a fire..
    It is a cartridge that is very dear to my heart..Wish I had not sold the ones I had, but hindsight is always 20/20.I was young and foolish.. Let many great guns slip through my fingertips..
    I had a Colt Beasley in .38/40 .It had a prefect bore..The gun would shoot one ragged hole at 25 yds. We all seem to make major mistakes in our lives growing up..Getting rid of that gun is one that goes in the books for me..
    Back then I had a Winchester dealer that could well and deal and come up with sum phenomenal guns..I traded it on something I wanted more at the time..But I really wish I had kept that gun along with several others I traded.
    We had the money and the guns,and we just wanted to experiment with as many as possible..and that we did..But I wish I had kept some of them.. I still have my 1895's made in 1913.. They are my prize possessions..Perfect bores and will shoot with the best..
    I also had a win 73 chambered in .38/40..It was so perfect in evey way that it could make me cry to think I actually sold that gun..I needed the extra money for a house project I was working on.It was a beauty in ever respect..
    I bought and sold them and traded them like stock,,but stocks they were not..
    If they were Winchesters ,or Colts with a perfect bore then they would all shoot beyond your wildest expectations..
    I also had a Colt Army Special in .32/20 that should have never left my hands.Now that gun would shoot..My old state patrol buddy said it was the best group he ever saw for offhand shooting..
    I am sure I will never have the opportunity or money to ever have these guns back in my lifetime..But I cast bullets for them ,and I got to experience what there really were.. I came away in total.Awe..
    Everything I am telling you actually happened..Those Winchester and Colts would shoot.It they had a perfect bore they were magic.
    Last edited by Clay M; 03-19-2015 at 09:34 PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a Colt in 38/40 just a neck down 44/40. Why not a 44 special

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouncer50 View Post
    I have a Colt in 38/40 just a neck down 44/40. Why not a 44 special
    The .38/40 is a forty caliber..I don't know why and I can't explain it but there is something magical about the .40 caliber..Just My opinion..I do love the .44 Special and feel like that would make a better chambering than the .45 Colt..
    But as you see, I am a traditionalist.. I like the original calibers,and for a good reason..

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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